Snap-to-line Templates

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Paul shows his preferred method for making plastic templates for drawing, layout and shaping. Using the correct materials, it is easy to cut to exact shapes and sizes with crisp traceable edges. They can be easily shaped using various tools. Paul gives some ideas of possible uses in the day-to-day of woodworking.

Paul uses styrene plastic for his templates. Click here for more information over on Paul’s Blog.

29 Comments

  1. Richard Gaal on 8 May 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Love the concept, there is just one thing that slipped my attention: what exactly is this plastic?

    • lucy on 8 May 2017 at 2:24 pm

      Agree. Where does Paul get this plastic?

    • scott trahey on 8 May 2017 at 2:25 pm

      I think its Styrene.

    • Reece on 8 May 2017 at 6:33 pm

      If you follow the link in the last line of the description you will find a blog post. Paul says,

      “Sign plastic is available in many thicknesses. I use different thicknesses from 2 mm on down. 2 mm down to 1 mm can readily be planed, spokeshaved and knife cut. These thicknesses give sufficient rigidity to work with hand tools. ”

      So look for “Sign Plastic”.

    • Bradley Pool on 4 July 2017 at 10:50 am

      It looks to me like polystyrene. I work in a plastic factory and it has the behavioral properties of styrene, aside from getting it at the source I know my local hobby shop has sheets of it available. Possibly craft stores may carry it, I’m not sure about that though.

      • Terry Dixon on 27 January 2018 at 12:21 pm

        Model shops – styrene sheet, also on eBay etc.

      • Mr. Wright on 7 April 2019 at 6:35 pm

        Home centers also sell signs printed on one side. Might be cheaper than hobby / craft store

  2. Ian Dean on 8 May 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Great method Paul, can I ask what is the plastic called and where you get it from.

    Kind regards
    Ian

  3. Christopher on 8 May 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Where do you buy this plastic from?
    Thanks

    • Terry Dixon on 27 January 2018 at 12:22 pm

      Styrene sheet – model shops, eBay, sign makers often have offcuts, etc

  4. Mark HawkinsTeam Member on 8 May 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Hello everyone! Apologies, I missed the last line off the video description. I have put it back in now. Please see above for more details on the plastic Paul uses.

  5. Ed Minch on 8 May 2017 at 2:35 pm

    I have not seen this type of plastic – I use storm window plexiglass but it is not this easy to use.

    What is this material called? Any sources?

    Thanks

  6. James Waldron on 8 May 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Neat. I’ve used door skins for templates, but it’s hardly an optimal material. I really like your approach.

    It would be helpful if you could be a bit more specific about the type of “plastic” you are using. The term plastic is pretty generic and covers dozens of materials offered in sheet form. Not all of them will be useful for making simple templates. Most are offered in solid sheet form, and some are offered in expanded foam sheets as well.

    I’ll try polystyrene sheets, both solid and foamed, to see how they perform. But it would be nice to know what you’ve found to work so well.

  7. OhioMike on 8 May 2017 at 2:54 pm

    That’s a great idea!

    When I check Amazon for 2mm plastic sheets I find two choices – expanded PVC and acrylic plexiglass. Are you using one of these?

    Mike

    • Clay Enos on 24 April 2018 at 9:23 pm

      High Mike. This type of white polystyrene sheet is what is known as high impact polystyrene, usually referred to in the plastics industry as HIPS. Most of the model shops i have checked in the Cincinnati area offer only ;polystyrene foam… the kind used for matte backing for framing applications. Buying directly from manufactures or distributors is much less expensive that you can find on Amazon, unless you are buying rather small sizes.

      The main issue is min order requirements and shipping. I may have found a source in the US, and will let you know what I find out.

  8. roofusson on 8 May 2017 at 2:57 pm

    A bit of a repeat question. As there are many types of plastics.
    A. What is the name of the plastic.
    B. What industry uses It.
    As it is a means of finding the said plastic.
    Ta Peter

  9. David Seymour on 8 May 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks for this Paul – very inspiring, as always.

    It would be fascinating to have a video of your techniques for making various curves (like you did here with the compass point and the stick).

  10. larryl49 on 9 May 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Hi I enjoyed that one, it beats card board, can you tell me what super glue and accelerate that Paul uses ,
    Regards Larry.

    • Philip Adams on 12 May 2017 at 9:38 am

      The super glue is from a pound shop. The thin stuff wicks well. The accelerator is often sold as mitre fix.
      Best, Phil

  11. Paul McDonald on 9 May 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Paul Sellers, you are a treasure. Everything you do is amazing to me. Keep up the good work.

  12. Clifford on 10 May 2017 at 12:57 am

    Wow what a beautiful wood box at time stamp 1:38. I hope this is a future project!

  13. Jeffrey DiBella on 12 May 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks for the tip. This method will come in handy, especially for replicating curves and angles for future projects. Also much easier and less cumbersome to store.

  14. mmarcotte on 12 July 2017 at 7:25 pm

    I found a supplier in Canada for Sign Plastic (both styrene and ABS sheeting).
    4’x8′ sheets of styrene, various thicknesses and sizes. (e.g. 40mil (~1mm) for ~$26 dollars plus tax for pickup, extra for shipping)
    Multiple Canadian Locations (from BC to Newfoundland). I haven’t worked with any yet, can’t comment on the quality at this time.

    http://www.emplastic.com/product_details.php?ref=142&product=42
    http://www.emplastic.com/en/contact-us

  15. mmarcotte on 12 July 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Hobby Shops often have styrene sheets for model making.
    Evergreen is a US based Manufacture of the model making styrene that many hobby shops stock. Don’t know if you can buy direct, but knowing a manufacture may help in your search. They make a variety of thicknesses but strictly small sizes (6″x12″).

    https://evergreenscalemodels.com/collections/plain-opaque-white-polystrene-sheets

  16. Todd Rudolph on 25 January 2018 at 6:52 am

    You can get this from https://www.tapplastics.com/product/plastics/cut_to_size_plastic/styrene_high_impact/560

    I hope this helps some people on the west coast of the USA they do ship but it would be more economical to find a plastic store closer to your location in my opinion.

  17. Joe Preston on 18 October 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Would love to see a series where Paul does one of his drawings from start to finish.

  18. YrHenSaer on 18 October 2020 at 10:19 pm

    @Joe Preston
    This is on Y-T.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUHgKsnTfxM

    Hope that it helps

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