September 5, 2011

Freezer Paper Transfer [Tutorial]

This is a follow up post to my new framed bulletin board. I made a custom  bulletin board to hide this giant eye sore/ fridge that was visible in my kitchen and living room.

I used freezer paper as a transfer method, it was a little more involved than I expected, so I thought it deserved a full post, to make sure I can get all the steps down right and as to not make the last post a novel!


  • Spray Adhesive
  • Freezer Paper
  • Printer- Ink Jet
  • Printer Paper
  • Elmer's Glue
  • Hairspray 
  • Spoon
So let's walk through the process of {first} making the graphic and {second} getting it onto the fabric.

For the images, I turned to The Graphic Fairy and started putting images together on Microsoft Word. I knew the elements I really wanted and it was just a matter of putting them in the right order-
I really wanted: a wreath, crown, at least two fonts, some numbers i.e. dates. 
Feel free to grab this if you want to u
Here's what I came up with.

Once you've got things the way you want them, make sure you reverse the image! For this transfer method you need the mirror image of your graphic to be printed up.
At the last minute I thought I goofed up my graphic when I realized I wrote "Grains" in English, not French! But several online French dictionaries swear the word is the same in both languages.
It had better be, because it's too late now!

I wasn't sure how to resize the image in Word, I wanted it to end up almost 2 x 3 feet.
So I copied it into an Excel doc.
With Excel it's a piece of cake to set your exact measurements. Just double click on your graphic and a box pops up for you to choose your exact measurements.You should also adjust your border measurements. This will have you use fewer transfer sheets and then make getting the images lined up easier. Too bad I forgot to do this myself!
I'd decided to use freezer paper for a transfer method. It was a perfect tool for this project because I was going to need several sheets for printing. It also works because my end product doesn't need to be washable. You can find freezer paper at Walmart for 2 bucks and it comes in a huge roll, something like 175 ft.

Freezer paper transfers can be used with ink jet printers. You can do transfers of all sizes {as long as your printer is full of ink}. Although I haven't tried all of these, they can be used to transfer on a wide variety of surfaces: wood, painted surfaces, porous and non porous fabrics. If the surface is smooth you will get a very clear transfer versus a porous surface { like fabric with a heavy weave} you will have results that look distressed. They're basically awesome!

In order to print on freezer paper, it's a good idea to cut it into sheets a day before and then lay them under a book to flatten them out. {For those of you who want less work and don't mind spending a little more money, you can actually buy freezer paper in 8x10 sheets. For me, cutting them was not a big deal.} You should cut the freezer paper  little larger than the size of your printer paper.

After the papers are flattened out, it's time to attach them to a sheets of printer paper. I used spray adhesive to attach the papery side of the freezer paper to the printer paper. When I work with spray adhesive I set up a little zone coerced in cardboard. If you ever go to Ikea they give out sheets of cardboard over by the loading zone. I believe they're supposed to protect your roof when you bring home your goodies. I always grab a few and some of their butcher paper they provide for you to wrap your breakables.

On my kitchen counter I set up a cardboard barrier, then lay out my printer paper. I spray on the glue, then lay down a layer of paper.
I put my glued pages on the butcher paper, then smooth one sheet of freezer paper on each one. Why all the hassle? Well, if you get any glue on the back of your printer paper, it won't go through the printer. The preparation will save you a lot of grief later. Trust me!

When the freezer paper s attached to the printer paper you can trim the edges. You want  the freezer paper to overlap the printer paper a little on each edge. My printer will only take up to a 8 x 10 sheet of paper, so I could only have a little overlap. If I had a choice I would've done about 1/4 inch overlap.

When you have all the pages you need, you're ready to print. You want to print on the SHINY, plastic coated side!

You need to print them one at a time.
Let's take a look at how I learned that. Major bummer, right? My printer made it to page 9 before it grabbed 4 sheets at once and started printing across all of them. Not awesome.
I was able to wash off the ink and reuse a few of the sheets, but not if I didn't have a good overlap on that side. You can use a tiny bit of water on a paper towel and wipe off the ink, but don't get any water near the edges of your paper, it will seep under the edges of the freezer paper and ruin the paper side.

When each sheet comes off the printer you need to grab it and lay it out. The ink is very wet and will easily smear. Again, I learn the hard way. Guess that's why my tutorials and always so in depth, I seem to make every mistake possible! The ink will not dry, so keep all the pages in order and don't try to stack them or touch them.

When they're all printed up you're ready to transfer them.

I started the project just like you'd tile a room, I began from the center. First measure to make sure you're even. I always make a spacer. In this case, a piece of paper I can lie next to the image I going to transfer. That way I can easily see I'm lined up and can focus on the actual transfer.

In order to transfer the image you need to lightly wet the area. Since I was transferring to cloth I used a spray bottle to wet it.  I did a test spot on some scrap burlap and used the screwed up crown print off. I am so glad I tested it out first because the ink bled pretty badly. You can see some of my first results below on the right.
So I used an old trick for writing on t-shirts, I sprayed the fabric with aerosol hair spray. I did a few trials and three light coats, allowing for drying time, seemed to do the trick. You can see my results above on the left.
So I sprayed the hair spray over my entire fabric {again- 3 light coats}.
Then used my spray bottle to dampen the fabric, in square sections. You want to work one page at a time, that way you know exactly how wet the area will be.

Mist the area, 2-3 sprays, then lay the page down.
Hold the page firmly and use a large spoon the burnish {rub} the area. You can peak to see if you've rubbed enough. But make sure you're not moving the sheet around.
{I had a couple spots where I can tell the paper must have shifted. Mostly on my first transfer.}
 In the picture down above I tried to show you all the different degrees of ink transfer, so you know exactly when you've done it right. You're looking for the paper to look light grey, with all the fresh black ink rubbed off onto your surface.

When most the ink is rubbed off you take a warm iron and apply it to the back of the paper for 10-20 seconds. At first I thought this made the transfer darker. But then later I moved the freezer paper before I remembered to iron on top of it { twice } I cannot say I saw a difference in those areas. So it's up to you whether you want to do it or not. It's possible you're supposed to do it because it sets in the ink or something, but who knows?

That's all there is to it. Just line up the pages, making sure the edges match up and everything is straight. It takes 24 hours to cure, so don't mess up all your hard work!

That's all I can think of {like that wasn't enough!} I know it sounded like a lot, but that's only because I'd rather give you all the information so that you can do it right the first time and save yourselves some hassle.

If you wanna see how the rest of the  framed bulletin board project came together, just click here! Good luck with your projects!
Looking for places to link up your projects? Check out my Party Page!
I'm also linked up here.


  1. Wow!.. great job!..... I am not sure I have the guts to do it.. but glad you did!


  2. Wow that turned out beautiful! And it's nice to see how the freezer paper thing works...I've heard of people using it, but never understood how it worked! :)

  3. That looks really great! Thank you for the tutorial, I may just have to give that a try!

  4. I like much the font of this page! as it is called? : )

  5. Wow! that looks amazing. thanks for the tutorial. Love your blog. I'm your newest follower. If you get a chance hop on over to

  6. Excellent tutorial! When I saw your subject line I thought you used the freezer paper for a stencil and thought, wow, those are some great cutting skills! So glad you've shown how to actually transfer an image. Thank you!

  7. Awesome tutorial! I was happy to see you listed all the things not to do. I would be sure to do them as well! I can't wait to try this technique. Thanks so much for taking the time to share.

  8. Love what you did and thanks for sharing HOW you did it! And thanks for telling us about the "bumps in the road". :) Those are the kinds of things that always happen to me! Great project!

  9. OMG that is so hard but looks beautiful. I am not a good direction follower. I just do it and then, well, youy can imagine, it does not always work. Plse come share this fabulous tutorial at Market Mon. Amazing job.

  10. This looks really great! Your design turned out really well.

  11. Luv this post and your blog. I keep trying to subscribe via email to posts and it indicates I'm already signed up?????? I don't get updates from you and SOOOOO would luv to. Any suggestions?

  12. My hat's O-F-F to you, Becca, for this project and amazing instructions. I have a lot of patience for projects, but I'm not sure about this one (!). Your board is truly inspiring.

  13. i found this post on tipjunkie its fab i cant wait to try it i love your blog. im a new follower i love all the things you have made i cant wait to try the lampshade aswell xxxx

  14. Such a helpful tutorial. thanks for putting this together, cant wait to try it!

  15. This turned out darling! What a great tutorial! I love the turquoise accent in it to make it pop! I would love it if you would link it up to my Ta-Da Tuesday link party!!

    xoxo, Ashley J

  16. Very Chic! I keep planning to do this but haven't yet. I jammed my printer this morning just trying to print a regular piece of paper! LOL Faboo! Julia

  17. Beautiful project, thanks for explaining it step by step!

  18. Wow! This is the best tutorial I have seen on the freezer paper transfer. Thanks so much for sharing all the details. I think (know) I will try something small first. Your board looks awesome.

  19. Wow, that's pretty amazing! Thanks for the super detailed tutorial, love it!

  20. That is AWESOME ...I dont know if I can do it, but Im gonna keep it in my mind if one day I had the courage to do it :)))
    A visit from French Country Cottage
    If you have time plz check out my new blog

  21. THAT is AWESOME!!!! You've just solved a problem for me. I know exactly where I'm going to use this! Thanks soooooooo much!

  22. Looks great! It turned out so nice!
    Debbi @ the beach

  23. Wonderful tutorial! Thank you so much for putting in the gaffs and mistakes and all the other ways things can go wrong. It's very encouraging to know it's ok to make a mistake. It make me a follower!

    Please, oh please, where do I find the hairspray/writing on t shirts trick?

  24. Love this! So many new tips and techniques, thank you so much for sharing!!! I'm a new follower!

    Brie from

  25. Wow! I'm not sure I'm this ambitious (I'd make a mess!), but I love your detailed instructions and finshed product! Thanks for sharing.

  26. Thanks for sharing this! I wish I would have known this before I did an iron on transfer and ended up with residue all around my image! But, it all worked out in the end! I will definitely save this for later though!

  27. What an interesting bulletin board! Great clear tutorial too!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit! Remember the voting is now open – if you want to head over and vote for your project! The most voted link will get a full post feature/promotion next week!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    Round Tuit 67 voting

  28. Excellent tutorial, When I saw your subject line I thought you used the freezer paper for a stencil and you have very great cutting skills. So glad you have shown how to actually transfer an image.

  29. Thanks for showing this! I'd love to try...I love the result and I'm in love with graphics fairy.
    Fancy Frugal Life

  30. Thanks for the awesomee tutorial. I have been so hesitant about trying this until now. I would love to have you share this at my Restyled Sundays party.

  31. I love it!! What a super idea! Thanks for the tutorial!

  32. Love it! Looks like a lot of work but you had a great step by step of the process!

  33. Thank you for sharing such a clear tutorial on this. I've been wanting to try this method for a while now and you've given me the courage to try it! Love your finished product too!


  34. Great tutorial. Any tips on getting freezer paper to feed through the printer? Mine feeds from an upright position and the freeze paper is too flimsy.


  35. Your project looks great! Back in August I posted a tutorial for transfering images using freezer paper to fabric, but it also works well on give that a try as well. Love to see what you come up with. Lesa

  36. This is a GREAT tutorial! I like how you told us all of the warnings of what not to do based on your experience. So helpful! It turned out really awesome too!

  37. Thanks for giving us all the tricks...It's so hard to find time to craft one just hates to waist it messing up!
    PS: I pinned this to use later. :)

  38. Thank you so much for this great tutorial. I really appreciate how in depth you went!! Do you have to use aerosal hair spray or could you use pump style in a light coat {or three}?

  39. This is an amazing tutorial. I love the bulletin board. I have some freezer paper and really want to give this a try.


  40. Thanks so much...I was just planning on trying this and wasn't sure...I am going to study how you did it before I try...thanks for the full how to!

  41. That was a really awesome tutorial - thank you for taking the time to write that all up. I would definitely want to try this on a smaller scale at first but I can see that it has a huge amount of potential. If you have a moment I'd love for you to share this at my party:

  42. Thank you for your detailed and informative tutorial. I also have a few coffee bags which are smelling up my garage, and I want so bad to begin some projects with them. This my first try, but I am armed fully capable with your tutorial.

    Question though, what did you do to eliminate the smell from the burlap, if anything? I've had mine outdoors for quite some time airing out, but they still have strong burlap bag smell. I had hoped to begin my projects today but hope for some answers first... I would love your ideas please?? Thanks in advance, you are fabulous!

  43. I left my comment above about the coffee burlap bags but didn't realize you might need my email address... for your use, please thank you, Any suggestions you have would be appreciated. I love your tutorial and it's given me countless ideas I hope to share with you i the future!

  44. Excellent tutorial. When I saw your subject line I thought you used the freezer paper for a stencil and thought, those are some great cutting skills! So glad you have shown how to actually transfer an image.
    bulk first aid kit

  45. Hi there sweetie! This is just awesome, you've done a great tutorial here and I've linked this to my freezer paper post too today - well done!

  46. Thanks for sharing this tutorial. It's good to know that there is a transfer method available to use with ink jet printers.

  47. I saw you on the creative girl party! Awsome tutorial! I wanted to try this thecnic for so long but, I didn't have the courage! Maybe I'll try it now!

  48. Awesome tutorial -- love the detail and especially the what not to dos, because those are exactly the things I would encounter! I would love it if you would link up with Busy Monday (through Thursdays) at A Pinch of Joy, a linky party for ideas that make life better

  49. Just pinned this! Great tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing!

  50. Great tutorial! But FYI, I just had a freezer paper fail with wood. It fit stuck and left some of the gluey part on the wood. So I don't recommend it with wood! I found your post while searching for a solution.

  51. Another great project, Becca! Thanks for the tutorial and the information on how to attach it to the refrigerator! Thank you for sharing at Potpourri Friday. You participation is always appreciated!

  52. What a fun use for freezer paper!

  53. Love your tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing at Mom On Timeout!

  54. Great tutorial! I wondered how "transfer paper stuff" worked. I have a feeling I will be using this on some pillows sometime soon!

    Hope you had a good weekend!

  55. Thank you! I found a tutorial that used wax paper, it didn't work for me. Saw that you could do it with Freezer paper and this is the most detailed one I have found. Great Job :) Cant wait to try it!


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