I don’t exactly remember when (if ever) buying back-to-school clothes and shoes went from feeling, “Blah, summer freedom is screeching to an end…” to “Yay, shopping!” I do know that any mention of the “s” word puts scowls on the faces of the kids in my life right now.
To ease into school shopping mode and take advantage of the sales on summer canvas shoes, we pulled out the freezer paper and customized our new kicks with homemade stencils.
Freezer paper (not wax paper!)
Mini sewing iron
Fabric (or acrylic) paint
Grab the paper and pencil and start out by drawing simple shapes and designs. Keep in mind that the available area on your shoes is pretty small. Also consider that when it’s time to transfer the design to the shoes, you are not working on an entirely flat surface, so making complex shapes could be difficult to transfer. Simple shapes will be successful.
Cut the shapes out of your copy paper and make sure they fit on your shoes.
Tape a piece of freezer paper (waxy side down) on a cutting board.
Tape the copy paper drawings on top of the freezer paper. Use as much tape as needed to secure your work.
Use the craft knife to carefully cut out the shapes. Kids younger than 11 years old may need some help with handheld blades.
Be sure you are cutting through both the copy paper and the freezer paper layers.
A handful of paper towels stuffed into the toes of your shoes make it much easier to iron on your stencils. You can also use fabric or socks for this, as long as they don’t make your shoes look lumpy.
Gently rub the mini iron around your stencil. Be careful not to press the iron down for so long that you burn the canvas!
Dab on the paint. Blending colors adds some depth and dimension. Try not to get your paint too watery, as it may seep under the stencil.
When the paint is dry, slowly peel off the freezer paper stencil and admire your work!
Stencils can only be applied once, but you CAN use your painted stencil to trace the same shape onto a new piece of paper. Cut out that new drawing, iron it on and paint as desired for two matching designs.
If any waxy residue remains on your shoes, place a piece of brown paper bag or brown paper towel onto the affected area, then iron the paper lightly to lift the wax. This also helps heat-set your paint.
Slip on your custom shoes and enjoy the remaining days of summer!