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How To Stencil with Freezer Paper

Looking to update a plain shirt? Upcycling and need to cover a stain? Fabric paint stenciling is easy with freezer paper! Check out this tutorial on how to use freezer paint, it is cheap and fast.

I love freezer paper. It is dirt cheap and practically magic! My apologies to non-American readers, I have heard it is impossible/difficult to find outside the states. You can iron the paper down on fabric and it adheres quite nicely, and then peels away without leaving a trace. This makes it useful for a number of things – but I most commonly use it to stencil!

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You can find the graphic for the ‘MILK’ carton in this post, and I have rounded up a ton of bunch of free silhouettes and appliques in this Pinterest board. A lot of the refashions I see are using Silhouette or Cricut machines to cut out their design but you don’t need to go to all that trouble! A craft knife works just fine.

I’ve used this technique to stencil my own shirt and shirts for my son – it is so versatile.



step 1

1 – Draw or print out the design you’ll be cutting and then layer the freezer paper over top, shiny side down. Trace.

step 2

2 – Use your craft knife and cut out the outline, carefully preserving the corners.

step 3

3 -Lay all your pieces shiny side down on the shirt – iron with a  high heat setting, making sure to catch all the edges.

step 4

4 -Apply a light coat of fabric with your foam brush, painting with the grain of the fabric and watching out for bumps or lumps. Let dry, apply a second coat if necessary.

step 5

5 -Gently tease up one edge and pull all the freezer paper away!

step 6

6. After the paint is dry, use an iron to ‘heat set’ the paint. Mine wasn’t 100% dry so I used a pressing cloth in between them, but this is optional.


Done! It took longer to photograph and write this tutorial than to actually do it – freezer paper stenciling is so satisfying. Have you ever tried it?

If you have never gone thrift shopping for t-shirts to upcycle, check out this post with tips on picking the best stuff! Then, freezer paper stencil it!

Looking to update a plain shirt? Upcycling and need to cover a stain? Fabric paint stenciling is easy with freezer paper! Check out this tutorial on how to use freezer paint, it is cheap and fast.









This Post Has 18 Comments
  1. I loooove freezer paper! I like to cut 8.5×11″ pieces and just run it through my printer – saves a step cause I’m too lazy to trace ?

  2. I love freezer paper too. We can only get it in craft stores here in Australia. Love this technique. It’s a great option if you don’t have one of those expensive cutting machines.

  3. Oh I’m pinning this. I will totally use it as I don’t have one of those fancy silhouettes or cricuit machines. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great instructions. One of best I have seen on this. thank you. Will definitely try using your instructions. I already have the freezer paper with intent to try.

  5. In Australia we call freezer paper , “wax paper” and it is available in our supermarkets where we get plastic wrap and aluminium foil too…

  6. […] When Cricut invited me to join in this blog tour, I had reservations. 5 years ago, my husband gifted me a (different brand) digital cutting machine and I was so excited… until I tried it. I consider myself relatively tech-savvy but I could not get that darn thing to do what I wanted. It has long-since been a sore spot that I hated, and eventually sold, his gift but I decided to risk it. My experience with the Cricut Explore Air 2 couldn’t be any different! Set-up time until I was actually making this project was maybe 30 minutes tops, no video tutorials or Googling required. It all looks super professional, and there is no way I could’ve done this level of detail with my usual freezer paper trick. […]

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