Friday, June 21, 2013

DIY Baptismal Stole Tutorial (freezer paper stencil)

One of the panels of stole fabric that I designed has a blank stole (with sewing pattern) included. It's a blank canvas for decorating your very own custom stole.

I convinced the kids at my church to help me decorate a special baptism stole, using a simple freezer paper stencil and fabric paint--here's what we did!

-Sewn-together blank/white stole, using the pattern on this panel
-Freezer Paper (comes in a roll like waxed paper, with one shiny side and one flat side). You'll only need a small amount.
-Fabric Paint in 2-3 colors
-Sponges or brushes for painting
-Fabric markers (optional, for writing on the back of the stole)

For my design, I chose a simple dove (for the Holy Spirit) along with some waves, representing water, at the bottom.

First, I cut out my shapes, knowing that the shapes were the parts of the stole that would remain white. To make my waves, I simply cut freezer paper to the width of the stole, and the free-handed some waves, letting the bottom of each wave be the top of the next.

 Next, I created my dove shape, again working from paper that was about the width of the stole. (I started with paper a little wider, know that I wanted the edges of the dove to just barely go off the stole, so I could gain all the width I could and keep the scale of the dove decently large.)
 When your freezer paper shapes are cut out, and you know where you want to lay them, simply iron them into place, shiny side down. (The heat of the iron lets the shiny side stick to the fabric.)

 I enlisted the help of the children at my church (and a fabulous and willing Children's Ministry Director) to do paint the stole. First, we had our kids sign their names to the back, using a fabric marker, and we also put a little dedication (naming our congregation, along with the date). If you want to do this, you definitely want to have the write on the back of the stole first, since it will be covered with wet paint in a little bit...

Now, with the freezer paper ironed on, and names on the back, cover the rest of the front of the stole with fabric paint, using a sponge or foam brush to stamp it all over.We used 3 colors to give more depth to the pattern--but didn't give them any other direction. We just let them cover it all. It's okay if the paint goes onto the paper. (It's important that it be painted right up to/over the edge of the paper in order for their to be a crisp edge after the paper is removed.)

Lay it flat while the paint dries. Then, peel off the freezer paper, to reveal your dove and waves beneath!

With this same basic technique, there are a multitude of design possibilities--I love how it balances the joyous unplanned feel of kids art with a bit of clean sophistication in the symbols used. It's definitely fun to wear it for baptisms here, when the kids who made it are present!


  1. What a beautiful idea. I am thinking I wish I had seen this a couple months ago and done a similar stole for our two pastors who just retired...Hey, maybe one for our new pastor. So excited I found you. I, too, am clergy, and a quilter. I have been thinking up ideas for my longarm skills (noticing a dearth of attractive, interesting, beautiful, unusual stoles out there.) I am going to buy your Emmauel stole and quilt it before I sew it together. It will take a little time as we just moved, but then I will send you a photo.

  2. Great idea! I want to do confirmation stoles, and the stole kits I had seen before seem to not be available anymore. This would be so easy!