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1707, not recorded again until 1848, probably from Middle English stencellen "decorate with bright colors," from Middle French estenceler "cover with sparkles or stars, powder with color," from estencele "spark, spangle," from Vulgar Latin *stincilla, metathesis of Latin scintilla "spark."
"to produce a design with a stencil," 1861, from stencil (n.). Related: Stenciled; stenciling.
in the visual arts, a technique for reproducing designs by passing ink or paint over holes cut in cardboard or metal onto the surface to be decorated. Stencils were known in China as early as the 8th century, and Eskimo in Baffin Island were making prints from stencils cut in sealskins before their contact with Western civilization. In the 20th century stencils are used for such diverse purposes as making mimeographs and fine paintings. The Pop-art paintings of the 20th-century American artist Roy Lichtenstein, for example, simulated the dots characteristic of the halftone process of comic-book illustrations by painting over evenly distributed perforations in a thin sheet of metal