We are headed to Disney again pretty soon.  Even though my girls are getting older, they keep reminding me that they like to have some fun Disney-esque clothes to wear.  We decided to make family t-shirts using freezer paper stencils.  First we downloaded clip art of our favorite characters.  Coloring pages seem to work best since they have thicker lines.

We printed out the image, put a piece of freezer paper (shiny side down) over the top and traced the image.  My daughters were able to trace their own characters.  

Then you use an exacto knife and cut out the spaces between the lines.  I do not have the patience or the steady hand for this, but I am married to someone who is!  I wish I'd been able to get a picture of this but he did it while I was putting the kiddos to bed and I didn't get a shot.  Sorry.

Be sure to wash the shirt you are going to use, but do NOT use fabric softener.  The paint will not adhere well if you use fabric softener before you apply the paint.

Next, place the outline on the t-shirt, shiny side down.  Move it to where you want it.  Iron it on to the t-shirt using the low heat setting.  If it isn't sticking after a few swipes, increase the heat slightly.  Make sure to iron the edges very carefully.  If you finish ironing it on and it isn't exactly where you want it to be, carefully peal it off, reposition it, and iron it down again.

Next, use your fabric paint (I used Tulip brand soft paint) and cover your stencil with paint.  Allow it to dry for 4-6 hours before removing the freezer paper.  If you want to do a second coat of paint, let it dry for about 2 hours, apply the second coat and allow to completely dry.

Once you've removed the freezer paper, you can accessorize any way you'd like.  I thought about adding different colors for the collar, tongues, bows, etc., but decided that I really liked them without any additional colors. Once you have completed your fabric painting, be sure to check the paint to see if it needs to be heat set.  Tulip paint does not require heat setting, but suggest you do not wash the shirt for 72 hours. 

Here are our finished shirts.


If you recall, we have made t-shirts using contact paper stencils before.  Since two of the girls had outgrown their shirts, we made a few using the freezer paper technique.  I think the freezer paper version was a bit easier for the more intricate designs, but it was just as easy to do the entire Mickey head with the contact paper.

In this version, we used a toy truck tire to create a bit of texture.  We did the last swipe with a silver glitter color to add a little more dimension.  Ebabe created this one.

For Boo's shirt, I attempted to use a bleach pen to do something a little different, but apparently bleach pens stop working with age.  Who knew?!  No matter what I tried (and this included using liquid bleach on a sponge), the shirt would not bleach.  So, I rewashed it to get any residue out and used fabric paint.  Boo used a dollar store squish ball to create the textured pattern she liked.  She used a combination of white and glitter paints to get the color she liked. 

The freezer paper stencil was fairly easy and not too time consuming.  The kids are thrilled with their character shirts and that's what really matters!

We were inspired by this post by The Handmade Home.
3 Responses
  1. Sara Says:

    Cute! They look great!

  2. JustJess Says:

    These are so cute! Thank you for sharing! We're taking our boys to Disneyland for the first time in November and I used you technique to make us shirts! They turned out great! Thank you!

  3. Unknown Says:

    Great idea I'm trying this

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