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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 Re-fashion Tutorial: T-shirt to Girls Tank Top with Rosette

If you read yesterday’s post, you realize that I had a partially ruined purple shirt that I didn’t know what to do with. So, after mulling over that problem for a couple days, I decided to re-make it into something wearable for Chloe. A craft fail to a craft fashion, if you will.

The easiest item to make would be a tank top or tank dress. I wanted to do the least amount of sewing that I could get away with. After sketching a few ideas, I decided on this style that I had made for Chloe before. I’ll mention right now that this was my first time sewing knits, and could tell almost immediately that something wasn’t right. The material would get all bunched up under the needle. Some quick internet research revealed a special “stretch” needle is required to sew knits. Ah.

After returning from the craft store with a pack of “stretch” needles, I hesitantly began again. As long as I took things nice and steady it worked great. And now Chloe has a super cute tank top to wear this summer. I couldn’t be happier with the result. Yay! Craft Fail to Craft Re-fashion!

Have a t-shirt that needs a little make over? Here is all you have to do.

What you need:
T-shirt
Matching color thread
Elastic thread
Sewing machine
Scissors

  1. Cut your shirt. One straight horizontal cut right beneath the arm pits and then another straight cut about two inches below the first cut. The bottom piece will be the body of the tank top and the piece above that will be for your straps.
  2. Wind your bottom bobbin with the elastic thread by hand and insert it into your machine. Excellent directions on how to do this can be found here. Thread your matching color thread on top.
  3. Starting at a side seam on the body piece, sew a straight line horizontally one-half inch from the raw edge. Sew all the way around until you are back where you started and backstitch at the beginning and end (alternately, you can tie the elastic together where the ends meet). Repeat this step 3 more times, a half inch below each previous line.
  4. Steam your stitches with an iron -or- mist with water and gently and quickly press with a hot iron. This will cause the elastic to draw together, giving that puckered, shirred or “smocked” look. (If your girl is small like mine, you may need to stitch once more down a vertical side to take in some of the width).
  5. Replace your elastic bottom bobbin with regular thread. Using your little model (in this case, it was Chloe), measure and pin the shoulder straps in place and stitch them on. I used a zig-zag stitch here for stretch.

To make the rosette:
I followed a couple different directions online, but basically, the rosette shown is a lot like this video except I made two layers – a larger bottom layer and a smaller top layer (the rosette was an after thought – you’ll have to cut your fabric strips from the leftover neckline piece). Another interesting rosette tutorial can be found here and here. I pinned ours on with a safety pin, so I can pop it off and onto something else, if we want.

And that’s it! Chloe loves it and so do I. It is almost like it was meant to be. Maybe failing isn’t so bad after all. What do you think?

And here is one final photo of that face I love so much. My little sweetheart.

If, at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. – Old proverb


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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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