Sunday, February 19, 2012

freezer paper stencil tutorial

after using freezer paper to make that produce mat, i've been itching to use it for something else...  and i have a ridiculous amount of clothes, even after getting rid of a goodly amount when i moved so i decided to upgrade one of my old tees with a freezer paper stencil.  freezer paper stencil is remarkably easy, well depending on the complexity of your design, and the results are pretty good.  i was surprised by the nice, crisp lines.

what you'll need:
-freezer paper
-parchment paper
-scissors/x-acto knife
-paint/paint brush

first, tear a piece of freezer paper roughly the size of your shirt or design.  you'll need a piece of parchment paper about the same size as well.  i just sketched my idea onto the matte side of the freezer paper but it's probably better to draw it on something else and then trace it onto the freezer paper.

next cut out your design, this can be pretty tedious depending on your design.  sadly the sun went down while i was cutting so all my good lighting went out the window...ah working in the dark because i'm too lazy to turn the light on...  if you have a lot of fine lines in your design i'd recommend making them a little bit thicker than you think you need to.
plug in your iron and set to medium/high heat.

now, place the parchment paper inside your shirt directly underneath where you'll be placing your stencil.  line your stencil up on top of your shirt, shiny side down.  using a press/lift/press motion (not a sliding motion) iron your stencil to your shirt.  make sure you get a good seal otherwise your paint will leak.  if you have any separate pieces or free floating pieces iron them last.
now for the paint, i used a speedball screen printing paint, but you could probably get away with acrylic.  i mean any time i get acrylic paint on my clothes it never comes out...  i used more a dabbing motion rather than actual strokes mostly because i didn't want part of the stencil to catch on the brush.  now wait for the paint to dry...


double check you didn't miss any spots with the paint, and once it's dry you can peel off your stencil.
if you need to heat set your paint, just use the same piece of parchment paper, place it on top of your design and iron for 3-5 minutes.  keep the iron moving to avoid scorch marks.  flip your shirt inside out and repeat on the back of your design.

and your shirt is ready to wear!!


  1. I adore this idea, but I still don't quite understand how you do it. Where do you apply the paint - directly onto the shirt or onto the parchment paper which transfers onto the shirt...? I'm a little confused. Could you perhaps post pictures of all of the steps you do? Thanks heaps

    1. sorry for the confusion-the parchment paper goes inside your shirt (just in case the paint bleeds it keeps it from getting onto the back of your shirt). so it should go: back of shirt, parchment paper, front of shirt, freezer paper stencil. and you will be painting directly onto the shirt.

      i hope that helps clear things up a bit...btw there are some photos in my post, do they not show up when you view? (someone else said there were some glitches with my site showing up properly)

  2. Why is it that when I wash and dry my shirt the paint breaks off into little pieces and makes the shirt look terrible? I do everything you say to do but I have ruined 2 shirts now....

    1. hello

      sorry to hear about your shirts!! what kind of paint are you using?

      as far as care goes, i would wash your shirt inside our and let it air dry or dry on low heat.

  3. I'm using fabric paint but I figured it out now! IDK why the first few didn't turn out maybe I wasn't letting the iron on them for long enough but it is working just fine now!!! Thanks!!!

    1. yay i'm glad it worked out-i was worried i led you astray!!

  4. Im gonna have to try it

  5. Can you reuse the same stencil? or do you have to make a new one every time you want to repeat the design?

    1. Hi Erica,

      Unfortunately freezer paper stencils can only be used once. If you want to repeat the same design multiple times, I have read about people that use cricut machines to cut out multiple stencils or you could also try screen printing (I have seen kits for sale in my local craft store).


  6. This looks like fun. I wonder if using a bleach pen would work okay, too? I love your design, by the way! Very cool!!

  7. hi,
    what was your cutting settings ?


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