How to stencil with freezer paper | How About Orange

November 11, 2009

How to stencil with freezer paper

One of the projects at this Friday's Chicago Craft Social will be freezer paper stenciling. I'm helping lead this table, so I needed to give it a test drive and make up some samples. You know how a project usually has four tedious steps you tolerate and one step that's super fun? I think this is one of the few where all of the steps are fun. Or maybe that's just me. I'm now in the grips of stencil mania. I'm stenciling everything.

To stencil your own stuff:
Buy a roll of freezer paper (approx. $3.99) or beg a piece from the guy in the meat department at your grocery store. Draw your design on it and cut it out with an X-acto knife. Then iron the paper, shiny side down, onto the fabric you're going to stencil. Iron another sheet to the back of the fabric to keep the paint from soaking through. You can use the iron setting that corresponds to the fabric you're stenciling.

With a foam brush, stenciling brush, kitchen sponge, or other paint brush, apply fabric paint to the cut-away areas. I used Jacquard brand textile paint from the local art store.

Let the paint dry (use a hairdryer if you're the impatient type, like me.) Peel the freezer paper off. Set the paint by following the directions on the jar — usually ironing will set it. Ta da.

105 comments:

3 M's said...

that's awesome. I've seen other freezer paper tutorials but the sheer length of them have always scared me off. Who knew it'd be so easy. Love your phone, too!

Thank you for sharing :)

Jess said...

It's super easy! Give it a try.

cjm said...

Um, hello? Yeah, that's magic.

Karen said...

love.

the only thing that'd make it better?

orange paint ;)

Karen said...

Would it work on a sweatshirt? I'm thinking personalized hoodies as Christmas gifts??

Jess said...

Yeah, pretty sure it would. I've painted directly on sweatshirts before, so this wouldn't be any different.

katie ann said...

Such a good tutorial, this looks fun. And I work at an art supply store and would get the Jacquard stuff for 40% off...adding things to my handmade Christmas presents list now...

pmthreads said...

"Draw your design on it and cut it out with an X-acto knife."

The great thing is that the freezer paper is slightly see-through, so you can lay it over the image you want to stencil and easily trace it (Make sure to draw on the papery side). Or just freehand it!

Grandma G said...

Oh, yeah... the painted sweatshirts! I still have one here, I believe... if ya wanna show off some of your earlier work. ;)

Ash said...

Erm, help, what is freezer paper? is this an american thing, or am i just being thick?

Meekiyu said...

oo that's awesome.... freezer paper huh HMMM....

Andrea said...

WOW...that is cool!
Blessings, andrea

Jen of ReannaLily Designs said...

I love this technique too. What a great bag.

Ann On and On... said...

That is so cool! I'm sure you made it look easy, but I think I'll try it. Wish me luck...

Jess said...

Ash, I just added a freezer paper link in the post. Click it to see a description.

Ash said...

Oh my God! that is sooooo cool! we so don't have that over here... unless i'm missing it in the supermarket. I'm so going to check tomorrow. Totally unfair if it's only available in America! May have to check with my AAF contacts to see if they have any in the base shops! thanks very much for the link Jess.

Laura Trevey said...

Very cool...
I love to see the process :)

Jen Craun said...

being a printmaker, one would think I have tried this. Alas, no...thanks for the enticing photos along with the "how to"...I really should give it a run...

Hilary said...

You can buy freezer paper from quilt shops in the UK: Rio Designs has 3 different box sizes (and there are quite a few other online retailers).

http://www.riodesigns.co.uk/BJSandFP.html#Freezer%20Paper

Cheers,

Alli said...

You can also print your design directly onto the freezer paper - great for those of us without great drawing skills!

Jana said...

Holy cow--it's simple AND adorable! I didn't know you could do that with freezer paper. It's on my list, now!

Whitney @ Whisker Graphics said...

I have been dying to try this! I want to pair this technique with a Silhouette SD (saving up for one) so it can do all the cutting. I'm picturing beautiful, maybe even intricate, designs on t-shirts, pillow cases, totes, throw pillows. I wonder what would happen if you used craft paint instead? I know when I get that stuff on my clothes it won't wash out!
Thanks for the simple and easy tutorial!

Firemanshunny said...

Awesome I was just looking for how to do this yesterday.

THEARTBRUSH said...

One Great project !!!
Pete,Theartbrush

Adventures in Dressmaking said...

It looks sooo good. I have seen freezer paper project ideas before but I am worried about my skills cutting with an exacto knife--how do you do the curves and edges without denting into the design?

Rose said...

ooh so cool. my only question would be, can you reuse the stencil? or it is a total bespoke piece? ;)

Dorkys Ramos said...

Oh wow, I can't believe there's no bleeding! Will definitely try and link to this for my Happy Friday post!

Jess said...

Rose, there's no reusing the stencil. The paper is thin, so it tears when you pull it off the fabric. Your prints will be one of a kind.

Jenifer said...

Freezer paper stencilling is addicting! It is what started my business! Love it!

Rook No. 17 said...

What a fun project. This technique is new to me, and since I happen to have some freezer paper handy, I'm looking forward to doing some stenciling! Thanks!

Amy said...

Thank you! You have just saved me from Holiday gift-making meltdown! Last year I hand painted ornaments and was working down to the wire.
This year I wanted to continue with handmade, but less time-consuming. LOVE this!

Heidi said...

LOVE your design and the color! Thanks for sharing this awesome technique. Your blog is rad.

Christy said...

Your design looks great! now i can't wait to stencil.

orange sugar said...

What setting should the iron be on when ironing the freezer paper onto the fabric?

Where did you get the tote bag? I was wondering where to find a gusseted tote.

For those of you who want a reusable stencil, they sell blank ones at places like JoAnn's.

Buttercup said...

If you're considering using regular acrylic crafting paint, I know several brands also make a fabric medium that you just mix into your regular paint to make it fabric paint. I'm pretty sure I've seen it in the craft section of Wal*Mart, so it's probably readily available at craft and hobby stores.

Brie said...

You can actually cut the freezer paper down to 8.5 by 11 and print on it from your printer for a guide to cut as well. :)

Kosmika said...

I'm not sure i've got the right freezer paper... there is not a shiny and a non-shiny face.. :( do you think it will work properly?

Jess said...

Kosmika, your stuff probably won't work. The shiny side of my freezer paper is plastic, and when you iron it onto the fabric, it bonds with the surface, adhering the template. Your paper is probably uncoated and won't do that. But you could always test it. Just iron a little piece onto some fabric. If it falls off, you know it won't work for stenciling.

ArtistaScar said...

I am in TROUBLE! i have so many shirt designs i have created and wanted to screen print! this is the next best thing! i am UBER excited!

Johanna said...

Thank you! I have been thinking of stenciling some dish towels for xmas. This is an awesome idea!

Lindsey said...

Wow! What a fun + easy project. I've bookmarked this for when I'm feeling crafty. The possibilities are endless. Thanks so much for sharing,

{ Lindsey }
http://greatfullday.blogspot.com

LilithEvy said...

Thanks to share this with us! You have such amazing ideas!

gwendrr said...

This looks like so much fun!! Thanks!

jengee said...

for those scared of the exacto knife maybe consider using craft punches to make your design?

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Very clever...I love the idea you come up with!

tonyastaab.com said...

No. Way. It's that easy? I'm totally trying this.

Have a fabulous time at the Craft Social tomorrow.

I Like Paper Cutting said...

Awesome! will give it a try. I will use my daughter fabric color pens.

Wahlim said...

OMG THIS IS SO AWESOME. I LOVE IT SO MUCH! :D I'll try it when i get those paper and paint~

Jasper said...

Really cool. I'm sure I can think of something fun to do with this when I ever get the time.

Thanks for sharing :)

Some Lucky Dog said...

That is way too cool! Thanks for sharing!

slak said...

wow! is easy, and perfect for to make a christmas presents! thanks!

Vanessa said...

Great tutorial Jess! The bag looks amazing. I linked on my blog!

Packing supplies said...

Thank you so much for that, I am equally anal and have been wanting to do some for ages but really needed my hand held, thanks for providing the hand holding, I am going to get stuck in soon. Yours look beautiful, I especially love the cowboy one.

Savet said...

This is one my favorite projects to do! I found a fantastic font for a friends Bachelorette weekend & stenciled us all shirts which was super cheap & easy (and made for some great pics!)

Pixie said...

Ohhhh, I love this! Thanks for the tutorial.

AlayneStudio said...

Great idea. I'll definitely have to try this!!

Leah said...

Working with an exacto knife takes some practice. I recommend using a cutting mat, taking it slow, and pressing lightly. It make take a few tries, but you'll get it.

Susan said...

For those of you who don't have freezer paper, I have done this before with clear contact paper. Cut it out slowly on the contact paper side and then just peel and stick. It worked perfectly and the stencil would be good for reusing if you have some way of re-sticking it. I think there is some type of spray on sticky stuff that people use for wall stencils.

kelly said...

if anyone does this with shirts or whatnot let me know how it looks after giving it a wash or two!! I really would like to try this but afraid that the paint might crack after a few washes!! thanks!

SparklePaw said...

Super cool - LOVE it!!! Now I want to stencil everything.

orange sugar said...

Susan, it's called stencil adhesive. Find some here: http://tinyurl.com/yl6suvn

Here's a link to mylar, which can be used to make reusable stencils
http://www.stencilease.com/db/display.asp?input=1479

Or for those of you with a Cricut and Sure Cuts a Lot, use the stencil material for the Cricut.

Real Cloth Diapers said...

so cool! I use freezer paper for lining soap molds, so I have plenty here!

Holly said...

I really love this idea. Thrifty and fun! Do you think it would also work with etching creme ?

Jess said...

Etching cream... do you mean the stuff for glass? I don't think you should put that on fabric, since it contains acid. But perhaps I'm misunderstanding your question.

Christine said...

That looks so easy! I am totally going to stencil this holliday season!

Pattern and Perspective said...

Thanks, Jessica for this tute. Here's my 1st attempt and I'm sure to try it again (tomorrow too soon?) Very simple, but I live in small town - will have to order better fabric paint - but I think you'll like the silhouette of my dog (Oliver) and the color I chose. See here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/20377395@N05/4115885341/?editreplace=1

Jess said...

Looks great! Nice work.

rcd said...

Kelly - I use the Jacquard paints and have several year plus old shirts that my kid wears (i.e. they get lots of washings) and they look fabulous. The Jacquard paints seem to "dye" the fabric more than simply paint it - the iron to heat set helps too. I do have some run of the mill fabric paint that seems more like actual acrylic paint and while they've held up it isn't the same. I've seen the Jacquard paints at fabric stores, Joannes and online at Dharma Trading if you want to find them. They make a nice range of colors too.

Anne D said...

Wow that is great. Thanks

lindsey clare said...

hi Jessica, i just noticed this on Etsy today:
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=33421646

not sure if that seller is in any way related to you, but the design is remarkably similar. i hate to be the potential bearer of bad news (sorry!) but i thought you might like to know.

Jess said...

All gone now, so who knows! :)

Genevieve said...

This is so awesome! I know what DIY project my nieces will be doing THIS Christmas!

lindsey clare said...

just following up on my previous comment, i didn't realise the listing had disappeared! they have an item with a similar design here:
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=35713555

Kathryn said...

I just finished this project. It was really fun so thanks for sharing. If like me, you can't find freezer paper easily ( I got some in the USA over xmas), it looks very like what the butcher uses to wrap up your meat and then seal along the edges using the heat press. You could always ask your butcher for some and see if it works. I have also tried this using clear contact paper but its a little thicker and harder to cut. Also don't leave black drawn lines on the stencil as I found the black ink rubbed off a bit when applying the paint giving me some dark patches.

Gédane said...

hello!! je suis française et chez nous on ne trouve pas de freezer paper, comment faire pour me venir en aide??? merci beaucoup

Gédane said...

oup's

I'm French and here we find no freezer paper, how to help me?? thank you very much

camiljr said...

I am curious about the inner shapes of your design. When you cut with an exacto, did you leave all pieces carefully in place, iron the whole sheet on the bag and peel off what you wanted to paint? Or, did you iron on the little pieces one by one.

Thanks!

Jess said...

I ironed on the little pieces one at a time. It's pretty easy.

Tara said...

This looks fantastic! Is the painted fabric soft or crispy? If I wanted to paint shirts for babies and toddlers would they still be soft?

Jess said...

I gave away the things I stenciled, and now I can't remember! I don't think they were too stiff. But don't quote me on it. Plus I don't have kids so i don't know what's too stiff for a baby!

Kim said...

Great tutorial, I've linked you on my blog!

April said...

Great tutorial, just what I am looking for. I have a question though. I want to stencil names on a canvas tote bag. I thought what I had in my stash was fabric paint, but it is actually acrylic craft paint. Will that matter? can I use it on a canvas bag?

Jess said...

I think yes. People paint on canvases with acrylic paint all the time, right? The only question would be how it washes... craft paint might not be designed to go through the washing machine. I don't know. So just don't wash it and you're set. :)

mrssewandsos said...

I love this tutorial! I desperately want to give it a try but I live in Australia and the only place I can see freezer paper for sale is on ebay (at $20 a roll plus $6.50 in postage!) Does anyone know where I can get it at a more reasonale price? Thanks for sharing your ideas - they are fantastic! PS Yay for Orange!

Jess said...

You could try searching at www.etsy.com—there are usually sellers there who offer it.

Anonymous said...

I've painted tons of shirts with cheap acrylic paint (Apple Barrel works great.) I've had most of my shirts about 3 or 4 years and washed them around once a week and this paint does not fade (: Good luck!

Eky said...

How well do you suppose it would translate to pre-stretched canvases? I wonder if the fact that they're primed would mess it up? hmmmm

Candylei said...

Woohoo. All the supplies we already have! It's cute because it looks just like a silkscreen print!
Thank you, Candylei

Marianna Bender said...

This is an amazing tutorial! I tried this the other day and was a little wary (i've never been a fan of things involving iron-ons) but this tutorial was so easy and created a very professional result. Thanks for sharing!

Jess said...

Great, glad to hear it!

Alissa said...

I was wondering if you know how the freezer paper holds up if you iron it on a day or two ahead of time and paint later? I'd like to set this out as a craft for my daughter's birthday party but since it's not safe for the kids to iron, was hoping to iron on the templates for them a day or two ahead of time and bring in all the items pre-ironed and have them just paint (and peel once the paint is dried)...?

Jess said...

I think it should work just fine to iron on the stencils ahead of time. They don't seem to get less "stuck down" over time, in my experience. To be absolutely sure, you could always just iron a test square of paper onto a tshirt or something and let it sit for a week. For your own peace of mind. :)

Anonymous said...

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Christi Harrison said...

i finally did it. www.christiharrison.blogspot.com
thanks for inspiring my friend, who inspired me!

Shannon said...

I wanted to try this and post my results on my blog, and of course I wanted to point back to you. Could I use on of your photos in my post?

Jess said...

Yup, feel free!

Cleo said...

I tried this and I just LOVED it!!!!!!!!! I made it as a gift for a friend. I'll see if I can possibly post a picture!!!!! yay!!! LUV YOU JESS!!!!!!

Paru Mahtani said...

Hi! This is amazing! I live in India...what can I se instead of freezer paper?

Richard said...

In order to easily find paper like this in Canada try looking under the name also butcher paper. It is functionally the same although usually a pinkish brown color.

Paru Mahtani said...

Thanks so much Richard.

Anna said...

Interesting. We don't have that brand of paper in Australia but it sounds like it would be the same stuff as our Glad Go Between which is used to separate foods you want to freeze.
Best to try it on an old pillowcase or such first in case it doesn't take the ironing.

anna said...

ahh. this is freaking awesome.

Anonymous said...

I used a cricut to cut out the shapes (I did initials) and then used that to monogram napkins! It turned out really well and was very easy!

Delphine B said...

I love this tutorial ! As well as the design ! Is it posisble to have it or did you draw it free-hand (which I have no talent for,..) ? Thanks !

Jessica Jones said...

I drew it on with pencil, freehand.

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