First off, congratulations to Lesley, who won last months Cameo giveaway! Hooray! You have a ton of fun ahead of you.
And now for today: it’s challenge day! This month’s challenge is Fabric! I decided to tackle a rather intricate freezer paper stencil. And what should I choose for my inspiration? Why nothing but the best! Sherlock’s wallpaper!
Don’t know much about Sherlock? It’s a BBC television show based on the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books. Moffat stays pretty true to the books, and I love the interplay between Sherlock (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (played by Martin Freeman). If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly suggest it. Right now there are 3 series (seasons) out, and each series has 3 episodes. Be aware ahead of time that the episodes are 90 min. long (not including commercials). It’s really great because they cram a lot of story in there, but does require that you set aside some time to watch them. You may find yourself wanting to watch them all together as well, which can be dangerous. As a side note, if you are in the US, Series 1&2 are available on Netflix, and Series 1,2,&3 are available on Amazon Instant Video and in the iTunes store. Rumor mill has it that series 4&5 have been confirmed, though there was a 2 year wait between series 2&3.
Anywho. On to the crafting portion of this post! Even if you’re not a Sherlock fan, you should enjoy this post. It’s useful to anyone who wants to do freezer paper stencils, and particulary to those who are wondering about intricate patterns! This post is part of a multi-post project. The final product is a toiletry bag, which I made as a Christmas gift for my Husband. The rest of the shaving gear are gifts from Christmas past. They include a hand turned razor and badger hair brush by Run of the Mill, a ceramic shaving mug by Andersen Pottery, tweed scented shaving soap by Dirty Deeds Soap, and Sherlock aftershave by Nevermore Body Company.
I’m not going to go over working with the image to get it to be a stencil, but here’s a basic rundown of the steps:
- Use a graphic editing program you are familiar with
- Make sure you have a continuous design. All of the parts you won’t be putting paint on need to be touching (for me, this was the white section).
- For a repeating pattern, you can fix up the part that repeats, and then copy/paste it until you fill the area you want.
- Make sure that all of the parts you’re keeping (white, in my case) have sufficiently thick lines. These don’t need to be really thick, but they shouldn’t be so close to the black that you see grey pixels up close.
- When tracing in Studio, err on the side of having the lines inside the actual border of the image instead of overflowing.
- Use the internal offset feature if you feel your lines are still too thin.
Got it? Let’s cut and stencil!
- 12×12 piece of freezer paper
- Brayer (not shown here)
- Black and Yellow acrylic paint (or fabric paint)
- Fabric paint medium
- Pouncing brush
- Mixing pots and mixing brush
- Canvas fabric (at least 12×12)
- Straight edge, cutting mat, and rotary blade (for cutting the freezer paper to size – not shown here)
- Iron and ironing board (not shown here)
- Silhouette cut file (download it for free here!)
**If you do not have a silhouette, you can try to use the same process I outlined for cutting vinyl without a machine. There is a .pdf file in the download above. However, as this is a very intricate pattern, be aware that, while possible, it will take a good amount of time and dexterity to produce similar results. There are resources that talk about how to print directly on freezer paper. I have not tried these, and have seen some instances where this can screw up your printer, so print at your own discretion. **
Step 1: Preparing your Freezer Paper
Ok, here’s the thing with working with delicate stencils. Use a new mat and blade – or at least one as close to new as you can get. When I tried this with an older mat and blade (which were still in really good condition), it didn’t stick and started to tear. I now have a mat and blade set aside specifically for delicate patterns.
To cut your freezer paper, use your rotary blade and cutting mat to achieve nice, straight lines. This isn’t necessary, you could just use scissors, but I like nice straight lines.
Next up, use your brayer to press the freezer paper firmly onto the mat with the shiny side up. This will give you a nice strong hold as well as help press out any of those pesky bubbles.
When you’re done, you’ll want to have it adhered nice and flat like so:
Step 2: Cut
Open up your file in Silhouette Studio. I have the design sized to maximize the 12×12 sheet, but you could rotate it and scale it down for 8.5×11 if you have a Portrait. The design is 11.5×8.725. I started with a larger design to fit a piece of cloth 11×14, which is around some of the sizes I had seen in other dopp bag tutorials. Then I sized it down to fit the paper. I’m happy with this smaller size: he doesn’t travel with much (and I travel with even less). **NOTE: if you’re not using a mirror image (mine is one – where mirroring produces the same image), make sure to choose Object – Transform – Flip Horizontally.
Now, head over to your cut styles and select custom. Use the following settings: Speed 1, Thickness 10, Blade 3. For regular freezer paper designs, I use a speed of 3. Don’t forget to change the actual blade as well before cutting. And remember, you’re cutting with the shiny side up. (You’ll note that I now have a freezer paper setting. You can save your own custom settings by hitting the plus sign in the lower left hand of the settings lists. Thanks to the Silhouette Challenge Facebook Group for that tip!). Go ahead and hit cut. Then, make yourself a warm drink and curl up with a book for about a half an hour or so. This will take a while….
Step 3: Weed
Oh, weeding. I have a love/hate relationship with you. I should note that I started this project as an HTV project, but it didn’t cut all the way through the vinyl. I decided that the vinyl was still good, so I’d just hand weed it and use my xacto knife to cut through the parts that weren’t fully seperated. Yeah. 15 hours of weeding later, I gave up and switched to freezer paper. Have you ever had a moment where you know you’ve been spending too much time on something, but aren’t willing to give up? Yeah. Me to.
Never fear, weeding the freezer paper won’t take that long! It will take a while though. Plan on putting something on TV or starting up an audio book. This took me half an episode of Sherlock to weed.
When weeding this project, you’ll want to choose your tool carefully. Even though it’s a bit more dangerous, I decided to use a blade for weeding. This let me get into the little nooks and crannies without worrying about tearing the design accidentally. I also found that if I worked in ‘rows’ it helped me feel like I was making progress.
Don’t forget – be careful with that blade!
A nice clean weed!
And about 40 minutes later you’re done.
Craftermath alert! This is what my shirt looked like afterwards. It’s almost like large snowflakes! So pretty! And yet I’m still finding bits in my carpet and couch.
Step 4: Peel
Don’t get all excited and just rip that sucker off! You’ll actually rip it, seriously. Some of that freezer paper is still pretty delicate! So, here’s where we go back again. Using the exacto knife, slowly go row by row (about an inch or so each) and peel up the pattern. Carefully and slowly. In fact, this took up the second half of the episode of Sherlock I was watching. (Note that I had already done the first one, so I had a system down.)
Step 5: Iron
Ready to break out your iron? Good. Set it to the cotton setting. Next you’ll be *carefully* and *slowly* pressing each piece into place. Iron the freezer paper shiny side down. This is the part of the paper that will adhere. You want to spend time making sure that every little piece is adhering properly. If not, you’ll get some paint under the freezer paper. I didn’t get any blotchy paint, except where the freezer paper wasn’t sticking down fully. Remember to go slowly and press, don’t glide over it until you’re all done, or you might rip your freezer paper. This is another good place to go in rows.
Step 6: Paint
*Phew* We’ve made it to the painting part! Go ahead and mix your paint to about a 50/50 mix of paint and fabric medium. I usually err on the side of more medium. (You see the yellow below, but I did the same thing with the black).
Then, using your pouncing brush to pounce over the entire sheet. Don’t worry if you go over the edges of the paper, we’ll be trimming down the canvas during the sewing phase for this project anyways.
Here it is all painted up!
Now you just need to peel up all the freezer paper. And guess what? You can go wild here, because it doesn’t matter if you rip it anymore! Just make sure you go through and get any pieces that might be hiding in the pattern.
Here it is, almost finished:
Some of the pieces came out really great, and others are crooked or have a bit of extra paint. This appears to have everything to do with how much time I spent on the ironing portion.
And then, of course, since it’s Sherlock, we need to add the smiley face to the wallpaper. You see, he got bored one day. *shrug* What can I say, it’s Sherlock! I just hand painted these on. I wish I had moved them over to the right a little more, so that the whole face would be on the front of the bag at the end, but they’re still mostly visible, so I’m ok with it. I also should have gone back and put another layer of the yellow on. Oh well, live and learn!
And finally, don’t forget to heat set your paint!
Well, that’s it for today’s post. I’ll leave you with a reminder of what the finished project looks like and a bit of craftermath. Next Monday I’ll post the directions for how to sew the bag.
Want to Check Out More Silhouette Projects?
My Silhouette Challenge buddies and I are all sharing projects on our blogs today, so peruse the projects below for a wealth of Silhouette inspiration!
Some of us are trying something new this month! Click on any of the numbered pictures in the image below to go straight to that project. You can still click on the text link at the bottom as well. I’m so excited to see some of these myself!
1. A Tossed Salad Life // 2. unOriginal Mom // 3. The Turquoise Home // 4. It’s Always Craft Time // 5. Weekend Craft // 6. Practically Functional // 7. Please Excuse My Craftermath… // 8. Cutesy Crafts // 9. Architecture of a Mom // 10. Black and White Obsession // 11. Lil’ Mrs. Tori // 12. Creative Ramblings // 13. Essentially Eclectic // 14. Adventures in All Things Food & Family // 15. From Wine to Whine // 16. Tried & True // 17. My Paper Craze // 18. Dragonfly & Lily Pads // 19. Whats Next Ma // 20. The Thinking Closet // 21. Create it. Go! // 22. Getsilvered // 23. Create & Babble // 24. Bringing Creativity 2 Life // 25. The Frill of Life // 26. My Favorite Finds // 27. Chicken Scratch NY // 28. Terri Johnson Creates // 29. Simply Kelly Designs // 30. Pitter and Glink // 31. Fadville // 32. The Sensory Emporium // 33. DailyDwelling // 34. crafts, cakes, and cats // 35. Life After Laundry // 36. It Happens in a Blink // 37. Cupcakes&Crowbars // 38. feto soap // 39. McCall Manor // 40. Ginger Snap Crafts // 41. TitiCrafty // 42. Clever Someday // 43. Mabey She Made It // 44. Work in Progress //
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