Tag Archives: Silhouette

T.S.N.E.M – Paper Piecing

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No lie, when I first hear about paper piecing or English Paper piecing, I thought it was putting paper together to make a picture, like a puzzle. Which sounds neat in itself (and I may still try that out as an idea), but when I learned that it was actually a quilting method, I was intrigued and put off a little.

This month’s challenge was a heavy craft. However, I wasn’t really inspired by anything I found. And, I didn’t really have the proper supplies on hand and I’m still sticking with my resolution to use supplies I already have on hand. I opted to try out a project I’ve been researching for a couple of summers now: paper piecing.

Paper piecing is a method of quilting where small or complex pieces of paper are used to form a quilt block. You take a printed copy of the design you are making and working in numerical order, sew each piece together. This post is in no way going to be a tutorial, I have much more to learn about the process.

Most people print out the pattern with a printer, however, we don’t have a home printer. I used my Silhouette to draw out the pattern for me!

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The best part of paper piecing is that you use up all those fabric scraps saved from previous projects. I’m sure I used more fabric that necessary when sewing my block together. As I learn, I’m sure I’ll become a better judge of what sized fabric pieces to use.

I chose the easiest pattern (that was still cute) to make for this project. I found a spool of thread. This block also happened to be all one square rather than done in sections (I’ll try one of those next). I’m also quite proud that I only had to rip out one seam!

Once you finish sewing all the pieces together, they will be sewn to your pattern paper. This means you get to start the best part, pulling the paper off. It was very satisfying to pull all those pieces off.

While I enjoyed that paper piecing, I think I need some practice on the actual quilting of the block. I certainly need to work on the binding. Overall, I am pleased with the project and can’t wait to try out more paper pieced blocks.

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To check out other projects submitted for this month, check here: TSNEM June

To join in for July, check out the suggested project here: TSNEM Projects

 

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Magical Water Bottle

Sometimes, I have a difficult time choosing a gift for my friends and family. I want the gift to feel special and thoughtful. I know I could give a gift card, but that feels impersonal.

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This particular gift managed to combine my friend’s love of Harry Potter and her determination to be healthier. A person like that needs a magical water bottle.

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The hardest part of this search was finding an appropriate bottle. Her daily goal is to drink a gallon of water, so I needed a container that held a gallon of water. I also wanted it to be good quality and lightweight. With daily use, it was going to get bumped around. Water itself is heavy, I didn’t want the bottle to be a hindrance.

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I finally stumbled across the perfect bottle on Amazon. It looks like a miniature version of the water cooler jugs. And it has a handle.

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To make it magical, I used my Silhouette and some permanent vinyl. I love my Silhouette and really do believe it is magical. It has made many projects so much easier. I had the permanent vinyl hanging around from back when Pick Your Plum still sold craft supplies.

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I made the design using a Harry Potter font I found online. For those that don’t know, Aguamenti is the spell to fill a container with water.

 

After cutting, I used transfer paper to help get the placement just right on the bottle. Transfer paper is a life saver when it comes to positioning vinyl. Transfer paper is essentially a giant sticker to help you position stickers. My version has a one inch grid that helps keep the design straight. After weeding your design, you place the transfer paper over the design. You then pull the backing of your vinyl off, leaving the sticky part exposed but still in the correct position. Using the grid to keep things straight, stick everything into its final place. Slowly peel back the transfer paper leaving the vinyl in place.

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Yeti for my Yeti

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I am not cool. Simple things make me laugh. Like really dumb jokes. Like this one:

Q: Why don’t you ever see elephants hiding in trees?
A: They’re very good at it.

I laughed for like five minutes about this joke. I love the jokes on the bazooka gum.

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I received a Yeti for my birthday last year.  Before I was allowed to open the present with the cup. I opened a gift that contained a stuffed Yeti. Because I asked for a Yeti. Apparently I needed to be more specific.

I intended to personalise it immediately, but was at a loss for which design to use. I’m not a fan of monograms. I also considered a collage of all my hobbies, but that would have been a lot of work.

During Christmas break, I was watching Rudolph (because I watch all the Christmas movies) and had the best idea ever. My Yeti needed its own Yeti!

Of course, it took me another month to actually commence with the project. My first hurdle, was finding the right Yeti. I spent hours looking through images. I needed a simple version that would translate well into a single colour. I finally found an image that only needed a little editing to be just right.

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Conveniently, I have a stash of vinyl from the early days of pickyourplum.com. This stash includes permanent outdoor vinyl in white.

Of course, I have my trusty Silhouette to do the cutting for me. I highly recommend using gridded transfer paper to make sure your design is placed straight.

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Now I get to giggle about my Yeti Yeti every day. I love it! I told you I wasn’t cool.

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T.S.N.E.M. February – Shhh…

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While I was living overseas, my sister sent me a mug. I used this mug daily. It travelled to work with me (it’s not a travel mug). It has by now seen better days. The handle is long gone and I have to be careful of the side I use. I refuse to toss it.

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It still gets occasional use and was the inspiration behind this month’s project. The TSNEM project for the month was a tactile craft such as candle or soap making. Or to make something with clay. None of the ideas I found sparked an interest.

I have however been testing out some mixed media art projects, so I decided to complete an idea for this month’s project.

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I must confess to trying to combine 2 challenges into one with this project. Adventures in Making announced their DIY Craft Challenge is back this year and I want to participate. My goal is to complete 2 separate projects, but that just didn’t happen this month.

Since the DIY challenge was Stitches & Threads, I decided to try out paper embroidery. Which is essentially stitching on paper.

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I started by wrapping chipboard with fabric leftover from a dress I made. I used tacky glue. The size of my piece is 6 inches by 6 inches.

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Since we are talking about reading here, I used my Silhouette to cut out a silhouette of a stack of books. I don’t recall where I found the silhouette of books. the file was on my computer. Probably from another unfinished project idea. My original thought was to use dark brown vinyl, but came across scraps of the pleather we used for my Halloween costume and decided it would replicate an old book feel a little better. The Silhouette didn’t cut all the way through the thicker fabric, but it scored it deep enough for me to then quickly trim out the design.

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For the paper stitching, I used a design from Flamingo Toes. She has a Shhhh… I’m reading pattern available. My plan was to use the Silhouette to cut a book page into a decorative shape. I quickly discovered that old book pages are not quite sturdy enough.  I traced a rough shape and then hand cut the paper.

For the stitching, I traced the lettering onto the page. Then using a pin, I pricked holes along the tracing. I’m going to need a little practice getting the holes the same distance apart. Since this paper was fairly thin, I was very careful while stitching not to pull the thread too roughly so I didn’t pull out stitches. I did pull a few from when I places the holes too close together. I was able to just make the stitch longer to fix the stitch.

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For finishing touches, I added a couple buttons to the corners of the paper. I had planned to stitch around the edge of the page, but I kept pulling out the stitches. I trimmed off the little bit I had stitched and left it as is.

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To complete the project, I plan on matting and framing it to hang somewhere in my house.

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Merry Christmas?!

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Yes, I know, I’m a few days weeks behind. I decided to relax and enjoy my holiday time. Without realising it, my husband and I kept up a hectic pace from early summer until now. We needed rest. I got a little more rest than he did as I get Christmas off (Yay! for being a teacher.) I did my best to keep activities to a minimum when I knew he would be home so we could relax. I think I did okay.

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This decision to relax even seeped into our yearly Christmas card. For the past few years, our cards have involved photo shoots, designing and constructing of the cards, and then the addressing and mailing of said cards. This year, we wimped out a little.

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Thankfully, we have this collection of wedding photos that only a select few have seen. (They will be released to the public soon, if they haven’t already by the time this is published.) We agreed to do something we have never done. We (oh, it hurts to even type it) added doodles to a photo. I feel slightly ashamed. It did turn out rather nicely.

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Even the cards this year, while homemade, were less elaborate. My first plan was to cut an opening in the front of the cards so you could see the photo. This plan was thwarted when I couldn’t find a pack of green cardstock. Red, yes. Black, yes. White, yes. Green, nope! We did come across one measly pack of solid green cards. It did not contain enough cards. We did find pre-made plaid cards and went for those.

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Rather than cut shapes out of the cards, I used my silhouette to make ornament shapes to attach to the front of the cards. I used a bright gold-yellow to make the ornament toppers. Had there been more time, I would have included a little wire hanger. The ornaments were cut in red, green, and blue.

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To spice them up a little, I added an embossed Merry Christmas to the front of each stamp.

Christmas Cards 2014

 

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Will you be my…

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There are any number of ways to ask someone to join your bridal party. I wanted to set the tone for the wedding from the beginning. I toyed with loads of options before settling on how our wedding ultimately looked. I wanted to pull into the mix many of the things that were important to us and play into a large portion of our lives. We have many varied interests, I managed to narrow it down to sewing, video games, and reading. While I tried really hard to work in photography, I never found a way to get it in. There were also many ideas I didn’t manage to make happen. Nevertheless, the day turned out amazingly! If anything went wrong, I have no idea. I managed to surround myself with people who kept everything going without needing to consult with me.

Back to the topic at hand, bridal party invites. I hadn’t planned on making my own, but I just couldn’t find the perfect invite to use. I found many parts and pieces of invites that I liked (Etsy.com is an amazing source), so I decided to cobble them together and create my own.

I started out wanting to copy a few ideas I had found, but no one had quite the right supplies. I had about given up, when inspiration struck. I was in the midst of making my wedding dress. Why not use wooden spools (sewing) as the base? I could then wrap the message around the middle like a secret message.

Supplies:

  • wooden spool
  • book pages
  • washi tape
  • paint
  • card stock
  • silhouette
  • baker’s twine

Steps:

First, paint your spools in your desired color. I used a wine color.

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Second, while the paint is drying, cut strips from the book pages that are just wide enough to fit on the flat part of the spool. I had to glue a couple strips together to make them long enough.

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Third,  using your silhouette, create a design to print your “Will you be my bridesmaid/maid of honor/bridesman?” strips. Using the pen option, trace the design onto your card stock. Alternatively, you can also hand write your message or print them on a printer. Cut out the strips.

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Fourth,  carefully glue the card stock onto the book page stripes. Give them a minute to dry.

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Fifth, using washi tape, cover the outside end of the paper strips and punch a hole into the middle. This will give you a place to secure your string to keep the paper wrapped tightly. Tie a length of baker’s twine through the hole.

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Sixth, using another piece of washi tape, attach the beginning end of your paper strips to the middle of the painted spools. You may need to use a little glue to keep the tape secure.

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Seventh, wrap the paper around the spool. Use the baker’s twine to secure it in place.

They are ready to be sent or hand delivered. I shipped mine out in a padded envelope since most of my bridal party lived a considerable distance away. If everyone lives close, this would be a great reason for a small party!

Will you be my...

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Subway Art Pledge…a Tutorial

I know traditionally red, white, & blue are used with decorations pertaining being patriotic, but those colours didn’t match my classroom. I stood in the paint aisle for 15 minutes debating between traditional and coordinating. In the end, I went with coordinating, otherwise the finished product would have bothered me all year long.

This project was inspired by a post from Infarrantly Creative and a July 4th post on how to make a distressed wood subway art pledge of allegiance sign. Since stumbling across the post, I’ve spent a little time exploring the blog and have found some interesting projects.  I was spurred into action by Michael’s Crafts Create 2 Educate sweepstakes. I probably won’t win, but at least I completed a project for my classroom.

Supplies Needed:

  • Stretched Canvas 12×24
  • Acrylic Paint in Blue, Pink, Purple, and Green (or your preferred colours)
  • Paint brushes (I used foam brushes)
  • Silhouette Cameo
  • Silhouette Studio
  • Contact Paper
  • Transfer Paper

To begin, create a studio file using various fonts to type out the pledge of allegiance (make certain to spell the words correctly!). Or if you contact me, I’ll gladly email you my file.

Next, begin to cut the contact paper, I set my speed to 2 and my blade to 2. I ended up dividing the file into 4 sections to do the cutting. I also discovered that you need to select cut not cut edge when choosing a specific portion of the design. If you select cut edge, you are telling the machine to cut the edges of the lines, so it will cut inside and outside your letters. We don’t want that!

Once a section is cut, you can attach it to the canvas. This takes a little bit of work. First, stick the transfer paper to the non-sticky side of the contact paper. Second, peel the backing off of the contact paper and any part of the design you want painted. You will be left with what looks like a stencil. Third, using the grid on the transfer paper, place the contact paper on your canvas. Fourth, carefully peel off the transfer paper making sure the contact paper stays firmly adhered to the canvas.

Before painting, make certain there are no air bubbles in the contact paper. I used my fingers to smooth around the edges. Just before painting, I smoothed the edges again.

Now the fun begins. I began at the top and painted all of the pink first, then blue, then green, and finally purple. Where the words are close together, be careful not to mix the paint colors. Let the paint dry and determine if you need another coat of paint. I think I did about 3 coats.

Let the canvas sit for a few hours before peeling off the contact paper. If you pull it off before the paint is completely dry, you may accidentally pull up the paint as well. I wish I had a photo of this step, my fiance looked cute doing this step for me!

Finally, spray a clear coating over the entire canvas to help protect your wonderful work of art!

I think I have a little touch up work to do, a few of my o’s and a’s lost their center during the weeding process.

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I now Pronounce…

We recently attended a wedding for a very dear couple. It was a small, private event, and we were delighted to be included. Due to the smallness of the occasion, there wasn’t a registry, but we wanted to give a gift. This allowed me to create a gift that would be special to the couple. It took me a few days to narrow down my final project. I needed to find something that would travel, my original idea of kitchen knives didn’t make it! Inspiration hit while I was wandering around Target looking for a card and other ideas. I saw the pyjamas and thought personalised boxers! Having just completed the Farkle tray for my mum, I knew the iron-on vinyl would be perfect.

I knew I had red vinyl at home, so I found what I thought were black and white checked boxers (to go with the wedding theme); turns out they were navy, don’t tell anyone! Follow along for a quick tutorial on how to create your own.

Items Needed:

  • 2 pairs of cotton boxers in the proper sizes ( I used a med and XL)
  • Heat Transfer (Iron -on) Vinyl ( I bought mine from Pick Your Plum)
  • Iron
  • Silhouette Cameo
  • Silhouette Studio

Directions:

First, open up your Silhouette software (or whatever program you use). Create a new document the size of your heat transfer vinyl. My sheet was 8″x11″. Choose the Pacifico font.

Second: Measure your boxer shorts to find how much space you have to place your cut-outs. I had a pair of medium and x-large shorts. Using the medium’s measurements, I made my cut-outs 4 inches high and just over 6 inches wide. The Mr. was a little bit wider.

Third: Using the text tool, type Mr. onto your file. Select the typing so it is adjustable. Click on the Modify button and weld the letters together. Resize the text to the desired size. Select the replicate button and choose mirror left. Delete the first Mr. and position the mirrored image so it ready to cut. Repeat these steps to create a Mrs. image.

Fourth: Place your transfer vinyl on your cutting mat so the vinyl side is up and the plastic backing is stuck to the mat. I always use a slow cutting setting; usually 2 or 3. And for this project, I set the blade to 4; you only want to cut the vinyl and not the plastic backing. Once cut, weed the design, making certain to get the center of the s. Cut the plastic so the Mr. and Mrs. are separated.

Fifth: Heat up your iron to the cotton setting. I gave mine about 5 minutes to heat up. Take a few minutes to press the boxers, you don’t want to accidentally iron over a fold.

Sixth: Position the cut-out on the shorts where you want them to be ironed on. I placed mine about an inch and a half above the hem and had the end about 4 inches from the side seam. I wanted the image visible on the front of the leg, not on the side, so I didn’t place it right next to the side seam. Now is the time to play around with different locations, once you start to iron, you won’t be able to move it.

  

Seventh: Let’s Iron! I iron directly on the plastic backing. I found that even a piece of muslin stopped too much heat. I keep the iron moving. After about 30 seconds, I do a quick test by pulling up a corner of the plastic. The vinyl should stick to the fabric. Continue ironing until the plastic comes up with ease. (I did find that you can go back later, just hang on to the plastic backing.)

You now have an awesome pair of Mr. & Mrs. boxers!

 

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Farkle Tray a Tutorial

When visiting my parents back in May, I was subjected to many games of Farkle. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, it is a dice game played with 6 dice. The person to 10,000 points first, wins. (Go here for further details.) It is the only game I’ve ever seen my dad enjoy and play on a regular basis. While playing, my mum has a habit of saying “That’s almost doubles!” after everyone’s first roll. This became the inspiration for this project.  The second part of my inspiration came from my parents using a dish towel to dull the noise of the dice as they hit the table. I thought I would surprise them with a tray to play on.

The most difficult part of this project was finding the right tray. I wanted to find an unfinished wood tray with straight sides and a flat bottom. I checked a couple local craft stores, but didn’t really find anything. I finally found just the right tray at my friend Melissa’s shop Deja Vu Treasures when I went to visit.

Farkle (Game) Tray Tutorial

Items needed:

  • Wooden Tray
  • Paint (I used plum acrylic paint from JoAnn Fabrics)
  • Silhouette Cameo
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl (I used apple green)
  • Iron
  • Duck Cloth (I used unbleached)
  • Low Loft Batting
  • Spray Adhesive

Directions:

I started by sanding the tray. The one I found was painted blue, so I needed to sand off as much paint as possible.

Paint the tray. I used a foam brush and applied 3 coats. You could finish with a sealer, but I forgot until it was too late.

Create a design using your Silhouette software with your quote or chosen design. You could also use pre-cut iron-on letters or draw your design by hand. Using your Silhouette, cut out your quote. Remember to mirror your image or you will be ironing everything on in reverse. Weed around your design. Make certain to get out the centers of all the letters. Anything left, will be ironed on to your fabric.

If you haven’t already, make sure to iron your fabric flat and trim to the exact size you need. My tray was 18×13, so I cut my fabric 22×17 so I could fold the edges over. Place your design on the fabric. This is the time to make any adjustments. Once it’s ironed on, it’s not going anywhere! Set your iron to the cotton setting. Since my vinyl had a plastic backing, I used that as a buffer between the vinyl and the iron. (I did start with a piece of cotton fabric, but the vinyl wasn’t sticking.) I started by ironing the center piece down first. The plastic backing on my vinyl overlapped, so I chose to do one piece at a time.

  
Cut a piece of batting to the size of your tray. Mine was 18×13. Wrap your canvas around the batting. I then hand sewed the flaps down using a slip stitch. You could also use spray adhesive. Set the pad into the tray to make certain it fits properly. Spray the tray with your spray adhesive. Then very carefully set the pad into the tray. Depending on the strength of your adhesive, you may only get one try.


Enjoy your dice game!

A few notes:

I bought my iron-on vinyl from Pick Your Plum, but you can also buy it here.

I used the font Slick Wave, which you can find here.

My mum was also going to add felt pads to the bottom so she didn’t scratch any table tops.

If you would like a copy of my Silhouette file, please e-mail me.

I did add an apostrophe to the word that’s.

 

Added to Made by you Monday’s List.

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Binary Love

I had grand plans for Valentine’s Day. Had being the key word. I wanted to make a special dinner. There was going to be dessert (desert?, I can never remember). I also had a couple of gifts I wanted to create. In the end, we ordered Chinese take-out and watched a movie on Netflix. I guess that’s what happens when you both work very long days. I’m fairly certain we did something special over the weekend, but it’s not quite the same.

One of the first projects I completed is one of my Valentine’s Day gifts. I found the idea from The Boy Trifecta. It’s a wonderful blog with lots of boy friendly ideas. These ideas often translate well into things I can make for my tech geeky boyfriend. Such as this shirt. Emily (I hope she doesn’t mind me using her first name as if I know her), made the design for her Silhouette. Then she was marvelous enough to share it with anyone who asked.

This was my first non-paper project using my Silhouette. I had planned on using a sheet of stencil plastic to cut the design into. That plan was going well until the plastic sheet slipped on the cutting mat and the cuts got all messed up. I think next time I’ll not use the cutting mat (I learned after the fact this is possible).

My back-up plan involved transfer paper. I thought was for such a purpose. Turns out it’s really for transferring vinyl designs onto their final destination. Who knew? However, the grid side is just the right amount of sticky to work perfectly as a stencil. I believe I set the blade to 1 or 2 (I should take better notes while doing projects). The stencil came out wonderfully. I did edit the pattern a bit, I took off the bottom line that said nerd love. My boyfriend likes a bit of a mystery with his t-shirts.

I placed the stencil on the shirt, doing my best to center the design and making certain it wasn’t too high. I could have measured and been more scientific about the process, but I eyeballed it instead.

I don’t know if you have been fabric paint shopping recently, but it is really expensive these days. Plus I didn’t find a color I wanted. I settled on using Folk Art Acrylic Paint in a bright yellow. I’ve used acrylic paint on fabric before with good results. It fades a bit after a few washes, but it doesn’t flake off or wash out. I also swear I have foam brushes in the house somewhere, but the state of my craft room has them well hidden. I found this brush in our everything drawer in the kitchen.

While I was painting, I made certain to put on an extra thick coat. Some of the paint is going to soak into the t-shirt material. Following the first coat, I went back over the design with another coat. I didn’t wait for it to dry, I just added a bit more paint.

I did make sure to let the paint dry for about an hour before carefully peeling off the stencil. Because I wasn’t super careful and did paint the paper as well as the shirt, I wanted to be extra careful in peeling off the stencil paper. I didn’t want any paint to come off with the stencil.

If I had been super romantic, I would have taken the time to wrap the shirt before my boyfriend came home from work. Instead, I left it on the newly cleaned off kitchen table. I think he enjoyed the surprise. I even caught him googling the code to discover the meaning.

The confirmation that he likes the shirt was him wearing it to work just a couple of days later! And then discovering that he posted a photo to facebook!

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