How to Use Wax Paper as an Iron on Stencil

Adding a picture or words to a T-shirt, bag or blanket is a very common practice in manufacturing today. Designs range from simple to very complex. A homemade stencil made from waxed paper can achieve the same look on many types of fabric. The waxed paper stencil is placed on the fabric and secured with an iron set to a cotton setting. The stencil is only good for one project but is simple to duplicate.

Pull a piece of waxed paper from the waxed paper roll approximately 12 inches long. Tear the waxed paper from the roll.

Place the waxed paper on a clean, flat and stable work surface.

Draw the desired stencil design on the surface of the waxed paper, leaving a minimum of a 1-inch border. Cut the stencil from the waxed paper with scissors or a craft knife. Make sure the cut lines are clean with no jagged edges.

Cut two pieces of brown packaging paper slightly larger than the waxed paper. Place one of the brown paper pieces on the surface of the ironing board. This will protect the surface of the ironing board from melted wax.

Place your fabric on the ironing board, with the location you are placing the stencil on flat on the board. Position the waxed paper stencil on the desired location, directly on the fabric and over the brown paper.

Cover the waxed paper with the second cut piece of brown packaging paper. Set the iron to cotton. Place the hot iron over the top left hand corner section of the brown paper. Hold the iron in place for 15 seconds. Move the iron to the right one iron width. Hold the iron in place for 15 seconds. Repeat the process until the entire sheet is covered.

Allow the paper to cool for 15 seconds. Remove the brown paper. Carefully remove the fabric from the ironing board and place it on a smooth, flat work surface.

Squeeze a quarter-sized drop of the desired paint colour on a paper plate. Dab the stencil brush into the paint. Stencil the area on the fabric by starting on the outer edge of the design and work in. Stencil entirely around the outside edge of the design before moving toward the centre. Allow the paint to dry for 15 minutes before removing the waxed paper stencil.

Peel the waxed paper stencil from the fabric. Discard the stencil.


An iron should only be used by an adult or under adult supervision.

Things You'll Need

  • Waxed paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Fabric
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Brown packaging paper or brown paper bag
  • Fabric or acrylic paint
  • Stencil brush
  • Paper plate
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About the Author

Kim Blakesley is a home remodeling business owner, former art/business teacher and school principal. She began her writing and photography career in 2008. Blakesley's education, fine arts, remodeling, green living, and arts and crafts articles have appeared on numerous websites, including DeWalt Tools, as well as in "Farm Journal" and "Pro Farmer."