Fabulous Freezer Paper

Prior to becoming a quilter, I never gave freezer paper a second thought. It wasn’t my storage solution of choice, and it never occurred to me that it might have other uses.

Due to its unique nature of having a paper side and a plasticized backing, it’s actually one of the most versatile supplies any quilter could have. It’s easy to apply the freezer paper to fabric by ironing the shiny side of the freezer paper to the fabric using a hot, dry iron. Here are just a few ways it can be used by quilters:

To stabilize fabric. Handwriting a label on fabric or creating a memory quilt with signatures? Iron some freezer paper to the back of your fabric first and it will be much easier to write on it. Running some fabric through a printer to create a label or design your own fabric? Again, iron the shiny side of the freezer paper on the back. Encase the leading edge of the paper/fabric sandwich with tape, and your fabric should run through your printer like a charm.

You can see the freezer paper through this light colored fabric. When ironed to the back, it really keeps the fabric from shifting when you write on it.

Creating templates for piecing. Draw your design on the paper side of the freezer paper, cut it apart on the design lines, then iron the plastic side of the freezer paper to your fabric and cut away. Be sure to add seam allowances as necessary. The paper is somewhat transparent, making it easy to trace designs as well.

Turned edge appliqué. Cut out the shape you want to create, such as a heart or leaf. Iron the freezer paper to the back of your fabric, cut out leaving a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. The crisp edge of the freezer paper makes it easy to turn under the raw edges, which can then be lightly glued or basted in place. Conversely, you can lightly glue the dull side of the paper to the back of your appliqué , then turn the edges over and iron them to the shiny side. Now you’re ready to appliqué by either hand or machine.

Left hand heart has the shiny side of the freezer paper ironed to the back of the fabric, then the edge is being glued down. The right hand heart has the dull side of the freezer paper against the back of the fabric, and the edges are being ironed down as they are turned. Choose what works best for you!

Sewing inset circles. This is an amazing technique that creates a perfect circle very easily. There are many great online tutorials for how to do this, just search for “freezer paper inset circle technique” and many will pop up.

Stabilizing simple machine embroidery or appliqué. There are a number of fine commercial products available for stabilizing your machine embroidery or applique, but in a pinch you can use good old freezer paper. Try it first on a sample to make sure that your tension is OK.

As a stencil. By applying freezer to the right side of your fabric you can draw or sew around the shape. It’s easy to follow the crisp edge.

Here I printed a design directly onto freezer paper from my computer, then cut it out. Once ironed to the quilt sandwich it was easy to follow the crisp outline of the shape to produce a neatly sewn motif.

Freezer paper can also be cut and used as a stencil to add a bit of painting to your work.

After the butterflies were cut from the freezer paper, it was ironed onto the front of the lavender fabric. A few dabs with a sponge brush and some gold ink, and some fast and easy surface design has been added to the fabric.

It’s readily available (at least in the U.S.) at grocery stores and most quilt shops. I like to keep it on hand as I never know when it might come in handy. What other uses have you found for freezer paper?

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