I’ve been using a lot of stencils lately for getting the letters, numbers, or words onto my paintings. Most of the stencils I make are done on a heavier stock paper, so there’s already some rigidity there which helps when working with them. But in order to get my stencils to stay put while I’m applying paint, I’ll either tape them down, or I’ll use a spray adhesive. The Duro stuff that’s pictured above is hard to find these days, but just about any brand will work in this scenario.
When using a spray adhesive you have to let the sprayed surface sit for a moment and get a bit tacky, before you flip it over and apply it to whatever your’re working on. Because of the nature of my work I’m not too concerned about any of the adhesive sticking to the surface of the piece after I’m done. If anything, I’ll use some mineral spirits to remove the excess, or because it hasn’t fully cured, I’ll just rub it off with my fingers.
The thing about spray adhesive, is that it’s about the only choice you have when using a non-traditional stencil font, like Helvetica for example. The inner part of a capital letter A, that looks like a triangle, has to be held down in position by itself, as do a number of other letters. So in those cases a small amount of spray adhesive makes the job a lot easier.