Poor Man’s Screen Printing

screen printing freezer paper stencil fabric paint tutorial craft

When I saw a fantastic stenciling tutorial using fabric paint and freezer paper on MADE, I had to come up with a project using this method.  After finding some kraft colored flour sack towels at Tuesday Morning,  I decided to make holiday-inspired kitchen towels.  Great thing about these towels is that they are oversized, so I cut them in half to create eight different towels (or enough for 4 different holidays if you do 2 per holiday). While I focused on the 4th of July since that holiday is soon upon us, I plan to make some for the other holidays throughout the year, just to add a touch of festivity to the room where the entertaining magic happens – the kitchen.

Here’s what you need:

screen printing freezer paper stencil fabric paint tutorial craft

  • Tulip brand matte fabric paint
  • paint brush
  • plain cotton kitchen towels
  • Freezer Paper (not wax or parchment)
  • Exacto knife
  • cutting mat
  • clip art printout or design for tracing
  • iron and ironing board
  • hair dryer (optional)

Here’s what you do (for a wonderful step-by-step tutorial with pictures, please visit MADE):

  1. If starting with oversized flour sack kitchen towels, cut in half, iron and sew cut edge.

    screen printing freezer paper stencil fabric paint tutorial craft

  2. Enlarge and print a clip art image or draw one out on a piece of regular paper.  I used a star from Microsoft Word (free!).
  3. Trace your image onto the freezer paper, matte side up, shiny side down.

    screen printing freezer paper stencil fabric paint tutorial craft

  4. Tape your freezer paper tracing to your cutting mat and very deliberately use your exactoknife to cut out your tracing.  Be very careful not to make any extra cuts, as these will allow paint to seep through later.
  5. Iron your “stencil” onto your fabric where you want it, being careful to make sure the edges of your drawing are sealed.screen printing freezer paper stencil fabric paint tutorial craft
  6. Paint onto the fabric with your chosen color, extending onto the freezer paper stencil.  Take care to not get any paint on the fabric surrounding the stencil.screen printing freezer paper stencil fabric paint tutorial craft
  7. Let the paint dry for an hour, using a hair dryer (optional) to speed up the process if you are impatient, like me.  Do multiple coats as necessary to get the color/brightness you want.
  8. Carefully peel back the freezer paper and admire your craftiness!screen printing freezer paper stencil fabric paint tutorial craft
  9. Lastly, be sure to seal your finished artwork by covering it with a piece of cloth and ironing over it.

For this project, I decided to make my life difficult and use two different colors.  If you choose to do this, start by painting the outer portion of the star first (in this case, white area).  After that portion has dried and you have removed the freezer paper stencil, re-cut a second stencil to block out that layer (and yes, you can iron the freezer paper onto a painted portion, just make sure the paint is dry!) and paint the middle.  I did mine the opposite way and some of the white paint ended up on my colored centers, which made for an unhappy crafter!

screen printing freezer paper stencil fabric paint tutorial craft

Cost-Saving Tips: I found the Tulip Matte fabric paint at Tuesday Morning for $2.99 for the 6 tube starter kit – these go for about $1.69 each at Michael’s, so I was stoked on this find!