Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Magic of Freezer Paper

Freezer paper.  It's amazing stuff.  Apparently, some people use it to wrap things in before they freeze things, and I've got no problem with that. Except that it seems like such a waste of potential awesomeness.

Here's the deal.

You're going to need

  • a roll of freezer paper
  • a pen, pencil, or Sharpie
  • an X-Acto knife
  • a cutting surface
  • a sponge brush
  • fabric paint (but I almost always use plain old acrylic)
  • something to stencil your design onto
  • newspaper or similar to keep your table clean
  • an iron 

Freezer paper has two sides: one shiny, and one papery.  So what you do, should you ethe need to make something---t-shirt, shop banner, tote bag, whatever!---that looks pretty professional and requires minimal preparation, skill, or moolah, is this

You choose your design.  You can print it out, or flip your laptop over and use it like a lightbox and trace it right off the screen.  Trace it onto the papery (non-shiny) side of the freezer paper.  I almost always use a superfine sharpie for this step, but that's purely a matter of personal preference.  Whatever works. You are the master of your fate, yadda yadda yadda. 

Next---and if it seems like we're moving at a pretty brisk clip here, we are---use your trusty X-Acto knife to cut out your design.  I'm hoping you've got mad X-Acto skills, but if not, we'll wait while you catch up.  Go ahead and cut out the whole blessed thing, then position your design---shiny side down--- on whatever you've chosen to stencil on.  (Ugh.  Preposition at the end of sentence has been duly noted. Sue me.)  Heat up your iron and use it to press the paper firmly and slowly to the fabric until it's nice and stuck.  (I usually turn my iron to the highest setting.  I craft like I cook---a lot of trial and error and "to taste" type of measuring.  Your mileage may vary.  Don't burn yourself.)

Next order of business is the application of paint.  Pour out a puddle of paint and get the tip of your sponge brush nice and paint-y.  Then use a stippling motion to fill in the areas left exposed by your stencil.

 Once they're all covered, gently peel the freezer paper off of the fabric and admire your handiwork.  Try not to smudge. 

Quick, cheap and easy, right?  There are scores of applications for this little trick, and I promise, your friends will be in outright awe of your talents.  Go forth and make stuff!


  1. are painting *around* the image you have ironed so you can see said image, yes? No color from the stencil unless you fill it in with the marker?

    1. The only color will come from your paint, Al. In this series of photos, I did a "negative space" design. I wanted a black background. The white letters are from where the freezer paper letters blocked the paint from reaching the fabric. If I wanted to have black letters on a white background (like in the middle of my banner, for example, I'd cut the letters out and fill in the spaces with the paint. Clear as mud, right?

  2. Pretty cool, I am tempted to try it on something....but what? hmmmm.....

  3. Very cool Wendy! Great photos showing how you did it too, that's really a good idea!

  4. Thanks, guys. It's habit forming. :)

  5. Definitely going to have to give this a try!