Introduction: Freezer Paper Mandala (Snowflake) T-shirts

About: Originally from Michigan, I am currently living on the Spanish Riviera with my Spanish husband, our toddler, two dogs and four hens. I love to make fondant cakes for special occasions, but try to keep proces…

It was time for another craft tutorial at my friend's summer school.  We had been wanting to do tie dyeing with the older kids, but we couldn't get our hands on the procion dyes quickly enough for our project.  So, we decided to have the kids paint their t-shirts instead.

Not knowing which technique to use, I decided to let the kids decide what they wanted to do.  I went armed with some craft foam for making stamps, freezer paper, paintbrushes, fabric paint and fabric markers.  Before we began, I explained some of the techniques to the kids, and told them to give what they wanted to paint some thought.

The girls instantly decided that they wanted a large heart in the middle of the shirt, so I suggested that we use freezer paper.  I folded the paper in half, cut out half a heart, and opened it to a perfectly symmetrical heart for the girls.

Doing so brought back school memories of cutting out hearts and snowflakes.  That's when it hit me:  Freezer paper snowflakes would make a great stencil for a T-shirt!

What you will need:

T-shirt (Or pillowcase... or whatever you want to use for your painted snowflake/mandala)
Freezer paper
Fabric Paints

Step 1: Step 1: Cut Out a Snowflake From Freezer Paper

Being summer, I chose not to make a snowflake-like snowflake, if you know what I mean.  I preferred to make a round, geometrical design with the same technique, something more like a mandala.

Just in case you don't know how to make a paper snowflake, I will explain the way I did it.

If you already know how, skip to Step 2. (Page 8)

Step 2: Step 1a: Take a Piece of Freezer Paper and Fold It in Half.

Take a piece of freezer paper and fold it in half.

Step 3: Step 1b: Fold That in Half Again.

Step 4: Step 1c: Fold in Half Again Diagonally

keeping the center point of the paper as a reference, keep folding in half around that corner.

Step 5: Step 1d: Fold in Half Diagonally One More Time

Make another fold, as seen in the picture, folding in half diagonally around the center point again.

Step 6: Step 1e: Cut Your Snowflake Border and Design Your Snowflake

Keeping the center point of the folds as the center of the snowflake.  I like to cut the point off, which results in a hole in the center of the finished snowflake.  That, of course, is optional, but you should cut across the side opposite the center point to even everything out.

I cut curves down to a rounded point in the center of the edge so that my resulting mandala/snowflake will have scalloped edges.  In the picture, though, I did it too far away from the center point.  All of the paper layers should be included in the cut so that a symmetrical shape will be formed.  You can see in the (blurry- sorry!!) picture that not all of the paper edges had been included in the first cut, so I drew a new edge to even it all up.  I normally just start cutting out random shapes at this point, but I decided to draw out some shapes to give you an idea of how to do it.

Step 7: Step 1f: Finish Cutting Out Your Pattern

Now, cut out the shapes.  I made some half hearts along the edge because these girls loved hearts.  The important thing is to not cut all the way across because wherever you cut completely across will end up being the outer border of your design (like in the anterior step).  It is also important to leave little "bridges" of paper between your cuts along the edges so that the paper doesn't fall apart.  Once you have your design cut out, unfold your snowflake.

Step 8: Step 2: Iron Your Snowflake Onto Your T-shirt

Once you have your finished snowflake, you can iron it onto your shirt, shiny side down until it is fused to the shirt.

It's hard to see in the picture because the paper and the T-shirt are both white, but here it has been ironed on, and one of the girls had started to paint it.

Step 9: Step 3: Paint the Spaces in the Design With Fabric Paint

Now it's time to paint!!

For the girls, I made a simple design, but I think they really could have handled something more complex in the end.  Having a lot paper between the holes, though, made it easier for them to paint within the lines without getting one color muddied up by the others when making a multi-colored design.

The idea is to paint the holes in the freezer paper with fabric paint.  You want to cover the edges carefully.  It's best to use a vertical motion when painting so as not to shove any paint under the edge of the freezer paper.  Along the outside edge, it looks nice to make the colors fade out little by little, using less paint as you go outwards.

Step 10: Step 4: Peel Off the Freezer Paper, Set the Paint, and Wear!!

Once the paint is dry, pull off the freezer paper, and you can see your design.

I think they did a great job!

To set the paint, make sure you iron it according to the directions on your particular paint.  Enjoy!