How to make a stencil kit in software for a wooden 3-foot long bathroom pass for San Jose schools

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A neighbor just landed a job teaching at the San Jose Union School District (yes, in the bad side of town), where she asked me if I could help her with a "bathroom pass" intended to be send a message.
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5581/15206009895_d1e78b112e_z.jpg
That pic is the raw material for the 3' by 3" by 3/4" bathroom pass, which she asked me to label with her room number & the words: ROOM B201 BATHROOM PASS
I bought a 3" yellow cardboard stencil kit to spray on the letters, but the professional stencils are a tad too big to fit all the words.
I have a router, and some bits, which I haven't ever used (they were a gift when I was in college, and college was many decades ago); but I don't have a router table (so, it would likely be a disaster).
I guess I'm asking for suggestions.
One thing that might be nice would be Windows or Linux freeware to create the characters in a size that I can print, experiment with, and then, when I get the size right, I can then cut them out and lay them on the board and spray paint on the letters.
Do you know of such stencil-kit freeware to size the letters?
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wrote:

I hope she stores this in a bucket of bleach!
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RobertMacy wrote, on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 05:22:41 -0700:

The deed is done, at least the first (ugly) pass. I gave up on the router idea, and went with pure stenciling. However, I made far more mistakes than I had felt like making.
For one, I should have used a FONT that had a much wider space because the O's and the M's kept ripping on me:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3914/15020550427_efeb9dd170_b.jpg
For another, the paper was too thin, so I had to add a swath of tape to the front, and even that was too thin, so I had to add another swath of tape to the back.
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3851/15184091976_63f5c8ff45_b.jpg
One thing I realized is that you really need to cut from both ends, so, it would have been nice to have a *reverse font*, which would print on both sides of the paper, so that I could cut from both sides.
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3841/15020341469_e8a2558b40_b.jpg
Another flaw in my process that I had to rectify midway was that the cutting board was too hard. I needed something soft, so I added a section of cardboard, which made a HUGE difference in cutting: Another bad mistake I only realized *after* I had started painting was that I didn't stretch the paper taut against the wood enough, so, it bulged out a bit:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5588/15207129195_fbf5c19552_b.jpg
I'm sure that will make the letters messy, but she needs it today so, it is what it is. It's 6am right now, so, I have to drive up to her house by 7 to get it to her, so I hope it dries in time:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3906/15204068231_004fecefff_b.jpg
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'Danny D.[_15_ Wrote:

That's called "Experience". When you do something for the first time, you learn what to do different next time to get better results or make the job go more quickly or easily.
If you'd have tried to make this by routering wood, you'd have taken on a much more difficult challenge, and would have undoubtedly had a much more difficult time of it.
What concerns me about giving a 3 foot long by 3 inch wide "Bathroom Pass" to students in a school in a rough part of town is that it's the perfect size to be used as a weapon to whack some other student or teacher. I'm kinda thinking that what that school is doing might have equally been done by stenciling "Bathroom Pass" on baseball bats, and giving those to students. It's an irresistible invitation to whack someone or something with it.
--
nestork

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nestork wrote, on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:44:21 +0200:

I initially had the same concerns.
I was told, by the teacher, that some of the other teachers actually give them a bathroom plunger (the real thing!), and another gives them a long length of plastic pipe.
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Danny D. wrote:

Why try to do this in software? Measure your material, cut out a piece of paper of the same size, and draw it by hand (use a ruler). Or drill a hole on the end of a 2' piece of 2by4, and consider it done.
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TimR wrote, on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 09:52:01 -0700:

That's a GREAT idea (if it works)! I never would have thought of that. Its interesting, if the toner actually transfers.

Actually, I *do* have a dremel tool, but I had never considered it as a lettering tool. I'm wondering what bit will work for lettering in pine?
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Mayayana wrote, on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 13:25:18 -0400:

My widowed neighbor is a lot prettier than you know.

Alas, I have given up on the idea of being a hero with the router.

I have to agree with you.

Too ugly.

This is probably the best idea as it's professional looking, cheap, and easy (KISS).
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Pico Rico wrote, on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 07:59:51 -0700:

Heh heh ... that would be perfect to send the message!
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On Fri, 12 Sep 2014 06:07:35 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

Print on glossy paper (magazine pages) as the toner will release more readily from the slick paper.
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GlowingBlueMist wrote, on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:59:18 -0500:

When I asked, the answer came back that *all* the teachers use some sort of *huge* bathroom pass that the students need to carry.
Some literally use a toilet plunger; others use a long plastic pipe.
Apparently, the system is that the pass is so large that it can easily be *seen* by students anywhere in the classroom if it is *in* the classroom.
You never know whether the last student put it away either, but, being so huge, it can't be hidden in too many places, so, nobody disrupts the class looking for it under a pile of papers.
The students apparently don't *ask* to go to the bathroom ... they just take the pass, and its obvious to anyone within 100 feet of that student what their purpose is.
Also, only a single student can leave the classroom at a time, so, you *know* exactly how many students are missing when the pass is missing.

Teachers in San Jose, have tougher students, than most school districts, although San Jose pales in comparison with Oakland or LA, I'm sure.

I think the size point is that it would be lost within seconds, and, the class would spend (perhaps on purpose) inordinate time looking for it, as an excuse not to do their quadratic equations.

Again, size matters.
It should be *visible* anywhere in the classroom; and, any student in the hallway should be easily identifiable as to their purpose.

This neighbor recently lost her husband and had to get the first job in her life. She went through a tough 2-year certification procedure, which then allows her to teach math in the high schools. Now she has to teach for 2 or 3 years just to "clear" the certification. She's overwhelmed.
In the certification, they never taught the teacher how to teach. Nope. From what she has been telling me, they teach you mostly how to be sensitive to ethnicities, language barriers, socio-economic issues, and other pressing California issues.
She did student teach, for two semesters, in an even worse California school district further east, but there was always a "real" teacher in the classroom maintaining order.
The kids swear in every class, and she showed me a homework that a 15 year old had handed in which contained the f-word all over it.
The kid was failing every class, she told me, and just didn't care. In California, she told me, the kid is allowed to go to class until their senior year, even if they fail every single class, and that's exactly what this girl seems to be doing.
Anyway, this poor mother is all alone, the bank is taking her house, she is trying to teach, the students are making her life miserable, and, all I was trying to do was help her out.
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On Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:16:47 +0000 (UTC), Danny D. wrote:

All becomes clear :-)
I agree with you and Mayayana about the stick-on letters and so on...
--
Gene E. Bloch (Stumbling Bloch)

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On Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:29:16 +0000 (UTC), Danny D. wrote:

A compelling story. Thanks.
--
Gene E. Bloch (Stumbling Bloch)

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On 9/12/2014 2:14 PM, Gene E. Bloch wrote:

from experiencing one of those failing school systems. You know the type where they chain the emergency exits closed to stop students from leaving sight unseen and then claim it was an accident if/when the school gets caught by an inspector.
No student left behind just meant that someone had to check the school rooms at the end of the day for the homeless students before they locked the rest of the doors.
Ah well, as for your original subject like some have mentioned using one of those text based word processing stencil fonts which can be sized to what ever you want. Paste the printed letters to the wood and scroll saw them out.
If it were me and I had to make something like this I would use plastic water pipe and some fittings and make an art sculpture that looks similar to a scepter. With the right paint you can make it any color you want. Much easier than sawing out those pesky letters.
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adsDUMP wrote, on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:21:44 -0400:

That's an interesting trick!
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On 9/12/14, 1:54 PM, Danny D. wrote:

an etching resist.
-BR
--- ---
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| > It seems like you're making an awfully big job out | > of this. | | My widowed neighbor is a lot prettier than you know. |
Ah. In that case I'd go for cherry. You could do the letters in gold leaf rather than stick-on, but you don't want to look too desperate. :)
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On Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:36:17 -0500, GlowingBlueMist wrote:

Not *my* original subject, but Danny D's.
--
Gene E. Bloch (Stumbling Bloch)

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Mayayana wrote, on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:10:22 -0400:

:)
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GlowingBlueMist wrote, on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:36:17 -0500:

A jig saw would make short work of that, and it would be permanent.
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