Beautify with chalk spray

Oftentimes, protest signs are quite far away or hard to read. However, the meeting place of right-wing extremists can oftentimes be beautified in advance of a rally. If you know the marching route of the neo-Nazis, your protest can be extended to the areas along the route. Some risk always remains: rain, changes in schedule, or even en entirely new location. The important thing is: Be quick! Stencils made of cardboard or foil allow you to quickly and accurately convey messages against right-wing extremism and racism on the asphalt. How? With chalk spray!

You will need:

  • Pens and eraser or computer and printer
  • Cardboard, foil, or paper
  • if desired, laminating foils and a laminating machine
  • glue
  • Scalpel, cutting knife, or scissors
  • chalk spray

Here’s how it works!

1 Think about a motif or slogan

Once you have decided on a motif or slogan, there are several options: Either draw the motif yourself, or use a photo as a template. A simple, bold design is crucial. Avoid complicated positive-negative patterns. They will be lost if you cut out the outline. To realize outcuts in the middle, draw connecting “bridges” in your design to keep all sections attached.

Finally, print out your design.

2 Determine and decide on stencil material

Once your design idea is down on paper, it is time to decide which material to use for your stencil:

Cardboard is inexpensive and readily available, but will soak and weaken after a while.

Foil (commercially available e.g. for overhead projectors) offers the advantage that you can print your photo template directly onto it, or draw it directly onto the foil using a foil pen. The material is easy to clean and the stencil can be used as often as you like. However, the same applies here: Large-format foil stencils are fragile. They must be supported well before spraying.

Laminated paper can be cut out easily and accurately if you laminate your stencil several times beforehand. Like foil, paper stencils can be used several times.

3 Make a stencil

Once you have placed your design on your stencil material, it’s time to cut it out:

Using a cutting knife or scissors, cut out the shaded areas of your template. Make sure that your tool is sharp.

You can also transform existing material into a stencil. For example, take a BERLIN GEGEN NAZIS clap banner and cut out the letters along the edges.

4 Road test

Place a colored piece of paper under the finished stencil or hold the stencil up to a colored wall. If you discover any inaccuracies, you can correct them.

5 Let’s go!

Time to hit the streets.

Tips & Tricks

  • If you use a photo as a template for the stencil, you may have to adapt it with an image editing program, and reduce it to a few color layers. You can find out how to do this at WikiHow, for example.
  • When spraying, the correct distance between the stencil and the spray can is important – don’t get too close and apply the paint gradually but steady.

Notes reagrding legal issues

If you use a photo as a template, choose a motif that you are allowed to use in any case. Make sure that you know which rights of use the author grants to others.

You should also only use the stencils with chalk spray. Chalk Spray has the advantage that it is easy to remove or washes away the next time it rains. However, even when using chalk spray in public spaces, legally speaking, you may be moving within a gray area. You should therefore consider two things before spraying:

Do not spray on private property without first asking the owner!

Painting and spraying on roads is regulated by the Road Traffic Act and is prohibited if it endangers the safety of road traffic.