Disney DIY: How To Make a Mickey Paintball Bandana

Mickey paintball bandana

When you sign up for a paintball birthday party, you'll probably be told that the paint is washable, but you probably don't want to be wearing your best clothes. Recommended clothing includes long sleeved shirts, long sleeved shorts, close-toed shoes, and bandanas.

Since 3Po was celebrating his 11th birthday with a paintball party, I thought it would be fun to make bandanas for all his guests. And since we were giving the party a Disney theme, I decided to add a Mickey silhouette to the bandanas!  I bought 4 yards of plain white cloth, cut them into 20-inch squares, and hemmed the edges.  Then I stenciled the designs on with freezer paper.  Freezer paper stencil designs are so easy to do and the produce such great results.  I used freezer paper stencils to make Mickey shirts for last year's DisneySide party, and the project went so well, it was pretty much a given that I'd use the technique again this year.  Here's how I did it:

You'll need:
Freezer paper, cut into 8.5"x11" sheets
A printer, or a pen if you intend to draw your design freehand
Fabric paint
Sponge brush
Plastic straw

To start with, I created a stencil featuring a Mickey skull with splattered paintball ears.  Like most little boys, 3Po loves skulls, and I thought a Mickey skull would be more appealing to the boys than the regular Mickey ears silhouette. I thought splatting his ears would link it more closely with the paintball theme.  The result is definitely abstract --  a cross between a skull and Mickey ears and a moose -- but 3Po likes it and I like it!  Feel free to use the drawing below for your own project if you want!
Mickey paintball skull stencil
Print the design onto freezer paper (I cut freezer paper into sheets and ran them through my inkjet printer, making sure the design printed out onto the matte side of the paper, NOT the shiny side).  I sized it so that the stencil was about 2.5 inches wide.  Cut out the eyes and discard.  Cut out the shape.

Lay the Mickey stencil onto the bandana, shiny side down.  Use a hot iron to attach the stencil to the bandana. The shiny stuff melts and makes the stencil stick to the cloth. Don't worry, it peels off!
Mickey paintball bandana how-to

Next, you'll need a stencil in the shape of a paint splatter. The splatter shape must be bigger than your Mickey stencil. You can print out a splatter shape onto a sheet of freezer paper, or lay a sheet of freezer paper over the Mickey stencil and draw your own splatter shape on the freezer paper.
Mickey paintball bandana how-to

Cut out the splatter shape.  This time, we want to apply paint to the "inner" part of the design, so you're basically cutting out a "frame" -- keep the frame and discard the center part.
Mickey paintball bandana how-to

Lay the splatter stencil onto the bandana, shiny side down.  Arrange it so that the Mickey head is in the center.  Use a hot iron to attach the splatter stencil to the bandana.
Mickey paintball bandana how-to

It's time to paint!  Line your work area with paper towels and lay your bandana on your work area.  Use a sponge brush to apply fabric paint to the bandana.
Mickey paintball bandana how-to

Make sure you cover the entire area!
Mickey paintball bandana how-to

Carefully peel the splatter stencil off.  It's a fairly large stencil, so I was able to peel it off easily just 2-3 minutes after painting.
Mickey paintball bandana how-to

Dip the end of a straw into a contrasting color of fabric paint, then lightly flick the straw so that the paint splatters onto the bandana.
Mickey paintball bandana how-to

Carefully peel off the Mickey stencil off.  Wait about 30 minutes before you do this -- you want the paint to have started drying, but not have it too dry.  You now have a perfectly white design on a green and yellow background!
Mickey paintball bandana how-to

After we finished the main design, we decided to add more paint splatters to the other areas of the bandana. There are many ways to create the splatter effect besides flicking paint from straws.  You can also dip  one end of the straw in paint and blow on it from the other end.  You can dip a toothbrush into the paint and rub it over a wire mesh.  We invented the best method of all -- you can dip the end of a Nerf dart into the paint and shoot it at the bandana!   It produces a really nice splatter that probably comes closest to the marks made by an actual paintball, and it's so much fun to do.  Just remember to shoot straight down, and to wipe the Nerf dart between shots so the paint doesn't clog up the Nerf blaster barrel.
Mickey paintball bandana how-to

Aren't they cute?  We made 6 bandanas with green paint splats, and 6 with blue paint splats, so that the guests could easily be split into teams (green and blue also happen to be 3Po's and Jammy's favorite colors).

I'll update this post with more photos once we have our party.  I hope this tutorial has inspired you to try freezer paper stencil painting, or to show your Disney Side! Have fun painting!

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