I had a digital photo of the tank which I opened in Paint
Shop Pro, I think I used Figure 1 page 1. I drew a vector
line around each letter and with the node editing facility
corrected the distortion. The corrected writing was resized
to size and printed on normal white paper. To mask
the lettering I use Frisk(get it in art shop) masking film.
Tape the frisk onto the paper so you can see all of the letters
then tape that down onto something. Get a nice fresh scalpel
-an 11 is nice for this- and cut around the letters. You now
have your stencil/mask for the letters. Frisk is quite low
tack and can be removed and put back, but keep the backing
on the mask as any dirt/dust and you will blow it off when
you spray over it.
I removed the masking from the tank so I could get a good
idea of where to place the letters, if the stencil goes round
any compound curves you will have to cut it so it doesn't
pucker, if you distort it you will find edges lift and you
get curved words/lines. Once the stencil is in place I
go over the edges with the smooth end of the scalpel to make
sure it's well stuck down. then mask the whole tank
off so all thats exposed is the bit for the paint. The original
letters had red pearl in them and at this stage I couldn't
find the can of pearl, I had a big clear out recently,
so I must have binned it.
Figure 1. Kraft film about
to be chopped out.