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by John Marshall


It is of utmost importance to have a sharp carving instrument to be able to cut clean, clear lines in your stencil paper, shibugami. Sharpen your blade often.


▶︎Prepare to cut your stencil by placing a self-healing mat under your shibugami.


▶︎If right handed, begin by working from the upper left corner down toward the lower right. Small details should be cut first, with larger open areas cut last.


When carving try to hold the spine of the knife at as near to perpendicular to the paper as is comfortable. Always pull to cut, being careful not to slice through any bridges that may have been added to the initial drawing.


▶︎Stop cutting before reaching the far right and bottom edges.


▶︎Punch two small register dots in the upper corners of your stencil.

These will serve as guides in lining up your stencil for repeats later during the pasting process.


▶︎Place the stencil on a sheet of clean white paper. With a flat brush (a surikomi brush is ideal for this) and very little ink, brush over the top of your stencil with the flat of the brush to transfer the cut design to the paper (blue ink was used in the sample). Only the carved area along the upper edge need be transferred for now.


▶︎Cut a straight line just above two register dots on the sheet of white paper and match the upper edge of the inked design to the bottom edge of drawn pattern. Tape securely in place.


▶︎Use the inked reproduction of the stencil as guide in accurately cutting the rest of your stencil to match and to punch holes for lower two register dots. Cut slightly into the inked portion of your transferred image to allow for a slight overlap in the cut stencil design (around 1/16"). The overlap will be helpful in matching repeats when the paste is applied later.


 You’re done carving!

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