How To: Easy Painted Shirt with a Freezer Paper Stencil

I’m so excited to share this little project with you! Did you know that you can make a super easy painted shirt using freezer paper as a stencil? The beauty of the freezer paper is when ironed on to the shirt, it sticks. The stencil lines comes out nice and crisp. My favorite part is that once I get the stencil on, I can let my kids paint it. They love to help and this controls the chaos well.

How to: Painted Shirt with a Freezer Paper Stencil

What you’ll need:
Freezer paper (sold near the plastic wrap and foil)
Acrylic Paint
Paint Brush
Permanent marker
First off, I was inspired by and learned about this technique from Cheri over at I Am Momma Hear Me Roar. She has a great video tutorial on the process which you can watch here. She is also super fancy and has done some really intricate designs. She even had a freezer stencil party that looked so fun. I recommend checking out her posts; she is fabulous!
Now, I have not been in the mood to cut out intricate designs with a craft knife, so I did what I do best – simple!
1. Tear off a piece of freezer paper big enough to cover most of the shirt (I do this so that the kids don’t get extra paint where I don’t want it. If you aren’t working with a two and four-year-old then paper that fits the stencil will be fine).
2. Cut out your design. You can do this a number of ways. You can draw on what you’d like and then use a craft knife to cut out the pieces or you can wing it. I have mad scissors skills so I winged it. I folded the paper in half so that both sides would be the same and then I cut out something resembling a cupcake with candle.
This might help you see my vision:
3. Iron the freezer paper to the shirt. Place the shiny side (plastic coated) down on the shirt. Make sure the image is where you’d like it on the shirt. Iron on the paper with the iron heated to medium-high. It will stick with just a couple of passes.
4. Put something in between the front and back of the shirt. My shirts were cheap and I knew the paint would bleed through to the back so I put a second piece of freezer paper inside of my shirts.
5. Paint with acrylic paint. This is the part I let my kids do If you are using a colored shirt you might need multiple coats of paint.
6. Let the paint dry and then peel off the paper stencil.
7. Pull the paper out from inside the shirt and then  put a piece of fabric on top of the paint and  over iron the paint (this will heat set the paint and help it to last longer when washed).

8. Embellish. I think that adding some detail with a permanent marker really completed the shirt. Puff paint would also be really fun.

9. Let everything dry and you are ready to wear.


You can wash these in the washing machine with cold water, but they will last longer if hand washed and air dried.


I used this same technique for 4th of July shirt for my kids. I cut a simple heart out for my daughter and a flag out for my son and the kids painted them 100% by themselves. They weren’t picture perfect, but the kids loved them and wore them with pride.


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about me

About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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I have an or of fabric paint I needed ideas for. Thanks!

This turned out super cute. I think my favorite part is the black lines around it. It almost looks sketched out, like a doctor suess book or something 🙂

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.