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Freezer Paper Stenciling Tutorial

stenciled jeans
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Today I'm going to show you how to create a stencil with freezer paper in order to place a design anywhere on your clothing, bags, or really anywhere.

Clothing item
Freezer Paper
Fine tipped craft knife
Ironing Board
Fabric Paint or Acrylic Paint and Fabric Medium
Paint Brush

Bleach-spot jeans
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

So here they are. The favorite pair of ruined jeans. We all have a pair, don't we?

I personally work in the salon during the day as a color specialist. Needless to say, accidents happen when you don't wear an apron. But in my own defense, I get color on my clothes even when I do wear an apron, and why would i want to cover up my cute outfit?

Anyway, let's get to it, shall we?

design stencil
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Begin by either designing a suitable stencil for your project in a graphics design program, or by finding a suitable clip art. Keep in mind that this is a stencil, so any details on the inside must either be connected to the outside edges with a bridge, or must be ironed down separately after the main piece is attached. The second method tends to be my favorite when using a simple design such as these stars. You'll see what I mean later.

trace stencil
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Next, lay your freezer paper plastic-side-down onto your computer monitor and trace the outside edges of your design. If your design is already on paper, put both pieces of paper against a window to use the daylight as a light box and trace the design from there.

cutting stencil
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Using a sharp craft knife with a fine tip, carefully cut out the design elements of your stencil. Any open areas will be painted, while the paper will act as a resist for the rest of the fabric. If you're using a star pattern like I am, save a few of the medium-sized star cut outs.

pre-iron fabric
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Place your fabric flat over an ironing board, and pre-iron the area to which you are planning to attach your stencil on medium heat.

attach stencil
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Place your stencil where you desire your pattern, plastic side of the paper down. I am positioning my largest star over my bleached spot on my jeans.

Lightly place the iron straight down onto the stencil. The plastic will slightly fuse to the fabric, attaching the stencil down. Be cautious to not wrinkle or tear any edges of the stencil, but make sure the entire paper is ironed down.

Insert cardboard
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Place cardboard sheet between layers of fabric, below stencil. Remove from ironing board and wrap tightly around cardboard, exposing area to be painted.

You can also see in this photo how I've added a few of the smaller star cut outs to the medium sized stars to create a hollow star shape. This is totally optional, but I think it looks great, especially with geometric shapes and simple designs, like these stars.

paint stencil
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Using a paint brush and either a fabric paint or an acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium, paint one even coat on stenciled area. Allow paint to dry completely between coats, then apply 1 to 3 more, depending on your desired level of coverage.

Remove stencil
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Carefully peel the paper away from the fabric, exposing a nice crisply painted design. Any small fused papers can be removed with either a fingernail or a pair of tweezers.

finished design
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's the finished product! Stencils are a great way to rescue ruined clothing, dress up boring t shirts, or express your personal style. What a great way to create one of a kind items!

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