Ah, the bliss of a long holiday weekend--extra cups of coffee, cleaning out the minivan, dumpster diving, chocolate shake with peanut butter cup mix-ins at the Chocolate Moose, hand-stitching white beads on little girl dresses while watching the Jerry Lewis telethon, and finally some time to freezer paper stencil.
We love freezer paper stencilling onto shirts around here. It's very fangeek friendly, with lots of videogame and sci-fi and dinosaur stencils available free on the web; it's relatively quick and easy, with a high satisfaction ratio (if you're careful, you're unlikely to mess it up even if you're an idiot--whew!); it involves paint(!), a medium that I, with little hand-drawing skill, very rarely get to dabble in; and the time from start to awesome is pretty brief, with Matt wearing today the Darth Vader shirt I made for him yesterday.
One caveat: the having-to-be-pretty careful part--you know, cutting out the stencils so carefully, and not spilling paint all over the place because it's expensive and permanent--means that this isn't an activity that I can do very often, because my policy that kiddoes always get to participate means that I must have a co-parent around solely to moderate the girlies' work. That's why long holiday weekends are the best--you get all the regular weekend grunt work done, and you still have an hour left for freezer paper stencilling.
Now, there are way better tutorials out in the world than mine. Amanda Soule, for one, has a huge section of devoted to freezer paper stencilling, as well as on her blog, and she's the one who invented stencilling over weird stains to cover them up--I would have thought that the weird stain would bleed through, but it does not. Some other good tutorials are:
Yeah, everybody and their dog has a freezer paper stencil tutorial. I, however, am still going to stick my nose in and offer a little tutorial of my own--I know of a couple of tricky little tricks to make the business even easier, and I know some good ways to involve little kiddoes. So.....
Freezer Paper Stencilling: A Tutorial
There are also a lot of really cool, purposeful things the kids can paint, so that you don't have to feel like you're just wasting your good paint. Old T-shirts are fun----and if the paint job doesn't end up looking like a child's purposeful art (ahem)--
--then you can always jazz it up later with additional embellishments, embroidery or beads or more paint, etc. For this shirt of Willow's, I'm going to stencil a monkey over the top of her *cough* mess, then stencil "MESSY MONKEY" below it. For Syd's I might embroider "messy monkey" with an arrow pointing to the paint.
--but then you have to hang it up or lay it out for a full 24 hours to completely dry.
8. It depends on the type of paint you use, but usually after 24 hours you'll need to turn the shirt inside out, put more newspaper between the layers of cloth, and then iron for 30 seconds or so on the wrong side of the fabric behind the paint to heat-set it. This will make it color-fast, but I like to wash my stuff for the first time, anyway, on cold with no detergent but with vinegar in the rinse. After that, you're good to go.