Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Embroidery Hoop Wall Art: Stenciled Letters

Before I talk about the last of the embroidery hoop projects: I read this article today, and it just about broke my heart! Does anyone else feel the same way?

So, stenciled letters. I've done lots of projects using freezer paper stencils, and I have to say, it is the gift that just keeps on giving. Maybe I'll tire of them at some point (like if/when I ever get around to taking a silk screening class), but I've been doing various freezer paper stencil projects for over a year now, and they still excite me! And if you are patient and have teeny-tiny scissors, you can make really complicated designs really easily.


  • 1 embroidery hoop (for this project, I used a 5x9" oval)
  • 1 piece of cotton fabric, cut about 3" larger on each side than your hoop
  • 1 piece of freezer paper (by the aluminum foil at the grocery store)
  • flat fabric paint (as opposed to puffy paint)
  • a paint brush
  • an iron and ironing board
  • a pen or pencil
  1. Before you do anything else, you need to find a letter to trace. For this particular project, I used the Palace font and modified it slightly to fit my hoop. I played with the size of the font until it was big enough to fill the hoop while leaving a little open space. When you have found your letter (or shape or clipart) and gotten it to the right size, print it out on a plain old piece of computer paper.
  2. Tape your letter to a sunny window. Tape your freezer paper over it, centering the letter. Using a pen or pencil, trace the letter. Make sure you get all of it, inside, outside, and in between. Remove the freezer paper from the window.
  3. Using a small, sharp pair of scissors (like hair-cutting scissors or embroidery scissors), cut out the letter. Keep in mind that you are creating a stencil, which means you want to keep the big piece of freezer paper intact. It doesn't matter if you have to cut the letters into pieces to get them out because the letter is actually the part you will throw away. If your letter has any inner pieces (A's, D's, O's, etc.) carefully cut those out and keep them. Keep chanting the mantra, "I'm making a stencil. I'm making a stencil."
  4. Place your fabric on the ironing board. Put your freezer paper stencil on top, making sure the letter is centered on the fabric. Carefully iron the freezer paper stencil onto the fabric. Make sure the fabric and stencil are both smooth while you do this. When you have the main stencil firmly adhered to the fabric, you can add any little pieces that complete your letter (like those insides you cut out and saved). Iron them on as well, and allow the whole thing to cool.

  5. Put an old pillowcase, dish towel, or scrap of cloth under your fabric (or inside if you are painting something like a t-shirt or tote bag).
  6. Using your fabric paint and brush, fill in the stencil on your fabric. Try not to glop the paint on; you want your finished product to be nice and smooth. Feel free to add another coat of paint if your paint color and fabric warrant it; some of my projects have only needed one coat, some have needed two.

  7. Allow your design to dry completely--overnight if possible.
  8. Take the old pillowcase, dish towel, or cloth that you put under you fabric, put it on top of your dry design, and go over the whole thing with an iron. This will set the paint.
  9. When everything is cool, carefully peel off your freezer paper stencil.
  10. Frame, trim, and glue the painted fabric according to Monday's instructions.


  1. This would be great for a nursery! I've got quite a few baby showers coming up, so this is going in the bookmarks :)

  2. I love this embroidery hoop wall art!! It looks amazing and I love how you used freezer paper to make the stencil for the A. I've heard of using freezer paper for stencils but don't know much about it. Your A turned out fabulous!! I hope you don't mind I've featured this post in my embroidery hoop wall art round-up hub which you can see here:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful work!