A couple weeks ago I went down to Texas, mostly to see my new baby niece, but also to celebrate my dad's 50th birthday. in keeping with my New Year's Resolution this year, I had to give him something more than a card, so I decided that the freezer paper portraits I made of my kids would be just the thing. Here's what Emma's looked like last time I showed you:
I thought the green was a little overpowering, so I planned on retro-fitting a background design around Emma's head.
I mapped out the flowers and random dots that I wanted to use. I was trying to give it a screen-printed look with overlapping graphic images. I drew these directly onto the freezer paper, plastic side down.
After I cut out the shapes with my swivel knife (fiskars makes a great one!) I ironed the stencils directly onto the canvas. This can be a little tricky, since the heat makes the paint want to come up. Just be careful and use a cloth between the canvas and the iron.
Then, paint inside the stencil design. The ironing made a really good seal, so there isn't much seeping. I tried to keep the yellow paint from overlapping the black. It's supposed to be a background, remember?
Ta Da! Next came the flowers. I let them overlap the dots for a layered feel, but not the black of the portrait.
Cutting out those flowers was tedious, but worth it for the effect. You have to cut out each image separately, since the stencils can only be used once. They tear when you remove them from the ironed surface.
Ethan's was a little easier (relatively) since I was able to do the background first.
Start by painting your canvas a solid color. Then plot out your background shapes. It helps to know approximately where the portrait will be, so your background isn't crowding or lacking anywhere.
I love peeling off that freezer paper! Next comes the portrait. I printed out the stark black and white image, then traced it onto the freezer paper by taping both to a sunny window. Then I filled in all of the stencil portions with black sharpie so there would be no confusion during cutting. The black goes, and the white stays.
Then cut and cut and cut. Ouch. Hand cramp. There are only two "white islands on this stencil. They are the reflections in Ethan's eyes. When I cut these out, I had to save the white dots and iron them on before painting.
The reward for all of that cutting is almost instant. Carefully iron the stencil down, and paint.
I think the painted stencil looks cool, above. It even looks like Ethan to me.
And the reveal!
My dad liked them. Donnie was annoyed that I gave them away. I guess I'll be making a couple more. Maybe for Christmas.
Happy birthday, Dad!