Freezer paper stenciling

Before Quentin was born, a friend of mine bought him some super soft and cozy organic cotton onesies. I love them. He has sensitive skin, and even some cotton sleepers seem to irritate his skin. These are so soft and perfect for  him. So, I was really sad when one snap broke on each of them. It was only one snap per onesie, which doesn’t really affect function, but I started getting it into my head that I was going to upcycle them and make t-shirts.

Of course, what would be the fun of upcycling without a little added decoration? Enter freezer paper stenciling. I discovered this on pinterest and can definitely see how one would get addicted. It’s easy and you get instant gratification. Ok ok like waiting overnight gratification, but that’s pretty fast.

You know when you paint a room and have to wait for the paint to dry before tearing away the blue painter’s tape? And how much fun it is to tear away said tape? That’s how this is. I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep because of my excitement to see the results of this project. I wasn’t disappointed.

Here is what you need:
– Onesie/Shirt/Pants…any piece of fabric that you want to add a stencil to.
– Freezer paper
– X-Acto knife or box cutter
– Cutting board
– Iron
– Fabric paint (the Tulip brand is what I used)
– A paint brush or foam brush
– Piece of cardboard to put under your fabric to prevent paint from seeping through

Step 1: Choose a picture you want to stencil onto your onesie (or t-shirt, cotton pants, blanket…the possibilities are endless). I chose to do a recycle symbol, since I was upcycling. I just googled, “recycle symbol.”
Step 2: Print out the picture/symbol you want to stencil onto your onesie. Make sure it’s the size you want it.
Step 3: Carefully cut out the symbol using a box cutter or an X-Acto knife. I couldn’t find my X-Acto knife, so I just used a cheap box cutter and it worked fine. Use a cutting board or piece of cardboard to protect your working surface.
Step 4: Trace the cut out picture onto a piece of freezer paper. Make sure the shiny side is facing down. That’s the side that will adhere to the fabric once you’re ready to paint. Once you’ve traced the picture, use your box cutter again to cut the symbol out on the freezer paper. NOTE: Above is how I did it. Afterward, I realized that you can skip the step of cutting out the pattern and just trace the image straight onto your freezer paper and just have to cut one time. Duh…I will be very glad to skip this step next time! Just make sure that you trace so that the shiny side faces down.

Step 5: Determine where you want the picture to go. Iron the freezer paper onto the onesie, shiny side down.

Step 6: Place a piece of cardboard between the 2 layers of fabric from the onesie. This is to prevent paint from seeping through and getting onto the fabric on the back of the onesie. Get your paint ready and fill in the stencil. I’d suggest using an “up and down” motion when stenciling. This helps to prevent paint from seeping under the freezer paper. Wait for one coat to dry and do a second coat.

Step 7: Wait. At least 4 hours. Preferably overnight…but I didn’t make it that long and my stencil turned out great.

Step 8: Carefully remove stencil. Admire your work. Then raid your garage sale pile for clothes for your next upcycling project.

2 thoughts on “Freezer paper stenciling

  1. born ambitious. born imaginative.

    Super cute! I love the idea of adding the recycling logo. Another way to transfer the logo onto the freezer paper is to hold the freezer paper right up to the computer screen to trace. Works best at night with the lights out.

    Also, your last post I couldn't comment, but I loved the last picture of you and Q. 🙂

  2. Julie

    Brilliant! Love that idea! I must try that.

    And thanks! My husband takes great pictures…as long as I set up the camera settings for him. 🙂


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