Freckles in April: Freezer Paper Stencil Tutorial

Friday, October 14, 2011

Freezer Paper Stencil Tutorial

There are about a million freezer paper stenciling tutorials out there but I still get questions whenever something I've done pops up, so here's a quick and easy tutorial.

Freezer paper - look near the parchment and wax paper in the grocery store
Razor blade - My little blade cost 99 cents at Ace Hardware and I prefer it to the fancier types. Real X-actos will run you a bit more at places like JoAnn or Michaels
Fabric paint - JoAnn or any other craft supply store will carry all different brands and colors
Paint brush - I prefer the cheap black spongy kind for this. I think I paid like $2.50 for a 6 pack.
Stencil - the sky is the limit here. I've printed images I liked off the internet or created my own. Just make sure it's a stencil. Stencils have bridges to connect the pieces and keep it all together. If you're interested, there are internet tutorials for turning photographs into stencils (although, I haven't had the best of luck with those). Also, don't go too crazy with a super elaborate stencil. You will hate yourself by the end of if you have to cut out a million tiny pieces.
Iron - with steam turned off. On my iron I need a pretty high heat setting to get the freezer paper to stick but start low and work upward until it sticks well.
Press cloth - I use a cheap flour sack dish towel

Self healing mat - this is an awfully handy thing to have around anyway if you're a crafty type. Use a coupon and grab yourself one from the quilting aisle. They're awesome. I use mine all the time.

Freezer paper has two sides- a shiny side and a dull, papery side. Draw or transfer your design on to the paper side. If I've printed something on another piece of paper I just tape it to the freezer paper and cut through both layers. Use your razor blade to carefully cut out your design.

This is a step I haven't seen in some tutorials but it is vitally important to getting crisp lines and keeping the design from shifting. On the wrong side of your project, iron a piece of freezer paper, shiny side down. Make sure it covers the whole back side of your design area.

Flip your project to the right side and iron your stencil, shiny side down. Make sure you get all the little points and pieces all secured down. Your fabric should be sandwiched in between the two pieces of freezer paper.

I got all caught up and stopped taking pictures at this point because this is the fun part! Sponge brushes work best for freezer paper stencils because you can just mash the paint where you need it. Brushing back and forth with a regular paintbrush can pull up small sections of the freezer paper so you end up with paint where you don't want it.

Sponge your paint into all the open areas of your stencil. Double check when you're done because I ALWAYS have a couple corners that didn't get quite coated.

Let it dry. It shouldn't take long. I had to paint little sections at a time because this paint dried SO quickly that sometimes parts of it would be dry before I had a chance to spread the paint every where I wanted it.

When it's completely dry, carefully peel the freezer paper off front and back. It should leave crisp lines behind.

Cover your painted area with the press cloth and give it a really hot ironing. This helps set the paint and should make it so you see very little fading when you wash it.

Speaking of washing: inside out, cold, lay flat to dry. The heat of the dryer can cause your paint to crack and look gross pretty fast, so avoid it if possible.

Ta-da! You're done. See? Easy peasy.

See some of my other freezer paper stencil projects here, here and here (very last picture).


  1. Love the abstract design! And I seriously need to get around to trying this... been on my crafty list forever.

  2. All of your projects turned out AMAZING! Great tutorial, I just might give this a shot sometime!!

  3. Oh yay!! When I saw this shirt the other day for EBEW, I was hoping you'd share a tutorial. Thanks!

  4. that's such a great idea! it turned out really well :)

  5. I want to try this! Sounds like a fun project with the bestie!

  6. Looks so simple and still so nice! Excited to try it out :)


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