Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stenciling with Fabric Paint: Method 1: Freezer Paper Stenciling

I am reviewing the 5 main methods I have for embellishing fabric with stencils and fabric paint. I go through the pros and cons and what I have learned with trial and error for each one.
  1. Freezer Paper cut with a Utility Knife
  2. Stencil Blanks (Showoffs at Hobby Lobby) cut with a Utility Knife
  3. Stencil Blanks cut/burned with an Electric (Heat) Stencil Cutter or Woodburning Tool
  4. Overhead Projector sheets cut/burned with and Electric (Heat) Stencil Cutter or Woodburning Tool.
  5. Cheap Screen Printing ideas

Method 1: Freezer Paper Stencil, Cut by hand with a Utility Knife 

Materials required: 
  • Freezer Paper
  • Iron
  • Utility Knife
  • Glass Pane/Old Picture frame (SOO much better than self healing mat or wood or posterboard!)
  • Fabric Paint (Either Tulip Soft fabric paint, or mix the appropriate color from those 2 oz. acrylic paints at Walmart or any craft store and mix with textile medium at a 2:1 ratio)
  • Cosmetic Sponges for sponging on the paint (24 wedges for $1 from dollar tree, a lot cheaper than from a craft store)
Simply trace the design onto the non-shiny side of the paper, cut it out with the utility knife on the glass as a cutting mat, and then iron the paper (shiny side down) onto the fabric.
Use the sponges to apply the fabric paint, let it dry, peel off the paper.
When its dry, put a thin cloth over the design and iron it for a minute to set the paint.

I tried my hand at stenciling with Freezer Paper very successfully, I made decent Penguins Logos on the kids T shirts for Josh's father's day present.

I am proudest of the hockey blades, and the gloves.
But each stencil could only be used once since you have to iron on freezer paper to the fabric.

I have gotten 3 uses out of a freezer paper stencil that was a much simpler design (A Simple Tree of Gondor), by carefully pulling it off and re-ironing it. But the design looked sloppier by the 3rd shirt---the stars were just sad.

Anyway, with something with the level of detail of the Penguins logo, 1 use was all I was going to get, and each logo took me at least 2 hours of cutting.
 NOTE: I cut them on a soft wood cutting mat, which was a mistake (and made it take a lot longer). If I had cut it on a glass cutting mat (picture frame) it may have gone a lot faster.

Very High level of detail possible. You can cut very thin lines as the paper has very little thickness, the sponge reaches all the areas very well. You can even iron on separate pieces that don't have to be connected (like a traditional stencil) and they stay in place for the printing. Also, ironed on stencil holds very well to the fabric, making crisp fine lines possible.
Also, NO CLEANUP REQUIRED for the stencil. Which is a bigger deal than it sounds like. Also, with 150 square feet of the stuff for 6 bucks at Walmart, it is "very economical."

You really only can get 1 use out of it (unless the design is VERY simple, and you pull it off very carefully, then you might get 3, but it will degrade a bit). So it really is a one shot deal.

(We love you Penguins Franchise, Josh got an officially licensed Penguins T-shirt. We are just poor fans.)
Conclusion: This is the go-to method for anything with a high level of detail. It is also the go to method for anything that you want to be unique, one of a kind, etc. You can buy freezer paper at walmart orders of magnitude cheaper than it is at craft stores.

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