T-shirt therapy: Freezer paper makes stencils on fabric easy
By Christina Talcott
By Christina Talcott
It was bound to happen: A perfectly good T-shirt, a plate of Buffalo wings. The fallout — an embarrassing stain — called for a little wardrobe Rx.
With a stencil and some fabric paint, that ratty tee was transformed, a phoenix rising from the rag heap. But what, one may ask, is so new about stenciling? Two words: freezer paper. Crafters gush about the magic kitchen wrap, which has a plastic coating on one side and is sold in rolls at the grocery store. Some genius discovered that if you iron the stuff to fabric, it creates a tight seal, tight enough to keep fabric paint from bleeding through and blurring the edges of a design.
Here's how to use freezer paper in your next stenciling project:
Gather your materials. You'll need a stencil and freezer paper (look next to the cling wrap and aluminum foil at the store). At a crafts or art-supply store, pick out fabric paint, a sharp craft knife and a sponge brush. Manicure scissors are great, too, for cutting curves and complicated designs. Make sure your canvas (aka T-shirt, tote bag, jeans) is clean and dry, and round up an iron and a cutting board.
Print out your design and cut a piece of freezer paper big enough for it. Attach the printout to the matte side of the freezer paper, using a little glue, some tape or staples. (If you glue or tape it, make sure you do it an inch or two from the actual design so there's no residue on the stencil to gum up your iron.)
Now get comfortable — cutting the design might take a while. With a cutting board underneath, use the craft knife to cut out the parts of the design you want to paint. Pay attention and take your time. When you're done, set your cut-out freezer paper aside.
Take another sheet of freezer paper and iron it using a medium-heat, dry setting onto the backside of the to-be-stenciled part of your canvas. This adds some stability to your painting surface and prevents paint from leaking through the fabric layers of your T-shirt. Finally, separate the cut-out paper design from your freezer paper stencil and position your stencil, shiny side down, on the front side of the fabric, making a freezer paper sandwich. Iron the stencil to the fabric.
Lay your canvas on a flat surface. Start dabbing on paint, using your sponge brush, until the holes in the freezer paper are all filled in. Let dry, then go over it again if you want. Let dry again (your paint should tell you how long it will take), then peel off the freezer paper. With a clean cloth or paper towel on top of the painted area, go over the design with your iron to heat-seal the paint. Then pop on that tee and go show off your handiwork.
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GET FREE STENCIL PATTERNS ONLINE
I chose my moose stencil from the vast assortment of animals and more at Stencilry (www.kittybuttons.com/wordpress). But why not make your own stencil?
Look for patterns in coloring books, collections of tattoo designs or clip art. Trace a leaf or a flower for a celebrate-the-seasons pattern. To make letters, blow up your favorite font (go ahead with the 200-point Zapf Chancery, if you dare).
Want something one-of-a-kind? Use those office skills to surprise your friends or your pets, or the Bush Cabinet with their likenesses on a T-shirt using Photoshop or Word; for a how-to, go to www.community.livejournal.com/diy_tutorials/60999.html.
There are free stenciling tutorials from choosing paint and computer programs to multi-layering and bleaching on Stencilry (www.kittybuttons.com/stencilry/tutorials.html) and on Craftster (www.craftster.org/forum/index.php), look under "Techniques."