Last week my friend Meagan invited a couple of us girls over and introduced us to the world of freezer paper stenciling. I had never heard of it before but once I realized how incredibly easy and fun it was to decorate onesies, I knew it would be something I’d continue to do for baby. A couple years ago I bought a screen printing kit and while I’d like to one day brush that off, the one and only time I tried it out it seemed to be a little tedious and messy for my own personal use. I admire the art of screen printing greatly and know that it makes it a lot easier to replicate prints and images, but freezer stenciling has proved to be a better use of my screen printing inks (at least for now).
You need: an iron, freezer paper (Reynolds wrap freezer paper found at any grocery store next to the plastic wrap and aluminum foil), screen printing inks, a towel, an exacto knife, pencil, scissors, paint brushes, onesies, and a design or two that you’d like to work with.
You start by tracing or free hand drawing your design onto a piece of freezer paper. Make sure you draw on the non-waxy side, and that you cut your paper so there is a border along the edge of the design to make it easy to paint inside the lines. Then cut the design out with an exacto knife.
Trim the excess paper, but as I mentioned keep a healthy border as shown below to make it easy to stay within the lines. This is especially helpful if you’d rather use a larger paintbrush.
Run an iron over the freezer paper for 30-60 seconds. The paper will easily adhere to the onesie.
Once the paper is secure (take care to use the tip of your iron to flatten out any small edges or detailed spots) you can start painting!
Simply fill in the design, dabbing your paintbrush in the paint lightly- you don’t need much. Try to create an even layer of paint across the entire design and make sure you’re getting the paint into the cracks of the fabric. It works well to keep your paintbrush perpendicular to the onesie and “blot” the paint up and down. Do THREE layers of paint, letting the paint fully dry inbetween each layer. You can use a hairdryer to dry the paint more quickly if you prefer.
Once the paint is completely dry, peel off the freezer paper and you’re done! How simple and adorable is that? All you have to do to set the paint is wait 24 hours, then heat press it with an iron for 4-5 minutes (place a towel over the ink, between the iron and design, and iron on top of the towel over the design for 4-5 minutes so the ink sets).
I’ve made these three so far and each one took maybe 20 minutes of total work time, not including drying time inbetween. I have a little station set up in our guest room and just pop in and do another layer of paint or start a new design whenever I have 10 spare minutes- it’s so easy and fun! Send me your designs if you try some. And of course, this doesn’t have to be done on just onesies, t-shirts or other cotton clothes could work too.