{Photographs by Sally J Shim}

Freezer paper stencil t-shirts are our "go to" gift here at Casa Shim. I often receive questions on how to make them so I thought I would write a simple tutorial.


1. freezer paper [You can find it at your local market next to the aluminum foil or here.]

2. prewashed cotton t-shirt

3. exacto knife

4. cutting mat

5. foam paintbrush 

6. design for your t-shirt [scaled to size]

7. fabric paint [Jacquard textile paint is my favorite. You can find this at your local craft store or here.]

8. piece of cardboard [to slide inside t-shirt]

9. iron

10. ironing board


1. Tape the design on to the matte side of the freezer paper. Trace design. OR Draw your design directly on to the matte side of the freezer paper. OR Cut your freezer paper down to 8.5"x11" and print design directly on to the matte side of the freezer paper by feeding the paper through your printer. [This is my preferred method.]

2. Place the freezer paper design on a cutting mat and cut out the design with the exacto knife. The portions of the design you cut out will be what is painted. [For this particular design I punched out little hearts using a paper punch.]

3. Iron your freezer paper stencil on to the shirt [use a med-high setting].

4. Place cardboard inside t-shirt. [This will prevent the paint from leaking through to the back side of the t-shirt.]

5. Paint a layer of paint over design. If you want more coverage, repeat with another layer. 

6. Let the paint dry for 12 hours. [The paint manufacturer recommends a 24-hour drying period. To be honest though I let it dry for about 2 hours and I've never had a problem, but you probably want to err on the safe side and wait a little longer.]

7. Carefully peel off the freezer paper stencil from the t-shirt.

8. Using an iron on medium-setting, iron over the painted design to "set" the paint. 

9. Pat yourself on the back for making a cute + fun t-shirt!

Reader Comments (22)

love your new site! this tutorial is great and has my mind spinning with ideas on how i can use this technique. so excited to see what else you have in store.

03.1.2011 | Unregistered Commenterjackie

i love this idea so so much! i'm going to try this over the weekend! thank you for sharing this tutorial!

03.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoke

How fun! We make these t-shirts as our go-to gift as well, and everyone always love them.

Love this tutorial. Thank you for breaking it down for me. I can't wait to try it with my girls. The possibilities are endless!!

03.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Very nifty. Can't thank you enough for this, and can hardly wait to try it for Easter. As Melissa said, the possibilities are endless. Yay!

03.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynda

I love freezer stencils. This is what we came up with for Halloween! http://fionamade.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/my-hero/

The new blog looks lovely.

03.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterFiona

Ooo, that's so cool! I've never heard of freezer stencils...

03.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoyti

LOVE LOVE your new site sally! so clean, fresh & simple! can't wait for some new sallygoodness! :)

This is so awesome! Thanks for sharing! :)

fully awesome...all i need is the pain and a tee. woo.

03.2.2011 | Unregistered Commenterlauradodson

um...that'd be paint...with a T!

03.2.2011 | Unregistered Commenterlauradodson


03.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSALLYJSHIM

Thanks for the tutorial. Can you share which brand t-shirts are ideal for this purpose? I'm thinking of making a bunch as birthday party favors for son's birthday.

03.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

SANDY // Any 100% cotton t-shirt will do. I usually buy them from Target or Old Navy.

03.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSALLYJSHIM

Wow! I love the design , it’s so special! -A.Lange & Sohne leather watchesThanks for your share, I learn a lot from your article!

love your site

03.5.2012 | Unregistered Commentershakshi

Thank you so much! Makes awesome birthday gifts.

03.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTessa

I just made a few onesies for gifts for our baby friends! They turned out so cute!! I have a question....have you tried reusing the stencils? I'm wondering if the paint on it would be a problem when ironing the freezer paper to the shirt.

12.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEsther

SHAKSHI // Thank you!

TESSA // :)

01.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSALLYJSHIM

ESTHER // I haven't tried reusing the stencils, although I know people who have had success doing so. I would test it out by placing a piece of fabric over the stencil before ironing it on to a shirt (you don't want to get any paint on your iron). :)

01.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSALLYJSHIM

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