There is a market for stencils in the craft and related industries in South Africa (I’m referring to the thin plastic stencils, see below pic on right). Besides online many craft stores and places like Builders Warehouse sell stencils. The problem most if not all of these people are using masking tape to hold the stencil to the item being stenciled as I have not seen a local adhesive made for this purpose. But there is a better way. In the screen-printing industry there is a table adhesive/platen glue that is used (mainly in non vacuum presses) to stick the item being printed to the print bed to hold it firm for printing. This adhesive leaves no residue once dried and only a tiny amount is used. Once the print bed is coated with it, it can be used multiple times and the coated surface retains its stickiness usually for the duration of the job. This can be used to stick stencils onto the items being stenciled or painted without the hassle of masking tape.

Stencils | Credit: stencils.co.za

Stencils | Credit: stencils.co.za

Process
Locally ColorScreen sells a product called “Table Tac” which can be purchased in 1kg and 5kg buckets. You will be buying these buckets and pouring it into smaller containers – I recommend 28ml mini glass jars (only a very little is needed for every use). I would advise that you include a thin piece of plastic with the jar to be used as a spatula. I recommend ABS plastic sheets like the once used in emergency signs. This can then be cut into the desired sizes. ABS sheets can be purchased from signage suppliers such as Falcon Signage Supplies or Maizey Plastics.

As of writing a 1kg of Table Tac costs R108.30 and the 28ml jars cost R5.20 from Merrypak (I would suggest you look around for a cheaper supplier for the jars). I’m making a back-of-the-envelope calculation here but I think you should be able to get around 35 jars from 1kg of Table Tac. This will work out to around R3.10 per 28ml of Table Tac, add the R5.20 cost of the jar (or see if you can find a cheaper suitable container) and you will get a cost of around R8.30. Factor in the cost of the spatula and to print a page with instructions (only a tiny, tiny amount of the Table Tac is to be spread on the stencil and allow it to dry, this stencil can now be stuck on multiple items to be stenciled and easily peeled off without leaving residue).

28ml Mini Glass Jar | Credit: Merrypak

28ml Mini Glass Jar | Credit: Merrypak

So you looking at a cost of around R10 per jar, this can easily be sold for R25 per jar, this is a specialized product and a 28ml jar when used for stencils goes a long way (I would estimate 100 times, by times I mean with different stencils or on different days).

Challenges
The main challenge is marketing the product. It is a very niche product to sell on its own, if you don’t already sell related items such as arts and craft supplies. So your best bet is to try and sell it wholesale to craft shops, so you would have to go in and sell it at around R20 a jar wholesale.

Tips
Please note “Table Tac” is a specialized product and cannot be substituted with contact glue or craft glue.

Resources
Type  Retail
Materials Table Tac
Glass Jars
Spatula
Printed pages
Setup cost ~R350 for initial batch of 35 jars
Supplier ColorScreen for the Table Tac
Merrypak for the glass jars
Falcon Signage Supplies or Maizey Plastics for the spatula plastic.
See Also Niche Business Ideas
Sector Arts & Crafts


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