June 11, 2009

Tutorial: Making one-of-a-kind T-shirts with freezer paper and fabric paint

I made these for C! I'm so happy with the way they turned out!

The C shirt was super easy - an iron-on transfer that I picked up last year. I put it on a size 3 shirt so she'll get lots of wear out of it. The glittery seahorse and bird were made using fabric paint and a homemade stencil. I painted them on size 2 shirts, because I wasn't sure how they would turn out!

Here's a close-up of the seahorse:

And now for the instructions!

It was pretty easy. Making the stencil was the most time-consuming part, but all in all, it didn't take more than 20 minutes, plus time for the paint to dry. I found out how to do it from Angry Chicken's (adorable) little elf shirt.

You'll need:

printer paper
freezer paper (Plastic on one side, paper on one side. Found next to the waxed paper in your grocery store. I used Reynolds brand)
exacto knife + cutting surface
iron + ironing board
fabric paint
paint brush or sponge

  • Print the image that you want to use for your T-shirt (I did an image search for "silhouette"), and trace the image onto the paper side of the freezer paper (or trace the outline of a photo or a picture from a book - use your imagination!). You could also cut your freezer paper into 8.5 x 11 sheets and run them directly through the printer.
  • Use an exacto knife to cut out your image
  • Line up your stencil on your T-shirt, plastic side down, and iron it onto the shirt

  • Iron another piece of freezer paper on the inside of the shirt, behind the stencil (both pieces of freezer paper should be back-to-back, sticking to the fabric of the shirt's front). This will prevent the paint from seeping through the fabric

  • Follow the instructions on your fabric paint and paint/dab it on your shirt, inside the stencil

  • Let it dry for a few hours or overnight
  • Do a second coat, if necessary (I did for the bird shirt)
  • Slowly peel the freezer paper off the shirt, taking care around the edges (I used my fingernail to help separate the paint from the paper, because I was afraid the glitter glue I used wouldn't give me crisp edges)
That's it!

I haven't done a wash test yet, but I plan to wash the shirts inside out, hang to dry, and not iron directly over the paint. Let's hope it washes well! I've used regular and glitter paint, so we'll see the difference in how they look and wash.


Sab said...

That looks like fun!

Amber D. said...

These are great with the glitter. What type of paint did you use to get the glittler look? Thanks!

Kirsten said...

I used Tulip brand glitter fabric paint, which I got at Michaels. I'd imagine any brand would work though!

Dana Leeds said...

Those look so cute!!! I saved the idea to try later. :-) Thanks for the instructions and photos!

Amy said...

These shirts are so cute! I love the one with the bird on it!

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