This week is “Make Your Kids DIY Shirts for Easter” week on Thread Riding Hood! By the end of the week you will have 3 Easter themed knit-shirt applique options – 2 for girls and 1 (maybe 2) for boys. Then you can take the following week or so to make one for your munchkin – just in time for Easter. And can I say how amazed I am that I am early – Hooray!) Got to do this more often!

Today’s installment also has an added bonus – it uses a freezer paper stencil. Never heard of it? Glad you stopped by! Freezer paper stenciling has been called “the poor man’s screen printer” and can be very addicting (I can vouch for that!), if you have a bit of time and an xacto blade. I’ve used it on a lot of things, mostly to embellish knit shirts so far, and also on the Superbowl shirts I made for the girls back in February. I did use it on a pair of home-made slippers once also, to make a “non-skid” sole with the logo of my brother-in-law’s favorite board game – that was fun too!

The ‘Punkin Patterns‘ Chocolate Bunny Tee

For this shirt I got to use an idea I bookmarked a while ago. (Remember when we didn’t have Pinterest? What would we do without it!)  This particular shirt is a great idea from Vanessa at Punkin Patterns. Check out her tutorials while you are at it! She has a lot of really great stuff – especially her “Connor’s Messenger Bag” – so cute! I have two little girls who would love one of these (each, of course! Sharing is usually tolerated, but not enjoyed!)

To make one of these yourself you can visit Vanessa’s tutorial here: Punkin Patterns – Chocolate Bunny Tee.

Here is a quick run-down on how to use freezer paper. I will have to photograph one in more detail and post it soon. For now, if you’d like you can visit Vanessa’s “Freezer Paper 101” which she also links to in the bunny tee tutorial.

You will need:

  • fabric to paint onto (tee, pillow cover, etc.)
  • freezer paper (see below)
  • xacto knife, cutting surface
  • iron, ironing board
  • pencil (to trace your pattern)
  • hairdryer (optional)
  • fabric paint
  • small piece of sponge/brush
  • wax paper or small disposable lid for holding paint

1) First step is to get yourself some freezer paper. I get mine at my local grocery store in the aisle with the food wrap. Make sure it is labeled freezer paper, this is not waxed paper. Freezer paper has a thin plastic coating on one side that helps it to adhere to fabric when it is ironed.

2) Trace your shape onto your freezer paper – this will be your stencil. Draw on the matte finish side of the paper, not the shiny side. The shiny side has the plastic coating and you don’t want to iron on it later, that would make a mess! Find a shape you like and size it on your computer screen. Then you can put the freezer paper on the screen and trace it. The backlit screen really makes this easy!

3) When you use the fabric paint there is always a chance it will seep through your fabric, so cut a piece of freezer paper a bit larger than your stencil and iron it onto the back of your fabric – behind wherever you want your stencil to be painted on.

4) Put your freezer paper on the cutting surface and cut out your stencil.

5) Iron your stencil onto the front of your fabric. IMPORTANT! Make sure you iron with the shiny side down (touching the fabric). If you iron on the shiny side you will really mess up your iron because the plastic will stick to it. Iron without steam on the proper setting for your fabric. I would recommend using a high setting like cotton – so make sure whatever you are stenciling can take the heat. It is possible to iron the freezer paper too much (I know from experience!). It leaves plastic embedded in your fabric – ack! Iron until the edges of the stencil are all very secure and, if in doubt, try pulling it off of the sandwich on one of the edges. It should be fairly hard to remove the stencil from the knit material. If you do not iron enough the paint will bleed under the edges of the stencil. It’s a bit of a guessing game – and gets easier the  more you do it.

6) Now we get to paint! Follow the directions on your fabric paint. Sponge/dab the paint onto the stencil. Don’t brush at the edges or you will likely force paint under them and your edges won’t be sharp. Some people recommend doing more than one coat of paint, but I like instant results and so 1 coat has been fine on most of my projects. I used a cut piece of a scrubbie sponge from the kitchen to spread the paint.

7) If you are patient, you can now refer to your fabric paint and wait the recommended time before you peel off the stencil. If you are not you can use the optional hairdryer (on a low heat setting) from the “You will need” list. Guess what I did! (Hairdryer all the way!)

8) Once the paint is dry you can start to peel the stencil. If you want to reuse it don’t tear the edges – freezer paper can be reused a few times until the plastic coating won’t adhere anymore. Carefully peel off the stencil and voila! you have a perfect image.

9) If you have used paint that needs to be set, follow the directions on your fabric paint. You’re Done!

Looking for egg-sactly(!) what you want in an girl’s Easter shirt applique?  Coming up mid-week. See you again soon!