(Aug. 16, 2014) Nico’s birthday was coming up and we always do a birthday shirt for him, normally it’s an iron on image and a surprise for him the morning of his party/birthday. This year I wanted to do something different, we have tons of freezer paper we got in the US when we lived in Quebec but only used it once in over a year of having it, so I wanted to use that. Nico had asked to do more of the faux-tie-dye shirts we made 2 years ago, he loved spraying the paint. So I put the 2 together and Nico to work and we made some shirts! I knew he wouldn’t want to stop after 1 so I figured we could make some for his little friends coming to his party (lucky me there was only 3!).
Here’s what we did:
Pre-first, Nico picked out who would have which dino on their shirt, for the color we asked the kids which was their favorite.
First we traced dinosaur shapes on the non shiny side of the freezer paper, we used the die-cut shapes we got at the Dollar Tree (you could just use the outline of any shape you find online and print out), then we cut out the shape we traced in the freezer paper. We decided to do a negative of the stencil, meaning we used the shape itself instead of the outline. We chose this way because we were spraying the paint. You can do the traditional stencil with this method but you’ve got to make sure the freezer paper covers the rest of the project or you will have spray paint on the rest that’s not covered by freezer paper.
The next morning we cut a foam poster board to fit inside the shirt and we covered it with a garbage bag so we could re-use it for all the shirts, otherwise the paint would just seep in to the foam poster board. Then we ironed Nico’s apatosaurus on his t-shirt (we got them at Michaels) and put the foam board in. Because Nico is spray bottle trigger happy, I prepared the paint at the last minute before going out, his color of choice was black. I squirted some black craft acrylic paint at the bottom then added some water (other than black all the other colors will go lighter when you add water to it. Example: Nico’s blue was originally navy blue, the green was forest green, you get the point ;)) and put the lid on so I could shake it to dilute the paint.
We all headed out, shirt, paint, camera in hand. I tested the bottle in the grass, I was not a fan of how it came out, too much like a jet but the bottle wouldn’t let me get anything different no matter how I adjusted it. Alex had put a tarp down on the grass so we could put the shirt on it. Nico started spraying away, he did a good job of covering things. Once done I moved the shirt carefully with the foam board inside to a better location and I wiped off the extra paint on the freezer paper with napkins (we were out of paper towel), after a few minutes in the sun I slowly removed the paper… it had bled under and some of the legs looked like they were behind a bush. He loved it! I, on the other hand, was not to happy, I didn’t want the same to happen on the other kids’ shirts.
What could have gone wrong? Dino ironed on well, spray bottle was too jet like and shirt was laying on a slope (our backyard is a slope). We first looked for a bottle that could spray more of a mist, a left over window cleaner bottle was better, so we took out the cleaner and rinsed the bottle well. Secondly we moved the tarp to the least sloped part of our yard, under the swing set (we moved those out of the way). We did a second foam board, so the first could dry a little after being wiped down.
Shirt try number 2: iron, mix paint, go out and step away and spray (the spray was better but not misty enough, so I placed Nico further away than you would with a misting bottle). Again he did a great job, I stopped him a little earlier to avoid bleeding under and moved the shirt, wiped off the excess paint on the paper, let dry a minute or two in the sun and removed the paper. It came out great! We did the other 2 the same way. I convinced Nico to do a second shirt for himself, in blue with the new technique, the next day.
So to recap, a misting spray bottle, a straight surface, don’t over spray, it’s ok not have color all along the edge of the shape, wipe extra paint off the paper area, let sit a minute in the sun to dry your paper a bit and pull off your paper freezer shape slowly.
We put them on a hanger on the clothesline and let them dry all day and all night (we brought them in for the night). The next day as a precaution I soaked each shirt (one at a time) in a plastic tub with cold water, salt and vinegar to set the colors. I put the shirt in and swooshed it around for a minute, then let it soak for 10-15 minutes, wrung it out and either dryered up or hung to dry. I hung ours. The next morning, we machine washed them with some more salt but the rest was like a regular load. We dryered them and we were done. This sounds like a long process but we had time so we were not in a hurry. You could wash them in the machine directly with salt and vinegar (and laundry soap) as soon as they are dry that same day.
July 3, 2015: Below is a second batch Nico made for a zoo outing with our homeschool group in March 2015. See the difference as to where he’s standing compare to the first batch? As you can see we have the right spray (mist) coming out this time.
This batch was faster, we sprayed, wiped off paint, removed freezer paper, hung to dry a few hours, threw in the washer with salt, vinegar, laundry soap, washed, dryered and done!
I like the non-perfect look of it, the not straight edge. What do you think?
If you do this, we’d LOVE to see a photo of it. Email it to us or post it on our Facebook page. Don’t forget to also follow us on Pinterest and our “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series also has its own Pinterest boards for each country. We’d love to do a Facebook album, a Pinterest board and a page of your creations