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Welcome to my Maker's blog, where I feature my own unique creative projects. I'm eight years out from breast cancer and counting my blessings.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

For Gifting Season-Freezer Paper Stencil Custom Tee

I made this cute Yoda tee for my son's birthday. I decided to go for something a bit more complex than just a simple "nerd" tee shirt, and boy, do I LOVE how this came out!

First I  found two designs online that I knew he would like. The design on the left is from the movie Pacific Rim and it is the insignia for the Jaeger warrior robots. I decided to go for Yoda with the headphones.

I printed the design in black and white then taped a piece of freezer paper (shiny side down) over the top. Make sure your freezer paper is a generous size so you won't have any designs cut too close to the edge. I used a razor craft knife which gives me a new, sharp cutting edge just by breaking off the blade at pre marked sizes. I also tape my design and freezer paper to a mirror for good light and a nice sharp edge on my cuts.

I simplified the design a bit and premarked with an x for those parts which would be "free floating" and not attached to the rest of the design when I ironed it down. I prefer to do the floaters this way, other makers make narrow bridges to the rest of the design and then hand paint the bridges out on the tee shirt once the stencil painting is done. It is up to you!

Here is Yoda ironed to the tee shirt, using a hot iron on a padded surface and NO STEAM. The wax paper layer on the freezer paper adheres nicely to the tee shirt when it is ironed, giving you a clean and immovable stencil.

I prefer a mottled look to my tee shirt projects so here I have mixed black and white acrylic craft paint with  some textile medium (which is clear). I use a third of each and use a make up wedge to mix them up.

Place a piece of cardboard inside the tee shirt then straighten it out on your work surface. Here you go!
Pounce, or bounce, your painting sponge, or brush, straight up and down in each area of your stencil. Do NOT rub back and forth or you will lift the edges of the paper. Put on a light layer at first then go back and add more paint until you like the coverage you have. Remember, the paint will dry a lighter shade.

Do not wait until the paint is completely dry. Your stencil will stick to the paint! While your paint is still damp, carefully peel the freezer paper away from the tee shirt.  Oooh aaah!

I always add dry brushed high lights to give the designs a bit of dimension. This gives the already custom tee shirt design an even more unique look. As for laundry instructions? I wash these tees just like I do regular tee shirts but I turn them inside out. Cold wash, tumble dry. They hold up quite well and over the years the slight fading doesn't detract from the design. All in all this is one of my TOP favorite craft projects.

Our family gives out a TON of custom tee shirts at Christmas and this year will be no exception. In fact, I am starting to get special requests for sayings on tee shirts that will only have significance to the close family. Gotta love that! 
This is a simple and inexpensive project for gifts or home decor all year long. You should try it out. You can do it and then you'll be hooked!

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  1. This is such a phenomenal idea! I love how you can create totally custom gifts with this stencil idea. :)

  2. Can you machine wash and dry these made with acrylic paint?

    1. Amanda, Yes, these hold up very well to washing and drying. The addition of the textile medium to the regular craft paint makes it softer and long lasting. I wash and dry the tees that I have with these designs just like I do regular tee shirts. Cold wash, tumble dry. Try it out, you can do it!


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