Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Freezer Paper Stencil Tutorial

Warning: This project is really addicting! It has the "once you pop, you just can't stop" thing going on for me! (P.S. I don't know what I did to make all of these different lines turn into "links" with the blue and underlining...just ingore it. I'll hopefully figure out how to undo it...if you know how, please share!!)
I got a Cricut Expression for Christmas and have absolutely LOVED it! I've seen some freezer paper stenciling things out there, but I could never come up with a fun print that I wanted to try. With the Cricut I can make very detailed designs which I love. For this project you don't need a Cricut, but if you have one, get it out!
Here are a few of the shirts I have made.I found these t-shirts at Walmart last week for $1.47 each. I bought several and have had a lot of fun!
Things you will need:
The first thing you'll need to do is rip off some of the freezer paper bigger than the size you want your stencil. Pictured below I have the freezer paper on my cricut mat. Then you will either draw your design on the non shiny side, (You will use the shiny side to adhere it to your fabric later) or cut out the design on your cricut or other machine. If you use the cricut just put it shiny side down on the mat. I put my cricut machine on the following settings; blade 2, pressure 2, speed 2. Pick your size and shape and "cut."

When your design is finished just seperate the pieces. With these more delicate designs you'll need to be careful not to rip them. Use a pair of small scissors for any pieces that don't come off easily. Cut some of the excess paper off of your stencil, but leave plenty of space for random paint so it doesn't get on your shirt. An inch or so should do.Take the outline and face it shiny side down on the fabric. Iron in place. The heat will adhere it for the painting process but will still make the paper easy to remove when done. If you do this shiny side up, it will stick to your iron!!! Put a piece of cardboard or an old cutting board in between the shirt layers. You don't want paint seeping through and you need a nice hard surface. I used an old cutting board that worked perfectly.
Now put some paint on your brush. I mixed a few colors to get the color I wanted. You can buy individual tubes for a little under a dollar, or packs. Don't get too much on your brush.

Now use a stippling action (slight bouncing) to put the paint on. Don't go too thick or you'll have difficulty removing the paper without removing paint. Once you've finished covering your surface, being careful not to go beyond the stencil. Let it dry for 15 or so minutes. Then come back and do a second layer...trust me, you'll have spots that aren't as covered that you'll see through in different light if you don't do a second layer after some drying time.
Let dry til damp. I usually only give it another 15 minutes. Then peel. If you wait until it is all the way dry you may have some paint stick to the stencil and not the shirt. Most fabric paints say it takes 4 hours to dry completely. You should wait 72 hours to wash the shirt and when you do wash it, turn it inside out. Other than that it's good to go! You can go back and add more colors, words, etc. too.
I made this other shirt last night with a light color on a dark shirt. It takes A LOT more paint. I forgot to remove the stencil and left it over night so some of the paint came off with the stencil. It is not as crisp as I had hoped, but it's still wearable! Have fun making things for yourself or share the love and give as gifts to friends!
If you choose to do this tutorial I would love to see any finished projects! Let me know if you have any questions!


  1. Cool! I'll have to try this sometime. Good tutorial!

  2. Thanks for posting this tutorial. It is laid out clearly and makes me really want to try it... and get a cricut-- too bad for me.

  3. I love making freezer paper stencils with my Expression! Isn't it awesome! I am currently trying to figure out how to make freezer paper layers. Like for instance a Hello Kitty, or something layered; especially the Abby Cadabby from the sesame street. Any suggestions? Sincerely, Amy