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DIY Freezer Paper Stenciled T-Shirt + Butterfly Template Printable

I thought I’d write a final update on the freezer paper stenciled butterfly t-shirt from a couple weeks ago. Those of you who follow this blog know that the original project ended in a craft fail, followed by an update that showed how I remade the shirt into a cute tank top for my daughter. However, that still didn’t leave me with a gift for my sister, which was the whole reason I started that project in the first place!

In the previous post, I shared how I was given a pack of Elmer’s Painters to review. According to the package, these acrylic paint markers can be used on any surface, even fabric. The only stipulation is to “heat set fabric before laundering, wash & dry on delicate cycle.” That got me thinking… and eventually I decided I would give it another try, using the markers instead of my usual screen printing ink.

I bought another of the same purple shirt and updated the design I had originally created with the new colors (Elmer’s Coral and Lilac). Be sure to wash and tumble dry the fabric you choose to stencil to take into account any shrinkage that may occur.

As before, I printed out my butterflies on craft freezer paper and cut them out carefully with my xacto knife. One cool thing about getting a do-over is that I remembered to put the inner pieces of the large butterfly back on before ironing it down in place.

This photo shows the process I used – instead of rubbing the markers across the fabric, I laid the color on by dotting the tip down onto the fabric, starting with the stencil edges and then filling in the center. I wanted the crispest edge possible. This process would be more time consuming on a larger image, but these butterflies were small and hardly took any time at all.

I waited until the ink was dry and later that same day I peeled off the stencil. Don’t wait too long or you’ll have problems pulling up the paper and may damage your work.

Ta-da!

So much better than before!

The directions aren’t specific about how long to heat set the stenciled image. Heat setting just means to give it a good press with a dry iron to help fuse the paint to the fabric. I pressed the shirt inside out with the image directly on my ironing board, before spending a minute or so ironing it directly. It put off a bit of acrid smoke, but not too bad. If you were unsure you could put a layer of old t-shirt over your image and then press it, in case you are worried about residue coming off on your iron or board.

Because this was a gift, I don’t know yet how well the image will wear. I’ll try and update that info here, if I ever find out.

What do you think? Want to make this t-shirt or one like it?

Here is a free Butterfly template printable pdf for you to download and print for your own project (or click on the butterfly graphic above). These butterflies could dress up anything from a onesie to a day bag – just enlarge it as needed. Enjoy!

P.S. There is still time to enter the giveaway for a set of Elmer’s Paint Markers AND a $25 Walmart gift card if you leave a comment on the previous post before midnight tonight, April 4th!

 


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Craft Fail: Freezer Paper Stenciled T-shirt (Part 1 of 2)

An integral part of doing anything well, is failing. Some things I do turn out well, but sometimes they don’t, despite my best intentions. One good example of this happened a few weekends ago. I was so bummed that I even wrote on Facebook how down I felt about it the day after. I mean, I understand burning a cake, because I forgot to set the timer, or a sewing fail because I’m a beginner, but freezer paper stenciling a shirt? C’mon! I’m practically an expert at it (yeah right)!

Anyway, I felt sad, because it was a project for my sister’s birthday that was already late. Her favorite color is purple and she has a penchant for butterflies. A while ago, I picked up a pretty set of purple and pink butterfly decals for her room, but I wanted to add something else, something handmade.

I bought a purple t-shirt and decided to stencil some matching butterflies on it. Below are a couple designs I came up with. It was a tough decision. Both A & B were nice, but my sister has long hair which would obscure B, and sits in a wheelchair which might partially obscure A, so then I came up with C: a few butterflies on the back of her left shoulder, which would be unique and sweet, a lot like she is.

Once decided, I got out my supplies and got to work.

Here is the stencil cut out from the freezer paper, using an x-acto knife:

And here is where it all went wrong…

When I opened the screen printing ink, I found it mostly dried out (it was a few years old, after all). My gut reaction was to run to the art supply store and buy another jar, but then I read on the label “thin with water as needed.” Okay, I’d give that a try. It was a gloppy mess, but I only needed to cover a small area, right? So, I ironed down the stencil, let it cool and applied a layer of ink.

Besides being dried up, I had forgotten something vital. This ink color was transparent. It worked great on white or light colors, but I wanted opaque “sit-on-top” coverage (magenta on purple). So, once I peeled off the stencil, instead of a nice solid top color, it looked like a stain…

Noooooooooooo!

As I said, I was hoping to have that shirt dry and out the door the next day, but instead – CRAFT FAIL! Even now I still have the decals sitting on my desk because I haven’t found another gift to go with it. Hopefully something will turn up, and soon.

Sorry, sis.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share this here. Life happens. Things go wrong, but crafting goes on. And to prove this, come back tomorrow for Part 2, and find out what happened to that poor purple shirt.

How do you cope with craft fails or failure in general? Do you just roll with it? Do you try again right away or put it off for a while (or permanently) like I sometimes do? Where do you find inspiration and encouragement to keep on going?

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford

 


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Lazy Weekend

I hope you had a nice weekend! Ours was pretty relaxing. I think the most effort I put into anything this weekend was dyeing my hair. I had to fix a botched lightening job from a few weeks ago that I did without David here to help me with the kids. Big mistake. It turned out patchy and strangely reddish. If I had done my research, too, I would have realized that they discontinued that line of products. Last night I dyed it back to my normal color. Much better. Makes me wonder why I wanted to lighten it in the first place.

When we woke up Saturday morning, we noticed two of our Painted Lady Butterflies had emerged from their chrysalides. Two more emerged this morning. It is nice to see Chloe curious about them, since she is NOT into bugs. Sometimes she’ll be playing outside and I’ll hear a blood-curdling scream because she saw a bee or some such insect get too close without warning. She usually shies away from butterflies, too, since their flight pattern is so drunken-looking and unpredictable. We released them this morning, and Chloe did great. Now we are just waiting for the remaining one to hatch.

Otherwise, besides getting groceries, and taking Chloe swimming, David and Chloe spent most of both weekend days playing Legos. Leo watched them from his play pad for a while. Will he like Legos as much as his father and sister?
Only time will tell, but as a mama, I’m not looking forward to keeping all those little pieces out of his reach, and out of his mouth!


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Live Butterfly Garden

My go-to gift for kids this summer has been Insect Lore’s Live Butterfly Garden. After about the third gift, and hearing rave reviews, I finally ordered one for myself Chloe. Basically, the kit comes with a mesh “habitat” container in which to place the caterpillars once they become chrysalides. Before that happens, you have to order the caterpillars online or by mail using the code from the kit. Ours came in about a week. It included 5 tiny caterpillars in a clear plastic cup, complete with food. We’ve been watching them grow daily, and now they are huge! Just this morning we found the first one attached to the roof, within its chrysalis. How exciting!

When I looked at them again around lunch time, I noticed the chrysalide was shaking like a leaf. I took a video of it below. According to the pamplet the shaking was “a natural instinct to ward of predators.” Huh. The other caterpillar attached to the roof looks like it’s praying, utterly still with its head reverently bent. If I become fanciful, I can imagine it in a medatative state, gathering its focus and praying for strength for the miraculous metamorphosis to come.

5 Crazy Painted Lady Butterfly Facts:

  • She tastes with her feet.
  • She has 10,000 eyes.
  • She breathes through her abdomen.
  • She can lay up to 500 eggs.
  • She may travel 1,000 miles in her lifetime.

Anyway, it has been interesting, and I really hope to see them transform. When I was in grade school we did a similar project, except almost all of the class insects failed. Majorly disappointing. It is nice to have this opportunity again, and to share it as a family. Hopefully this time it will be a success and we’ll have beautiful butterflies to release in a couple weeks!

Update: See photos of our emerged butterflies here!


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Butterfly Pavilion, Westminster, Colorado

A few days before we left Colorado, Aundrea and Andrew suggested that we all stop into the Butterfly Pavilion. It’s a neat place, great for kids, where you can see all kinds of insects up close, hold a tarantula in your very own hands, gently pet a few objects of sea life like starfish and horseshoe crabs and see all kinds of butterflies. We were lucky to be on time to watch one of the two daily butterfly releases. A speaker comes out with a small cage of butterflies, picks them out individually (by their wings, which surprised me because I thought you were never to touch a butterfly’s wings), gives a short educational lecture and releases them to fly away freely in the tropical conservatory, which is like a plant-filled rainforest-like room.

It was neat to walk around slowly looking for butterflies hidden amid the foliage, or see them flutter by high above. Sadly, I saw several butterflies with torn wings, due careless children, despite the warnings of the speaker. David’s dad mentioned that the place was showing its age, which is true, but I still found it to be a worthwhile and unique experience.

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