Easy DIY: decorating baby & kid clothes with freezer paper stencils

April 5 | Guest post by Ashby
Jellyfish stencil!

This is a really fun, easy project that turns out surprisingly professional-looking. The freezer paper functions like an iron-on, so the stencil stays put and the paint can’t seep under the edges. An exacto-knife makes it simple to add lots of schmancy-looking details.

Materials:

  • Clothing
  • Fabric paint
  • Paintbrushes (thicker, wider ones work best)
  • Iron
  • Freezer paper (note: freezer paper is waxed on one side and matte on the other. Some grocery stores don’t carry it anymore, but it’s easy to find online. Don’t use wax paper, or it will melt to your iron.)
  • X-ACTO knife
  • Cutting surface (cardboard works well)
  • Image to turn into a stencil
  • Pencil
  • Tape

Instructions

Start by making your stencil. Trace the image onto the non-shiny side of the freezer paper, and cut it out with the exacto-knife. I like to do this against a window. If there are any details (like eyes), save the cutout pieces, they will be ironed on as well.

Iron a piece of freezer paper onto the back of the fabric — this keeps the paint from bleeding through.

Carefully place your stencil on the fabric, shiny-side down, and iron it on. Iron any details on now, too. Make sure you have enough extra paper around the edges of your design to catch any stray paint.

Dab and brush paint into the stencil. Make sure to get enough paint on the fabric, otherwise it will dry looking splotchy.

Let the paint dry fully. Don’t cheat and pull your stencil off early!

When it’s fully dry, peel off your stencil. Tada! You can now add in more details free-hand if you want. Wait 72 hours before washing your new snazzy clothing.

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  1. AWESOME!!! Thanks Ashby and OBM for a fantastic idea! I am totally trying this…

    2 agree
  2. I wonder if this technique could be applied to wallpaper-type material, as I am currently trying to find a way to get images I like from books or the internet up on the walls. I'm no artist, so freehand just isn't an option! Great idea to add to the baby shower onesie-making parties!

    • I know what you mean about not attempting to free-hand – I like to say that I'm "artistic in my soul but not my fingers." That's why I was psyched to find this project.

    • I would also recommend seeing if you can rent a projector from somewhere – projecting and then tracing straight onto the wall works wonderfully.

  3. Ashby, I am organizing a Mama-craft night at my house so we can all make these for our kidlins… and so I have an excuse to buy like 20 different fabric paints and go CRAZY with this idea.

    1 agrees
  4. Um, going to the store RIGHT NOW to do this project this afternoon. Dirty dishes? Puh-lease, I have Legend of Zelda & Cthulhu toddler shirts to make.

    Thanks for sharing!

    3 agree
  5. Incredible! I should be able to do this. My Mom was always the "exacto queen". BTW….the little fella is sooo cute. Love all those teeth! He is unique.

    1 agrees
  6. I used this same method on dark fabrics with 50/50 bleach water solution in a spray bottle. It turned out great.

    2 agree
    • That's an awesome idea, I'll have to try it! I had some trouble with light-on-dark until I started using better quality fabric paint. I like the bleach idea a lot.

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