Stiff paper (or other sheet material) with a design cut into it as a template for shapes meant to be copied. Ink or paint forced through the design's openings will produce a print on a flat surface placed beneath. The design need special to producing a stencil: balance the requirement to cut out most of the desired shapes against maintaining the strength of the loosest parts of the stencil. The relationship between the positive and negative spaces is best when no part of the sheet is damaged or lost in its use. In lettering stencils, for instance, the centers of such letters as A, B, D, O, and P are some of the shapes most likely to have this problem. The "bridges" holding these "islands" in position are the chief characteristics of stencils. Art in which stencil letters are used often make reference to flatness, cheaply hand-produced signage and package labeling, among other common applications. Patterns and other designs are also painted as stenciled architectural decorations. Pochoir and silkscreening (or serigraphy) are types of stencil processes. Also, the image produced, and the process of making it.Also see French curve, serigraphy, silkscreen, stipple, and text.

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