Laser Cut Stencils for Painting Fabric

So @Lasy was asking about materials similar to freezer paper for laser cutting stencils for painting fabric. Best household meterial to cut stencils for t-shirt spray dying/color spraying? I had never heard of “freezer paper” in this application. Did some research and apparently freezer paper has a plastic coating on one side that allows you to place the plastic side down on fabric and then heat with an iron to temporarily seal it to the fabric. Cut out a stencil from the paper and you can seal the paper to the fabric, paint with fabric paint and then peel off the paper.

Decided to give this a try. Went to Walmart and picked up some Reynolds freezer paper, fabric paint, 1in sponge brushes and a preshrunk white cotton tee shirt to paint.

Designed up my stencil and laser cut a piece of freezer paper. Used my K40 laser at ~3-4ma and 25mm/s speed. Kept the air assist flow low to avoid blowing the cut out pieces around and weighted down the edges to keep it flat and in place.
Cut fine with no issues. I have a honeycomb bed so there was almost no back burn which I think you really need to avoid so as to not mess up the plastic backing. You could also cut it with the plastic side up but keep in mind that you would probably need to mirror the image before cutting.

Lightly ironed the shirt flat and then place the stencil on the shirt with the plastic side down. Got it arraigned and then carefully ironed it with an iron set to high (no steam) to seal it to the fabric.

Placed a piece of cardboard inside of the shirt to keep paint from bleeding through to the back.
Painted the stencil with the sponge brushes. Mostly dabbing the paint on seemed to work best. Since I was doing multiple colors kind of close together I used some strips of blue painters tape lightly placed on the bottom of each strip to provide extra masking. If you use the tape don’t press down tight or you could pull the stencil up when you remove the tape.

Did one coat (pic below) and after it was dried there was some unevenness so I did a second coat.

Allowed the paint to dry (assisted by a hair dryer some) and then removed the paper. Worked great. Only a few spots of very minor bleed under the stencil. Looks more like maybe some of the stencil wasn’t sealed down all the way or came loose during painting


I will have to try this.

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Well ain’t that cool! I’ll have to give this a go.


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I just bought Tulip brand fabric paint because that was what Walmart was carrying. I got a 10 2oz bottle color set for $11.27 plus tax. Looking around online now and that was far and away the best deal I could find. Everywhere else that set would have cost 3-4X the per oz cost.

Looks like screen printing inks, like Speedball inks, are good to use as well with good cost per oz.

Well dang, that this is a great trick! Thank you for posting this.

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