I recently Angeled in Round 5 of the Doctor Who Swap. Since my partner had already waited so long for a package, only to be flaked on, I wanted to make her Angel package as quickly as possible, but with maximum adorability. I decided to make her a stenciled tote bag with the TARDIS traveling through the Vortex on it.
But instead of stenciling the TARDIS itself onto the bag in blue paint, I decided to instead get a blue tote bag and stencil & paint AROUND the TARDIS. Here's a mini-tutorial of how I did it.
Start by finding a stencil shape that you like. You will want to make sure that it has some details to cut from inside it to give the image some definition, and that it has a clearly defined outline. I cannot seem to find the source for the exact stencil I used, but if I do, I will add a link here.
Next you will need a sturdy canvas tote. I found this one at Hobby Lobby for just a few dollars. They come folded up, so be sure to give it a good press with your iron, and don't be afraid to use some steam. You really need to flatten out those fold lines or you won't get your stencil to stick as well as you would like. Also, don't be afraid to iron it a few times, letting it sit for a few moments between pressings. Wrinkles and fold lines in cotton can be tricky! If you really can't get them out, then try this trick used by costumers: Put equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a small spray bottle, and give it a shake. Spritz onto your problem wrinkles, then iron. The vinegar helps relax the fibers, allowing them to press flat. As for the vinegar smell, don't worry. It will fade and disappear in no time. Allow the bag to sit a few minutes to cool and dry out from any vinegar and steam.
Figure out where you would like your TARDIS (or any other object you wish to stencil!) to be. Be sure to remember that when you fill the tote bag with stuff, the bottom will be bulging, so those bottom few inches of fabric will actually be on the bottom of the bag, rather than the sides!
Once you have your placement, go ahead and iron down your stencil. Make sure to get into all the tiny corners and edges. If they are not ironed down securely then you will have color bleeding around your image.
Now we're ready to do our first color of paint. I chose to start with the windows and the light spilling out from the open door. Give them a coat of white fabric paint. If you don't have fabric paint, you can use craft paint, mixed with Fabric Medium. (Which is found near craft paint in your local craft store. Mix according to package directions.) Depending on how dark your base fabric is, you may need to give lighter colors of paint more than one coat for good coverage.
Second color of paint! Instead of a stark black, I chose to go with a very dark purple-black for the recessed areas of the TARDIS, as well as the Police Box sign. With darker colors you generally only need one or two coats of paint for nice even coverage.
Now, while you've got the dark purple paint out, let's start the shadowy parts of the Vortex. Use a piece of natural sea sponge to get irregular and organic shapes. You may need to test this out a few times, and blot some of the excess paint off of your sponge before moving onto the fabric. I recommend testing it on some brown paper. I went with concentric circles of color, to show the twisting and turning of the Vortex, and left some space blank.
During all of this, be sure to be careful not to drip paint onto the white areas of your stencil!
Next, it's time to add some highlight to the Vortex. I mixed up a light blue paint, and again added concentric rings, filling in the space I left last time.I went light on this coat, so that I could add in some metallic paint in the next step.
To give the tote more dimension and depth, I added a layer of metallic silver. Instead of using a metallic paint however, I used the same light blue highlight paint, and added in Jacquard PearlEx Metallic Powder
. Go lightly over the highlighted areas, and blend some gently into the darker shadowy areas as well. You want the colors to be layered and blended, not sitting in neat rows beside one another.
After a first light coat of silver paint, give it a few minutes to dry. When the shine of the wet paint begins to dry, you will be able to see just how much of your metallic pigment is visible. After letting it dry for a little while, be sure to turn the project, as the silver can look more or less heavy depending on how it catches the light. If necessary, add another coat of metallic pigments. Remember, you can always do a second coat, but you can't take off a coat that was too heavily applied.
Check pack once you think you are done, and note any areas that might need touching up. Once you are happy with your paint job, go ahead and let it dry completely. After it is dry you can peel back the stencil. It will likely rip into pieces, and this is normal. You will not be able to re-use the freezer paper stencil.
Now, stand back and admire your new tote bag!