July 26, 2011

Housewarming Gift

I'm one of those lucky few who get to say that they had AMAZING college roommates, and we still love each other and keep in touch. We don't get to see each other as much as we'd like because our lives have taken us in a lot of different directions, but I love those crazy girls.

My sweet (and frugal and sickeningly cute) friend, Caitie, and her husband Lance recently bought their first house in Asheville, NC and I could not be happier for them.  I decided that I wanted to make her a little sumpin sumpin to welcome her to her new place.  Painted fabric napkins! This particular project was great for several reasons:

1. I got to try out a new painting  technique that I will no doubt use a lot now.
2. It's something she'll use a lot...and therefore think of her dear friend Dana often!
3. Soon after Adam and I got married I realized that it was time to figure out a way to stop wasting so much money on paper towels.  Although I can get them for fairly cheap with coupons, I can get very dependent on paper towels and use way too many.  Plus, I don't like spending money on stuff that ends up in the trash. So I started scouring thrift stores and clearance racks for fabric napkins.  I have a basket full of them in our laundry room, and a bag where I put dirty ones.  Whenever I have room in a load of dirty laundry, I throw some of the dirty napkins in. I've found that a roll of paper towels will last us several weeks now, and BONUS- guests think we're being fancy with our napkins, when in reality I'm just cheap. I wanted to get Caitie started on her collection!
4. Caitie's probably so busy ripping down decades-old floral wallpaper that she won't even have time to get online, thus this post will not ruin the surprise :)

I saw the process here at the thrifty crafter, and it was fairly easy.  If I were to offer any advice to someone wanting to screenprint using this method, it would be to choose a fairly simple shape/design that uses more straight lines than curved one.  Like, seriously, do a square. Or a triangle.  For the record, I'm more likely to do some monogram napkins for friends whose last name is Lemmons than Smith.  That curvy "S" makes me nervous! haha.  Alright, here's the scoop:

1. Gather your materials!

You'll need:
  • plain fabric napkins
  • sponge brush to apply paint
  • permanent fabric paint
  • exacto knife
  • tape (optional, for holding paper to napkin; I didn't do this step... I'm a cheater!)
  • freezer paper
  • stencils
2. Turn on The Bachelorette.  Crafts are more fun with something to make fun of in the background.

3. Use a pencil and stencil to draw your chosen design on the freezer paper.  Draw on the matte side of the freezer paper, shiny side down.

4. Use the exacto knife to cut out the design.  This is where you'll get the whole "choose a simple design" tip from earlier. I did find that it was easier to cut from one point to another point, and then when the direction changed, I left the exacto knife at the same spot and just turned the paper.  This meant my knife was going the same direction the entire time.  Does that even make sense?? Make sure you go slow with this and don't make any extra cuts outside of the design because paint will leak through onto your fabric.  Sad day.

5. Iron the freezer paper onto your napkin, wherever you'd like your design to be.  Iron until all edges are sealed.  I didn't use the steam setting...didn't think that would work out too well.

You can be more responsible and do this on an ironing board or something. 

6. Use your sponge to apply paint within your now-applied paper stencil.

Now, I'm sure you guys are following along very well and I have total confidence in you that you can do this.  For me personally, I need a supervisor for most of my projects.  He gives little input but watches carefully and occassionally does some quality assurance.  He was pretty laid back this time around.  I guess napkins aren't his thing.

7. Do as I say and not as I do and get up and do other things around the house while the paint dries.  I worked on the other napkins for the set, and as I finished one I peeled the paper off the last one I made.  The paint dries pretty quick, but you should probably be safe and just let it dry thoroughly. Once you peel off the paper you'll have some pretty instant gratification...

Not perfect, but who wants a homemade gift without some of that homemade character?

**Once the paint is really dry, put a sheet/towels over the painted part and run your iron over it for a while.  This makes the paint permanent.**

And here's the whole set, ready to be mailed to my sweet, homeowning friend! (I really hope she likes the designs I chose.  My set of stencils didn't come with Care Bear, butterfly, or daisy shapes, so I had to go with what I had. hahaha)

And this, my friends is how you can do some fun personalized gifts or home decor for the holidays on the CHEAP! You can find plain t-shirts, napkins, towels, table runners/clothes and then doctor them up with whatever design you choose! Some monogrammed napkins would be great for a newlywed, and I have plans of doing simple seasonal shapes to make things to jazz up our home for the holidays (a light blue napkin with a white snowflake would be so cute in my kitchen!). 

Have fun!

Boogieboard Cottage


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  1. LOVE!!!!!!!!!! Wonder if wax paper would work as a stencil on walls as well???

  2. Donna, I'm not sure, but remember its freezer paper, not wax paper. I think freezer paper is sturdier and is safe to iron... but wax paper may work on the walls!

  3. I just used freezer paper for the first time the other day and I LOVE it! Love the napkins! Thanks for linking these up! : )

  4. :) Thanks in advance! I will absolutely use these all the time- I don't have any cloth napkins believe it or not. Love you sweet Dana!

  5. Pretty much amazing! I love the ideas of cloth napkins as I go through so many paper napkins as well. I'll definitely be looking into doing this in my spare time. Thanks for this great idea! ~Kim

  6. Oh my gosh, so cute!!! Such a great housewarming gift! I would have loved it if someone gave me these! Thank you so much for linking up to Strut Your Stuff Saturday! We are so grateful for your support and we hope that you will be back tomorrow to share more great ideas!
    Camille @

  7. Thanks so much for linking up to Delicately Constructed Fridays!! I liked this so much I featured it this evening!! Come by and check it out!
    Have a great Friday, hope to see you tomorrow for this weeks party!


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