Freezer Paper Shirt Decorating

Alright I think I said that the next post would be pictures of the furniture we got at Ikea but the apartment has deteriorated in cleanliness over the past week so I need to tackle that first. I did buy supplies to do curtains though! That will be a post of it’s own but wish me luck for that this week!

This weekend we made a very quick trip to Delaware to celebrate my father in law’s 50th birthday party! My husband has 3 sisters and one has a 5 year old daughter (who is my bestie!), one brought her husband, and the other brought her boyfriend. And then my in-laws. And THAT is just the people that stayed at the house! It was a day full of drinks, croquet, eating, crabs, volleyball, ladder ball, twister, Mr. Potatohead, and may or may not have ended with flip cup (it did). We had a blast but it was way too short! I think my hands have finally stopped smelling like Old Bay 2 days later. My FIL is actually in NC this week for work so we’ll see him tonight for dinner. He’ll get to see the new place but unfortunately getting in at 9pm last night means he’ll get to see it in it’s messy glory.

This week will be spent on curtains and trying to finally get the remaining boxes unpacked to prepare for this weekend and our first real guests!! Three of my best friends from high school (including my girl from the mattress saga) will be coming for the weekend and I am so excited to host friends. And watch the Olympics. And not leave the house except to walk across the street for Bojangles. It’s going to be magnificent! Hopefully I’ll have a bunch of posts about the apartment and how it is shaping up.

Last but not least, I made a shirt for myself for Olympic watching! You should know that for 3 years and 11 months I am a very open-minded and culturally sensitive person. I love the US and am happy to have the freedoms that being a US citizen provide but think that other countries are awesome and love to travel and live abroad. That being said… that other month, or the monthish amount of time that the Olympics takes up every 3 years? Whole other story. [Wait, first I should say that this is somewhat true for the Winter Olympics but I get WAY more in to the Summer Olympics so that’s why I’m going with ever 4 years here] I become a psychotic patriot. Borderline ethnocentric. America didn’t win the gold? Other country cheated. And my friends that are coming this weekend (you know, first weekend of the Olympics) are the same way. So I felt like I needed to make an intense shirt.

I chose my new favorite phrase: YOLO. I am mostly saying it ironically but I just can’t stop. Then I wanted something American-esque and also tongue in cheek to go on the back so I’m going with “better be American” I thought about going even more in to this strange patriotic/rude American stereotype but decided I’d like to be able to run in this shirt and not get things thrown at me. To make the shirt I used my favorite Freezer Paper technique. If you google this you can find some good tutorials but I learned it from my mom so I don’t really have a specific tutorial to “endorse”. Basically, you’re using freezer paper as your stencil.

Paper ironed on and starting to paint! It’s very faint but if you look at letters with an unattached middle part you will see a pencil line across them. (end of step 3 discusses the reason for this)

All painted in

Pulling off the stencil. Large parts around the first 2 words are off. Still stencil in the middle of the letters and all of the stencil on “American” still there.

The front in progress (sorry for the awful pictures). Check out those crisp lines where the stencil is removed!

All done

  1. Figure out what you want the shirt to look like! I wrote “YOLO” in a word document and played around with font size/fonts until I found the size and look that I wanted. I then printed that off. You could print, freehand, or use a design that you already have.
  2. Trace your image on to the freezer paper. FREEZER paper – not wax paper and not parchment paper. It needs to have wax but on just one side of the paper.
  3. Cut out your design. I used an exacto knife and my self-healing mat. Make sure you SAVE the middle parts of letters or designs that need to stay white! For example – I cut out my Os for YOLO by going around the outer and inner borders of the circle but made sure to keep the middle part of the O because I’ll need it to stay white. Another trick that I do is before I cut it out I draw a line across any letters/designs that have an inside. That way I know I can line it back up.
  4. Iron the freezer paper on to the shirt wherever you want the design to be. Wax side down! That’s why you need freezer paper – wax paper has wax on two sides and it would get all over your iron. I usually iron on the main part of the stencil then go back and add in the middle parts that I saved. I start out on a low setting and increase the heat as needed if the stencil isn’t sticking everywhere.
  5. Put some newspaper or cardboard under the layer that you’re painting on (so inside of the shirt in most cases) in case of the paint bleeding through. Make sure that all of the edges are ironed down and start painting! I used these paint pouncer things from Martha Stewart and thought they worked great. I got those and the fabric paint that I used from Michael’s.
  6. Once all of your letters/your whole design has been painted, carefully pull off the freezer paper. I took mine off when the paint was still wet because that’s what I’ve seen lots of tutorials do for stencils on other surfaces so you may be able to wait until it is all dry but mine worked really well taking it off still wet.
  7. Touch up any spots that you  missed, let it dry, and you’re good to go! I think mine turned out really well.

I’ve used this technique to paint on onesies before to give as baby shower gifts and it’s awesome. You can get fancy and do multiple stencils of the same design to do different colors, too. For babies you may want to research paint types though to get safe paints that will wash okay and won’t flake.

Anyone else used freezer paper stenciling before? I am always surprised at how easy it is! I really think the worst part is cutting out the letters/stencil. What is your “go to” gift at baby showers? Anyone have a traditional gift they give or do you just go off of the registry?


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