Thursday, October 21, 2010

freezer paper applique template tutorial {why we love freezer paper}

Before I started sewing, I had no idea that freezer paper was used for anything but wrapping up meat for the freezer. Now I use it all the time! Here are a few reasons we love freezer paper for crafting:

*Use it as a template for applique on quilts and other craft projects (see tutorial below). It makes cutting out your shapes a breeze, and you can use it over and over again!

*You can transfer your flimsy sewing patterns to it to use them over and over again. Also, you can iron the pattern shiny-side-down on your fabric and cut around it instead of pinning the pattern pieces on. This makes for much more accurate pattern cutting.

*It makes a great stencil for fabric painting. Draw or print your design on the dull side, cut the shape out, and iron the shiny side down on your fabric. Paint inside the stencil, then peel it off once the paint is dry. Cut shapes directly out of freezer paper with your die cutting machine. I've done it with both my Silhouette and Slice machines.

*Use it to cover your table to avoid paint or glue messes when crafting

*Use the shiny side as a paint palette

*Use it as a temporary stabilizing when printing on fabric. For example, to create personalized labels, iron your freezer paper shiny-side down to the wrong side of the fabric, trim it to 8.5x11", and send it through your printer. Voila. Printed fabric labels.

What else do you use freezer paper for? Here is one of my favorite freezer paper projects: birthday shirts. My kids wear these all year long, and get so excited to pick their fabric from my stash for the next year's shirt. They both had birthdays last week and we love the new shirts!

Freezer Paper Applique Tutorial for Birthday Shirts


*Freezer paper (you can find this at most grocery stores and some craft stores)


*Heat 'n Bond Lite iron-on adhesive (or similar product) - the "Lite" version allows you to sew over the piece after ironing it on

*Iron and ironing board


*Number (or other shape) to be used on t-shirt

*Sewing machine and contrasting thread

1. Draw, trace, or print your number or shape on the dull side of the freezer paper. Cut it out. I cut my numbers with my Silhouette machine (using a carrier sheet) which eliminated the drawing and hand cutting steps.

2. Iron on some of your Heat 'n Bond iron-on adhesive to the back (wrong side) of your fabric, following the directions on the packaging.

3. Iron your freezer paper shape shiny-side-down on the front (right side) of the fabric. It doesn't take long to get it to adhere--just a quick pass over the top with the iron.

4. Cut around your template with scissors, then peel off the freezer paper. Save it for the next kid if you want--you can reuse your templates!

5. Iron your shape onto the t-shirt following the directions on the Heat 'n Bond Lite's packaging.

6. Using a zig-zag stitch, sew around the edges of the number. Check out our simple machine applique tutorial for more details.

That's it! Now celebrate in style! Bonus on this "5" shirt--the light blue thread I picked happened to be glow-in-the-dark thread! I didn't even know they made it, let alone that I had it in my thread stash. My son and I were so excited to discover a glowing 5 when playing hide-and-seek!

Here are a few other projects we've made using applique templates:

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17 Responses to “freezer paper applique template tutorial {why we love freezer paper}”

Popbabe7 said...

That's really cool stuff! Unfortunetaly in the UK I don't think we can find this stuff so easily? :-(

Unknown said...

that's sew*** cute! i have a little darling that is 3 and i think she would love a little shirt with the number 3 on it! so many cute things you could do with that.
thanks for sharing!

erinmalia said...

Hi there. I see that you use a carrier sheet when cutting freezer paper on your silhouette. But what are your other settings? As in, what material do you tell it you're using? And what blade do you use? I'm just starting to really give my new silhouette a go and really really want to do this! Thanks!

Christina said...

Oh wow! This project is fantastic! I'll definately be doing it soon. I also LOVE the monster quilt! Did you make up the pattern yourself? Do you have any more pics? I want one! hahaha!

Mandy Crandell said...

So many uses! I had no idea!

goatesgirl said...

so funny you should mention this daughter is going to a b-day party for twins that are turning 5 this weekend...the mom had told me a few weeks ago that she wanted them tyo be Thing 1 and thing 2 for Halloween but they declined so I am planning on making Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts with this technique and fabric paint today for the party

Launie said...

Love the shirts! Love your blog! GO UTES!!!

MommaWard said...

Thanks for the ideas and tutorial! I keep hearing about using freezer paper for applique but hadn't tried it because I never found a good explanation. Your tutorial is so helpful (as always!). I see now just how simple it is! Glow-in-the-dark thread....who knew?! Perfect for Halloween!

keeneykreations said...

you can also iron in onto some wrinkled tissue paper..trace an envelope pattern on it, cut it, glue it and mail it off. It actually works! Pretty neat huh?

Denise said...

I'm going to try it this weekend! Thanks for the great info!

Misha said...

That's really cool. I'm going to have to use that. Thanks.

Little Birdie Secrets said...

Thanks for the nice comments! Here are answers to the questions so far. . .

For the Silhouette, I usually set my cut settings to "print paper-medium", which uses the yellow cap. :)But play around and see what you like best.

I updated the link to the Monster quilt to show the finished product. There's no pattern--Stacy created it by free-hand drawing the monsters on the fabric she used for the border!


EdgyK said...

I've never used freezer paper for crafting/sewing. It's so cool. I am inspired to try it now and I love the birthday shirt. My daughter is always asking me her number (her age) and this might help her to remember.

Lacie said...

I've heard about using freezer paper but I've never understood how. Thankyou for sharing this post with us. I am learning how to applique and am always looking for new ideas.

Kristina said...

My goodness, I never thought of most of this stuff!

Unknown said...

I'm showin' this post some love on 11/11/10 at

Thank you for sharing such an easy and fun idea! I love simple step crafts!

Anonymous said...

seems like an extra step to me. i usually print the picture flipped. trace it to the adhesive lite paper iron onto the fabric and the just cut it out. use a pen for tracing and scrap fabric to protect your iron ;-)

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