Using freezer paper to paint a custom t-shirt

One of the craft projects on my to-do list has been to paint a custom t-shirt using freezer paper for a stencil. I bought all of the supplies back in the summer, but I’ve been too intimidated to give it a try.

A few weeks ago, I got the motivation that I needed. My daughter’s first grade teacher sent home a note that the kids would soon be celebrating the 100th day of school. She suggested we send our kids to school in a shirt with 100 objects on it. They would have a fashion show to display their 100th day attire.

I searched Pinterest for ideas and found lots of cute ones, but I wanted to think of something original. I must have had Trolls dancing on my brain from how many times we have watched the movie on repeat since it was available to purchase on iTunes. (I seriously LOVE that movie!) All of those marching little Trolls gave me the idea to paint 100 footprints walking across her t-shirt.

Here’s how we used freezer paper to make an easy stencil. I used my Silhouette CAMEO to cut out my footprint design. However, if you don’t have a Silhouette, I’ve seen lots of ideas on Pinterest on how you can cut out your stencil using an Xacto knife.

Step 1. Download a footprint design from the Silhouette Design store.

Step 2. Cut your freezer paper to the same size as your cutting mat. Place the paper on the mat with the glossy side up. I decided to make my feet 1.5 inches long, and I cut out three rows of footprints on each piece of 12×12 freezer paper.

Step 3. Find a piece of cardboard. I unfolded a Cheerios box and it was the perfect size to fit inside my daughter’s Youth M t-shirt. You need to cover the cardboard in freezer paper with the glossy side of the paper facing up. I taped the edges with Washi tape.

Step 4. Arrange the footprints on the shirt with the glossy side down. You are going to iron the stencil to the t-shirt. It will adhere to the freezer paper that is on the inside of the t-shirt. Just remember that you want the two glossy sides facing each other.

Step 5. Paint! We used purple, blue and white paint on our footprints. The purple and white turned out great. The blue ended up looking periwinkle even after four coats, but it was still pretty. We were worried that our paint was going to seep underneath the stencil because my 7-year-old and I aren’t the neatest painters in the world. However, we were pleasantly surprised when we removed the freezer paper.

Step 6. Remove the freezer paper while the paint is still wet. It will pull right off.

Step 7. Once the paint has dried, place a piece of fabric or pillow case on the t-shirt, and iron. This will help set the paint.
We painted 50 footprints on each side of the shirt, so we repeated the process on the back side.
This was a really fun project, and I loved that we could do it together. I was surprised how well the freezer paper worked as a stencil. I can’t wait to try it again on another project! My other kids are already dreaming up other ideas for custom painted t-shirts! (And so am I!)

What do you think? Is this a project you would like to try? Leave me a comment and let me know!
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    1. I should have explained what freezer paper is! You buy it at the grocery store right next to aluminum foil or saran wrap. I think it’s meant to be used to place between items you want to freeze so they don’t stick together. It is amazing to use as a stencil! 🙂

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