Bat Shirt

Use freezer paper to make stencils for a one-of-a-kind holiday shirt

When Halloween falls on a workday, I like to wear a low-key T-shirt to the office.

Lately it’s been hard to buy something in the store, because somehow the holiday has been taken over by either extremely gory or extremely slutty fashion.

Earlier this year I stencil painted a t-shirt using some leftover vinyl from a project. I had a little trouble transferring the vinyl from my cutting mat to the shirt, and I had asked a fellow crafter about that, and she responded “Freezer Paper.”

Well, that turned out to be a ton of fun. A roll of freezer paper is about $4.o0, and it’s way, way, way more than you’ll ever need. In case you aren’t familiar with it (I wasn’t) – freezer paper is in the wraps and foils aisle at the grocery store, and it is paper on one side with a plastic coating on the other. This isn’t wax paper – that is waxy on both sides. The concept here is that you use an iron to lightly melt the plastic side to your shirt. It sticks firmly enough to work as a stencil, but is then easy to peel away when the paint is dry.

And it’s super easy to use. I had seen a cute piece of artwork which featured a bat and the phrase “Going Batty.” Of course, if you know me, the “going” part is not true. So when I created mine, I left that off.

I drew up the bat and stretched and squished the letters to fit inside. I also typed up the date “31” in a cool font.  I exported that file as a DXF.

Cut files for a bat shirt

In Silhouette Studio, I brought in the files and added a rectangle around each one. You have to think a little backwards when you are cutting a stencil – it’s the inside part that is going to get painted, while the paper will protect the fabric. So leaving a good margin around the artwork helps you keep the paint where you want it.

I cut a piece of freezer paper the size of my Silhouette mat. It actually only has to be straight on two sides (the top and left). I put mine paper side down. Because I did that, I needed to mirror my type so when placed it will be right-reading.

I set up my cut settings for vinyl (because someone recommended that) and then cut my two stencils. I then put my T-shirt on and looked in the mirror while I stuck a pink post-it note on the inside part of the chest where I wanted the bat stencil to go. Placement here isn’t super critical, I just wanted to avoid having it placed too low, or where I didn’t everyone to look (if you know what I mean 😉 ) I pinned that note so it wouldn’t fall off and then put the shirt on my ironing board. I was then able to see through the shirt to that post-it to position the stencil.

Ironing on the freezer paper for a bat shirt
If you look closely you can see the pink post-it note I stuck on the inside to figure out where I wanted the location for the artwork.

With a dry iron on the “Cotton” setting I ironed on the bat stencil first, and then carefully placed the little letters inside. I used the tip of the iron to touch the top of each letter so they’d stay put, and then went back and put the whole heat of the iron on all the letters to seal them well. I used more of a pressing motion than a normal ironing motion to get everything set.

A cut up piece of cereal box separated the front from the back of my shirt and I sponge daubed on some black fabric paint. After it dried I peeled up the paper and let it dry another 24 hours before ironing it inside out, as per the fabric paint directions.

Freezer paper stencil bat shirt

After thinking about it, I decided the back needed to be decorated, too, so I repeated those steps to create a design that flew along the back up to the shoulder.

Stencils for back of bat shirt
Notice something different between the front cutting file shot and the back? Yup. I got brave and upgraded to Silhouette Studio 4.0

And now I have a unique shirt to wear on Halloween. I made mine on a short sleeved T-shirt to try and outwit the Kansas fall weather – if it’s unseasonably warm, I’m set, and if it is cool, I can wear a long sleeve black T-shirt underneath.

Back view of the bat shirt | suzerspace.com

Halloween Craft Roundup

Crafters and holidays go together like …

Oh man, I don’t know which cliche to use here so I’ll let you fill in that blank.

But really, having a common theme to work around makes for a lot of fun Crafterday Afternoons.

This weekend, I worked on a few fun halloween crafts.

First, I painted up two more tin can Halloween windsocks.

Halloween Windsocks

Then I created these super easy and super fun spiders, based on this tutorial.

spiders

From a package of pipe cleaners (99 cents!) I was able to get 6 big spiders and one tiny guy. I did make them into a garland as suggested, and then are now traveling up my stair rail.

And there is no shortage of ways to make paper pumpkins.

paper pumpkins

Those two above are mashups of a lot of different tutorials. There is this one, which gave me the idea for creasing the leaves, and this one, which uses the strips of paper to make the flatter version. For my stalk, I used a little scrap of a paper bag twisted up to look like the woody stem.

And I recently realized that this is basically the one year anniversary of my purchase of my Silhouette Cameo. So I have to include this throwback shot to one of very first crafts. My phone date stamp says I made this the second day I owned my Cameo.

Frankenstein paper lantern

I used this template for a pyramid box, and added in my own Frankenstein face. I remember it took me all afternoon, and I was so proud of it I ran up the stairs to show Mr. SuzerSpace when it was done.

Batty Chandelier

Free print and cut file to make your own!

This craft is kind of a full circle for me with this artwork.

Last fall, I printed these bats on heavy cover stock, and cut them out with actual scissors for several nights while watching television. This was before I had heard of the Silhouette. The bats were larger, and I was making a garland for my back window. It was slow going, and my hand was getting sore but I really like to decorate that back window, so I kept going.

On one of the nights, on one of the shopping channels*, they were having a craft event, and they were demonstrating a cutting machine. It wasn’t the Silhouette, but I thought that this was something I really might want.

Even Mr. SuzerSpace quickly realized that it would be super helpful for my crafting.

“Call them and order it” he said. “No, it’s too expensive” I replied.

I’m not good at spending money on myself. But seeing that thing in action stuck with me, and by the weekend, I had Googled all the machines and all the reviews and pondered all the Amazon bundles and made a decision.

And so that was the last garland I cut by hand.

For this year, I wanted to make tiny bats to hang from a light fixture I have in my dining room. I never would have attempted this with just hand cutting – too tiny and too many were needed.

But the Silhouette? Easy peasy. It’s a simple Print and Cut project, although I amped it up by double side printing my bats so they could be viewed at all angles.

The steps are simple –

Set up your artwork in the drawing program you like.

Bat drawing for batty chandelier

 

Import it into Silhouette Studio.

Either trace the artwork with an offset, or import a dxf file for the cutting lines.

Turn on the registration marks

bats with registration marks for batty chandelier

SAVE YOUR FILE. You will thank me for including this as an actual step. If you don’t save your file, and you get distracted opening and closing windows, and close it without saving after you have printed but before you have cut, you will be sad.

Print the file. There’s an icon for that:

Print using the Printer Icon in Silhouette Studio

In my case, I then flipped the sheets over and printed a mirror of the image to get the second side. This can be fussy depending on your printer, and you need them to line up to each other very closely to work.

Put a printed sheet on the mat, being sure to have the little registration square in the upper left of the mat, just like the screen for cutting shows it.

bats on mat to cut for batty chandelier

Set up the cutting specs for your paper, and send the job to cut. Repeat for all the sheets you need.

bats with registration marks for batty chandelier

 

For final assembly, I threaded silver thread between the loops and then made bigger loops of thread to tie them on to my light fixture.

bats strung together for batty chandelier

As with many of my crafts, it’s hard to get a good final picture, but you’ll have to trust me, this looks great in my dining room.

batty chandelier | suzerspace.com

If you’d like to make these yourself, click here to download the Silhouette file.

*We watch the shopping channels sometimes like the characters Waldorf and Statler from the Muppets – we heckle the presenters the entire time. It’s good fun 🙂

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Halloween Windsocks

I’ve seen this craft all over Pinterest, with a couple of variations, but essentially it’s all the same technique – cans, paint and fabric create your choice of a themed windsock.

Like most of my crafts, it was easy, fun, and then suddenly took a little weird turn but it ended up just fine.

To start, I saved two aluminum cans from cooking during the week. Many of the craft posts suggest using coffee cans, but the coffee we buy comes in a bag, so that wasn’t a choice.

I painted one can white, and the other green. Fun fact: Fabric paint isn’t just for fabric. My only tube of green paint was part of a fabric paint set, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it on a can. If it didn’t stick, I could just toss it in the recycle bin and start over.

Painted cans for halloween windsocks

While I waited for the paint to dry, I browsed the internet and my Pinterest board full of doodles and practiced making simple but funny/happy ghost and monster faces.

faces for halloween windsocks

Once I had an idea of what I wanted, I used my black sharpie to draw on the outlines of the faces, and then came back and used black and white paint to fill in the details.

For the ghost, I used duct tape to stick on strips of white vinyl inside the bottom rim of the can for the streamers. I happen to work at a company that has vinyl scraps in the trash, but a trash bag or ribbons or even a vinyl tablecloth cut into strips would also work. At the top, I punched a small hole with a hammer and nail, and then screwed a cup hook into that hole, using a wine cork on the inside to hold it all together.

And then my attention turned to my Frankenstein can. And I realized I had painted it upside down – the open end was at the top.

Whoops! It sure was easier to hold onto while I painted it that way, but now I had to figure out how to put the streamers and hooks on it.

I decided to use a bottle opener to cut holes in the bottom of that can, and then threaded through strips of black material. This is much easier (and much less likely to result in a need for a tetanus shot) if you thread them from the outside into the holes to the inside. I pulled each strip up to where I could reach it, and then tied a big knot in each which keeps it from falling back through the hole.

Alternate bottom for halloween windsocks

For the hanger, I punched holes in the sides and threaded some thin gauge wire through, and then twisted that into a hanging loop at the top.

On both versions, I cut the streamer strips at random heights, and then cut a notch in the bottoms to make them a little more finished.

These were fun to make – my plan is to keep saving cans through the month and keep adding to the collection. I’m thinking a vampire, a pumpkin and maybe a mummy?

Frankenstein Halloween Windsock | SuzerSpace.com

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