Jun 11, 2013

Craft Camp: Freezer Paper Stencils

I started Craft Camp last week.  What is craft camp?  Well, it's just a fun, low stress environment that happens for two hours once a week where girls we know can come and do crafts.  Last week we had 17 girls in between the ages of 9-12.  It was kind of crazy and my husband thinks I'm insane for taking this on. But I want to do it. Which, honestly, makes it all that much more fun because it truly is something I enjoy.  Plus, it helps Bug and Jet have something to look forward to each week.

Our first project was making freezer paper stencils to decorate canvas book bags.  I know freezer paper stencils have been around for awhile so this is nothing new however if you are looking for a simple craft to do with your kiddos this summer, this is a good one.

I let the girls either design their own or they could trace clip art designs I brought for them.  I must say, they all did great.  Some of them wanted just something really simple and others played around with color and shapes.  I loved seeing  the differences and I'd swell up like a proud mama when their individual personalities would come out in their creations.  It was fun!  I didn't take many photos the day of the camp but the two bags above are the ones I used as samples and I'll show you the steps we did in case you want to make your own.

You will need:
Canvas bag
Freezer paper
fabric paint (I like Tulip Soft)
paint brush
iron & ironing board

Step 1:  Start by ironing out your bag.  You could pre-wash it too.  Which, just a heads-up, if you are using fabric paint on wearable surfaces, like t'shirts, you always want to wash it first.  Since we were just using it on bags, I didn't wash them but you do want to iron them so you have a flat surface to work on.  

Here's my bag all ironed and ready to go!

Step 2:  On freezer paper, cut out your design.  You could trace a heart and then cut it out but for me the simplest way was the grade-school way.  Remember how you made hearts in elementary school?  Just fold the paper in half and cut out half the heart, then when you open it up, you have your full heart.  Easy peasy!

Step 3:  Next, with the shiny side of the paper down, center your heart in the middle of your bag and using a warm iron, iron it in place.  You don't need to keep the iron on there for long, just a few seconds.  Your goal is to make sure your edges around your design are secured so that once you add the paint, it won't run underneath.

Step 4:  Using the left over scraps of freezer paper I free-hand cut out several circles and placed them in the heart.  

Step 5:  Once I got them all placed where I wanted them, I just repeated step 3 and ironed them down.  Again, you don't need to keep the iron on there for long.

Step 6:  When your paper has cooled down - don't add the paint while it's hot - start painting.  Use your fabric paint to fill in the open areas of your stencil.  You can paint right over the freezer paper, it will just act as a mask for your design.

Step 7:  Once your paint is mostly dry, carefully remove your freezer paper and it will reveal your awesome design!  Super fun, right?  And easy too!  The hardest part may just be picking a design.

And, if you want to dress it up you can also add a ribbon to the top of the bag, here's how:

Step 8:  If you are using store bought canvas bags most of them will be made with a double seam at the top, one that will create a little channel in between the two seams.  To utilize this, carefully cut some slits in between the two seams like shown.  You want two slits right in the middle that are fairly close to each other.  The other slits can be spread out a little.  Also, make sure that you are cutting them all the way around the top of the bag, even in the back.  And, be cafe to only cut the front layer(outside of the bag) - you don't need the slits on the inside of the bag.

Step 9:  Next, attach a safety pin to the end of a long piece of ribbon like show and starting the middle, where you cut two slits, just start threading your ribbon through.  

Be sure to weave the ribbon in and out of the slits so that it will show once you are done.  (The photo above shows the ribbon weaved on the back of the bag.)  

Step 10:  After you've weaved the ribbon all the way around the bag, just tie it in a simple bow and you can melt the ribbon edges to keep it from fraying if needed.  

And there you go, here's the completed bag!  It's ready for a trip to the library for some summer reading.

Two funny things:  

1- I asked Bug to hold the bag for me so I could take a picture.  She was happy to do until she realized she might be in the picture.  "Am I in the picture?"  she asked.  To which I responded, "No, not really.  Just your arm pit."  She now has arm pit anxiety and for all the other photos she kept trying to cover her hand over her arm pit.  Silly kid!

2- The bag below is actually my bag.  It suits me well.  Every one in my family has a nickname.  I'm married to Mr. K.  My oldest daughter is Miss M and then of course we have Bug and Jet.  But me, well, I'm just Amy.  Amy!  The most popular name given to girls in the 70's.  Yep, that's me.  The other day Jet decided to take on the challenge of finding a good nick-name for me.  She chose Mama llama.  Ummm, NO!!!  I like Llamas, I do, but I really don't want to be called a mama llama.  I just had visions of being at Target and my not so quiet children calling for me in unison "mama llama!  mama llama!".   So instead I'm now Specks.  Much better don't ya think?!  I kind of like it.