Using stencils - low tack adhesive

So one of my current projects is decorating an MDF card box I bought on Etsy (Specifically contacted the seller to ask him to make it undecorated so I could paint it as the original was black and would have needed a ridiculous amount of layers of paint, even using acrylics, as I tend to do, to get it to white).

My main technique for this is painting each side in white acrylic Gesso and then decorating with two different stencils, first with one in grey and then overlaying a different pattern in black and then a metallic paint.

I encountered some problems with this as the stencils are larger than the side of the box (they’re standard melamine type stencils).

Which brings me to my main question.

I was hoping to find a spray adhesive that cures to the same tack as masking tape so that I can reposition the stencil until I have it in the right place and then affix it down with a strength of tack that stops acrylic from bleeding under the edges but is easy to peel off once you’ve finished stencilling.

It’s more important than most other projects because in this case the stencil is larger than what’s being stencilled on and some of the lines in the stencil are quite fine. This means I can’t hold it in place with masking tape (a process which I find doesn’t always work too well for protecting against bleeding anyway). The fine lines mean that sometimes I have to overpaint more than once to get the paint in all the parts of the stencil which again can lead to more bleed underneath. With the right tack adhesive bleed would be prevented and all the parts that are in contact will be fimrly and equally held down.

Googling and searching Amazon, however lead me to having difficulties in finding the right adhesive for the job.

To reiterate the ideal adhesive should be something I could quickly spray onto the back of a stencil, would cure to a low tack like masking tape and, after application, I should be able to paint thoroughly through the stencil, remove the stencil and wash off the paint on one side and the low tack adhesive on the other, preferably with something as innocuous as soapy water.

I know the low-tack easy peel of this must be possible at least, otherwise masking tape wouldn’t exist.

The other option would be some kind of double-sided version of masking tape.

If anyone knows of a product like this I could use I’d be grateful for advice.

Also any techniques on being able to place a stencil back in the same place it’s been placed before (for different colours) would also be helpful.

Many thanks in advance for any help proffered.

Pixie Spray

I don’t clean my stencils except for a quick rinse, but she does say Goo-Gone will remove the adhesive.


There is something called Pixie Spray for stencils. It’s for paper but I think it should work for your project.

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Thankyou so much for this. Not only is it a good suggestion but googling it gave me plenty of alternative sprays that do the same thing as well!

Will post pics of my completed project (probably pics of the stencilled product and then pics of the finished poduct with the fittings added) as soon as I’ve done.


3M makes a repositionable adhesive under the same brand as their classic 77 that works great with stencils. You can use one several times with one application and then it washes off when soaked in a Simple Green solution.


You can use registration marks by creating small registration marks on both the stencil and the surface of the box. These marks will help you align the stencil precisely when you need to reapply it for different colors. Or some stencil alignment tools are available in the market, such as stencil alignment guides or registration frames. One tip for you is to remember to clean the stencil thoroughly between color changes to prevent any paint residue from transferring to undesired areas.