How To: Print on Fabrics Using Freezer Paper Stencils

I Heart Art Baltimore

Last night I spent a wonderful, crafty evening with a group of ladies interested in trying out a variety of printing techniques. In particular, we mainly focused our attention on learning the simple steps of freezer paper stencil printing. The workshop was brought to us by I Heart Art: Baltimore; a collaboration between Etsy, BEST (our local Baltimore Etsy Street Team), and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Best of all, it was completely free!Our teacher for the evening was the lovely Tricia Lane-Forester, owner of tlane Etsy shop, which stocks one of a kind, hand-printed finds. While we dabbled in a few other printing techniques — mainly relief printmaking — the majority of us worked with freezer paper stencils. Here are step-by-step instructions for those of you interested in trying this inexpensive, super-cool method of printing. We practiced on tea towels, but this technique can used on anything from curtains to duvet covers … the possibilities are endless!

What You Need

fabric (preferably cotton, linen, canvas, or burlap)
pencil
X-Acto knife
freezer paper
fabric paints
paintbrush or preferably stencil brushes
iron
iron board

Instructions

1. Draw your design onto the stencil paper. Always draw with the dull side facing up. I find it useful to shade in the area that will be cut out, this also the area that will be painted.

2. Using your X-Acto knife, cut your design out. It's usually best to leave some stencil paper connecting your design in some manner, but if you don't or can't work it into your design, you can always hold it in place as you iron.

3. Iron your fabric so it's smooth.

4. Now, iron the design that you traced onto your freezer paper onto your fabric. If you cut through the freezer paper, not leaving any freezer paper to connect your design, hold it in place with one hand while you iron it down with the other. Always iron with the shiny side facing down.

5. Using a spoon or knife, add a dollop of fabric paint to a plate.

6. Take your paintbrush or stencil brush and lightly dab it in your paint.

7. Paint your design by carefully painting where you removed the freezer paper. The freezer paper will act as the stencil.

8. Allow the paint to dry, preferably overnight. We sped up the process by using a blow dryer.

9. Once the fabric paint is dry, gently peel off the freezer paper.

10. To set your design, iron it on a medium to medium-high setting for about a minute. Be careful not to scorch your fabric. Now you can wash it and the design will remain permanently!

Additional Notes: If you are interested in printing multiples of the same design, you can stack 2 to 3 pieces of freezer paper together and cut them at the same time.

The I Heart Art: Baltimore program was developed to help promote education and outreach as well as support Baltimore's vibrant community of artists and artisans. Along with Baltimore, you can also find I Heart Art programs in Portland and San Francisco.

Images: Kimberly Watson

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