Way back in the day, before I got into painting and collage, I was really really in love with quilting. (Honestly, I will probably always be a quilter at heart.) I am well versed in quilting tools and tricks and I often turn to those tools when I’m making mixed media stuff.
One of my favorite quilting tools is freezer paper. Freezer paper is white butcher paper with a plastic coating on one side. It makes a great drop cloth for my messy work space since wet stuff like paint doesn’t easily soak through the plastic to the table below. But one of my favorite uses for freezer paper is stencils and masks.
In quilting this would be a template for appliqué. You can draw any shape you want, exactly the way you want it on the freezer paper, cut it out, and then iron it on your fabric as a cutting guide.
And it peels right off when you are done! No residue and the template can be used multiple times.
So when I wanted to paint several dresses on collaged paper, freezer paper was exactly what I needed.
Here I’ve cut out a cat shape and ironed it on my background paper. It just needs a few seconds with a hot iron to make the plastic side stick to the paper. If you’re worried about your background burning or melting, you can use a pressing cloth between the art and the iron. I like to use gauze as a pressing cloth so I can still see exactly where the freezer paper is going.
The freezer paper acts as a mask, keeping paint off the background under the cat shape while I paint the rest of the piece.
When I peel away the mask (after the paint dries) I have a cat in the original blue background color.
Conversely, I can use the freezer paper I cut the shape out of as a stencil to paint cats wherever I want them.
Just iron it down and paint over it.
This time I have a green cat on the original blue background.
You can find freezer paper at the grocery store with the aluminum foil and wax paper. A few bucks will get you a big box, plenty of paper to make your own stencils and masks for any little mixed media project you dream up!