When my mother-in-law visited us last year, I asked her to bring me one special item: freezer paper, which I'd seen on several craft blogs. Freezer paper is one of the (few) things that the Romans didn't invent, and so is unavailable in Italy. She brought me a 150 square meter roll, and we immediately put it to good use, making T-shirts for all of us and for our friends on their birthdays.
After many, many feet worth of freezer paper stenciling, though, I become a little dissatisfied with the blocky look and quality of the print, and our stenciling production slowed down. Until, inspired by this skirt Lise made with freezer paper stencils and a little embroidery, I decided to try out a few new methods (for basic freezer paper stenciling I've always used this excellent tutorial, which has many tips and photos).
After some experimentation, I came up with "textured freezer paper stencils," which employs various techniques of freezer paper stenciling combined with simple free-hand embroidery. I found that my textured freezer paper stencils produced exactly the overall impression of dimensional stencils that I was after.
Here's how I arrived at my textured freezer paper stenciling, but I'd encourage you to experiment a little with paint application and embroidery, and develop your own methods and styles, seeing that experimental playing around was how I stumbled on my new method in the first place.
I first stenciled the outline of a flower, omitting the center of the flower because I wanted more texture and not the usual flat, one-dimensional stencil look. Then, to imitate the richness of petals of flowers (I had peonies in mind), I embroidered an uneven spiral in a contrasting color thread.
I liked the result quite a lot, but it wasn't until I turned the T-shirt inside out to snip off the thread that I noticed how the paint on the reverse had dried, creating exactly the kind of texture I was after.
And so I made some leaf stencils on the reverse of the T-shirt, taking care to saturate the fabric well (I don't advise that you do this in the same order, though, because peeling the freezer paper from the embroidery wasn't easy!). Now the reverse side of the T-shirt had blocky-looking stenciled leaves, whereas right side out ...
... the leaves have exactly the texture I had in mind, giving an impression of dimensions and a more natural look.
Rebecca was also very pleased with the result, and insisted on changing and wearing the T-shirt right away. I obliged, only too happy to see my work so well appreciated!
Related posts: more of my textured freezer paper stencils here!