This paper proposes a novel method to make large area metamaterials on arbitrary planar hard or flexible substrates, in-situ. The method is based on painting the desired substrate with metallic and dielectric paints through a patterned stencil mask. We demonstrate this painting approach to fabricate ultra-thin perfect electromagnetic absorbers based on metamaterials at X-band frequencies (8-12 GHz) with paper based stencils, silver ink and latex paint. Measurement results on absorber samples made with this process shows absorption of 95%-99%, in close agreement with simulation results. The proposed painting approach is a simple low cost additive manufacturing process that can be used to realize metamaterial based frequency selective surfaces and filters, radar absorbers, camouflage screens, electromagnetic sensors and EMI protection devices.
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