I've just released a new flannel board pattern, my luckypennymake felt farm (available in my pattern shop and on etsy. Is it bad form to say I love these freaking animals? I think they're so darn cute. A few were drawn by my dad (the awesome horse, for instance) but the rest were me. Thanks again, Dad! Besides making the felt farm with the pattern, I kind of want to stencil all of the kids' clothing with them. Fabric paint, here I come.
Anyway, in my pattern instructions I include tips for using freezer paper to make cutting out the items easier. So I thought I would share a tutorial here, in case it helps anyone else.
And hey, writing about freezer paper is fun. Cause it is hard to overstate my love of freezer paper. Seriously, love.
But my favorite is using freezer paper to make templates for cutting out fabrics. You can trace patterns onto freezer paper, iron it onto fabric, then cut out the pattern. So easy. But even better is printing patterns directly onto freezer paper, rather than tracing them on. I do this whenever I make anything from my flannel board patterns.
I don't have the greatest printer, and I can't run the freezer paper through without some fiddling, or it will get jammed up. I thought I would share my fiddling with you all, in case it helps.
First, you need to cut your freezer paper to the right size. This might be overstating the obvious, but if I'm cutting up a bunch of sheets, I like to use a dark piece of cardstock as a template so I can easily line up the edges without having to double check on the ruler.
Next, I do one of two things. If I'm feeling a little lazy, I stack the freezer paper waxy-side down on top of another sheet of paper, slide that all into the printer and then pull out the regular sheet. That gets the freezer paper all the way in without having the front edge curl up.
If I'm feeling a little less lazy, I take a piece of cardstock, put rolls of tape in each corner and stick the freezer paper on waxy-side down. Then I run the whole thing through my printer. I don't usually adjust my printer's paper settings, but for this I do, because it seems to help. I set mine for photo paper (because I figure my printer will expect a thicker page if I do) and I haven't had a jam this way yet (knock on wood).
After you print onto the freezer paper you can reuse the same cardstock-tape setup over and over for each sheet. I haven't had the leading edge problem with this setup. But, of course, all printers are different so you'll need to experiment with your own.
Then gently iron the item onto felt or your fabric with a not-too-hot iron. If you are ironing onto acrylic felt be careful because it can melt. I suggest putting a piece of fabric on top and ironing through that so you don't risk getting gunk on your iron.
Once I ironed a bunch of patterns to felt then didn't have time to cut them all out, when I went back to do it a few days later, some of the freezer paper had unstuck itself. So now I do a few at a time, cut them, then do a few more. But the stencils can usually be used more than once, so if you need to you can re-iron them on.
The freezer paper does unstick a bit as you cut, so I usually cut out details first (like the feet, face and tail of this pig) before moving onto the longer lines.
And, if you are cutting out felt, good scissors make all of the difference. I received these Gingher 5-inch knife-edge craft scissors for Christmas and they are the best for this. Good sewing scissors work well, but can sometime make cutting out details more difficult. And I've used a few different pairs of craft scissors that just didn't cut it (haha) especially with felt.
And a warning…freezer paper is called freezer paper… it is not the same as wax paper!