DIY: Freezer Paper Fabric Stencils

Looking for a do it yourself gift that is inexpensive, easy and classy?  Look no further!  With freezer paper stenciling you can make an endless variety of custom items for all holidays~even for those “hard to craft for” men in your life.

You know you want to learn how to make this!

Now I have been dying to try freezer paper fabric stenciling for a long time.  It’s been on my radar for about 3 years!  But I seem to always put off things like this–fun DIY things–because there are so many other things on my to do list. Work type things.  I feel guilty.  I swear–I have so much guilt when it comes to doing things just for me that I should have been Catholic.

The great thing is, when Walmart challenges me as one of their Walmart Moms to come up with a DIY project for Valentines Day. . . that fun project I’ve been meaning to try becomes work.

Instant justification!  Gotta love that.

But on to the tutorial!

Freezer Paper Fabric Stenciling

All the supplies for my freezer paper sencil project.


Freezer Paper
Fabric or Puff Paint
Clip Art Images
Xacto Knife
Paint brushes
Sharpies &/or Pencils
Clothing Items to be Stenciled (at Walmart I bought a t-shirt, a 3pk of girls tank tops & a tie)


1.  Find images to use for your stencils.*

I did a google search but didn’t find quite what I was looking for, so I went into Microsoft Word and checked out the clipart selection.  That led me to the online Microsoft clip art collection where I found the flaming heart and lips images that I wanted. I copied them to a document and then resized them.  I did have to print them out a couple of times in different sizes to get them to fit the way I wanted on the tie & tank top.

2.  Transfer your images to the freezer paper.

There are a couple of ways to do this.

a)  You can print your images straight onto the freezer paper.  You cut the freezer paper into the same size as a sheet of printer paper, then feed it into your printer, making sure that the matte (not shiny!) side will be printed on.  This seemed like a lot of effort to me.

b)  You can trace your image onto the freezer paper.  I did this with the lips stencil.  Since the freezer paper is thick and I couldn’t see the lips quite as well as I liked I traced around them with a black Sharpie first.  When I layered the freezer paper over that I could see the outline just fine.  Alternately you could use a lightbox or, the more frugal method, a window with light coming through it :)

c) You can transfer your image onto the freezer paper using either carbon paper (if you can find it) or the old pencil lead trick.  This is what I did with the flaming heart-since the clip art was to dark to see the flames well.

What? You don’t know the Pencil Lead Transfer Trick????

Well here you go!  You simply take the paper with your image and flip it over.  Then you use the side of your pencil lead to scribble a thick layer of pencil all over the back of your design:

This is a very old trick!

Next you flip the paper right side up and place it ON TOP of the freezer paper.   Trace over your image on the right side.

Press down hard!

The pressure from you pencil (or pen, or stylus, or back of a paintbrush-whatever) will transfer some of that pencil you scribbled onto the paper below.

See! Isn't that amazing?

Tada! Sometimes low tech ROCKS.

Ok, back to the rest of the tutorial.  Where were we? Oh yeah, we had transferred our images onto the freezer paper.

3.  Cut out your stencil with the Xacto knife

Cut carefully. An Xacto really helps.

Make sure you place something underneath while you are cutting.  You don’t want the image engraved forever on your dinning room table.  I just threw an old magazine in there.

For the lips stencil, I only did one image, but for the flaming heart I had to make two stencils-one where the top was cut out, and one where the bottom was.

4.  Place your stencil on the fabric.

Take your time placing the stencil!

Make sure it is where you want it!

5.  Iron the paper onto the fabric with a dry heat.

Iron on the freezer paper-make sure you get all the edges if it's an intricate problem.

Don’t use steam-it might mess up your freezer paper.  It only takes about a minute to get a nice solid seal.  Double check your edges if you have lots of little points like I did.

6.  Apply your paint.

Yes, I know this is lips. I didn't take a picture of me actually painting the heart.

I’ll be honest with you.  I was a little nervous about how the puff paint I bought at Walmart would work out as a fabric paint.  After all-it’s “dimensional” paint. . . and I didn’t want dimension.  What if it was too plasticy? What if the whole image lifted up when I lifted up the stencil?

All my fears were for nothing.  I just squeezed some of the paint onto a scrap of freezer paper and daubed it on thinly with a foam stenciling brush.  You could use a paintbrush or a cheapo foam brush too.

Make sure you paint all the way over the edges and that you’ve got good coverage (unless of course you don’t WANT full coverage).

I decided to put the black on the top.

7.  Let dry.

The paint said on the bottle that it was 4 hrs till dry, but I just waited till it was dry to the touch.  After all-I was applying it thinly, not in a big squiggly “puff”.

8.  Carefully peel off your freezer paper.

The heart, stage one.

I actually used a thin angled paintbrush and painted the bottom outline of the heart in, using the lines already on the tie.

If you were using just one color, that would be it.  You’d be done!  But I wanted to use a second color so I layered the second stencil on top, ironed it on and added the silver sparkle paint.

Pulling off the second layer of stencil.

Note to self: If you squeeze the puff paint bottle and nothing seems to come out. . . don’t just squeeze really hard as you will blow the top off the bottle and make a big, sparkly mess.

I had a sparkly puff paint explosion.

Anyway!  The second stencil didn’t line up perfectly with the black so I used a very thin brush and filled in the little gaps

Touching up a few spots with sparkles

Viola!  There you are:

How awesome is that?

And since I had plenty of sparkle paint left over from my, um, explosion I added an extra freehand layer onto the lips stencil.

Adding some extra bling to the lips.

Princess loved her lips tank top!

Princess, rockin out the stenciled shirt!

Now the observant among you might have noticed that I had a black t-shirt in my initial supplies.  I had intend to make a stencil for Buddy as well.  I just couldn’t come up with anything Valentines Day themed that a 7yr old boy would wear.  After much discussion we decided that a Pac-Man Tshirt would be awesome. . . but I didn’t have yellow paint.  So that is an upcoming project :)

*note:  Play nice and pay attention to copyright laws when you chose images for stenciling.  ESPECIALLY if you are going to sell the resulting items.
Disclosure: This post is part of a campaign I am participating in with the Walmart Moms. Walmart has provided me with compensation and product for this post. My participation is voluntary and opinions, as always are my own.  See what my fellow Walmart Moms come up with!
****This is a sponsored post****

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  1. Karina House says

    Actually, I think permanently stenciled images on your kitchen table are quite lovely. We have a very nice message of “welcome” that was tin-punched by my cousin on my grandmother’s kitchen table…. it’s now my table and said cousin is a Navy seal! You can only see it from certain angles and it’s fun to see guests who’ve been to our house many times suddenly discover it.

    • Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says

      What a fun story! yes, sometimes those little, uh, imperfections are what gives a home its character.

  2. Heidi says

    I was just wondering how washable these things are? I’m going to be stenciling on a pillow case. Although people should wash their pillow cases regularly, they do not. Is the paint permanent? If not, what could I use to make it permanent.

    • says

      Heidi-I have washed the shirt I made for Princess (and a “pac-man” shirt I made for Buddy) a ton of times . . . although I didn’t count the exact number of times, I’d be comfortable using either the fabric paint or puff paint on any item that was going to be washed frequently.


  1. […] 1. I self printed half of the squares using the freezer paper print method- you can make your own t-shirts this way too- beware that you can only make 2 from each stencil so it takes a very long time! How To Do Freezer Paper Printing […]

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