Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Last Night's Project

I have been seeing these tutorials for freezer paper stenciling all over the web lately and decided that I just had to try it. Also known as the "poor man's silk screening," freezer paper stenciling is a pretty easy and cheap concept. You need freezer paper (of course), designs/ideas, pencil, exacto knife, cutting mat, iron, and fabric paint. You start by free handing or tracing your design onto the non-coated side of the freezer paper. Then you cut out the area you want to be painted. Iron your stencil coated side down onto your t-shirt or fabric. Stencil in with Paint. Wait for it to dry and Voila'! Pretties!

This t-shirt is my very first attempt at freezer paper stenciling. Sure, I could have and probably should have started with a much easier design, but eh.... I had some free time. Okay, so actually this stencil just turned out to be more complicated than I thought. See, once I cut out all the parts that I wanted to be painted, what I ended up with was a big blank hole. I had to piece it all together like a puzzle to put back in the negative space pieces. Is this making sense? I found it easier to first iron on the part I removed, the part that you see painted. Then I put back in all the blank pieces and ironed them on. Then I peeled up the part of the stencil that you see painted. It saved me from having to do a lot of guess work and trying to line up all the pieces in the right spots. In any case, I LOVE it. This is probably going to be my new favorite t-shirt. I was very pleased with how crisp all the edges turned out.

I tried stenciling a few more things onto some canvas tote bags. Just so you know, freezer paper stenciling does not work as well on canvas material as it does on the t-shirts. The canvas is very porous, so the wax seeps in and then the paper doesn't want to peel away all nice and clean like it does on the t-shirt. You know how when you find a sticker your kid has placed like... say... on the window or the bathtub or the table.... and you go to peel it up and no matter how careful you are it tears and leaves behind that layer of white sticky papery goop? Yeah... it's kind of like that, only more frustrating because you CAN'T GET IT OFF!!!!! I had to sit there with the exacto knife and very carefully scrape the stencil remnants off of the bag and it still looked like it could use a lint roller. Only that didn't work. They were black canvas bags, so I just took a black fabric marker and filled in the white spots. It looks okay. Just not nearly as neat and clean and pretty as the t-shirt.

Oh well, live and learn they say! And now you know too, so you can save yourself the hassle. However, if you feel like whipping out a t-shirt for your little ones, freezer paper stenciling is a lot of fun and easy enough that your kids could help.... or at least you can give them a piece of freezer paper and some crayons while you do the shirt. You know. I'm just sayin.

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