Finally (!) a birthday party that was an unqualified success. First, half an hour of trying to float Polly Pockets with balloons, which is apparently hilarious if you are eight. Yes, they will sail up to the ceiling! Then, a busy hour of making freezer paper stencil t-shirts, topped off with chocolate cake.
The stenciling was the perfect level of difficulty for four crafty eight-year-old girls. We used stencils from some of those little Dover books to make patterns, except for my daughter who wanted to stencil a Union Jack, figures. The girls traced their patterns on the paper, and I cut them out–OK that was a little frantic–and ironed the paper to the shirts. Then, the girls painted using sponge brushes. It took a little convincing for some that it wasn’t necessary to paint inside the lines, but once they got going they were great.
A few hints in case you want to try this activity. Put a layer of paper, wax or freezer, between the layers of fabric. Some paint soaked through to the back of my daughter’s t-shirt. (She was more than happy to apply paint liberally…) Get started early, because the paint takes some time to dry. Iron on the reverse side of the fabric for 30 seconds. I’m not sure why the reverse side, but the Union Jack has stayed bright and cheerful through several washes.
All the girls were so pleased with their shirts, and it was really nice to send them home with something useful and substantial. A reprieve from goody bags!