Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gondor Hoodie!

We are seeing the midnight showing of the Hobbit next week, and I am stoked! I’m too pregnant to really dress up, but I surprised my hubby with this:

I made a stencil of the tree and used fabric paint on a regular old hoodie from Wal-mart. Feel that LOTR spirit!

Stencil Blanks (Michaels or Hobby Lobby)
Exacto Knife
White Fabric Paint (Michaels or Hobby Lobby)
Temporary Spray Adhesive (Walmart)
Plain Green Zip-up ($10 at Walmart!)
Sponge Brush
Thin Paint Brush

The first thing I did was print out the Tree of Gondor on a regular sheet of paper. I used the template found here, courtesy of Alley Cat Scratch. I taped the stencil blank over that. Make sure to tape it in several places so it stays secure.

Then using a mix of the scissors and exacto knife I cut out the tree. Keep in mind that what you want is a stencil. If you’re going to mess up or cut too far, do so on the inside of the tree, not the outside. You want that white “negative space” to be as pristine as possible.

Done! Just going to warn you right now, this took me about two hours to get perfect. Set aside some serious time for this part. The cut on the bottom root was purposeful in order to get my scissors in. If you do that, tape it shut when you start to paint.

Make sure to wash your hoodie beforehand. They put some sort of anti-stain chemical on new clothes that will hinder the fabric paint. I washed mine twice just in case.

You want to use the spray adhesive to temporarily attach the stencil to the sweater, so it doesn't move around too much and the paint has a harder time getting up underneath. The kind of adhesive I had can be permanent or temporary. I followed the instructions for temporary, which was to spray a light coat on the back of the stencil then wait about 4 minutes.

I’ve never stenciled onto clothes before so I got an old t-shirt to practice on. If this is your first time stenciling clothes I’d suggest you do the same because my first stencil attempt did NOT go so hot. But I practiced on both sides of the shirt and by my second try I had worked out the kinks in my technique.

So anyway, place a piece of cardboard inside the sweater. Apply the spray adhesive to the back of the stencil and wait the 4 minutes to adhere it to the front of the sweater. I used this time to pin the zipper flaps closed with tiny pins. Try to make the sweater, especially the zipper part, lay as flat as possible. Pin it down if you have to. Adhere the stencil onto the center of the sweater, so it is straddling the zipper. It should stick because of the adhesive but go ahead and tape it down too, just in case. Also, put tape on the edges that you want extra protection, like the bottom roots or top star, since they are so close to the edge.

Get a bit of paint on your sponge brush and start dabbing straight up and down. Start light and slowly build up the paint rather than slopping it on. This will lead to less mistakes. Too little paint is easy to fix, too much and it’s game over. Go slow and work in sections. Once you cover all the areas, do another coat starting in the same place you did the first time. Once that is finished, and it seems like the paint is evenly distributed, undo the tape. Do not wait for it to dry to remove the stencil. If you have messed up you want to know while it’s still wet. If it’s still wet it’s moderately fixable with a damp cloth and a lot of friction.

Slowly and carefully peel off the stencil. Work hard not to smudge your work. Give it a once over to make sure the paint hasn’t gone crazy on you or blotched up in weird places. Here is what mine looked like when I pulled the stencil off.

Now for the touch up phase. Using the fabric paint and the thin paint brush go over any areas that need help or extra definement. I also took this opportunity to connect the branches to the trunk since the fold of the zipper flaps prevented this in the stencil phase. 

Now let it sit flat to air dry about 2-4 hours. The fabric paint I used needs to heat set. I’d definitely suggest using a paint that needs to heat set as it lasts longer. After about 2-3 hours of air dry I turned the iron on steam setting. I held the iron about ½ inch above the tree and waited for the paint to texture and “puff up” a bit. The bottle told me to be careful not to over steam. I don’t know what happens when you do, but I assume the paint would look bubbly and over-processed. This part took about a minute.

And you’re done. Hubby is super excited to wear this to the premiere. Here’s hoping baby Aurie waits a little longer for her arrival so we can see it. 38 weeks today!


  1. Did you make it to the showing before the baby decided it was showtime? Loved the hoodie!

  2. Nice job. You can do the same stencil idea with a cutout from contact paper and that is definitely removeable. It seems sticky enough to possibly reuse. I've also used acrylic paint by adding the stuff that makes it into fabric paint--which is good for making a certain shade or color, too.


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