Put a creative spin on reusable canvas grocery bags with this easy freezer paper stencil tutorial. Customize your bags however you would like, the sky’s the limit.
I love crafting. However, between homeschooling and homesteading, I have very little time left to create. Enter freezer paper stencils. With it, you can create any word/shape/picture that you want, as long as you can cut it out with an Exacto knife. You can transform any simple bag, T-shirt, apron, pillowcase, etc in an afternoon with a little paint.
Since moving to our homestead and no longer having trash service, I like to reuse and recycle as much as possible. I often use reusable bags for grocery shopping or at the farmer’s market. I recently came across a great deal on some plain canvas bags, but they were a little boring. Freezer paper stencils allowed me to get crafty and make myself some custom shopping bags.
This is a smaller, simple design but you could go bigger and more elaborate. The sky is the limit! You can customize your bag however you would like. Even these Lined Zippered Pouches can be decorated with fun stencils.
Here’s how to make your own custom canvas bag using a freezer paper stencil.
Gather the Supplies
- Print out of clip art or whatever you want to use as a stencil
- Canvas Shopping Bag
- Freezer Paper (Plastic Coated)
- Cutting mat or thick piece of cardboard
- X-ACTO Knife
- Fabric paint
- Paintbrush or Q tip
Step 1: Find an image
Find an image online that you want to use for your stencil or make your own. I like to browse clip art for ideas. Keep in mind that you will be cutting your stencil out with an Exacto knife, so keeping the designs fairly simple is the easiest. I created my own stencil for this canvas bag.
Step 2: Make your Stencil
Place the freezer paper on top of your stencil and trace the pattern on the dull side of the freezer paper. The freezer paper should be placed shiny side facing down and the dull side facing up. Using a pencil, carefully trace your pattern onto the freezer paper.
Step 3: Cut out Stencil
After you have traced your pattern on the freezer paper, place the freezer paper on a cutting mat or a thick piece of cardboard. Using an X-Acto knife, carefully cut out your image. If you are cutting out words, like I am, be sure to cut out the inside of letters such as “a” and “e” first. Keep those pieces in a safe place, you will need them again.
Step 4: Iron on the Stencil
It’s time to place our stencil onto the canvas bag. Place the freezer paper onto the bag, keeping the shiny side down. Use a ruler to center your stencil. Once it’s positioned, iron the stencil onto the bag. Be careful that the freezer paper doesn’t bend and the edges are secured. If you have the inside bits of letters saved, carefully place them where they belong and iron them on.
Step 5: Paint!
Place a piece of paper or cardboard inside the bag to prevent the paint from bleeding through to the back. Using a paintbrush or Q-tip, carefully paint your stencil onto the bag. You may need to paint more than 1 coat of paint, but be patient! Let the first coat of paint dry before applying the second coat. This helps to prevent the paint from bleeding on the edges of your stencil.
Unless you applied a thick layer of paint, the paint should be dry in about 10-15 minutes.
Step 6: The Big Reveal
Now comes the fun part! Gently pull the freezer paper off and seeing your design underneath. Don’t be surprised if some of the freezer paper sticks in some places, that is normal. You may need to use the X-Acto knife to lift off the freezer paper, especially if you are using letters or small designs. Follow the fabric paint instructions in regards to washing and/or setting the paint.
Now you have your very own, custom canvas bag! Happy crafting!
Guest Blogger Janelle and her family live in the Missouri Ozarks and are currently building a permaculture farm, including an off-grid strawbale house. You can read about their adventures at Homestead in the Holler.