Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Big doesn’t have to be boring!

Oh my! I have discovered the joy of bleach-stenciling with freezer paper! This shirt is the union of a big teal turtleneck (nearly 100% cotton), and a stretchy metallic turtleneck from the thrift shop. Each cost me twenty-five cents.

I wanted to give T-shirt stenciling a try, but I don’t have a lot of time to cut out a detailed stencil. I had been looking at mandalas for my son to color the other day, and I got to thinking that it would be cool to stencil or paint one on the side of a shirt, and I may do that someday, but for the time being I wanted something more “immediate gratification” that I could get done in an evening. Enter the snowflake shirt…

I cut apart my huge cotton turtleneck, with no help from the cat, and then the fun began.

What I did here is the same as what we all used to do at Christmastime in primary school: cut snowflake decorations out of paper. Only, in my case, I used a piece of freezer paper and tried to keep the design more flowerlike and less “snowflaky”. I added some butterflies for the heck of it. Then I cut my giant snowflake in half.

Moving on, I took a big piece of freezer paper, and ironed it, shiny side to fabric, to the back of my cut-apart shirt front section, then I flipped it right side up. I then positioned my two pieces of flower/snowflake/whatever where I wanted them, and ironed them to the shirt, shiny side down. I wish I’d taken some pictures of this process, but I was too eager to see how it would turn out. I may make a tute later on, if you like. It’ll be easier to write tutes when my son starts summer day camp next week. :)

I then took a spray bottle with bleach in it and misted some over the design. Then I got impatient and misted on more. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE! Less is more. If I had waited a minute or two more, the bleach would have started to do its thing just fine. Since I sprayed on too much, it bled under my paper, blurring my design. Sigh…

I worked right next to my kitchen sink, and as soon as the color faded as much as I wanted, I started rinsing, rinsing, rinsing as fast as I could. Then I filled the sink about halfway, and dumped in a bottle of hydrogen peroxide 3% to neutralize the last of the
bleach. Some websites tell people to use vinegar to stop the bleach, but that produces chlorine gas. Don’t do it! Maybe those folks work outside, or have rinsed super-carefully, but vinegar just isn’t safe.

After a short soak in the hydrogen peroxide and water, into the washer it went. While washing and drying, I picked a pattern and cut out the rest of my shirt parts. I wanted to be done before going to bed.
I forgot to take off my pedometer for the picture, and right after this pic I went for my walk. The pedometer will be my friend for the next few months.
I got it done in an evening, and it was super-easy. I’ll make more snowflake/medallion shirts because they are fun, fast and cheap! I think I might just put the next design on one side of the shirt, though. Or maybe up around the collar area. In any case, there will be more of them.

Thanks for looking!



Charity said...

Way to go! (I saw your post on Wardrobe Refashion so I thought I'd come over here to check it out). It looks really good, even with the blurred bleach. I'm really digging it. And glad you have a blog to document all your adventures. (*am in love with craft blogs*) Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

This is so cool! We have been looking for something crafty my teenager can do with all of her tired t-shirts and tank tops...most of which have bleach stains on them. Great IDEA!!!
love the butterflies :)

suzof7 said...

I love the stenciling effect on that!

LaughingLark said...

Thank you everyone! It was really fun to do, and I hope to have more of them soon. :o)