Floor stencils are a great way of marking your site with important directions and information. You can use stencils to write anything you want with individual letters, but common uses are to highlight exit/entry points, directional arrows for one-way systems in distribution centres or warehouses and queue management/social distancing markings. Floor stencils are relatively easy to use, just follow our handy guide and you will be set up in no time at all.
How are floor stencils used?
Floor stencils are super easy to use – simply place the stencil on the surface you are painting (the floor, usually), make sure that it is flat to the surface and straight/aligned with adjacent letters, and then paint – most people will use a spray paint, but you can also use a paint pot and brush, you’ll just have to be careful not to get any paint under the stencil itself. Despite the name, you can use floor stencils on walls or other surfaces as well.
Before you start, make sure that the surface is clean and dry, or your paint will adhere to loose dirt and debris or not dry properly. Always paint the surface evenly and thickly – you want the finished lettering to be bold, clear and long-lasting.
If you are using individual letter/number stencils to make words or phrases, it is important to make sure you keep the spacing even and align the stencils with each other. Good quality stencils will have markings on them to let you line them up perfectly each time, but if your stencils do not have these, you will probably want to use a long rule or measuring tape and maybe chalk a straight line along a laser level to make sure that everything is perfect before you start to apply the paint.
Where can floor stencils be used?
Really, you can use floor stencils anywhere, indoors and out. The only difference in the process will be the type of paint that you use, as you’ll need a harder-wearing, weatherproof option for outdoor use. A really common use for stencils and floor paint is in car parks: marking areas that need to be kept clear, in/out points and one-way arrows.
What to look out for
Floor stencils are available in a range of types, sizes and standards. For industrial use, or if you are likely to be repainting or reusing the stencils, you need a long-lasting, reuseable PVC type of stencil – they’re flexible and durable, and can be used for years if looked after properly. For single use, you can realistically make your own stencil out of paper or card, but for a professional-looking finish you should always look for a pre-made one.
Most stencil suppliers will be able to provide you with letters from A-Z and numbers from 0-9, in a range of sizes, so you can write anything you want. You should also be able to easily find pre-made stencils for the common words and phrases: ‘Keep Clear’, ‘In’, ‘Out’, ‘Customer Parking Only’, ‘No Entry’, and ‘No Exit’, for example. These are obviously less versatile but they give consistent spacing and make the final image/wording perfect every time.