DIY Hunger Games Freezer Paper T-shirt Stencil

I have longed to make my own DIY Hunger Games t-shirt for a long time, and today is the day! And I'm gonna show you how you can make one too!

Things you'll need:

A plain t-shirt - I used a black one
Freezer paper - for those of us in Canada who think we don't have it here, try Dollarama.
Silhouette paper cutting machine - if you don't have a Silhouette machine, you can print out a stencil and carefully cut it with a stencil cutter.
Fabric paint
Stencil brush

First step:
Prewash your t-shirt! You want to do this to ensure that it doesn't shrink after you've done all your stenciling. The added sizing during manufacturing may also prevent the paint from adhering to the surface, so you want to prewash to shrink it up a little bit to ensure that your paint will adhere as it should.

Second step:
Design your stencil, or find one you like. I created mine on the Silhouette software. Here's how I did it:

Firstly I found and downloaded a font from that I absolutely adored. I used Housegrind. Save it to a folder specifically for fonts, so you know where it is.

I uploaded it into my Silhouette software. To do this go to File>Import to my library>Fonts (or wherever you put your font). Where it says "Files of type" choose the option that says "All Files", and all of the fonts that you've downloaded will show up. Select the font you want and it will go to your software. You have the option to change the name of the font, but I like to leave it as its original name so I know I have it already if I try to download it again, or if I need to tell someone which font it is.

Then you can start playing around. This is the fun part! On the top right menu on Silhouette software there is an "A". Click on that and then find your font in the menu. On the left there is another "A" with a red curser line beside it. Click this to start writing out your stencil.

I adore the line from the Hunger Games movie, when Katniss stabs the table with her knife and Effie turns around and shouts, "That is mahogany!" So I decided to put that on my t-shirt. I made it nice and big so the words could be seen clearly. Then I made a box around it so I wouldn't have a massive sheet of freezer paper to work with.

Next, you're going to want to flip your design horizontally, so that it's a mirror image. To do this, click on your design, then right click, and go down to "Flip horizontally". This is because you're going to cut it out with the shiny side of the freezer paper up. I tested it shiny side down/not flipped first, and it was a no go. My Silhouette kept nicking edges of the letters and tearing, even on the lowest speed setting.

Third step:
Get your freezer paper ready to be cut.

The freezer paper I bought was too wide to fit on my cutting mat, so I had to cut it down to fit on the mat before I could put it through the machine. You might need to do this too.

Make sure you have the shiny side up when you place it on your cutting mat.

Fourth step:
Cut your stencil out!

I had my speed set to 3 and thickness at 10, and blade at 1. When you're ready, send it to the Silhouette machine to be cut out.

Alternatively, if you don't have a Silhouette, you can cut it out by hand using a cutting mat underneath and a stencil knife, taking your time and being very careful to ensure a good clean cut.

Fifth step:
Iron your stencil, shiny side down, onto your t-shirt. To do this I centred my stencil where I wanted it. The little pieces that go where the g and y, etc. are, I left for now while I ironed down the main stencil. When it was all ironed on, I moved to the smaller pieces, ironing on each one individually to ensure that they were in the exact spot they needed to be.

Sixth step:
Start dabbing the paint on. You want to make sure you're dabbing, and not using brush strokes, otherwise you might get some paint under the stencil. I used two coats of paint.

Follow the instructions on your fabric paint. Some require you to iron after the paint is dry, others don't.

Let the paint dry and when it's dry, peel off the freezer paper carefully.

If you'd like to use the "That is mahogany!" stencil I made through Silhouette, you can download it here.

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