You do not have to clean your stencil after every use. It is only necessary to clean your stencil when the paint build up is effecting the results or at the end of a project before you store it safely away for next time.
We used acrylic paint on this flamingo stencil. In this tutorial we will show you how to clean your stencil if using water based paints such as acrylics and emulsion.
Soak your stencil in warm/hot soapy water. DO NOT use very hot or boiling water as this will damage the stencil. Smaller stencils can be cleaned in the sink and larger stencils can be put in the bath.
Emulsion paint on the stencil do not need as long to soak as acrylics which are thicker. It all depends on the build up of paint you have to how long you will need to soak your stencil.
When the paint has softened on the stencil and is starting to lift off the surface then you can start to clean the paint off.
The longer you leave the stencil to soak the better and the easier it will be to clean the paint off, so if you want to leave it overnight that's a great idea.
You can put smaller stencils on a chopping board so you have a good surface to scrub against. And you can use a washing up pad or brush to clean the stencil. I could have left our stencil for a longer soak so I had to loosen some of the paint with my finger nail.
Be careful of detailed areas of stencil, this silhouette flamingo stencil only had a detailed area near the neck and foot so that was okay, but if there had been lots more smaller intricate parts then I would have soaked it for longer until that paint was literally falling off, leaving only a light scrub.
Once all the paint has been cleaned off the stencil lay it on some kitchen roll and dab it dry. And then you have a stencil that's as good as new to use on your next project.
Store it away flat for safe keeping. Larger stencils can be dried and then stored on a trouser hanger (the kind with a clamp in each side)