Monday, July 16, 2012

Give your litte superheroes, capes!

It all started when we received a Superman Shirt as a hand-me-down.  My five-year-old expected it to be for him--most of our hand-me-downs are. When I tried to explain that it was too small, he wouldn't listen.  My son wore that shirt everywhere--sporting a cute li'l flesh belt between his shirt and pants (even without holding his arms above his head like little brother up there).  I didn't even try to tell him I thought it might be a pajama shirt.  That would have been too cruel.

Finally, enough was enough.  I couldn't let him wear that shirt anymore.  But the next step, passing the shirt down to his little brother, was going to be too much for my big boy.  I tried to approach it with tact and understanding, but still there were tears.  Suddenly I heard myself say, "I'll make you another one!  You can help me!"  He was sold. I had my work cut out for me!

To paint the Superman logo (the S Shield, if you are serious about your super heroes...which I'm not) on a shirt, you will need these things:
  • Freezer paper (from the grocery store).
  • Fabric Paint: Red, Yellow, and Black.  What, you noticed mine is brown?  Shhh.  Don't tell.  I forgot to buy black.  Luckily I had some brown in my stash.  It worked great!
  • A Print Out of the S Shield, which I got from Wikipedia.
  • An Iron
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Foam Brush
  • Newspaper
  • Measuring Tape
  • Craft Knife
  • Cutting Mat
  • A Ruler
  • A pen or marker
Tape down your S Shield picture. Tape a piece of freezer paper over the picture, shiny side down, and trace the Shield onto the freezer paper.  I found that coloring the shield made things easier later.  Cut out the design.  I used my craft knife, ruler, and cutting mat for all the straight lines, and my scissors for the curved lines.  For easier painting, you might consider making three different tracings and only cutting out one color on each one.  I didn't think of this in time.  It worked out, but I had to be really careful when I painted later.

Next, iron the stencil you have made, again shiny side down, to your shirt.  If you didn't make separate stencils for each color, you will need to save all the pieces.  It's a big puzzle.  Leave all of one color off first--I suggest black (or brown).

Put newspaper inside the shirt so the paint won't leak through. Paint your first color.  Let it dry.  Use your iron to reconfigure your stencil for the next color. Paint, dry, repeat.

Look what you MADE!

I made the capes before we started this blog, which means no pictures!  But I made a diagram for you instead.  Click on it to make it bigger.

I bought a foot (1/3 of a yard) of some plain red cotton fabric (on SALE!).  If you would like longer capes, buy more fabric.  You will have enough for two capes.
I didn't sew my gathered fabric to anything.  If you would like a more finished product, you could sew a ribbon on it (it would give a nice smooth surface to attach your Velcro).  But since my two little superheroes wouldn't care a bit (and will probably dirty/shred/lose their capes in a couple of weeks), I decided to go with quick n' dirty.

All you need now is some Velcro!  I used "Fabric Fusion" squares (which simply iron on), but you could use "Sew On" as well. Attach Velcro to your cape on each corner and to your shirt. 

Give your project to the nearest Super Man (or girl--I know a very cute SuperCowgirl!) and watch them fly away.


  1. WOW! Great job! I've always wondered how to do this! Great tutorial!

  2. Hey Adriane! Did you know you could make this even easier by running your freezer paper through your printer? I do it all the time. Of course you print on the non shiny side. I just cut a piece very cleanly to 8.5 by 11 then print on the paper side!

    FYI you can also run heat and bond through your printer, though the paper side is a little waxy so it needs to dry well before pressing - AND you need to print the image backwards since heat and bond would be for Applique not stenciling.

    Great Tute!

    1. Ooooh! Thanks! That would have saved me several steps. I can't wait to try printing on freezer paper!

      I also learned that I can use freezer paper in my Silhouette (cut shiny side up so it doesn't snag). It works great for doing really detailed pieces.



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