Lesson 5: Silkscreen Printing

Cutting Stencils
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A student carefully cuts paper stencil for layered print

This lesson requires careful planning to ensure safety and correct procedure. Students use a light table to trace shapes from the film positive before cutting paper stencils.

Suggested Time Frame:

1 class period 


  • Student will trace their film positives using a light table
  • Students will cut three paper stencils to create a multi-layered print
A student traces film positive using a light table
A student traces film positive using a light table


Drawing paper, 50lb. – 60lb. This paper should be the size of the inside dimensions of the silkscreen. Cutting tool – blade knife
PencilLight table
Cutting three stencils for multilayered print
Cutting three stencils for multilayered print

Cutting Procedure

  1. Show PowerPoint: Cutting Stencils. 
  2. Each student needs 3 pieces of paper; he or she will be making 3 stencils, one for the first 3 layers of his or her print.
  3. The first color stencil is Layer 1 - the background color. This should be the lightest color in the student’s color combination.
  4. The background color should be at least as large as Layer 4, the photographic image. For example, if Layer 4 is 7 x 9 inches, then the background layer needs to be at least 7 x 9 inches.
  5. Draw the background rectangle or square in the center of one of the pieces of paper.
  6. Cut this shape by using a cutting tool.
  7. Using the student’s collage as a guide, trace the shape(s) for Layer 2 in the center of another piece of paper. Cut these shapes, as well.
  8. Repeat step #6 for Layer 3.

Note – If your students are printing more than one color combination, have them cut extra stencils for each layer because the stencils are discarded after printing each layer. 


    Warhol Education Rubrics

    Click the Warhol Rubric headers below to reveal associated rubrics to which this lesson applies.

    Critical Thinking
    Creative Process
    Media and Related Items
    Cutting Stencils Powerpoint
    Cutting Stencils Powerpoint