Some people can just walk into a hardware store, a recycling center or even their own kitchen and see craft possibilities. A metal washer becomes a Christmas ornament. An empty coffee creamer bottle turns into a snowman. Whoever it was that figured out that freezer paper can temporarily stick to fabric was a genius.
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Ever used freezer paper? Ever heard of it? You can get a giant roll of it at the grocery store. The one I have is 150 square feet and I think it might be older than at least one of my teenagers. It's apparently meant to wrap food to put in the freezer. I've never, ever used it for that.
My project today is to paint a design onto a t-shirt, using the freezer paper as a stencil. You'll need a washed t-shirt, probably a light color. I did try painting on denim with mixed results, but not a dark t-shirt. Today, I went with white.
You'll need a simple design for your shirt. Something that can either be done in one color or colors that don't touch each other works best.
Either trace your design onto the dull side of a piece of freezer paper or print it on using your computer's printer. I just did this for the first time. I rolled the paper back onto itself, trying to get it to lay flat, then fed it into the printer with a regular piece of paper behind it for support. I waited for the crunch, picking out my new wireless printer in my head, but it worked great. Darn. I mean, yay.
Cut out the design. You want to remove the part you want to paint, just like a stencil. If your design is very complicated, you should use a sharp Xacto knife. I have every basic craft tool known to man except, apparently, an Xacto knife. So I used little scissors.
Iron a large, blank piece of freezer paper, plastic coated side toward the fabric onto the back of the area where you'll be placing your design. This provides stability and keeps the paint from bleeding through onto the back of your shirt.
Iron your design onto the front of your shirt. I turn off the steam because the paper seems to stay flatter that way.
You can find fabric paint at the craft store or online. I have something called Textile Medium that can be mixed with acrylic paint to make it work on fabric. I think it's usually in the same section as all those rainbow little bottles of acrylic paint. I like it because it greatly expands my color options. Whichever you choose, paint inside the stencil with a small brush. Use small amounts of paint, not blobs.
Once you've finished painting, allow it to dry for a few minutes.
Gently peel off the freezer paper, making sure none of the paint on the paper is wet or touches the shirt. Follow the directions on your paint product for drying time and heat setting. Mine says to allow it to dry for 24 hours, then press with a hot iron and a cloth over the paint.
This would be a fun birthday party activity for late preteens or even teens. This little sun makes me wish spring would hurry up!
My first attempt at freezer paper stenciling was on the denim skirt I made last month. Craft fail! For some reason, the white covered the denim just fine, but the yellow wouldn't. You don't want to use multiple coats of paint, either. It got worse every time. I did each color separately and found that each stencil had more trouble sticking than the last, so I had some bleeding on the edges of the white.
My solution was to cover the yellow center with a piece of felt and stitch around the whole thing. The stitches covered some of the funky white edges and turned out looking kind of cute. The problem is, I just perforated my paint in about a million places, so it will probably peel and flake the first time it's washed. At least it'll be fun to wear once!