Stencil material is the non-cut material stencils are made of. Most stencil materials being sold have a re-positional adhesive on the back side to help in positioning and using the stencil. This is an excellent way to create and use more delicate designs that want to move around (or tear and bend easily). There are several brands and sizes on the market. The three I have tried are the Silhouette Stencil Material, SRM (which is a wholesale company, I do not know which brand they resell), and the Ideology product named Mask Sheets. All three brands have adhesive on the back of the material that allow the stencil to be stuck down and then removed and replaced on a protective sheet for future use. All three brands cut on my Silhouette Cameo, set on the “stencil material” setting. I made a video to tell you about these three products:
Silhouette Stencil Material
Silhouette America sells Stencil Material by the 12″ x 24″ sheet. I paid about $10 for the sheet. This cut easily on my Silhouette Cameo on the “stencil material” setting. Unlike paper or vinyl, stencil material takes a little bit of force to seperate the cut piece from the background piece. It will come, just know that it is different. LIke vinyl, the backing is not cut when the settings are appropriate. Keep this if you plan to store and reuse the stencil.
I liked this product for it’s easy cutting and use. I used this to make a fabric paint stencil for t-shirts. I made 9 t-shirts with this stencil, and it could make more with some more adhesive applied to the back. The only complaint I had with it was it wanted to curl (from being stored and sold curled in a tube). This made it hard to work with initially.
SRM Textured Stencil Material
This was my favorite stencil material to work with because of its thickness. It cut on my Silhouette Cameo but really needed a double cut to come apart well. The textured surface was sturdier which made it easier to use and clean. I tried several different mediums ( ink, paint, pastes) in this trial. It lays nice and flat (because it has not been curled) and the backing is sturdy. This could be re-used many times. I paid $6 for the 12″x24″ piece.
Update 2017: I cannot find a source for this product anywhere (except my craft room! I think this will go into my “hoarding” category!). I will keep my eyes open…but dang it!
Ideology Mask Sheets
These mask sheets are 6″x 12″ and run about $5 for 2 pieces. While they cut on my Silhouette Cameo, they didn’t cut well enough to pull apart without tearing. They are thin and brittle and are a pain in the you-know-where to use with intricate designs…as in anything not a circle, square, or triangle. Geez! This product made me cry in frustration (really, it did!).
2017 update: I still haven’t attempted to pull apart the USA cut I made 3 years ago. Making the stencil from the rose that you see pictured was NOT fun, and I quit. Maybe this product was never intended to be used this way. I can see die cutting it and scissor cutting it, but for anything more complex, save yourself major frustration and choose any other stencil material.
Grafix Clear Craft Plastic
Another option that sounds interesting to me is the Grafix clear craft plastic (.007 thickness is what I have seen recommended). These come in varying sizes, including 8.5″ x 11″ and 12″ x12″ . The 12x12 comes in a 25 pack on Amazon for $14.24 (as of 4/16/14). Krylon Easy Tack Repositionable Adhesive could then be sprayed on the back of a cut stencil to give it the adhesive (Amazon for $12.33). Here is a video about this, the cut settings are included in the video, but I think the “stencil material” setting on the Silhouette is close enough .
2017 update: I have tried this…and tried it…and tried it. I cannot get it to cut all the way through with my Cameo. If anyone else has had success with this, I would love to hear what you did, as I have a very large package of Grafix! I really wanted this to work.