Stencil Shirts With Freezer Paper





Introduction: Stencil Shirts With Freezer Paper

Freezer paper can be ironed onto t-shirts. This is good for stencils.

Step 1: Materials Needed:

Paint(I use acrylic, whatever works on fabric should work for you)
Freezer Paper
Hobby Knife
Some sort of brushy thing
Something to stencil

Step 2: Stencil

First: Find yourself a stencil. You can draw directly on the freezer paper (sticky side down of course), or use a stencil someone else made, or you can put an image into any photoshopish program and adjust the brightness/contast until you have something simple enough to cut out. You could do multiple layers with this, but I've never really gotten into that. In any case, the black parts are what you want to cut out. For this shirt I'm going to take a drawing from my sketchbook, blow it up on my computer, print it out on freezer paper, and then add some lettering and thicken up the lines before I cut.

One of the great things about freezer paper is that you don't have to worry about islands. Since you're ironing on the design, you can just place any white bits that aren't connected to the main part of the stencil. This is a good thing, as my stencil is sloppy and has a lot of islands. You can also iron on corrections if you mess up somewhere while cutting it. The downside to this is that most freezer paper stencils can only be used once, but if you're careful and don't use islands you may be able to peel it off intact, though it probably won't stick again.

Hokay, so: now, you either have your fancy smancy stencil drawn, or ready to print onto freezer paper. You can probably buy freezer paper at a market or maybe an art store or some place like that. I'll bet the Reynolds company makes it, I don't know what it's actually used for, there's a roll in my house and I stencil with it. Anyways, whatever you do, make sure your stencil is on the plain side of the paper, with the waxy side down. WAXY SIDE DOWN.

Step 3: Knives and Hot Irons

Slice out the black parts of the stencil. Save any islands you have with great care, seperate from the scrap pieces and such, and in a way that you'll be able to place them back into the stencil. Save some scraps for touching up later, if that's needed.

Heat up your iron, and lay out your shirt. While you're at it, you might as well iron the shirt so it's super smooth. Position the stencil on the shirt, waxy side down, placing any islands in their respective positions. Now press the iron flat down on each section of the shirt for a good 10-15 seconds. Poke the paper to make sure it's firmly on, you may have to go back over it, but the better that stuff sticks, the crisper the lines will turn out.

Step 4: Pretty Paints

Now apply your paint. I would advise using as little paint as necessary to get whatever effect you're after(whether it be brush strokes, solid color, etc.) Heavy coats of paint on shirts tends to be uncomfortable. Take care while painting so as not to pull up the paper, I use little brushes so I don't really have to worry.

As far as drying goes, you can stick it in the sun or under a lamp or just leave it overnight. When the paint is dry to the touch you can pull off the paper. I usually give my shirts a day or so to dry completely, then I turn them inside out and toss them in the dryer for about 15-20 minutes to cure the paint. I'm not entirely sure that's necessary, but I'd definitely wash these shirts inside out.

Step 5: Finis

And there you have it. This technique is great for covering up unwanted logos on shirts, as you can see below.

And I might as well tell you to listen to sheena. I'm not sure what they are, electronic andogynous post punk or something. If you like the faint, !!!, or dfa1979 give them a listen:



    • BBQ Showdown Challenge

      BBQ Showdown Challenge
    • Backpack Challenge

      Backpack Challenge
    • Stick It! Contest

      Stick It! Contest

    41 Discussions

    I like this instructable, but I are beez confuzed. you draw then scan then adjust, do you then slice a piece of freezer paper and print it on the paper side? then slice and dice it, reassemble it on the item and iron it on a shirt?  After a good drying you can peel off the paper (pulling off the plastic backed stencil) ?

    This is a really nice instructable.

    You can get same effect with masking tape on a piece of silicone paper (for small simple designs on a shirt pocket, or plastic contact paper if you have some that is due to be tossed out, it is too tooo expensive for this.

    I stenciled numbers and simple stuff on on my kids Pinewood Derby cars with the blue masking tape method, came out nice.  The mask stencils allowed HIM , not me to do it and some came out a tad imperfect, but who cares! 

    (Freezer paper has a plastic coating on one side to act as a vapor barrier and quick release, while frozen)


    I made the blue spaceman stencil on the back of this using this method. Worked pretty good.

    front back.JPG

    erm. which part must be cut ? the shades or the white one ?

    Thanks for this, this is how I'll make my 'gwai and Do Make Say Think shirts I have planned!

    Wow! very impressive. I have been trying to find a good way to stencil on shirts and this is the very first i have read that uses only household items,

    I just wanted to say, the 65daysofstatic shirt is awesome. Nice instructable, as well.

    You can actually print your design directly onto freezer paper if you have an inkjet printer. There are several precautionary measures to be taken into consideration - EG: make sure the paper is flat and not curled, back the sticky side with plain printer paper to prevent the wax from harming your paper feeding mechanism. Common sense stuff. Covering the front (dry side) of your printed freezer paper with clear contact paper before cutting it out also makes the stencil a little more rigid and ready to be used multiple times. It's a little harder to cut out that way, but you do end up with a piece that can be used over and over- thus saving time redoing the cutting process.

    i've noticed a couple asked "have you ever done this with spray paint?" well i did just that yesterday and today and these are the results and I have to say i'm quite pleased with them. I made the raven shirt yesterday and the one of the back of the guys head exploding today.

    2 replies

    ya they bleed a tiny bit and an i use regular spray paint but that raven shirt the style i did it the bleeding isn't an issue but if you look at the N in RAVEN the there's a brown shadow where the paint bleed around the sencil but as long as you put down like to light coats before a heavy coat or two the bleeding is very little

    Awesome instructable. I made mine with acrylic paint with several layers... a Killola ripoff from someone else's instructable, and the hand from the first System of a down album.


    just one more thing if you cut your freezer paper to the size of regular printer paper you can just print your image onto it and cut it out just make sure when you put the freezer paper in your printer you put it plastic side up so it prints on the paper side.

    Nice idea, never knew freezer paper had plastic on one side :P. But, then again, I never use the stuff either I'll try this out some time, thanks for the idea :D.

    I wouldn't use art already being used by a band when making DIY shirts. That's just my opinion though.

    2 replies

    Huh? I designed this stencil, I didn't copy Sheena art. Unless you mean stealing the london calling aesthetic...

    Newsflash: screen printers already KNOW what you are talking about, and they post instructables documenting that knowledge. Half of your comments are identical ads for your dvd. If you care about sparking creativity, why don't you make an instructable about screen printing? I would read it if you made it, as you clearly know your stuff. The beauty of instructables is that there is often a multiplicity of methods one can use to achieve similar goals: there are many different methods documented for designing/printing/painting shirts. I'll agree that screen printing is probably the most effective method, but that does not mean it is the best for everyone. A lot of what I do with freezer paper could not be done with a screen (because of how this method seals the stencil+cloth together). My point is that a website like this one that is based around freely sharing information is not the best place to try to sell information. If you made your own instructable about screen printing it would be completely appropriate for you to offer your DVD for sale there, and you might get some sales from people who liked your project and want to learn more in-depth. But it just comes off as rude for you to barge into my project and tell people what they "need to use".

    Don't worry buddy, if people want to learn how to screen print there are plenty of instructables available to them:
    "screen print"

    though looking at your comment history I'll bet an instructables bot is flagging you as spam anyways.