Mylar polyester films are used in a wide variety of applications. One application that may not be as widely known, but is a growing market is stencils. Many people think of crafters when they think of stencils, but the handy tools are gaining momentum in home décor (think tile and backsplashes) and businesses (wayfinding signage) and even by DIY clothing designers to create unique fashions.
What is a Stencil?
A stencil is a pattern that is cut into a material or substrate that allows a user to apply a design to an object through the application of paint or ink. Stencils can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, and metal.
Mylar® A Translucent Polyester Film – The Stencil Makers Go-To-Material
One of the most common materials used to create stencils is Mylar A polyester film. These translucent films are tough, general-purpose films and that have many attributes that make them well suited for stencil making:
- Allows stencil makers to create very sharp edges
- It enables stencil makers to achieve crisp points particularly when working with patterns with minute details via a variety of cutting methods including laser cutting and knife-plotter cutting
- Mylar is a versatile film, which allows for it to form to irregular shapes or to be rolled around cylindrical shapes
- Even when using a thin material, such as 10 mil Mylar, it is durable, does not become brittle with age, and is a long-lasting film that can be used multiple times
- It has excellent resistance to most chemicals making it easy to clean
- It comes in a variety of thicknesses
- It is a cost-effective material
Thin Thickness – 5 mil and 7.5 mil Mylar
Mylar comes in thinner material such as 5 mil and 7.5 mil. This film is durable but very flexible so it can be wrapped around cylinders and fit on curves. This clear material is particularly good for a variety of applications including when applying ink or paint by sponge, brush, spray, or roller. 5 mil and 7.5 mil are generally best when using smaller stencils or if the stencil needs to have smaller, minute details.
Medium Thickness - 10 mil Mylar
One of the most common thicknesses that we see used by Stencil makers is the 10 mil Mylar. This clear material is particularly good for a variety of applications including when applying ink or paint by sponge, brush, spray, or roller. The 10 mil Mylar is generally best when you are using smaller stencils or if the stencil needs to have smaller, minute details. The thinner material generally will provide crisper lines.
Heavier Thickness - 14 mil Mylar
Some applications, especially those requiring larger designs, may need a thicker material such as 14 mil Mylar. This thicker Mylar is particularly good with larger stencils that will go on more uneven surfaces. The thicker material works best when applying ink or paint via a spray or roller. Thicker polyester materials may not give as crisp of lines as the thinner gauge polyester.
Tekra Stocks a Mylar® A and Melinex® Polyester Films
Tekra carries a wide variety of Mylar® polyester films including Mylar® A, which is very popular with stencil makers. Tekra stocks transparent Mylar A in many thicknesses including 5 mil, 7.5 mil, 10 mil and 14 mil. For those looking for a high-clarity polyester film, Tekra carries Melinex® 453 and Melinex® 454 in a variety of thicknesses.
Mylar® A and Melinex® are brand names manufactured by DuPont Teijin Films™ (DTF), which is recognized around the world for its market leadership and product innovation since it first manufactured polyester film in the U.S. (1952). Tekra is an authorized distributor of DuPont Teijin Films™ (DTF). We have more than 80 years of technical expertise supporting the graphics, digital and industrial markets. Give us a call at 800-448-3572 and we will help you pick out the perfect film for your stencil needs.