Freezer Paper Stencils Tutorial

mar07 072
Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past few days… We had a wonderful weekend, hanging out with friends, going to the Chomp and Stomp in Cabbagetown, and being basically lazy playing Spore. And the house is a wreck from all that fun, which I’m cleaning up this morning. So I’m re-running some fun stuff that you might have missed this morning, how to make cool fabric items with Freezer Paper Stencils. Try it yourself! There’s lots of other info, how to’s, and inspiration ideas out on the web, too, but here’s some I’ve done and my technique.

I love Freezer Paper Stencils. They allow you to do much more intricate designs than regular stencils, and are so much easier to work with.
Below is an example of a simple design I used to decorate cotton training pants I did for the Boy when he was potty training. They were plain white, and I figured he’d be more excited about them if they had a design on them. For these, I chose a simple robot and the letter “D” (known to the Boy as “my letter!”)

Underpants! Stencilled using Freezer Paper StencilThe ProcessThis technique works on any kind of cloth/clothes… In fact, my original foray into this type of project was a Robot T-shirt (also for The Boy). As you can see on this one (orange shirt, at the top of this post), it was a much more intricate pattern, and i used darker, thicker fabric paint. It took alot longer to xacto out the pattern.

So, for the training pants, I wanted something quick and easy, so I used a simple robot design, and a very simple letter. I also used some paint i had on hand, which isn’t as thick, so the results aren’t quite as crisp as the previous version.

Freezer Paper (buy a big roll in any grocery store). It has a paper side and a slick side.
Xacto knife
Fabric Paint
Sponge or sponge brush
your target Fabric (anything that is relatively smooth and accepts fabric paint)

Step 1:
Determine your design.
I like to sketch something out with a big sharpie, and color it in in black. Draw your design on the paper (non-slick) side of the Freezer Paper. Remember that the area you color black will be the area you cut out, and the ‘painted’ portion of your design. If you’re not artistic, just find some appropriate clip art. The great thing about this type of stencil is that it’s perfectly ok to have pieces that are unattached to your main design, you’ll just place them in where they need to go. In this simple example (the training pants), the robot’s eyes are o’s of freezer paper that I placed on the fabric where I wanted them to go.

Step 2:
Cut out your design.
The important thing is to keep the white parts intact, you can mess up the black parts, they are trash. Cut out any interior pieces, and don’t lose them! (It’s also a good idea to mark the top (non-smooth) side with a pen so you can tell which side is up)

Step 3:
Heat your iron.
Layout your primary stencil (the white part) on your fabric, slick side down.
Iron it on til it sticks (doesn’t take long)
Place each interior piece where you want it to go, and iron it on.
Repeat til done.
Give everything a final press with the iron to ensure it’s stuck.

Process for Freezer Paper Stencil
-painting the stencil…-

Step 4:
You’re now ready to paint.
A sponge or sponge brush dipped in fabric paint does nicely. Dab the paint on lightly, in an up and down stippling motion, repeating til the area is thickly covered.
Let it dry a bit and touch up any light spots (be sure to get good coverage near the edges to have a clean edge.

Step 5:
Let it dry to touch.
You can then begin carefully peeling off the stencils.

Step 6:
You’re basically done. Check the label on your fabric paint to see what it recommends, but I usually don’t re-iron or anything like that.

Here’s some onesies I did, using both the positive and negative stencils, and mixing different fabric paints.
Freezer Paper Stencil - Robots