Freezer Paper to the Rescue!

Now it’s o.k. to be a slob or keep your kid’s favorite t-shirt even though it has a mustard stain on it. An easy way to cover a stain or make a boring shirt not so boring is to stencil it. I have a bad habit of buying clothes because I like the material and not necessarily the way it looks so I do this a lot. I also do this when I’m totally bored with everything I own but can’t afford to go shopping! This is how to get a good, crisp stencil and is easier and cheaper than contact paper. This works so well because it has a very light coat of plastic which helps it adhere to your fabric. It then peels right off with no trace.

You will need:

  • an exact-o knife
  • a design (printed out or drawn on paper)
  • your fabric
  • a cutting board
  • freezer paper (not wax paper but you can find it NEAR the wax paper)
  • a Sharpie
  • an iron
  • either spray paint for apparel (AKA “silkscreen in a can”) or regular spray paint works (I promise!)
  • scrap pieces of paper

First, lay a piece of your freezer paper on top of your design “waxy/shiny” side down, and trace on the dull side with your Sharpie. Next, put the freezer paper on a good cutting surface and cut out your image with the razor.

Be sure to save any small pieces you may need to block any paint such as:

Set your iron to cotton with NO steam. Place your main stencil on your fabric (leaving aside any small blocking pieces) where you want the image. Now press the freezer paper with your iron for about 10-15 seconds all the while, making sure to press all corners and edges well and moving the iron smoothly. If you have any smaller pieces, you can add them easier now and iron over each one to make it stick.

If there is fabric behind your stencil (such as a t-shirt) be sure to put scrap papers inside so the paint does not bleed through to the back.

Tape scrap papers over the rest of your fabric being careful to overlap them well.

In a work room or outside, hold your can 8-10 inches from your stencil and spray. IF YOU ARE USING REGULAR SPRAY PAINT, be sure to begin with light coatings. The thicker this paint is, the stiffer your fabric will be because it is enamel. I usually do light coats and my shirts are never stiff and have that “worn” look. The one below is very black because I used the apparel paint.

Let your fabric and stencil dry. Peel off your freezer paper and any plastic that helped it stick will come off with it. You don’t even have to wash it afterward! Use tweezers for small pieces.


A crisp image to hide any sloppiness!


February 16, 2010. Tags: , , , . Art and Neat stuff.


  1. Giggly Mama replied:

    Very cool! I’ve just been embroidering mine. This is fun too!!

  2. Richard Kent replied:

    That upside down Reich-Strebel inequality is helping out!

  3. modernmaam replied:

    🙂 It sure is Honey. I’m sure it’s good for other things too though.

  4. Joel replied:

    Oh yeah, I’m definitely going to try this out! Just found your blog – yep, it’s awesome.

    • modernmaam replied:

      Thanks Joel! I’ve used this for sheets, bags, clothes, ugly upholstery, and more! I can only imagine the wonderful things you’ll do with this technique.

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