Kick off the summer with a fun craft the kids can make and then wear! Discover tips and tricks to pairing your Cricut machine with freezer paper to create a stencil perfect for DIY t-shirts! Download my free summer design as an SVG file and let the kids get creative with a craft they can sport after it’s done!
I’ve had freezer paper stencil on my crafty to do list for a long time but it wasn’t until I got my Cricut and read up about how to use the two together that I wanted to give it a go! Those without a Cricut machine can certainly still use the technique in this post to create a freezer stencil by hand for the same effect!
- Freezer Paper (I bought mine at Walmart)
- Cricut Explore Air 2
- Summer 2019 SVG file (download here for free!)
- Fabric Paint (we used Deco Art’s SoSoft brand)
- Sponge or stencil brushes
- Scrap cardboard
Prep your machine. Set your Cricut to the lowest paper setting since the freezer paper is so thin.
Upload the SVG file (or any design you wish to cut) in the Cricut Design Space. Typically the Cricut machine will try to conserve your material and treat each piece as it’s own shape independent of what’s next to it. But for this project, we’ll need to make sure to keep this design together, as is. Highlight the whole design, right click and choose “attach.” Before going to cut, move the whole design to the center of your screen. We are using the negative part of this stencil so you want as much wiggle room around the edge to prevent any painting mistakes!
Place your freezer paper on the mat with the shiny side down and send the file to cut. Weed your design. Again, the piece on the left, the negative, is what you are using for this craft. We are not using the positive parts on the right. (Note: I opted to not keep the inner pieces of the “R”, “0” and “9” for this design but if you want to use them go ahead and save those positive pieces to lay down on the next step.)
Lay the shiny side of the stencil centered on the front of the shirt. If desired, add those positive piece inners you saved in the last step. (Again, I did not). Use your iron to heat set this freezer paper stencil in place. Unlike an iron on, it only takes a few seconds to attach.
When it comes to painting, first cover your table surface. I always have plenty of plastic tablecloths from all my party styling assignments! Insert a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to prevent the paint from bleeding to the back.
Apply paint to your t-shirts in an up and down motion, not a back and forth painting motion. This will help keep the stencil down and prevent bleeding under it.
Tip: Use coordinating colors of paper plates for each paint color so they don’t mix up which paintbrush goes with which paint.
I didn’t give the girls any direction on how to color their shirts, except to make sure to fill in all the spaces in the stencil. They chose to fill each one in as their own color in a pattern of their choosing.
This is what they looked like after painting with the stencil still attached.
And THIS is what they looked like after you peeled off the freezer paper stencil! There was no bleeding under the stencil and after 72 hours dry time (recommended by the manufacturer), it was ready to go!
I LOVE how colorful this SoSoft fabric paint is as it’s very fitting to summer days! It comes in 42 vibrant colors and really has a soft feel after drying! Their website directs us to wash it inside-out on the gentle cycle and hang to dry or dry on low heat.
I bought these t-shirts in a size larger for each girl so they can hopefully use them as another bathing suit cover up they made themselves!
If you do decide to give this a try using my SVG file, please tag me or email me as I’d love to see the designs in use!