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At-Home Screen Printing (Close, But Not Really)

When I first started planning the details of my trip to Kentucky for Spring Break earlier in March, one of the first things I had to think about was how to keep my little clan bundled from the bipolar weather conditions. (Is anyone else sick of the Winter – Spring – Winter thing? Give Mother Nature some dark chocolate and a glass of wine, jeez!)

I have tons of hoodies left over from my brief entrepreneurship of making dinosaur hoodies for kids, so I grabbed one of those and dyed it blue. Blue is for boys, after all. (Just kidding… I happened to have some blue dye on hand is all.)

So that wasn’t enough for me, so I decided to try my hand at screen printing the lazy way. I have seen this called “freezer paper stenciling” but that’s just so boring. I like to refer to this as At-Home Screen Printing because it sounds cooler and less “homely.”

Note: This is best used for a one-of-a-kind artsy fartsy project. If you plan to do multiples of your design, consider actual screen printing at home. You can find a great DIY picture tutorial for that on The Art of Doing Stuff.

To do this freezer paper method you will need the following:

  • clothing or fabric to be modified
  • freezer paper with design traced on
  • scissors
  • ironing board and iron
  • fabric paint
  • a paint brush (I like the foam brushes)

First trace your design onto your freezer paper. You can freehand, trace a picture from your computer, or use a stencil. For mine I used big fat letter cookie cutters to make my son’s name. Fancy, eh?

home screenprinting 1

Next you’ll need to cut out the design. If your design has centers (like my letters “A,” “D,” and “R”) make sure to cut those out too and keep them intact.

Center your design onto the fabric and iron in place using the appropriate settings. Don’t forget the centers!

home screenprinting 2

Now you’re ready to paint. Make sure you stay on the freezer paper and don’t get too messy. You’ll want to put on a generous amount of paint, but don’t try and soak the fabric or it’ll bleed.

Remove the freezer paper by gently peeling it back from one of the corners. To get off centers, use a push pin or butter knife to gently lift the edge. Be careful: Although the design looks fabulous it is indeed still wet.

Once all the freezer paper is removed, put your clothing/fabric in a safe place to dry overnight.

home screenprinting 3

I’d have liked to leave mine right there on my craft table to dry, but my cats would have destroyed it. In my effort to hang it up I smeared bits of paint in the center of the “R.” It’s okay though, it adds character.

home screenprinted hoodie home screenprinted hoodie 2

You can use this method on almost any fabric using freezer paper and your iron. You can even use acrylic paint if you happen to carry more of that than fabric paint, just be aware that acrylic paint won’t hold up through multiple washes.

EDIT: I didn’t originally plan to include this information because I originally assumed I had failed miserably. However, after washing this hoodie I have discovered that the blue glitter I originally mixed into ym paint actually emerged from the washing machine sparkly!

home screenprinted hoodie glitter

The photo above doesn’t do the glitter justice, but the paint washed right off the little flakes leaving a beautiful shimmer within the letters. Not too vibrant, but not too subtle either. It’s perfect for our little boy. Now if only Florida would ever get cold enough for a jacket…

What will you create today?



  1. Brilliant! I like at home screen printing, too 🙂

  2. Now this is creative! I never even thought that there was another way to transfer letters to clothing. I think I’ll start out with a tote for the summer. Thank you for sharing. Pinned and tweeted as well!

  3. What a great idea! I like how it seems to be a simple craft that I might actually finish completely!

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