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Patriotic stenciled tees (with free templates!)

After earning a degree in Art Education and teaching for several years, Kacey Kendrick Wagner "retired" from teaching and focused her energy on the creative opportunities available in everyday, ordinary life. She has never met an artist...

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Celebrate Independence Day in style by stenciling your own tee this 4th of July.
Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Stenciling using freezer paper is a breeze — anyone can do it! Freezer paper can be found in the plastic wrap/foil section of many grocery stores. It is basically white butcher paper that is plastic-coated on one side. The plastic coating sticks to fabric when ironed, yet peels off easily, making it the perfect material for creating stencils. You can even run it through your printer!


  • FREE downloadable template — choose
    Stars & Stripes or America
  • Freezer paper
  • 1 sheet of printer paper (8-1/2 x 11 inches)
  • Scotch tape
  • X-Acto knife
  • Iron/ironing board
  • Fabric paint
  • Paintbrush or sponge
  • T-shirt
  • Cardboard or poster board


Start by cutting an 8-1/2 x 11-inch piece of freezer paper.

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Tape it plastic-side down to your sheet of printer paper. The printer paper will stabilize the thinner freezer paper as it runs through your printer. Tape all the way around the edges to avoid shifting.

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Print the template design directly onto the freezer paper and remove it from the card stock backing.

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Now use the X-Acto knife to carefully cut out the entire design. Cut out any shapes within the lettering first (such as the inside loop of an "R") and set them aside — you will need them later!

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Continue to cut out all of the design elements. Everything black will be discarded and the white background paper will serve as the stencil.

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Next, simply iron your stencil onto your T-shirt.

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Affix the background first, then go back and add those little "inner" letter shapes you set aside before.

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Once your stencil is in place, slide a piece of cardboard or poster board in between the layers of your T-shirt to prevent the fabric paint from bleeding through to the back.

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Using a stiff paintbrush or stenciling sponge, apply the fabric paint according to package directions. It may take more than one coat. Work carefully to keep lines crisp and avoid bleeding.

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

When finished, peel off the freezer paper and touch up your design with a tiny paintbrush if necessary. Remove the stencil carefully — you can reuse it several times!

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Allow to dry and heat set if necessary. (Check the fabric paint package directions.)

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Now you can rock your very own Patriotic Tee this 4th of July… and now you know how freezer paper stenciling works. Make your own designs on the computer or draw them by hand directly onto the paper. Stencil clothing, tote bags, curtains, pillowcases — the possibilities are endless!

Make your own patriotic T-shirt

Get the template

FREE downloadable template

Stars & Stripes or America

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