I’ve been seeing freezer paper stencil tutorials all over the internet (seriously) and knew that I’d have to give the technique a try sometime, so when we dropped by the thrift store last week I picked up a basic tee to experiment on. And the results were pretty great!
I based this woodchuck angel on several different Google Image Search results for “woodchuck,” “groundhog,” and “angel wings” using the avant garde method of resizing the picture with Microsoft Word and tracing it directly off the computer screen onto freezer paper. Why a woodchuck? Because our furniture store is called Woodchuck, and in some circles the three of us are therefore known as the woodchucks. Our backyard is infested with woodchucks a.k.a. groundhogs, so we took them as our mascot and namesake. They’re ornery little creatures, very determined, and they eat our garden with a distinct lack of remorse. Which is why the idea of a woodchuck angel is at least a little funny. No?
ANYWAY, you’ll need freezer paper, an X-Acto knife, a shirt, an iron, fabric paint, a cheap paintbrush, and maybe a tasty beverage.
After cutting out the design (which took approximately forever) I ironed it onto the shirt, wax side down. No steam! Sticking the little tiny bits on there was a trick, especially since it was late at night and I was running on fumes.
Part of why it took so long to cut the stencil was that I wanted to get two shirts out of it, one positive and one negative, so the cutout had to be one intact piece. Additionally, this isn’t fabric paint since I didn’t have any. It’s the artists’ acrylic I use for painting pet portraits! (At least it’s the cheaper kind. No shirts made with Jo Sonja colors.) Fine for a trial run, and since I’m happy with how the shirts turned out I’ll pick up some fabric paint for future iterations.
The concept is that the stencil is attached to the shirt, so you paint over it and then peel it off once dry to reveal your design. (Put some cardboard inside the shirt when you paint it so the paint won’t bleed through the other side.) I had to fight my innate impatience and let the paint dry overnight on this one since it took several coats to cover. I peeled the other shirt and loved the way it turned out, so much so that I woke up K. to look at it. He agreed that it looked great. And then the next day he claimed no memory of having seen it. Impressive though: knows it’s best to agree with me, even while asleep.
Anyway, I’m super pleased that this simple technique resulted in some passable shirts, even if the non-fabric paint has already cracked a little on mine. I’m not sure whether I like the positive or negative ‘chuck better.
There will be more shirts made, and my mom wants me to make her some woodchuck dish towels. We’ve known all along that if we ever made shirts they’d be printed on thrift store tees, probably by hand. Although I wouldn’t rule out home screenprinting some time in the future when and if we get our act together. Oh, and this is the best part of having a blog: what do you guys know about screenprinting? Making shirts in general? Read any good books lately? What’s your sign? I’m done.