I know there are many, many tutorials for freezer paper stenciling on the web and I don't in any way claim to be an expert. That said, a few people have asked if I can explain how I've done the shirts for the boys. So, here is my first attempt at a tutorial.
The first step is to select an image to use for your stencil. I found most of mine at www.spraypaintstencils.com. However, there are many other online sources for free stencil images. If you do a Google search using the keywords "free stencils", you will come up with many options. To find my woolly mammoth image, I actually did a search for "woolly mammoth stencil". The photo on the left shows the turtle stencil I printed out.
The next step is to trace the image onto the "dull" or "plain" side of your freezer paper. Please read this post for more information about freezer paper. As you can see from the photo on the right, the freezer paper is opaque enough to just lay on top of your image and trace. In other words, you shouldn't need to tape the image to your window or use a light box.
After tracing, you will carefully cut out the inside of your image. Most tutorials recommend using an x-acto knife. I don't have one, and even if I did, I'm not sure how well I could cut with one. So, I wanted you to know I just used my little nail scissors as well as a good pair of scrapbooking scissors and it worked just fine.
In the next step, you will place your cut-out image shiny side down on the shirt and iron over it to adhere it to the shirt. I just used a cotton setting on my iron and it adhered easily. Just be sure all little points of your stencil are securely stuck before painting, then the paint won't bleed under the stencil. (Sorry the photo above is the flag shirt--I forgot to take a photo of the turtle before painting it!! I just wanted to show what it looks like before painting.)
NOTE: Most tutorials I read recommended either putting a piece of cardboard inside the shirt or ironing a piece of freezer paper inside the shirt behind where you are placing your image. I tried the freezer paper. I admit that I had a hard time getting it actually ironed to the back side of the front of the shirt, so I just kind of placed it (shiny side facing the front of the shirt) inside the shirt right behind where I was going to iron the stencil on. This seemed to work just fine.
Next step, of course, is painting! Through a little trial and error, I found that the fabric paint pictured above works very well. It covers well even on dark colors and doesn't dry as stiff as the 3-D paint I used on the flag shirts. Additionally, it doesn't have much of an odor when dry. As you can see from the photo on the left, I just squirted it onto a paper plate. I also found that using the round spongey stencil brushes gave me the best coverage. On most of the shirts I have done, I've only needed one coat of paint using the round brush. Occasionally, I've needed to add a second coat, however.
When painting, be sure to thoroughly cover the area inside the stencil. Don't be afraid to get paint on the freezer paper stencil itself; it shouldn't bleed under the stencil if you've ironed carefully. Allow the paint to dry as directed on the paint bottle. My paint recommended a 4 hour drying time. Once the paint is dry, carefully peel off your stencil. And that's it!! I also read on several tutorials that you need to heat-set your paint. However, none of the paints I used recommended this on the directions on the bottle. And when I asked the sales-person at Hobby Lobby, she also said that is not necessary. You DO need to allow the paint to dry for about 72 hours before washing your shirt, and the paint bottle recommends turning the shirt inside-out to wash. I have washed one of my flag shirts, and it came out beautifully after the wash/dry cycle.
So...........go forth and stencil!! Hope this info was helpful. If you have a successful stenciling experience, please email me and include a photo. I would love to see what you create.