The most important factor is how you take care of your stencil.
The best way to ensure a long stencil life is to clean the paint off your stencil after you are finished. There is no need to clean the stencil so it looks new, you just need to keep too much paint from building up around the edges.
You can use a single stencil hundreds, maybe even thousands of times.
Mylar is strong. It has the ability to be rolled very tightly and it will always bounce back to its flat shape. If you take a square sheet of mylar, even the thinnest 7 mil, you will not be able to tear it using your hands.
The secret to a long stencil life is the ability to clean paint off your stencil. Mylar is one of the very few plastic materials that is solvent proof. You can clean your stencil with paint remover, acetone (fingernail polish remover), turpentine/mineral spirits, or anything recommended to clean paint.
All material in the Mylar family is flexible. This is very important when you are stenciling because it can conform to curved surfaces as well as the subtle variations on flat surfaces. This will provide a more crisp and professional look than you can achieve using a rigid stencil material.
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