When it comes to Stencil on Fabric (or Fabric Printing if you will) the most common method to use is making a Freezer Paper Stencil.
But is not the only one!
That is why I decided to see for myself if this popular Stencil on Fabric technique was indeed the best, by using my Cherry Free Stencil with 4 different Stencil on Fabric Techniques.
- Freezer Paper Stencil
- Contact Paper Stencil
- Transparency Film Stencil (Also, see step by step video tutorial here)
- Screen Stencil
And let me tell you that what I have to say is something that you might not be expecting.
In this post, I will show you what happened when I tried each one of these techniques on the same Free Cherry Stencil and what I considered to be their pros and cons.
Click on the picture to download your Free Cherry Stencil.
Also, I will tell you which one result into be my ultimate favorite and why by ranking them with a scale of 5 stars.
I rate based on Time consumption, Easiness to make, Reusability, and the End Result.
Before I start, I need you to know that this review is based on making the stencil from scratch by hand.
And after doing all these techniques by hand I seriously recommend you to buy a Cricut machine. As you can use it to cut in half at least 3 of these 4 techniques. (Wouldn’t know how to use it in the Screen Stencil Technique… Do you?)
Most of the stencils out there come in SVG, PNG, and all cutting formats that you can simply load into your Cricut and start drawing or cutting into your favorite material.
That said, let’s begin with the review…
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1- Freezer Paper Stencil on Fabric
The Technique of making a Freezer Paper Stencil:
To make a Freezer Paper Stencil, you need to first trace your Stencil Design on a sheet of kitchen freezer paper and then use a knife to cut out the area you want the paint to be in. After that, you press the paper against the fabric and it will kind of stick to it long enough for you to paint it taping it with a sponge. Wait for it to dry and then you peel the paper out of the fabric.
You will need:
Time consumption: 3 ⭐⭐⭐
This was actually a very fast cutting as freezer paper is very light.
Easiness process: 3 ⭐⭐⭐
Pressing the stencil against the fabric was not that hard either. But at least for me, it implied taking out the iron and the iron board (which I don’t keep set up for space issues).
I really didn’t like how the paper got all wrinkly with the painting.
And when I removed the Stencil from the fabric, well… you have to be VERY gentle to not ripping the paper up. Needless to say, I wasn’t gentle enough and it totally broke in a few zones.
Reusability: 2 ⭐⭐
In theory, you can use your Freezer Paper Stencils again, but I think I won’t be using mine for two reasons; one of them being that It end kind of wrinkly for the paint and the other being that I broke it LOL…
End Result: 2 ⭐⭐
OK… This Cherry looks sad right?
The edges are not very sharp and there are a lot of zones (check leaf and the shine of the cherries. Apparently, I didn’t wait long enough for the paint to dry before the second layer of paint. So the paint went through the edges of the paper and make these weird lumps.
This for sure was not the end result I was looking for.
2- Contact Paper Stencil on Fabric
How to Make a Stencil with Contact Paper?
Well, this Technique as the same as before you need to trace your design into the sheet of paper and cut out the zone you are going to paint. Then you will peel the back of the Contact Paper and stick the sticky part over your fabric. Be sure the edges are well stuck to the surface. Take a small amount of paint with a sponge and tap gently around the figure. After drying peel off the Contact Paper Stencil.
You will need:
Time consumption: 2 ⭐⭐
Two things here: if you are doing this by hand entirely you will need to trace your design with the help of a light table, or for the not-so-rich-and-fortunate like me, against a window because of the thickness of the paper.
This takes more time (or that is the way it feels when you have to draw a perfect cherry with both arms up?)
Also, the cutting time needed a little more precision and pressure. Here you are cutting 2 layers, the one with the sticky side and the one with the peel of paper.
I have to add though, that you can very easily print your stencil directly into the paper side of the contact paper (mirrored) or cut it with your Cricut Machine. That would have saved you the above issues.
Easiness of the process: 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Yas! Easy-peasy! After the cutting, the sticking on the fabric and the painting part went very smoothly.
The contact paper holds its shape and keeps in its place even in the small parts of the stencil.
It peels off very nicely but the problem was that if I were to save this stencil it would have been very difficult for me to keep it from sticking all over itself and end in a ball of contact paper…
I ain’t got that kind of patience, Jodice!
If you do have this kind of patience please share with us where and how would you save your contact paper stencil.
End Result: 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pretty nice if you ask me.
Not going to lie, it still has its details but once the Contact Paper is glued to the fabric it’s glued! As you can see the figure went out with almost no flaws and very sharp edges including corners and curves.
I didn’t have to wait for the paint to dry before I applied the second layer of paint. Which was good for my anxious person. So that was a nice addition too.
3- Transparency Film Stencil on Fabric
You will also Like: How to Make a Stencil with Transparency Film Video Tutorial.
How to Make a Stencil with Transparency Film?
Well, you basically follow the steps above again. Actually, on Transparency Film Stencil, you can print easily and safely your design and cut it directly from it the zone you want the paint to be in. Now for this technique, you will need a Spray Mount repositionable adhesive. You will spray this on the back of the stencil as instructed in the can and then place and press it very well against the fabric. Use a sponge brush to paint your design. Wait for it to dry and peel the Stencil. Ready!
You will need:
Time Consumption: 2 ⭐⭐
This Stencil was, in fact, the one that cost me the most to get ready to paint. The material is thick so you have to apply more pressure and be careful with corners and curves.
Easiness of process: 3 ⭐⭐⭐
It was actually pretty easy. It doesn’t matter that I made it entirely by hand. I had my stencil printed out and just put the Transparency Film over my paper page and cut it like that. Didn’t need to trace it so that part was good. The stick and peel part went very easy too.
Ding, ding, ding!!! This Stencil peels off so easily and is basically ready to use it again! Is holds its shape perfectly and you can store it with other stencils once the glue is kind of dry (doesn’t even has to be completely dry because is removable glue).
End Result: 4⭐⭐⭐⭐
This result pleased me too. The points of the leaves are very pointy and the edges had no fray. The only thing I didn’t like too much was the shine of the right cherry. But even so, was pretty good.
All right girls, so I tried another thing with this Stencil because it was so ready to go (no pun intended) that I just went for it.
I used spray paint to paint the design this time and check this out:
It is almost perfect!! The lines went out sharp. Look at those corners and curves!
If you don’t mind using Spray Acrylic Paint to paint your design in your clothes this is a very fast alternative to do Stencil design!
You can see some fray here and there but I think if I would have applied the glue again (I use the glue left from the golden cherry) it would have come up next to perfect.
PS: I loved this Stencil so much that I made a Special Step by Step Video to Show you the Technique!! See it here.
4-Screen Stencil on Fabric Technique
How you do a Screen Stencil at home?
To make this Stencil you will need an Embroidery Hoop big enough to fit your Stencil Design, Organza Fabric, and Modge Podge Matte Finish Glue.
Place the organza fabric very tight between the hoops. Trace your design on the back of the screen and with the help of a brush (a stylized brush), you will contour the outer shape of your design by painting it with the glue (all the areas you DON’T want to paint on).
You let it dry and with the help of an old credit or debit card, you will scoop the paint against the fabric. Then you lift up the screen carefully and wash your screen before the paint dries.
You will need:
Time consumption: 4⭐⭐⭐⭐
I didn’t find this technique to be particularly long. The glue dried fast and putting the organza in the embroidery hoop was very easy too.
Easiness of process: 3 ⭐⭐⭐
Well, this was actually more complicated than I though off. I consider me to have a very good freehand, but you have to be really meticulous in this technique because one false movement and your glue go right over the wrong side. And you can’t take that back. Yes, this happened to me. And also if you miss a spot the paint is going to pass through there. Yes, this happened to me too.
So… Not that easy or maybe practice issue.
Here is a 2 because you are supposed to be able to use your screen stencil again but I don’t really know what I did here. I wasn’t able to take all of the paint out. And because all my mess-ups with the Glue I really didn’t want to use it again.
End Result: 3⭐⭐⭐
All though I enjoyed quite a lot this technique, the end result is just not that great.
In fact, it might be the worst end result of all…
I take some of the responsibility here, because as I said this was my first time doing this technique, so I really don’t have enough practice to say: This is the every time result for this technique.
As you can see, lines are not very well defined and there are spots around the figure where I clearly didn’t put glue on and I missed. And other spots where the paint didn’t get trough because I did put glue in and that wasn’t supposed to be there…
Alright, so after all this which one ended up being MY Favorite?
Check out this after used pictures and try to guess…
That’s right! The Transparency Film Stencil.
This is the one that definitely catches my heart. It might have been a little more time consuming but the end result was for sure the best one, more if you consider into account the spray paint option.
Finally, you can reuse the Transparency Film Stencil as many times as you want.
This was my personal input. But what is your opinion? Which one of these techniques do you like better and why?