You may be asking what is freezer paper doing in an article on a sewing and craft site? Well, freezer paper is not just for the kitchen. This waxed paper can be used for making labels, printing fabric and creating stencils for painting.
What is Freezer Paper?
Freezer paper is a kitchen paper product with a plastic or wax coating on just one side. It is thick, slightly stiff, and is white and slightly translucent.
People often confuse freezer paper with wax paper or baking paper but these have a coating on both sides and are used to line trays of biscuits and food in the oven.
Freezer Paper in the Kitchen
In the kitchen, it is used to wrap food up before freezing thus preventing it from drying out or sticking to other items. The advantage of using freezer paper in the kitchen over other plastic wraps is that you can write on it, therefore identifying use-by dates. It was traditionally used to wrap cheese and meat.
Freezer Paper for Sewing
In the craft world, freezer paper can be ironed on to the back of felt and fabric, making it ideal for stencils and backing.
Quilters love freezer paper as it is great for cutting shapes ready for patchworking or applique.
Why Does Freezer Paper Stick to Fabric?
It is important to note that freezer paper is not sticky and only adheres to the fabric when it is ironed wax side (shiny side) down. The heat melts the wax and bonds it temporarily to the fabric. When it is removed there is no residue left.
Where to buy Freezer Paper
In the US, freezer paper is readily available at the supermarket. The most popular brand is Reynolds and many of you will recognize this familiar blue box.
Freezer Paper Suppliers
- US – Reynolds is available in most supermarkets
- Australia/ New Zealand / Singapore – Buy Reynolds freezer paper by the meter at Spotlight
- UK – Sold on Amazon UK, fabric and quilting stores
- Other Countries – For those of you in other countries, the best place to buy freezer paper is from fabric and quilting stores. It is often sold there by the meter instead of on the roll. If you just google freezer paper with your country there are usually lots of smaller sewing stores that pop up.
Alternatives to Freezer Paper
In the Kitchen
Alternatives to freezer paper in the kitchen include aluminum foil and plastic wrap. For a better option with no waste, use plastic containers that you can wash and reuse for years to come. Any option that keeps the dry air of the freezer away from your food will work as an alternative.
The only thing that I have come across as an alternative to freezer paper is the waxed paper that you find on the outside of paper reams. Just to be clear, this is the outside wrapping paper and not just the actual paper.
Make sure it is waxed paper and doesn’t have a plastic coating and do a test first. I found this on several sewing forums so decided to give it a try. I tried 3 brands and only one had no plastic coating. It worked reasonably well although not quite as well as actual freezer paper.
When you iron it to the back of the fabric, place the paper outside facing down (green facing down.)
White sticky labels designed to go through the printer can work. Stick the label to the fabric and use it as a stencil or cutting guide. If you plan on putting it through the printer it will need to be A4 or letter sided labels.
What is Freezer Paper Used For?
Freezer Paper for Applique
Detailed templates can be hard to draw around and move if you try and pin it in place. Freezer paper is a great way to cut out complicated shapes.
- Cut the freezer paper to fit your printer (A4 or Letter) making sure it is flat and not wrinkled. If it curls or has a bend, place it under heavy books until it straightens out. If it is not straight it will jam your printer.
- Create your shape on your computer and insert the cut freezer paper and print. Remember, print on the matt side and not the shiny side.
- Rough cut the shape out and press it on to the wrong side of the fabric with the shiny side down. The heat will bond the paper to the fabric.
- Cut out.
- Remove the freezer paper.
Freezer Paper for Felt Cutouts
Due to the fuzzy nature of felt, it can be hard to draw detailed shapes with chalk or pens. Using freezer paper allows you to draw on the paper instead, allowing detailed and otherwise impossible shapes to be cut.
- Print or draw your shape on the freezer paper (see applique section for how to print.)
- Rough cut around the shape.
- Press the paper on the felt wax side down until they are fused.
- Cut out the shape.
- After the shape is cut, gently peel the freezer paper away.
Freezer Paper for Fabric Printing
Freezer paper can be used to feed fabric through a printer and make clothing labels.
- Cut a piece of freezer paper the same size as your printer paper (A4 or letter)
- Iron it, shiny side down on the back of your fabric and trim it the same size as the paper.
- Make sure the edges are really sealed and clean.
- Feed it through your printer – test some paper first to make sure you are printing on the fabric side.
- Print black ink only and on an inkjet printer (laser printers don’t work).
- CAUTION – Print at your own risk. As long as the paper is flat with straight edges and no fraying, I have never had a problem but most printers were not designed for this.
- Full Article: How to Print Fabric Labels
Freezer Paper Stencils
Draw or print your design on the non-waxed (matt) side of the freezer paper and cut out the pieces. Press the freezer paper wax side down on the fabric before painting through the stencil.
Remove the paper when the design is partially dry.
Freezer Paper for Quilting
When quilting, freezer paper can be used for fabric applique on top of the quilt. Press the paper to your applique fabric and then accurately cut out your design. It can also be used to transfer patterns to fabric since it is slightly translucent. Place the paper wax side down on the design to be traced. Draw over it and then press it on the fabric. Now you have a great design to cut out in your fabric.
Freezer paper can be used for English paper piecing. Cut your hexagon shapes from the paper and press the fabric with the seam allowance to it. Fold over the excess seam allowance and hand stitch the pieces together. The freezer paper can be removed at the end.
Can you Reuse Freezer Paper?
You can often reuse freezer paper several times when using it for sewing or craft (not the kitchen).
Carefully peel it off the fabric and if there is enough wax left, you will be able to use it a couple more times. Since it can be expensive when purchased from quilting shops, this is an amazing thrifty tip. If you have used it as a stencil for painting, gently wipe off the paint and let any excess dry before using it again.
What is Freezer Paper in Conclusion
Now you know what is freezer paper you can make some lovely applique and quilting hexagons. Or perhaps you just want to store something delicious in your freezer.