When my friend Sammer came up to me and asked if I could put numbers on the backs of 15 t-shirts for our Bible study’s softball team, my response was, “Heck, yeah!” I know there’s lots of ways you can probably do this, but I wanted to try freezer paper stenciling, which I discovered on the craft blogosphere a few months ago.
The execution is pretty simple, though I didn’t think ahead how long 15 shirts would take. At 20 minutes per shirt, well, you can do the math and guess how many movies I watched on TBS…
First, get yo’self some freezer paper! It’s like waxed paper except there’s only wax on one side. I found it the first place I looked – King Soopers, next to the aluminum foil.
Next, trace your design onto the paper with the papery side up and slick side down. I printed out numbers from Word using something like 750 as the font size.
Now cut out your design with an X-acto or razor or something sharp. (Yes, I’m an architecture major, but I couldn’t find my X-acto. A box knife worked just fine.)
Something that worked for me for cutting out curves: stick the X-acto through the paper into the mat, keep it in one place, then with your other hand feed the paper around like you’re feeding it through a sewing machine.
And remember if you’re cutting out some pieces in the middle to keep them attached. You could just hand-place them later, but I wanted to make sure they were straight so our team wouldn’t be teased for having wonky shirts.
Now, iron it onto your shirt – gently. I used no steam and pressed straight up and down so I wouldn’t risk the stencil getting wrinkled or torn.
If you’ve got any floating center pieces – like my zeros, nines, fours – gently score with your knife to remove the bridge pieces.
The stencils attach themselves pretty well, so now you’re ready to paint! Make sure to put a piece of cardboard between the layers of fabric in case you get overly generous with your paint.
Yeah, I realize I didn’t cover it all that well. But I was worried about running out of paint. Instead, these look a bit worn, like they’ve been through the wash a few times. But that look’s in, so I wasn’t too worried.
Let it dry, and peel up your stencil! The paper leaves no residue behind.