Creative Family Living

Freezer Paper Stenciling – So Fun!!


I’m in love. Or obsessed. Maybe both. Freezer paper stenciling is so FUN! And addictive. My friend Sarah and I decided to see what the big deal was and to jump the learning curve together this past week.

We bought fabric paint, freezer paper, and fresh x-acto knives.

We armed ourselves with SouleMama’s post about freezer paper stenciling (In looking for the link, I just realized I copied her post title in my last post! Oops. Maybe I remembered it in my subconscious. Or maybe freezer paper stenciling is just THAT good!).

We also opened my copy of The Creative Family to Amanda’s chapter about it.

First we printed out cool images from the web that we wanted to stencil. A bird for me as well as some designs from the so-cool urchinmama’s flickr photostream; an eiffel tower, peace sign, and skull-and-crossbones for Sarah. We cut the designs out of freezer paper with x-acto knives, then ironed the freezer paper onto our plain shirts, shiny side down (with another piece of freezer paper shiny side up underneath the fabric). We brushed on our fabric paint, and waited impatiently (overnight!) for them to dry so we could peel off the freezer paper and see our new shirts.

We oohed and ahed then heat set the designs with an iron.

I wore my shirt yesterday, and waited for Maia’s nap so I could start all over again. Not just two designs for me this time! No sirree. I had to cover every flat area in the studio with drying freezer paper stencils.

I decided to try using both the positive and negative images that I cut out of the freezer paper. And when I ran out of plain t-shirts to stencil, I raided my fabric stash for remnants to stencil.

My studio looks like a store now!

And, Sarah, I promise I’ll want to do more next time you come over!! I still have to stencil shirts for Harry, Maia, for gifts, bags, skirts, etc., etc. Who needs chocolate when you have a hobby (vice) like this?!

This post contains affiliate links.


  • Reply
    May 10, 2008 at 7:18 am

    They turned out great! I have Amanda’s book as well, and can’t wait to try this for myself. Thanks for posting the flickr photo ideas, very cool.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2008 at 8:17 am

    OH, those are so beautiful! I picked up some fabric paint last week but keep forgetting to get the freezer paper. Now you have inspired me to run to the store and get going on this project. I hope it’s not as addictive to me…I’ll never get anything else done! My mind is already racing with the possibilities!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2008 at 10:27 am

    i’ve been wanting to try this but a bit scared… so now you’re pushing me over the line! can’t wait to get it home and give it a try!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    That red/pink tshirt in the middle is totally cool. I might just hunt through the kids white singlets today and see if I can have a go!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    These turned out really well. I am almost scared to try it though — looks very addictive and I already have enough hobbies (vices) as it is!! Love the colors, what paints did you use?

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle (ART IN HAND)
    May 10, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Not only addictive, must also be contagious! I can’t wait for my hand to heal so i can try this too…the gift-making aspect of this really appeals to me, not to mention enhancing my own wardrobe!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2008 at 5:47 pm


  • Reply
    The Writer Mama
    May 10, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Oh my. You’ve been busy again!
    Happy Mother’s Day!
    :) C

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 10, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    I used Jacquard textile paint from Dharma–apple green, brown, black, and navy. Here’s the link: I made a run to AC Moore yesterday afternoon for some white and it turned out they sell the Jacquard paints there too. I think any fabric paint would work, but SouleMama recommended this kind so I thought I’d start off with it.

  • Reply
    S. Marie
    May 11, 2008 at 12:44 am

    Where can I find the nice pink and green cotton shirts?

  • Reply
    May 11, 2008 at 7:25 am

    I’ve been hoping to try freezer stenciling on newborn-sized onesies. My plan was to cut out the stencils and iron them on myself, and then have my 3 1/2 year old help me apply the paint. Do you think this is realistic, based on your experience? I wanted to do a project together to get ready for his little sister who is expected in July. I thought this might be easy enough for him to help with and he would be excited to see her wearing something he made. What do you think? Is there anything else I should make sure to do ahead of time so that it is not frustrating?

  • Reply
    May 11, 2008 at 7:26 am

    Oh, by the way, yours are amazing and inspiring!

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 11, 2008 at 4:40 am

    I bought the green shirt at a thrift store. The pink one is from a local Asheville store. But I bet you could find similar ones at other places…

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 11, 2008 at 10:22 am

    I bet having a child help apply the paint would be fine, as long as the child is supervised and is past the stage of wanting to put the paint in his mouth or on his body. The fabric paint isn’t labeled non-toxic or child-friendly or anything so I’d be careful about not getting it on skin (or at least washing it off quickly). A 3 1/2 year old would probably (I think?) have the patience and self control to apply the paint carefully with a paint brush. I’m not sure my 2 1/2 year old would, but maybe I’m underestimating her.

  • Reply
    May 11, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I have a feeling the husband is going to roll his eyes when he comes home to a house full of stenciled fabric drying!
    They look fabulous!

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 12, 2008 at 4:47 am

    He actually put in a request of his own (and then suggested I try to sell them). :)

  • Reply
    May 13, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Ooh! I’ve GOT to try this! Thanks for the wonderful ideas, Jean! :)

  • Reply
    May 13, 2008 at 6:35 am

    I also want to add that I love shirts with cute designs like this that I find in stores, but they’re always cut for teeny tiny people who aren’t built at all like I am. I usually go home with plain jane shirts and wear them as-is. Not anymore, sister! :-D

  • Reply
    May 13, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    oh i LOVE these … thanks for sharing the great ideas ….

  • Reply
    Friday Features Simple Things
    May 16, 2008 at 4:00 am

    […] projects that I can do with the kiddos. One of her recent projects is my favorite yet! Check out Freezer Paper Stenciling – So Fun!! Ive got some utra-cool pictures printed out; Now I just need to stock up on freezer paper […]

  • Reply
    May 22, 2008 at 9:22 am

    So, duh … what’s freezer paper?

  • Reply
    renee - 21st century parenting
    May 23, 2008 at 9:07 am

    these are amazing!!! thanks for posting! i’ve wanted to stencil, but didn’t even think about fabric paint. duh! i’ll have to try it too! ;-)

  • Reply
    Stencils, Stencils, Everywhere! Simple Things
    June 19, 2008 at 5:28 am

    […] The Artful Parent | I had never heard of freezer paper stenciling until recently, when The Artful Parent mentioned it on her blog. I love a cool idea, so I was immediately drawn to this new project. In fact, I […]

  • Reply
    Busy Sad Little Garden
    June 25, 2008 at 1:06 am

    […] I love free craft. Im planning on doing a lot more – not just freezer paper stenciling but anything where I dont have to spend any money to create something. If youd like to have a go at the stenciling, these are the best instructions Ive seen: The Artful Parent. […]

  • Reply
    October 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    um..totally awesome~

  • Reply
    Mill Creek Stenciling Freezer Paper Stenciling
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    […] Buckinghams Projection Stenciling method. Today, however, I stumbled across a blog called The Artful Parent which has a great post describing the process of using freezer paper to stencil on fabric, like the […]

  • Reply
    Freezer Paper Stencils | Stencil Talk
    November 14, 2008 at 12:54 am

    […] over at The Artful Parent shows off her freezer paper stenciled creations. She was inspired by reading Amandas post at […]

  • Reply
    Freezer Paper Stencils The sharper the berry, the sweeter the blog
    November 16, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    […] freezer paper, muno, screen print, shirt, yo gabba gabba | I found this great project at The Artful Parent and also referenced Craftster and Neither Hip Nor Funky. I over research everything, so I think I […]

  • Reply
    Jen R
    November 24, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Love this craft idea!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Great! I’m going to try fabric squares for quilt blocks! Lois

  • Reply
    February 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Oh my gosh! That is so cool! I found you through Stumble and I’m so glad I did :)

  • Reply
    Gary Poyssick
    February 2, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I write instructional manuals for a living, and ‘Stumbled’ across this wonderful creative community.
    First of all, the concept of doing my own stencils is totally, totally cool. I really don’t consider myself an artist (Thoreau said “those that can’t do teach”), but i do have access to gorgeous artwork from students who’ve used our textbooks — specially Adobe Illustrator, a ‘Vector’ drawing program purrrrfect for this application.
    Secondly, the community itself is very helpful and the instructional materials provided here are very, very professionally done. And that’s coming from somebody that writes books for a living :)
    gary in wet but wonderful Saint Petersburg, Florida USA

  • Reply
    February 2, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    …what is ‘freezer paper’ exactly?? and is it available in england? (if not any ideas of alternative) thanks!

  • Reply
    February 2, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Is parchment paper the same as freezer paper? And if not is it possible to use it instead?

  • Reply
    February 2, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I’d like to see Ellyn make a t-shirt as cute as these. Great job! Can’t wait to try this!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2009 at 1:17 am

    I’t very nice idea!!
    gracias por compartirla!! (thanks for to share it!) :D
    Good bye!

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    February 3, 2009 at 5:41 am

    Thanks for all the comments and questions!
    For those with questions about freezer paper, it’s an old fashioned thing (used for wrapped meat etc for the freezer before Ziploc freezer bags, etc) so not available everywhere. I find it in some grocery stores but not all in the aisle with saran wrap and aluminum foil. Freezer paper has a waxy layer on one side which adheres to the fabric when ironed — parchment paper doesn’t have that so wouldn’t work. However, I’ve heard of people using Con-Tact paper effectively for stencils.
    Good luck finding what you need!

  • Reply
    February 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Would wax paper work?

  • Reply
    February 4, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    don’t care whqt the hobby is.. nothing replaces chocolatte!!!

  • Reply
    February 4, 2009 at 10:25 am

    I love these! It looks like something I can handle. I think I’ll try something for my grandson.

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    February 4, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Not sure. Doesn’t wax paper have wax on both sides? Has anyone else tried it?

  • Reply
    traveling mom
    February 4, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    I like that.

  • Reply
    Buttons by Lou Lou
    February 5, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    They are amazing. I love them. I am definately going to give them a try. I was just thinking today how I love printed t-shirts. Thanks for sharing your new skill.

  • Reply
    February 5, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    this is so cool!
    i’m in college right now, and having a hard time dealing with being broke, but still finding cute clothes.. this is perfect!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2009 at 6:13 am

    How very interesting and pretty at the same time!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2009 at 9:28 am

    i want pink!! i like it..becoz i am a girl na..hehe :)
    cool pix. thnx

  • Reply
    February 8, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Where do you buy your t-shirts? I like the colours.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2009 at 6:36 am

    this looks like so much fun! Does it last a long time? Just thinking of washing, etc.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2009 at 7:55 am

    “Freezer paper” is just that, paper for wraping food to put in the freezer. You can find it in the same section of the grocery store where you find wax paper, aluminum foil, etc. One side is shiney, that is the side you iron to your fabric. When you pull it away it leaves no residue on the fabric. If it is ironed down well to your fabric, the paint won’t go under the edge unlike plastic stencils.
    Be sure to have some kind of paper under your fabric so your paint doesn’t go down to the table.
    Quilters use “Freezer paper” as well as flag makers. My roll has lasted me a couple of years.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Autumn, there is an old saying in the crafting world, “Handmade means handwash.”.
    I have washed handpainted items in a machine and had no trouble with it for years. I’ve also machine washed items and the paint came out on the first washing leaving it looking spoty. It just depends on the fabric and the paint. But in doubt – hand wash it in the sink.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I just tried this this weekend for a birthday and was dumbfounded by how amazing the shirts came out. I was wondering where I can send you some photos to give you credit for these shirts I made. They were a birthday gift and everyone thought i ordered them online or had them printed. Thanks to you I’ve offically decided never to buy another graphic t-shirt.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2009 at 12:25 am

    What great results, for really simple and effective prints this looks very professional, I am about to scour the web for Freezer Paper, or alternatively my local Supermarche or Lakeland..I don’t think it’s so easily found in the UK.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2009 at 4:50 am

    perhaps you can wash on delicate or the handwash option… anyhoo, I cant wait to try this!

  • Reply
    sir jorge
    February 13, 2009 at 11:21 am

    that is a fantastic idea.

  • Reply
    The Waters Calm Blog Archive Craft Tutorials I Have Bookmarked:
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    […] Store Fleece Scarf Fleece Cap Freezer Paper Stencilling Heart-Shaped Paper Clips DIY iPod Cover CD Case Calendar Homemade Sun Jar Box Templates Peanut […]

  • Reply
    links for 2009-03-09 chikajm
    March 9, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    […] Freezer Paper Stenciling – So Fun!! The Artful Parent: The Intersection of Art and Parenting (tags: tshirts stencils) […]

  • Reply
    April 9, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    wow. so cool! I want to make an octopus shirt! I hope I can….

  • Reply
    April 23, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    thew paper that comes wrapped around printer paper works the same as freezer paper.

  • Reply
    bethany actually Blog Archive freezer paper stencils
    May 12, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    […] used Jacquard fabric paint, because I read in a couple of posts about freezer-paper stenciling that it was good. Also, it was an excuse to go to the Dick […]

  • Reply
    Emily Sorensen
    May 27, 2009 at 5:20 am

    I can’t wait to try the freezer paper stencils. I’ve been doing lots of stenciling on t-shirts lately and use Simply Spray soft fabric and their stencil paint. I love that it dries fast. Just be careful to cover the surface around your stencil to avoid over-spray.

  • Reply
    June 1, 2009 at 4:58 am

    this is a great alternative to stencil paper; can you reuse this stencil?

  • Reply
    June 10, 2009 at 7:03 am

    I have been using some of my larger paper punches to punch out smaller stecils in the freezer paper. Just another way to eliminate all the cutting.
    I have a t-shirt with a bunch of little birds on it, and then another one with lips all over it. They look real cute..And paper puch would work, since the freezer paper is quite thin and easy to punch through.

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    June 10, 2009 at 8:38 am

    That sounds like a great idea! Thanks for the tip.

  • Reply
    June 17, 2009 at 8:51 am

    I *LOVE* this idea, process, the whole thing – I can’t wait to try this myself (in fact, I’m already brain-storming some kind of matching mom daughter tanks for the summer). Thanks for sharing this on your blog!

  • Reply
    The joy of freezer paper Powell Blog
    July 20, 2009 at 11:24 am

    […] for things you can throw paint on! For those of you interested in trying these out, check out this website. It has more samples and some basic instructions. Have […]

  • Reply
    August 1, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I am doing this in the MORN! rach

  • Reply
    Lynn Bennett
    August 7, 2009 at 4:19 am

    I was looking at spending big dollars on that new home screen printing machine but now I think I will try this instead….I know where to get the freezer paper and have tons of plain shirts…now for the paint and a place the cat can’t get to….

  • Reply
    lisa Keegan
    September 1, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    oooh – going to try that on some plain white bandanas – they can use them as a scarf/ headwear/ handkerchief/ flag. Will post the results on my blog and link to you when I get to it!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I want to start making my own T-shirts. I saw this guide about using transfer paper and another about using latex paint. I just want the best looking result and have no idea which technique is best. Does this technique cause allot of paint bleeding and does it wash out fast or leave paint on other clothing when washing? Thanks!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Wow! This is awesome! Thanks stumbleupon and YOU!

  • Reply
    October 4, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I love doing freezer stencils! Another tip, that may have been posted already, but didn’t see as I briefly browsed through, is if you have a bunch of acrylic paint, you can get Textile Medium (Joann’s and Michael’s has it – look in the section with the liquid acrylic paint, it’s in a large bottle, and is opaque white in color) which turns your acrylic paint into fabric paint. This is how I’ve done several shirts for my kids, friends, and myself, and as long as you follow the directions on the back of the Textile Medium, the paint doesn’t come off of your shirt. It’s great!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Hi! I love this idea! I’m going to try and make bags with it. Question, what setting is the iron on when you iron the freezer paper on? Also, what setting do you use AFTER the paint dries?

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    October 19, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I use the same setting for both — the cotton setting, no steam.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I featured this on my Inspiration Friday Post…

  • Reply
    Kristi Hales
    September 24, 2011 at 2:32 am

    I love the red shirt in the middle with the black as well. Where did you find that graphic and the reverse up in the right corner with orange and white? Do you recommend a site for the graphics

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