Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making Stencils for Fabric from Freezer Paper

by Kat L

A few years ago I discovered a great way to personalize fabric items by making stencils from freezer paper. Since then, I've used this method to decorate t-shirts, aprons, tote bags & dish towels.

finished stenciled t-shirtsGnome Apron
#118 - Monogrammed Gift BagsGnome Dish Towels

Freezer paper has wax on one side which allows it to stick to fabric when ironed on yet comes off easily without leaving any residue.

freezer paper sheets

It comes in sheets and rolls (I prefer the sheets for ease of use with the computer printer.) I usually buy it online but have also seen it in grocery and craft stores. Here's how I do it....


1. Print or draw the image you want to use on the matte side of the freezer paper. You can find lots of great free stencil images online. For smaller images, like the gnomes below, I print more than one on a page then cut them apart.

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2. Use an exacto knife or sharp scissors to cut out the image.

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3. Iron the stencil, waxy side down, to the fabric you want to stencil on to. I usually use the hottest setting the fabric allows. Pay special attention to any little pieces that stick into your image, making sure they are adhered.

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4. Place a piece of paper behind the fabric (the paint will bleed through some fabrics). Paint the inside of the stencil, starting at the edge and painting towards the middle. Cover everything well but try to to put on too thick a coat or the fabric will be too stiff. Acrylic and fabric paint both work though acrylic will give a stiffer finished product.

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5. Let dry and then carefully peel the stencil off. After 24 hours of drying time iron on the reversed side of the painted image to set. Wash after 72 hours.

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The freezer paper stencils can be reused until they lose their waxy coating, I find I can get 3 or 4 uses depending on the intricacy of the stencil.


3 comments:

Cerise said...

I've always wanted to try this...but now I have to...that gnome is SO cute!

wynzia said...

i love making freezer paper stencils, too. it's fun to take a kids drawing and create a stencil with it. great article!

Sprout said...

I was told once to stencil over stains on old clothes (particularly kids clothes that get dirty daily) in order to make them BRAND NEW. This would be the perfect method. Thanks!