Fun With Freezer Paper

November 14, 2007 at 8:01 pm 3 comments


I know I am a little behind the times. I am just now discovering so many great ideas that have been floating around the blogosphere (oh, I can’t say that without laughing…) for a long time now. One such idea is the freezer paper stencil. I was so excited when I discovered Angry Chicken’s tutorial on these. Using freezer paper to make stenciled shirts is ideal for me because (1) I am picky and I want T-shirts that look exactly the way I like them, (2) I am cheap and don’t want to pay more than a few bucks for anything, and (3) I have a short attention span for this sort of thing, and this project only takes a few minutes to complete. You do need to wait a while for the paint to dry– so all you instant gratification seekers out there, don’t try using a hair dryer, waiting thirty seconds and then frantically peeling of the stencil. That won’t work. Trust me. You’ll ruin the shirt and then be mad you wasted $2.99 (see #2).

Freezer paper works great for this project because it is shiny on one side only, so you can easily iron it only fabric and then peel it off when you’re done stenciling. Here’s what I did: I drew a simple sketch. Since I’m new at this, I didn’t want to try anything fancy. I like simple designs anyway. When you’re drawing, you have to think about what part will be painted on the shirt and what will be negative space (the color of your shirt.) If you’re brave you could try using more than one color by stenciling in layers. This would take a longer so I didn’t try it (see #3.)

When I was happy with my sketch, I cut it out using an X-Acto knife. You want to cut your design with the shiny side of the freezer paper down. For this design, the stencils I needed were a piece of freezer paper with a pear shaped hole cut out of it, and two tiny freezer-paper eyes and a mouth. What you’ll need will vary, just figure out what area of your design will need to be painted and what will be negative space– the freezer paper needs to cover all of the negative space in your design.

Next, I ironed a piece of freezer paper inside the shirt behind where my design was going to be. (Put the iron against the papery side, not the shiny side, obviously.) This kept the stencil from slipping while I was painting it, and it also kept the paint from bleeding through the fabric. Then I ironed my stencil into place: first I placed the paper with the pear-shaped hole in it exactly where I wanted it, shiny side down, and iron it to the shirt. Then I placed my pear eyes and mouth when I wanted them, shiny side down, and ironed them into place. In stencil-parlance (ahem), the eyes and mouth are called islands because they’re not attached to the main stencil. The smaller your islands are, the harder it’s going to be to peel them off the shirt once they’re covered with paint, so I wouldn’t advise making them any smaller than I did!

Once my stencil was secured, I painted using a foam brush and fabric paint. I used Tulip Matte Soft Fabric paint from JoAnn’s. It worked well, and it looks pretty good except that I wish it looked a little bit smoother. You might find a paint that you like better (and if so, I’d like to hear what it is!) I covered the area evenly without letting it get too gloppy. Once it dried, I put on another coat because I could still see some of the black shirt coming through. Once I was satisfied with the coverage, and having learned a valuable lesson the first time I tried to peel the stencil off too soon, I let it dry completely by leaving it overnight. The next morning, I carefully peeled off the stencils. When peeling those tiny islands off, I used the X-Acto knife a little bit to guide the paper as it peeled off the shirt, being very careful not to cut the shirt in the process.

Now I have a lovely smiley pear T-shirt! Next, I want to make an angry ice-cream cone T-shirt for my husband. I will try to resist the urge to make the cone say “Eat Me!” so that the shirt can be worn in mixed company.

For more information and inspiration, here are links to the sites I consulted before beginning (I basically followed Angry Chicken’s post step-by-step):

Angry Chicken’s Elf Tee

Crafster’s Tutorial

Flickr page with TONS of inspiration

Entry filed under: crafts. Tags: , , , .

Hooray for felt! Thousand Words Thursday

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. paperseed  |  November 15, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    I love what you did here, and it’s funny we were on the same wavelength. I think there may be something I’m not getting, because I can’t quite make it work in my head. So I’ll just have to find some freezer paper and re-read it all, step-by-step, because it all looks so cool.

  • 2. Magik Quilter  |  November 16, 2007 at 2:09 am

    What on earth is an angry icecream cone?

    Or is that a euphemism?

  • 3. bittycakes  |  November 18, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Hi Paperseed– the next time I do this project, I’ll take some pictures and add them to the instructions, that will probably help. I have trouble visualizing written instructions sometimes too. Also, looking at the pictures on Angry Chicken’s tutorial might clear things up.

    Magik Quilter– I just meant a cartoon ice cream cone, but with an angry expression instead of happy one (for a change, because I tend to draw everything very cutesy and with a giant grin, like this smiley pear!)

    Thanks for reading!


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November 2007

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