Airplane Birthday Shirt: Freezer Paper Stencil Tutorial

I wanted Aiden to have a special birthday shirt, so I made one using a freezer paper stencil. I have a tutorial to show you what I did.

Airplane Birthday Shirt Freezer Paper Stencil Tutorial

Airplane Birthday Shirt

Freezer Paper Stencil Tutorial

Freezer paper is found next to the aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and wax paper at the store. It is similar to what butchers use to wrap meat at the meat counter. The beautiful thing about freezer paper is that you can iron it to your fabric. It is removable and repositionable. This is what makes it so great for stenciling. Your stencil will stay in place, and you can easily pull it away. Here’s a picture of the box, so you can see what it looks like.

freezer paper box

Prep Work

Cover your work surface. I use a piece of freezer paper for this, too. Place a piece of freezer inside your shirt to prevent the paint from seeping through to the back. Iron any wrinkles out of your shirt {I do this on top of an ironing board.}

 Airplane shirt designed with a freezer paper stencil

Notice the little red spot of paint from another project. This will be covered up.

Plan Your Design

Decide how much of the shirt you want covered and where exactly you want the paint. I usually just get a general idea of how big my shirt is and where I want the design. This time I had a spot of red paint to cover up, so I measured exactly where I needed the number 3.

Create Your Stencil

I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the stencil. I had Aiden choose a plane from the Silhouette online shape store. Using the Silhouette Studio software, I designed my stencil. I flipped my image horizontally. airplane shirt design

Cut a piece of freezer paper the size of your cutting mat {or slightly smaller}. Place your freezer paper on your cutting mat shiny side up. It seems to cut better this way. You will need to iron your freezer paper shiny side down. This is why we flip the image.

For my Silhouette Cameo, I used blade setting 1, speed 3, and thickness 14. Flip the freezer paper over and iron to the shirt. Be sure to iron the edges of the stencil really well so the paint will not seep under.

{If you don’t have an electronic cutting machine, you could still create the stencil by hand using a utility knife. Or you could use my other favorite stencils – cookie cutters.}

Airplane shirt designed with a freezer paper stencil

Time to Paint

Grab a paint brush and some fabric paint. {Fabric paint is flexible, so it doesn’t make the shirt stiff; and fabric paint is permanent, so you can wash the shirt. Follow the directions on your paint for how to care for the fabric.}

Paint your shirt. I paint from outside the stencil to the inside, so I don’t push up the freezer paper {if I didn’t iron it correctly}. I usually do 2 coats of paint. After covering it once, see if you need another layer. Some fabrics suck in the paint more than others.

Freezer paper stencils are great for allowing kids to paint, too. Don’t worry if the edges do get a little smudged – it will add something special to the design.

Airplane shirt designed with a freezer paper stencil

Almost Done

I usually let the paint sit a few minutes. Then, it’s time to carefully peel away the freezer paper.

Let the paint dry. Follow directions on the fabric paint. Some paints want you to iron the shirt after the paint is dry. {I do that anyway.} The instructions also will tell you how long to wait before washing.

Airplane Birthday Shirt Freezer Paper Stencil Tutorial

You can see all of the ideas for Aiden’s airplane birthday party.

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