Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Here's one I made before

I have been dying to introduce sticky-backed-plastic* into my repetoire...and finally a chance to do so.

I had been talking with the boys about creating some stencilled tops for themselves - using a technique of cutting the stencil into freezer paper and then ironing it onto the t-shirt as a resistant area for fabric paint. Anyway, it turns out that freezer paper is pretty well unknown in Los Gatos so I ended up using sticky-backed-plastic, which worked pretty well.

The boys selected images for themselves online, mostly we searched for "Star Wars Stencils" which turned up some very fancy images and some more workable ones intended for pumpkin carving. They chose the colour shirt and fabric paint. I carved the stencil using a sharp scalpel on a cutting mat. We simplified the Darth Vader design; I traced the outline with a sharpie and made our adjustments.

Here is Adam's Darth Vader shirt:

We stuck the contact paper carefully onto the shirts and the boys then applied the fabric paint. We used special stencil brushes which have a hardish blunt end, and a "pouncing" technique which is more like dabbing the paint on, this make sure that the paint does not go under the edges of the stencil. If you do this at home, make sure you put something (piece of card) between the front and back of the t-shirt as the paint will otherwise seep through to the back.

We let the fabric paint dry and then carefully peeled off the contact paper. They boys are really pleased with the effect - they are planning to wear them tomorrow when the meet a friend who will understand all the Star Wars symbols!

This is Finlay's shirt - the symbol is the rebel insignia (the good guys)

It was a fun project and successful. Although I had to cut the stencils for them, it did not take long, and they had been involved in all the decision making. After we completed the shirts Adam commented that he now understood why I had been advising against some of the more complex designs. He had not understood my explanation of why it would be hard - but having seen the stencils work he now agreed that too many details would not look as good.

*Known as contact paper in the USA, and for all I know in the UK (altho it did use to be Fablon)... anyway the reference will be clear to those of us of a certain age who grew up with Blue Peter


Anonymous said...

What a great project - nothing like trying something out in practice to understand the difficulties.
TV trivia I learnt only recently: Tony Hart (who sadly died this year) was responsible for designing the Blue Peter logo for the BBC.

Myself - I never liked Blue Peter (or similar) even though I am definitely of a certain age. Strange though, as my favourite "Watch with Mother" - [or in my case "without Mother" as it was her chance for a bit of peace!] was 'Picture Book', a kind of Blue Peter for the under fives.

And although I am digressing in your blog - I found this comment on a forum which is .... well let it speak for itself:
"i actually really like blue peter apart from when they show you how to make really pointless stuff"

SpinalCat said...

I'm pretty sure the Safeway at Los Gatos-Almaden and Union has freezer paper. I've always used contact paper, and that's what I used to teach at the guild meeting, but I think I'll try freezer paper next time.