Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DIY Freezer Paper Stencil Tutuorial

Well, the long-awaited tutorial is here. About a week ago, I found out that you can make stencils for t-shirts, bags, pillows, etc. out of freezer paper. It looked pretty simple and freezer paper is cheap so I decided to give it a go. Nathan and I decided to make t-shirts because the Harry Potter premiere is coming up and we wanted to have awesome shirts for such a momentous occasion.
Here's what you'll need:
a t-shirt
freezer paper (about $4 for 150 sq. feet at Wal-Mart)
a pen (or a printer-more on that in a moment)
an Exacto knife
an iron
a paintbrush or sponge
paint (we used acryllic because that was what we had on hand, but fabric paint will work, too)

Let's get started! I don't have pictures for the first step because 1) I'm a slacker, and 2) I was too excited about making the shirts to stop and take pictures. Lame, I know. I will be better next time, I promise.
Ok, first, you will need to decide on a design and put it on the freezer paper. I put a lightning bolt on the back of my shirt and Nate just free-handed that for me so he drew it directly on the freezer paper. We put words on the front of the shirts and I wanted a specific font, so I printed out the phrases we wanted. Here is where the tape comes in handy. We simply taped the freezer paper on top of the computer paper so that it would stay still as we traced our design. Important Note: Your design needs to be traced on the papery side of the freezer paper, not the waxy side. (I have read that you can cut the freezer paper to the same size as normal computer paper and print your design directly on the paper. This would certainly save time, but as I don't have a personal printer and have not tried it, I cannot personally recommend it. I have heard that it works well with normal printers, but could cause problems in larger, industrial-type printers).
After you have traced your design onto the freezer paper, you need to cut it out. An Exacto knife makes this pretty easy. Make sure you save the little inside pieces (i.e the little circles that go inside a lowercase 'e' or 'o') of your letters or picture because you will  need them later on. Also, make sure you put a cutting board under the paper so you don't ruin a table or work surface (Thankfully, I'm not speaking from experience here!)

Once you have cut the inside out of the design, your stencil is ready to be ironed on! Simply put it waxy-side down on your t-shirt and iron it on. Make sure that all of the edges (both inside and out) are completely secured to the shirt so that the paint does not seep through. This is also the time when you will want to iron any of the little pieces on.

Now you simply need to paint inside the stencil. Nathan and I used paintbrushes for the front sides of our shirts and then I used a sponge for the back of my shirt. Both the paintbrush and the sponge worked equally well, so use whichever you are more comfortable with. We both needed to paint two coats on our shirts, but that may only be because we were painting light-ish colors on a black t-shirt.
Once the paint has dried, just carefully pull the freezer paper off and you're all set!

Seriously guys, this is so simple, not to mention, cheap! Nate already has plans for putting one of his own drawings on a t-shirt. As soon as I get to Hobby Lobby to buy some canvas bags, I plan on decorating a few of those as cute, but inexpensive, personalized gifts. There might just be a onesie project planned for the near future, too (Hi Sean!). :)

If you try this, let me know! I would love to see pictures!
Thanks for tuning in for my very first tutorial! I have more planned and will hopefully be posting a few within the next few weeks!
P.S. I will be posting the pictures of our finished shirts on Friday, the day of the movie premiere!

1 comment: