Our custom camo weapon stencils are cut on Avery SF100-235 High-Bake Masking Vinyl. Translated to lay terms: it can handle some heat and still leave clean lines. Many other vinyl materials will wilt, shrink and “melt” when subjected to heat. That becomes an issue when applying more than one layer of color and camo stencils and also when you have to re-clean a recently refinished gun to remove all the gunk and residue left behind.
It’s no question that most of our customers use Cerakote, so most of what we refer to in this post will address Cerakote related issues with our custom camo stencils. The same ideas can be applied to Durcoat or KG Gunkote as well. Our vinyl camo stencils are rated up to 225 degrees; however, there are several things to consider.
We recommend using a “flash” baking cycle when using any stencils. Utilizing a baking temp of 180-200 degrees ensures that the stencils won’t fail. From there, the Cerakote will be ready for a new layer of camo weapon stencils and paint. Or, at this point, you can carefully remove all your stencils and drop your gun back in the oven for a full temp, full length curing cycle to finish it off.
A lot of this also depends on your oven. We have clients using makeshift ovens made from converted lockers in their garage and other clients using professional grade ovens worth thousands of dollars in their dedicated shop. You need to consider how your oven distributes heat: do you have a single element at the bottom? Where is the thermometer positioned? The air at the bottom may be hotter than the air at the top. This may cause failure issues to stencils on the bottom of a long rifle rail hanging near the heating element, while the camo stencils at the top of the rail hold up fine.
Keeping your oven temps down to a “flash” cycle can solve some of these issues. Much like patience during the prep process is key to a finish that will last a long time, it’s also necessary during the curing process. Cranking up the oven just to get a gun done faster will probably cost you more time in the long run.
The trick is to find what works for you. We’ve talked to numerous clients and very reputable names in the custom gun industry and they all seem to do things just a little different when it comes to using stencils for multiple layers and multiple baking cycles. If you’re someone just getting started and are looking to do some cheap trial and error, we frequently have a stock of blemished sheets we can’t sell. Shoot us an e-mail and we can probably get you a couple sheets to practice with on the cheap.
Do you do something different than I described above? Leave a comment and let us know how use our Weapon Stencils.