One of my little buddies, Isaac, turned 3 years old on Saturday so I got to celebrate the big occasion with him and his parents over a yummy crab dinner this past weekend. Last year, he was really into sharks and whales so you may remember I made the cutie patootie these sea creature shirts for his 2nd birthday: (click on picture to see the full post)
Isaac’s into dinosaurs this year so his mom, who is one of my bestest friends, threw him a dinosaur-themed birthday party. Since I made him an “Ikey Sharkey” shirt last year, I thought I’d make it a tradition and design an “Ikeysaurus” shirt this time. I painted a TRex on a plain long sleeve shirt using the freezer paper stencil technique. I thought this would be a great opportunity to demonstrate the freezer paper stencil technique to you guys since I use this so much:
I love using the freezer paper stencil technique because its so simple. If you are bad at freehand painting like I am, this is an easy way to transfer a stencil onto a piece of fabric that you can just paint over and then peel it off. All you need is freezer paper, fabric paint, paintbrush, iron and an exacto knife/scissors.
You can find freezer paper at grocery stores though I remember some stores don’t carry it. Freezer paper is like wax paper, but its only waxy on one side whereas wax paper is waxy on both sides. The way this technique works is that you iron the freezer paper onto your fabric and the wax will create a light adhesive to the shirt when it’s melted. DO NOT use wax paper, it will not work and it will ruin your iron!
You want to cut out a negative of the design you want to paint onto the fabric. You can print out the design off your printer then trace the design onto the freezer paper and cut out using scissors or an exacto knife. You can also trace letters with a stencil and the cut out. This time, I used my silhouette machine to cut out the dinosaur and letters:
Make sure that the waxy side of the freezer paper is the underside of the paper when you are cutting out the design.
With your iron set on low, iron on the freezer paper onto your fabric, making sure that the waxy side is facing down onto the fabric. Just lightly run the iron over the freezer paper a few times, being careful not to burn the paper. The iron will melt the wax and the paper will adhere to the fabric. It only takes a few seconds for the wax to melt:
Now you are ready to paint! First, stick a piece of cardboard in between the shirt so that the paint doesn’t leak through onto the other side. A magazine also works:
I wanted a rough, uneven look, so I used a sponge brush to dab the fabric paint onto the stencil:
Be careful around the edges of the design. Sometimes paint can still leak beneath the edges if you gob on a ton of paint, so you want to be careful around the sides.
Let the paint dry for a couple hours:
When the paint has dried, you can then peel off the freezer paper:
Ta-da!!! Your image should be perfectly preserved!
I also added a flying pterodactyl on the backside of the shirt:
I’ve used this technique many times to customize things, especially before I had my silhouette machine and started customizing with iron on vinyl. This was an easy, cheap way to personalize apparel since freezer paper and fabric paint are inexpensive. For my sister’s bachelorette party a few years ago, I made 12 custom tank tops using this technique! We were turning them out like a factory line! I also customized our Christmas stockings using this technique:
And I might have also personalized other unmentionables using this technique (hehe!!):