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Three Cheers for Freezer Paper Stencils!

Edited to add:

1. If you decide to do this, it's really important that you use freezer paper. Wax and parchment paper are not suitable substitutes.

2. For all of the stencils I made for Dell, I simply traced images that I had found online and printed out. I had the most success when Googling "clip art", but I also got a lot of ideas from this Freezer Paper Flickr group.


I read that freezer papers stencils were addictive but I initially didn't have a lot of interest in trying them. Then several of you suggested that I do them at Dell's shower. After checking out pictures on Flickr of freezer-paper-stenciled onesies, I knew this was an idea I wanted to use. So (twist my arm) I thought I better do a trial run here. I am now a freezer paper stencil convert! And, yes, they are totally addictive.

Let me tell you why freezer paper stencils are so awesome. First, they are easy. There is no sewing required. They take very little time and are inexpensive, especially if you use them on clothing/items that you already own. They do not require much artistic ability. Also they aren't just for kids... or shirts. Think totes, backpacks, skirts. The possibilities are endless, really.

I did mine on some of the kids' hand-me-down T-shirts. Here's how I did it.

First I looked online for ideas that I liked. Jude wanted a robot. I liked these two images.

I sketched out the robot, using aspects of both of my "inspiration" pieces.

I then traced the image onto the freezer paper, shiny side down. Next, using an x-acto knife, I cut out the image. You can cut it out over cardboard or a self-healing mat (used in sewing/quilting). I used a self-healing mat and it worked really well. If you wanted to make a bunch of stencils, I would recommend this option. It seems like it could be difficult to cut out the stencil over cardboard. A cutting board might be another option, although I haven't tried this.

Cut out another piece of freezer paper, approximately the same size as your stencil. Place it shiny side up under the shirt in the area where you plan to place the stencil. Iron the stencil onto the front of the shirt, shiny side down. (tip: I like to fold the shirt in half and iron a crease in the center to make sure the stencil is centered.) I was impressed at how well the freezer paper clung to the shirt with just a touch of the iron. Super easy.

Paint with fabric paint. Let dry according to the fabric paint instructions.

When dry, peel off the freezer paper. This is the best part!!!!

Ta-da! It's that simple.

Next I made made one for Indigo with an owl like she requested.

The kids were both so excited about their shirts. Last night, Jude said, "Thank you, Mommy, so much for making me this robot shirt. I love it!"

After my successful freezer paper trial run, I started cutting out stencils for Dell's shower.

Her baby is due at the end of October, so am going to add some themed stencils into the mix.

I thought we could paint some 0-3 month onesies with a fall theme:

and some 3-6 mo onesies with a winter/Christmas theme:

If Dell ever questions my love for her, I can forevermore refer her to the above picture of the snowflake. :) That one took a loooonng time to cut out.

Join in on the freezer paper stenciling fun!


  1. so cute! I never even heard of freezer paper. That would even be fun for one of my older kids b-day parties - the could make hats or shirts that go with the theme. I guess you could jazz up plain pillows/pillow cases/sheets - anything. So many ideas - so little time :)

  2. So fun! You are getting crafty, crafty!

  3. I have never even heard of this! Sounds so cool!! (Although not as easy as you said...there was a lot of steps in there!) :) I will definitely be trying this one, it would be a fun winter project for us.

  4. These look FUN!! Great idea for are so creative, R! I have to remember this for Christmas...we are trying to do a 'handmade theme' this year...and these would work great! Thanks for sharing!

    OX Tam

  5. Laura,
    It's something that's harder to explain than do. Really, all you do is:

    can't wait to see what you do!

  6. Wow....they are fantastic! I had no idea! I had NEVER even heard of this but what a wonderful activity for any day....but especially those long winter or rainy days!

    Thank you also for making it seem approachable, doable and taking the time to share what worked for you!

    AND the kids are just darling in your creations! Could they be any cuter?? NOPE! :)

    Dell will never doubt your love!!
    :) Hugs!

  7. I was at Old Navy today and all I could think was, if I was as talented as Rachel, I wouldn't need to buy clothes, I would make them. You are so awesome!

  8. Amazing. I'm wondering if you could do the same thing, but coloring with crayon and doing an iron-on. I think people used to do that in the 70s ... I remember doing it as a kid, but don't know the longevity of the end product. Maybe I need to reseach (because fabric paints kinda scare me.)


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