Day 39: Freezer Paper “Screen” Printing


Supplies: Freezer paper, printer, X-acto knife, cardboard or cutting mat, iron, fabric paint, t-shirt, paper or cardboard

Time: 30 minutes or more, depending on your design

About a year ago I was working on the Citizen Jane Film Festival, which is run by Stephens College and features films by, for, and about women.  I was taking a practicum class that worked with the festival and lots of staffers came to talk to us.  One of them had screen printed the t-shirts for the fest and that was my first introduction to the idea of screen printing at home.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks, so I eventually bought the supplies and tried it out.  I had a few failed attempts before I finally got screen printing to work.  It’s time consuming, but pretty darn cool!

So, needless to say, when I saw a tutorial for a simple screen-free, emulsion free, squeegee free way to print shirts at home I was really eager to try it.  Since I had gold ink I decided to get a red shirt and make a Gryffindor shirt for Megan (surprise again, Megan!).

I started by finding a picture, which I cropped and resized.  I don’t know who actually uses freezer paper, but I didn’t know what it was until I read about this project.  It’s kind of like a parchment paper with a waxy coating on one side.  It’s really cool because you can print directly onto the paper side of it!  I didn’t know that at first, so I started tracing the design, but then I realized I could print it, so I did.

Oops! Only took a picture of tracing! It looks like this only darker when you print it.

Side note: Someone just moved out of my building, so I get to move downstairs to a smoke-free apartment!  So I packed up all my clothes and bedding and project supplies and headed to my parents’ house to rid my clothes of the smell before moving them downstairs.  Anyway, my mom has a cutting mat in her sewing room (formerly my room), so I taped the printed freezer paper onto the cutting mat and used my X-acto knife to cut out the red parts.  I cut out the first section and put it on the shirt.  I went over the paper with an iron.  This is the magic part.  Because the top side is paper it doesn’t stick to the iron, but since the other side is wax it sticks to the shirt!

I continued to cut away the yellow sections and iron the red ones onto the shirt.

My finished iron on looked like this:

If I were to do this project over I would have made another thin line around the outside.  Without that line it doesn’t have the detail at the top.  You’ll see on the final product.

I took my gold ink (make sure you have fabric paint!) and a foam brush and painted over the exposed sections.  Don’t forget to put a piece of cardboard or something in the shirt.  If you don’t the ink could bleed through to the back.

When the ink dried I peeled the paper off.  I had to fold the shirt over a bit to get a corner of paper off, but then it peeled right off!

Once everything was peeled off I had a lovely Gryffindor shirt!

And, voila!  New shirt!  I can’t wait to do more of these.  Any suggestions?  By the way, I see a giveaway on the horizon…  Be on the lookout!  I’m off to decide what else to put on a shirt.




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