The Tote Bag

It all started with this post at Angry Chicken. I adore silhouettes. I have this fascination with them that’s kinda nutty. But I do. So I of course loved her t-shirt. And I knew in a flash what I wanted to do with that awesome tutorial- a tote bag. I mean really I could have a million tote bags like that and be happy. Ok fine and I also really wanted to do it to every single solid color tank top I own. Now I’ve mentioned before that I’m in a swap for a private group that’s a May Flowers swap. It’s $20 of scrapbooking goodies and a handmade item. The only requirement for the handmade was flowers. It had to have flowers. It could be anything at all but it just had to have some kind of flower thing. I can do that. I can do flowers. Flowers and I are friends.

About a week or so after that post I bought a really cute purse at Michael’s that was just begging for a lovely stencil on the front. Except, I didn’t realize that the purse was lined and that ironing on a template would not be very easy. I surfed the internet unknowingly and decided to work with this image for a stencil.

I’d just leave out a lot of the details and stuff and still get big impact. I traced I cut I painted. I let it dry. And then when I pulled it off it was clear I had painted on too thickly and because of the lining the stencil just hadn’t stuck as neatly as it should. So I had some botched areas. I actually like it and kept for myself because I didn’t feel comfortable giving it away with the trouble spots.

It works from far away but like I said, I wouldn’t give it to someone. I gave up on freezer paper stencils but not craft blogs and so I could not escape the freezer paper stencil phenomenom. It was everywhere! So I started thinking if so many people could get it then dammit I could too! I picked up a simple white canvas tote bag at Michael’s. No lining on this one. No tricky nothing. Just white canvas. And I tried again but this time I decided I wanted a different graphic. This tote bag was larger and a single hibsicus just wouldn’t cut it.

So, I started with this from my living room (I bought it at Urban Outfitters ages ago).

I went to Photoshop and cut and paint bucketed and erased and rotated and ended up with this:

Which I then printed and traced onto freezer paper which then got cut up to end up like this:

I ironed it on to the bag. I remembered the suggestion to iron on a piece to the inside but when I went to start flipping the bag inside out, the stencil started coming off and I had to re-iron it. I debated putting something underneath because I was mostly concerned about the paint leaking through. Then I decided to live life on the crafting edge and forgot about all that precautionary crap. I then got a brush and my black fabric paint and with a much lighter hand painted on my black fabric paint. I held my breath in some spots, cursed in others, let out sighs of relief in other parts. And I had this at the end:

I came online and read blogs, message boards, did some work for tomorrow and kept turning to look at the drying stencil. “Didn’t someone recently write that they didn’t know if the paint was supposed to dry or not so they didn’t wait and just peeled off the stencil with no problem?”, I thought to myself. “Yes but there are also people who got the stencil to cooperate on their first try where you… didn’t.” I hummed I hawed. To hell with it. Let’s go for that whole crafting on the edge thing again. I went and started to peel so slowly and bit my lip a lot and cursed some more and whewed a lot and finally it was all done.

I really like it. It’s simple but has high contrast to it. However, part of me is saying it’s way too plain. Sure it took ages to get the image right and then to trace it and then to cut it out with manicure scissors and then to iron it on and paint it on but in the end… I’m not sure it LOOKS that way. And yet maybe it does. Maybe simple and understated is best. I think maybe I’ll give the birds eyes and call it a day. Yeah that could work.

So there you have it. My adventures in freezer paper stencil. The good news? I can cross something off my Unfinished Project List!! 🙂

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