Sunday, May 4, 2008

Freezer Paper Stenciling

I love freezer paper stenciling. Making my own original shirts and things for myself, family and friends is quite an addicting craft.

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, look for Reynolds Freezer Paper in your local grocery store near the aluminum foil and wax papers. It comes in different widths and various size rolls, too. One side is paper and the other is, well, a plastic/wax coated paper and looks like this:

How does this kitchen paper make stencils, you ask? Well, once cut to size (A4 or 8 1/2" x 11") the paper side can be fed through your plain old inkjet printer then you have a stencil printed to cut out with an X-acto knife.

Once you've gotten that part done, the plastic/waxy side can be ironed onto your fabric/shirt/jeans/etc. Don't worry that the freezer paper will damage your fabric (although I wouldn't venture into silks or delicate fabrics), it's never failed to come right off for me. I use a hot iron and work slowly, making sure all my edges are stuck down well.

You can see a Gandhi that I cut out and have ironed onto a gray tank top here. Be sure to line the inside of your shirt (or whatever you're stenciling) so the paints don't bleed through to the other side. I use cardboard for this most of the time but have resorted to using up junk-mail when no cardboard is available. Also be sure you're on a flat surface that will remain undisturbed for an hour or so after you're done painting so that your work of art will have time to dry.

Now it's time to get to painting in the cut out parts of your beautimous stencil.

I use regular acrylic paints (the cheapest kind I can find) mixed with equal parts textile medium (found in your craft store near the acrylic paints) and I have shirts that have been washed 40-50 times that still look great. But if you have screen printing ink or fabric paints on hand, those work great, too....I just tend to go about things the cheapest way possible (and often recycling as much as possible, too.)

I use a regular small sponge brush and make sure the entire cut out area is covered well, often times doing a second coat for evenness.

You can see here how goopy it looks in process but don't long as you cut it out right and ironed it down good and tight, it will turn out fabulously. Trust me.

Now, drying times can vary depending on the type of paint/ink you've chosen and the humidity in the area your piece is drying in.

Often I will grab the handy-dandy blowdryer and hit my painted areas with a minute or two of warm air which aids in the drying process (I have no patience at all!)

Once the painted fabric feels fairly dry to the touch (I don't let mine get completely dry because I've found that the stencil is harder to peel off if you do), start at a corner and carefully peel away the freezer paper stencil.

You'll be amazed at what you find underneath the goopy mess you thought you had made.

Here's my finished Gandhi, in all his glory....

Pretty crazy how much detail you can get out of some freezer paper and acrylic paints on a boring old Saturday afternoon, huh?

Go ahead...give it a go. What have you got to lose but a little time and an old, stained up t-shirt. Who knows? It might turn out to be a work of art!

Peace & Love,


  1. This would be a great project for me and my four-year-old daughter. Thanks for the tutorial!

  2. Oh my gosh, I'm SO glad you shared how to do this... I saw the shirts you posted awhile back on bloop & wondered how on earth they were done! Love it!

  3. Thanks for sharing. Thats a lot cheaper than photo chemicals.

  4. so i had to stop by, and being just the teeniest, teeniest bit anal, i had to start from the beginning. duh. and i LOVE this--now if i could just make good stencils from my photos, i'd be cookin'! thanks a bunch for posting this!

  5. let's try one more time--it's ME, dammit. it won't let me post except as Anonymous and keeps YELLING at me. grumble, grumble.

  6. Your how to on the freezer stencilling is just THE BEST... and I have looked at a few.. Thanks so much Val :o)


Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by. I am open to any comments, questions, suggestions, critiques, etc, so lay it on me...
Peace & Love,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...