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Crupi Wannabe
160 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,
I've been trying to paint crawfish patterns relatively similar to this:

I've tried freehanding - I'm just not that good and my repeatability from side to side is terrible.

Anyone have any recommendations?
My experiences with stencils has been rough so far. I find it difficult to:
A) Cut nice stencils, even with an exacto.
B) Find a way to hold the crankbait and stencil in the exact same spot - I'm sure some sort of jig/holder is needed but I'm not having any good ideas on how to do this...

Can someone help me out? Any pics of equipment/processes would be very helpful.

Best regards,

272 Posts
I dont use them much but here are a few tips.

1. Take the paper you are making the stencil out of and cover it with the wide clear packing tape. It will make the pattern more crisp because the paint wont seep as much and its easier to cut out.

2. Instead of trying to stencil one side at a time do both sides of the stencil on one sheet. Take the double stencil and put it on the lure like a saddle. Tape the bottom together and adjust it so its even. You may have to make relief cuts to get it to lay down flat against the lure body. Clear laminate will also work but you will have to prep the paint for every coat because of the glue left behind.

3. To hold the lure remove the rear eye screw and replace it with small threaded rod thats about 8" long. An old bicycle spoke should do the trick just try not to mess up the threads too bad.

4. I dont have much detail in my lures but i use an old fly tying vise to hold them. Just clamp it on the front hook eye and its hands free painting. The vise also pivots in all directions so its easy to get the angles you need. Dont try this with a good vise because it will have multi layers of paint on it and it wont work good for flies ever again.

5. Have patience! To get that fine of detail in a bait that small is very difficult. It might be years before you can accomplish it free handed.

2,809 Posts
Its always a struggle to duplicate both sides.

In order to accomplish that type of mission, you might also try a series of smaller stencils instead of one large one.

As to the alignment, you have to lock the bait down in order to be able to precisely align the templates while painting.

At Walmart, you can buy a Vice Grips about 6 inches long. I've actually bought 5 of them, because I use them so often in lure building; they're only $2.

Clamp the vice grip onto the tail eye screw. Place the vice grips in a bench vise. The standard bench vice will rotate, so you can paint one side, rotate the bait, and then paint the other side.

I'll post some pictures later, if you'd like, but its a great way to secure the bait so you can have both hands free to paint.

Align the stencils with the belly hook and the lip, or some other fixed point, such as a point on the vice grips that is holding the bait, etc. That way when you rotate the bait to do the other side, you simply duplicate the alignment points and you can usually get within a centimeter or two of "exact."

Also, put a coat of clear on the bait before you attempt any stencil work. That way, if you get the stencil aligned wrong, or make a mistake such a shooting too much paint and getting a "run" or sag, you simply take a bit of water (or paint thinner if your using enamels) and wipe off the entire side of the stencil-painted work and start over. Simply spray some clear coat between layers of completed paint work. Be patient and let the clear completely dry before proceeding, and you won't "ruin" baits anymore.
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