Cute as a spare button

Buttons are cute. Even the word button is cute. So I figured I couldn’t go wrong printing an image of a button (using a hand-drawn and hand-cut freezer paper stencil) on this little muslin drawstring bag I had in my drawer. (Oh yeah, the bag once held the spare buttons to a sweater I had bought a while ago.)

Then I got really carried away and made this onesie. I realize the letters aren’t exactly centered, but I’m hoping you won’t notice. I don’t have any wee babies in my life, so if you do have one who happens to be 13 to 18 lbs., and who is verifiably as cute as a button, I will send this onesie to you!

Freezer paper stencils, part III

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!

Freezer Paper Stencils: VW Bus Pillowcases

Punch buggy. (Or in this case, Punch bus.) Spring is here & so is the VW bus parked outside my house. (The sign in the window says: Hippies Use Backdoor.)

So in honor of the reappearance of spring and VW buses, I decided to give some old white pillowcases new life. Plus I wanted to make something for my 11-year-old who is easily embarrassed by T-shirts proclaiming anything, let alone T-shirts homemade by his mother, so I figured pillowcases were a safe zone, free from 5th grade peer review.

I cut a stencil on freezer paper from an image of a VW bus that I downloaded online. As I’ve mentioned before, freezer paper stencils are wicked easy & satisfying. Here is the complete how-to. To trim the pillowcases, I bought a half a yard of Happy Camper fabric from the Monaluna Circa 60 Beach Mod line for Birch Fabrics (available at Fabricworm). I should’ve bought a yard, but I was too cheap ($8.25 for half a yard!). It’s organic, alas.

 (The print is darker than how it appears on Fabricworm.)

No room for error. The pressure was on! I sewed the fabric directly onto the existing pillow trim (I split the seam for the trim–but not the rest of the pillowcase–to make it easier to sew). For the edge that you see on the outside of the pillowcase, I folded 1/4″ of the fabric, ironed, and sewed as close to the edge as I could. For the hem inside of the pillowcase, I folded 1/4″ over twice to completely encase the raw edge. Not sure if this is the best way to add trim, but it looks decent and adds a pleasing weight to the end of the pillow.

Freezer Paper Stencils: Robot Tees

Handsman, this silver-painted robot with the high-tech egg-carton control panel, was constructed by my five-year-old’s preschool classmates, who are studying robots this month.  Handsman looms at over 4′ (taller than your average preschooler) and sports zippy yellow rubber gloves–hence, his handy name.

[photo thanks to Pauline & Amanda!]

To show my full support for robot curriculum everywhere, I decided to make some robot tees for my little guy with freezer paper stencils. Freezer paper stencils have a high fun factor: big on reward, low on effort. Here is the complete how-to. If you fret about drawing your own robot stencil, then download an image, print, and trace. To avert laundry tragedies, don’t forget to heat-set the paint after it dries.

Robot tees!