Using freezer paper to paint a custom t-shirt

Using freezer paper to paint a custom t-shirt

How to use freezer paper to paint a custom T-shirt for the 100th day of school

One of the craft projects on my to-do list has been to paint a custom t-shirt using freezer paper for a stencil. I bought all of the supplies back in the summer, but I’ve been too intimidated to give it a try.

A few weeks ago, I got the motivation that I needed. My daughter’s first grade teacher sent home a note that the kids would soon be celebrating the 100th day of school. She suggested we send our kids to school in a shirt with 100 objects on it. They would have a fashion show to display their 100th day attire.

I searched Pinterest for ideas and found lots of cute ones, but I wanted to think of something original. I must have had Trolls dancing on my brain from how many times we have watched the movie on repeat since it was available to purchase on iTunes. (I seriously LOVE that movie!) All of those marching little Trolls gave me the idea to paint 100 footprints walking across her t-shirt.

Here’s how we used freezer paper to make an easy stencil. I used my Silhouette CAMEO to cut out my footprint design. However, if you don’t have a Silhouette, I’ve seen lots of ideas on Pinterest on how you can cut out your stencil using an Xacto knife.

Step 1. Download a footprint design from the Silhouette Design store.

Step 2. Cut your freezer paper to the same size as your cutting mat. Place the paper on the mat with the glossy side up. I decided to make my feet 1.5 inches long, and I cut out three rows of footprints on each piece of 12×12 freezer paper.

Step 3. Find a piece of cardboard. I unfolded a Cheerios box and it was the perfect size to fit inside my daughter’s Youth M t-shirt. You need to cover the cardboard in freezer paper with the glossy side of the paper facing up. I taped the edges with Washi tape.

Step 4. Arrange the footprints on the shirt with the glossy side down. You are going to iron the stencil to the t-shirt. It will adhere to the freezer paper that is on the inside of the t-shirt. Just remember that you want the two glossy sides facing each other.

Step 5. Paint! We used purple, blue and white paint on our footprints. The purple and white turned out great. The blue ended up looking periwinkle even after four coats, but it was still pretty. We were worried that our paint was going to seep underneath the stencil because my 7-year-old and I aren’t the neatest painters in the world. However, we were pleasantly surprised when we removed the freezer paper.

Step 6. Remove the freezer paper while the paint is still wet. It will pull right off.

Step 7. Once the paint has dried, place a piece of fabric or pillow case on the t-shirt, and iron. This will help set the paint.

We painted 50 footprints on each side of the shirt, so we repeated the process on the back side.

This was a really fun project, and I loved that we could do it together. I was surprised how well the freezer paper worked as a stencil. I can’t wait to try it again on another project! My other kids are already dreaming up other ideas for custom painted t-shirts! (And so am I!)

What do you think? Is this a project you would like to try? Leave me a comment and let me know!

By the way, if you want an easier way to read my blog, just enter your e-mail address in the box to the right. You will get new blog posts in your inbox!

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working on hand lettering

working on hand lettering

If you’ve been reading my blog for long, then you know I have a thing for chalkboards. I love writing new words and phrases on my chalkboards to decorate for the seasons. But I often would “cheat” on my handwriting by cutting out a stencil using my Silhouette and using that to create pretty letters.

Well, recently, I stumbled upon a blog that gave some great tips for improving your handwriting on a chalkboard. I’ve always loved to try to mimic different fonts in my handwriting, so I decided it was about time that I paid attention to an expert’s advice. Here are a couple of tips that I learned for becoming a better chalkboard artist.

  1. Sharpen your chalk.

Ugh. I didn’t think I would be able to do it. My worst nightmare is the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard. I couldn’t imagine sticking a piece of chalk in a pencil sharpener. I was so scared to do it. Guess what? It was absolutely not a big deal. It didn’t bother me one bit.

2. Write an outline of your word in your regular handwriting.

I had to do this a few times to get the word to fit the space in which I wanted it to go. That’s the great thing about chalk. Just wipe it off and start over until you like it.

3. Thicken your lines, only on the downstrokes.

4. Then, color in the lines. This gives your writing more of a “faux calligraphy” look.

5. I added the rest of the words in lower case block letters and did the same thing: Thicken the downstrokes and color it in. I also added some serifs to the words. It’s not perfect by any means, but I’m making progress!

I tried the same technique on another chalkboard, but I ran into trouble because my chalkboard paint is starting to peel off. To get around that problem, I dipped my chalk in water before writing with it. My lettering still needs a lot of work on this one, but I did like the effect the wet chalk gave to my writing.

It was much more difficult to get all of my letters uniform in size on this one. But, oh well! It’s a chalkboard, right?!

You might remember a few years ago that I decorated for Valentine’s Day for the first time ever. That was actually the first time I really decorated for any holiday other than Christmas! So, here are a few shots of the rest of my Valentine’s Day decor. It’s not up for long, but it makes me feel like spring is on the way!

I wrapped these oversized letters in yarn a few years ago. I love them with the milk glass dishes that my grandmother gave me.

I’m still crazy about this six panel window frame that I bought last year. I need a Valentine’s wreath to go on it, but I can’t find one that I like. (You might know how I feel about red!)

I did allow this tiny bit of red in the house. Plus, it was fun for my daughter to hang the hearts on our branches.

The snow globe is one little hold over from Christmas. And yes, the truck is red. I skipped completely over my winter decorating from last year.

And finally, this “love never fails” sign was my first ever painting project using my Silhouette! I’m ready to update this sign now that I know a little more about what I’m doing with the Silhouette and painting projects!

I’m going to keep working on my hand lettering skills so you will probably read more about that in the future. I actually found a 31-day challenge to improve my hand lettering that I’m planning to try. Let me know if you want to do it with me!

So, what about you? Does anyone else love chalkboards like I do?

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changing with the seasons

changing with the seasons

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When my husband and I first started dating, one of the things he liked most about me was my slightly tomboyish attitude. I didn’t mind to ride mountain bikes on a tough trail through the woods or ride a four wheeler through a muddy farm field. For the first five years of our marriage, I was very comfortable living in a house full of boys — my husband and then our two sons.

But something happened when I gave birth to our third child, a girl. We both joke that bringing a girl into the world unleashed my inner girly girl. Suddenly, I was dying to paint walls pink and purchase headbands with huge flowers. Even my own wardrobe changed to reflect my more feminine side.

Something similar seemed to happen when we moved a few years ago. For the first 14 years we owned a home, I never bothered to decorate for the seasons. Sure, we would put up a fake Christmas tree and unpack a few boxes of holiday decor in December. But the rest of the year, our home pretty much always looked the same.

I had a good friend who loved to decorate for every holiday. She would come to visit and ask about the lack of festivity inside my house. “How can anyone even LIVE like this?!” I’m sure she was thinking. “Who has time for such ridiculousness!” I KNOW I was thinking!

Then, we moved into our current home with its large stone fireplace and wood mantel. Suddenly, a flip switched, unleashing my inner home decorator.

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Sadly, I barely knew where to start when it came to bringing in what I had always referred to as “sit arounds.”

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But during the past 2.5 years that we’ve lived here, I’ve been growing more confident in my ability to decorate for the seasons. Not only do I change up our decor at Christmas, but at least the mantel gets a facelift for each season and even holidays like Valentine’s Day, Indepedence Day and Thanksgiving. I’ve found that celebrating holidays with a change of decor somehow makes the change of seasons feel richer to me. I look forward to what’s next and the opportunity to transform our living space to reflect what’s happening outdoors.

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Since I didn’t really have a decorating style before, I’ve been working on developing one. I love the whole rustic feel that’s trending right now, and I hope it stays popular for a while. We are so blessed to live near a prairie and all the lifestyle opportunities that brings, from going on walks to taking nature photos to just sitting outside and listening to the birds and frogs. I love bringing that feeling indoors through our decor.

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I have been wanting an old window for a while now, and I was so excited to find one at a market a few weeks ago.

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I’ve mentioned before that I also love, love, love the chalkboard trend. It gives me a chance to practice my hand lettering and change out my chalkboards with different sayings to reflect the mood of the season.

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I seem to have fallen in love with wood slices this summer, and I’ve also been using them like crazy in my decorating. I added these wood slice ornaments to the tree this year. I used my Sihouette to cut out a template for the words, and then painted them.

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I’ve always struggled with the cold weather half of the year, but honestly, I do love the change of seasons. Changing the decor inside my house is just one more way I’ve been enjoying the variety of what’s happening outside. Instead of dreading winter, decorating helps me embrace it!

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So, what about you? Do you like to decorate for different seasons? Do you have a decorating style? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

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practicing gratitude

practicing gratitude

Last Tuesday, I woke up early and jumped out of bed 45 minutes before my usual wake time. It was the day after Halloween, and we got to bed late the night before. But I was full of energy. It was the first day of November, and oddly, I had been growing more and more excited about this day

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I seemed to have fallen in love with October. We had perfect weather most of the month, and we had been intentional about enjoying this middle month of fall. It’s my tendency to dread November. I don’t like the time change that brings 4 p.m. sunsets. I don’t like the first brush with cold weather. I don’t like the barren trees and dried up prairie.

As October was winding down, I decided to start making a mental list of how I could appreciate November. I thought about our anniversary and my son’s birthday, both in November. I started planning Thanksgiving — my favorite holiday. I planned out my goals for the month. November is all about thankfulness and gratitude, so I wanted to come up with some activities and ideas that centered around that theme.

So, last Tuesday, I headed outside with extra enthusiasm before the sun came up to drag a large tree branch out of the yard and into the living room. For the past few years, I had seen ideas to make a Thankful Tree. I wanted to do it, but I couldn’t think of a way to do something that would fit in with my decor. This year, I remembered the large branch my husband had cut from our River Birch tree. It had been laying in the yard since summer.

I pulled off all of the old dry leaves and brought it inside. I had just dropped it on the living room floor, when one of my kids came down to deliver some discouraging news. I hadn’t even been awake for an hour, and this news seemed to drain me of my excitement and enthusiasm. I was feeling frustrated, defeated and angry.

How could I possibly create a Thankful Tree now? I didn’t feel the least bit thankful. I was annoyed.

Why do you even get sucked into these dumb Pinterest ideas? It’s ridiculous to drag a huge branch into the living room! What are you trying to do?

I left the branch there, and dealt with the problem of the morning. Then, it was time to walk my youngest to school. I stepped out into the beauty of that day and took deep breaths of the crisp autumn air. The sun was shining brightly, and the sky was bright blue. You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect first day of November.

When I got back home, I collected myself and figured out how I could “plant” that branch in a big metal container with potting soil. I added large rocks at the top and covered those with the many colorful leaves we had found outside. I found some sparkly cardstock in fall colors and cut out leaves with my Silhouette.

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I picked out one of the leaves and wrote the first thing that came to mind: “a gorgeous first day of November.”

I actually felt better after I put it on the tree.

That evening, I didn’t deliver a big speech to my family about thankfulness. We didn’t do a Bible study or read a poem. I knew that creating this monument to thankfulness was my thing. I was the one who wanted to practice gratitude this month. I couldn’t force it upon someone else. It was up to them to decide whether to play along. I simply asked everyone if they could write something they are thankful for on one of the leaves. They did it without making a peep.

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“Wow!” I thought. No one complained. No one asked why. No one acted like I was crazy. They just did it.

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During the past week, it’s been fun to see people interact with the tree. Some family members fill in a leaf almost every day without being asked. For others, it’s something they do when reminded at dinnertime. We all get excited to see what others wrote. I think that’s actually the best part. I love seeing the little things we all are taking the time to appreciate. Sometimes, they are serious. Sometimes, they are funny. I’ve also realized we all have very similar handwriting so it’s hard to determine who wrote what.

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After seven days, I thought I might start running out of things to write on the leaves. In fact, the opposite it true. As I think of things to be thankful for, more and more things come to mind. It’s almost like a thankfulness bank has been opened in my mind.

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Our Thankful Tree is getting fuller and fuller by the day. Out the window just beyond, we have been watching the leaves fall off of the big Maple in our backyard. Meanwhile, we keep adding leaves to the branch in our kitchen.

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Yes, the days are getting shorter. The evenings are getting darker. And the air will soon get colder. But our Thankful Tree is getting fuller. And as it does, our kitchen is full of gratitude.

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for the love of chalkboards

for the love of chalkboards

When I was a kid, our house had a large chalkboard in the family room. I remember spending hours writing and drawing on that dark green slate as we played games of school or house. I didn’t know any other kids who their very own chalkboard, so I thought our house must be cutting edge.

I have no idea where my parents found that chalkboard or what inspired them to hang it on the lower third of the wall so it was the perfect height for their children. I like to think they were on the forefront of interior design trends.

These days, I love decorating with chalkboards. I have so many of them that I’m going to be in big trouble when they are no longer a thing.

Like my other artistic passions — doodling, rock painting and using my Silhouette — I think I love chalk art because the expectation is that it won’t be perfect. It’s just a chalkboard! Plus, you can always erase and start over if you don’t like your first attempt.

I love chalkboards because it’s fun to update your artwork with the seasons. You aren’t stuck with one boring piece that never changes. You can get lots of ideas for chalkboard art on Pinterest. (That’s where I got this one!)

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You can write out whatever message is on your heart…

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Or leave someone a note or reminder…

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If I want my handwriting to look really perfect, I will cut out a quick template on card stock using my Silhouette and trace the letters that I want to write…

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There’s just something about a message neatly scripted that makes me happy every time I see it. I keep thinking that one day I will paint an entire wall in my house in chalkboard paint… Of course, that’s about the time it will go out of style. Or maybe I’ll just be ready for the next time it comes around.

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What about you? Do you love creating chalkboard art?

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