Great Uses for Freezer Paper
Freezer paper is that wonderful stuff you can find in your grocers storage aisle along with Ziploc bags and foil wrap. One side is paper and the other has a light coating of a plastic which melts like wax when you iron it. To adhere it to fabric, place the wax side down on the wrong side of the fabric, then use a medium iron to adhere it to the fabric. Ostensibly for wrapping meat, I suspect freezer paper is used far more often for quilting fabrics. Buy good quality freezer paper - Reynolds is far easier to use for freezer paper piecing than Costco, for example.
Freezer paper is great for appliqué. There are several methods of freezer paper appliqué:
- Draw your motif on the dull side, cut it out and iron it to the top of the appliqué piece. As you are appliquéing, you tuck the fabric under the appliqué piece, then peel off the freezer paper. You can usually reuse this piece several times.
- You can also draw your motif on the dull side in reverse. Iron the freezer paper to the wrong side of the appliqué piece. You appliqué as above, but just before you get to the end, you remove the freezer paper with a pair of tweezers.
- Or, you can iron the freezer paper to the wrong side of the appliqué piece then iron the fabric over the edges, giving you a crisp edge to appliqué. Remove the paper before doing so.
- For more information, see our Applique tips article
Freezer paper can also be used for paper piecing.
Freezer paper templates are great for hand sewing, too. For example, you can use them to make Grandmothers Flower Garden blocks. Print a sheet of hexagons on freezer paper, cut them apart and iron them to the wrong side of your appliqué piece. Iron the edges over the freezer paper. Now you will have a nice sharp edge for whip stitching. For stability, leave the freezer paper in until you are done but be careful not to catch the thread in the paper.
Freezer paper can be run through your ink jet printer (not a laser printer!) if you would like to print several motifs at once. Set your printer to accept heavy paper, and feed the sheets one at a time. To keep it from curling, you can cut it a day or two ahead of time and put it under something heavy to flatten it. If you are in a hurry, you can iron it flat (shiny side down) on a Teflon pressing sheet, or iron it to a piece of copy paper and put the combination through your printer. Ironing two pieces together may work, too. It's best to pull them apart while they are warm.
Freezer paper can also help you to print on fabric. For example, if you would like to personalize your labels, you can iron your freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric, cut it to just shy of 8 ½" x 11" so stray threads don’t get caught in the printer, and print your labels on the fabric. The freezer paper gives the fabric just enough body to go through the printer as if it were a piece of paper.
To make attaching your labels even easier, use basting spray to adhere the fabric to the shiny side of the freezer paper. When you pull them apart, the fabric will remain just slightly sticky which will help keep it in place when you sew. You can also use the muslin/freezer paper combination to make a fabric foundation for foundation piecing, too.
Need just a tiny bit more of that special fabric to finish a project? Make it! Soak a piece of fabric in Bubble Jet Set, then let it dry and iron it to a piece of freezer paper. Cut it just a bit smaller than to the size you need for your printer and clean up any stray threads. Scan a piece of the fabric into your computer, then just print it on the fabric/freezer paper combination. Increase the amount of ink, if this is a setting you can control in your printer's control panel, and/or lighten the scan just a little. You may need to make a couple of test prints to match the fabric exactly. Use 200 thread count pima cotton or PFD muslin for the clearest print. This works wonderfully for photographs, too - see Photo Transfer Ideas, Projects and Supplies for more information.
Here is what Reynolds has to say about using Freezer paper in quilting: "To use Reynolds® Freezer Paper in quilting, trace quilting design onto dull side of freezer paper, cut it out and iron shiny side onto the fabric. Cut out the fabric around the design, allowing 1/4" seam allowance. Fold the fabric seam allowance under the freezer paper and stitch the applique onto the background fabric. Pull out the freezer paper through a small area left unstitched.
Save your money for quilt fabric! Here are great tips for using everyday items in original ways to save time and money in quilting.