Reverse Stencil Compass Rose
I started out with an online image search for “compass rose” and found my optimal design. The next step was determining it’s size for my table project. Too big and it would look hokey. Too small and it would get lost. Unfortunately for me my stencil needed to be roughly 16” wide so I did not have the convenience of it fitting nicely on a standard sheet. You will see that this will add a few steps to the process. It is also important to point out that I had reservations about my ability to perfectly cut out this shape in it’s entirety with all of it’s rings and angled glory. Because of this I decided to develop the stencil in three separate stages; rings, star and letters. Source: www.art-and-home.net
Stage 1: Rings In an effort to have perfectly round clean edges I went on a hunt for ring decals. I quickly found out these didn’t exist in my desired size. However luck was with me that day and I was able to score the perfect round vinyl “Wall Pops” dots at my local thrift store for just $2 !! Contact paper is a good alternative. The large dot provided me with the clean outside edge starting point I was looking for. Slight hiccup when I couldn’t locate coordinating smaller rings/dots in my timeframe so improvisation was necessary. Using a hi tech process of tracing glass kitchen bowls, I outlined and slowly cut out 2 rings (using really sharp scissors) to my desired widths of 13” and 10” respectively.
Stage 2: The Star The second step required a computer and printer. I copy and pasted the image into Keynote (or PowerPoint). Because I wanted to have my star points land just outside the ring’s edge, the complete image needed to be larger than a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet. So I focused in on one star section at a time and enlarged it.
Stage 3: Letters Since I was unable to find the “right” letter decals in both my size and style (I looked, believe me!) I resigned myself to making these custom as well. I printed out my N, S, E and W using Kokonor, a large nautical-ish font, until I achieved the right size (eyeballing again rather than math). I once again sprayed adhesive to the paper back and pressed firmly onto my decal and cut out. With decent scissors and a steady hand it wasn’t hard at all!
Phew! Now that my reverse stencil was complete I will show you the process to adhere the stages to the middle of the table. Starting with the outer ring I centered the circle so that it was equidistant from the mid-point on all sides (math again woohoo). After confirming the correct distance with a tape measure, I marked my other hi tech tool, a paint stick, with a tick mark. I placed one edge at the table mid-point and slowly alternated rotating the stick around the epicenter while matching up the ring with the pencil mark then peeling and adhering.