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This activity is adaptable for beginners to experts, ideally ages 8 and up. Please note that this project involves using scissors to cut cardboard and/or paper. Great for individuals, groups, and families to work on together at home.

Inspired by Shepard Fairey’s artwork like Afrocetric (Power and Equality) (2007), create your own stencils with everyday materials found at home. Fairey sometimes uses stencils in his work, particularly in his street art. Once a stencil of an image is made, you can easily reproduce that image many times. By cutting, overlapping, and positioning stencils in new ways, we can create exciting artwork. Experiment with different shapes and patterns. Be creative and share what you make with the world!

You will need:

Scissors, markers, tape, a metal ruler, and the cut-out front and back of a cardboard cereal box.

  • Drawing tools
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard (ex: old cereal boxes, folders, boxes, thick paper, etc.)
  • Coloring tools
  • Paper to draw on


  • Tape
  • Ruler
  • Objects to trace



1. Draw or trace your shapes and designs on your cardboard. The bigger they are the easier they will be to cut. Think about shapes and designs and how they can be used to communicate ideas.


2. Carefully cut out your stencils. You can use both pieces as stencils. Try cutting your stencils in one cut. Move your cardboard as you cut along your shape until you are back where you made the first cut. You can place some tape along your initial cut to keep it intact as you trace.

Hearts and flower shape cut-outs.

3. Trace your stencils on paper. You can tape down your stencils to keep them from moving while you trace. Try overlapping different shapes and designs.

A hand tracing hearts and flower shapes overlapping other shapes on a piece of paper.

4. Add color. Out-line and fill in the shapes and designs you traced.

A stencil illustration of a dark-skinned girl with colorful hearts in her hair.

Pro Tip!

You can save and reuse your stencils for future projects!

This activity was developed by Flolynda Jean, Studio Programs Education Assistant.