apriKot DIY

A blog about designing and making diy clothing and plushies!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Polar Bear Stencil Shirt

Here's an easy tutorial on how to make this cute stenciled shirt.

plain t-shirt
freezer paper
fabric paint
foam brush
small paint brush
exacto knife
scotch tape
paper plate
peice of cardboard (big enough to fit under shirt)
iron and iron board

Step 1:
First you want to print out two of these polar bear stencils. You can print it out as is, or fool around with it on paint or photobucket to get your desired size. (I made mine a little bit bigger than the one shown here.)

Step 2:
Take each stencil and place it on a piece of freezer paper. If you'd like to stencil more than one polar bear on your shirt, add another layer of freezer paper to make another stencil. (I found that I could cut up to 5 layers pretty easily.) Tape the polar bear in place.

Step 3:
Using the exacto knife on one picture cut out all the black area. This is the outside of the head, the eyes, the under part of the nose, and the mouth. You should be cutting through the paper you printed out, along with a couple layers of freezer paper. Make sure to leave three "bridges", one on the forhead, and two under each ear, so the head doesn't become an island. Refer to the right cut out stencil to see what I'm talking about :). (we'll call this layer #1) Cut out all the gray area on the other picture.(we'll call this layer #2) You should be left with two different stencils, as shown below.

Step 4:
Take your piece of cardboard and place it inside your shirt. This is so the paint doesnt leak through to the backside of your shirt.

Step 5:
With your iron on a low "dry" setting, place layer #1, waxy side down, wherever you'd like on your shirt and iron it on.

Step 6:
Iron as many polar bear stencils on in whatever pattern or formation you'd like. For this shirt I chose to do nine polar bears in rows of three.

Step 7:
Taking your foam brush gently dab your fabric paint on the stencil, filling in all the cut out area. You might have to do more than one coat, depending on how thick the paint is and what color of paint you're using.

Tip: Generally darker colored fabric paint (black, navy, gray, brown...) shows up well on lighter colored shirts. If you are using other colors (green, pink, purple, red, orange, yellow...) on a shirt any other color than white, you first want to stencil a couple layers of white paint, let it dry, then stencil over the white whichever color you'd like.

Step 8:
After stenciling layer #1, you want to let it dry first then peel off the freezer paper.

The paper should come off easily, with no waxy residue left on the shirt.

It should look something like this once the paper has been peeled off.

Step 9:
After you have peeled off all the paper you want to go back and fill in those bridges by hand with your paintbrush.

Step 10:
After all the paint has dried, then you take layer #2 and position it on top of the painted layer #1, and iron it down, waxy side down on low "dry" setting, just as in step 5.

Step 11:
Once again, using your foam brush dab on the paint in all the cut out areas, add another coat if necessary, wait for it to dry, then peel off the stencil.

Your two layer polar bear stencil should look something like this when finished:

Step 12:
Depending on whichever brand of fabric paint you use, there are different ways to heat seal it so it's safe and ready to wash in the washing machine. Usually you'll find directions right on the back of the label. To heat seal mine, I turn it inside out and iron it on low setting.

Yay! All done. Now go out there and show off your polar bear dericiousness ^_^.

If you like this polar bear design, but don't have enough time to make one yourself, I've got different colored polar bear patches available in my etsy store.


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