Fabric Painting DIY: How to Make Stencils from Fusible Interfacing

I am as vulnerable as the next fiber artist to the siren call of new surface design tools. Each time a designer comes out with a new line of stencils, for example, I’m sure I absolutely have to have them.

how to make a stencil for fabric painting dunnewold
Jane Dunnewold shows how to make stencils from fusible
interfacing in her book Art Cloth.

But many tools like stamps, stencils, and screens, are relatively easy to make yourself. Handmade tools often have the benefit of being less expensive, copyright-free, and personal to you and your art.

Surface-design expert Jane Dunnewold prefers to make her own tools for painting on fabric whenever possible.

This technique for making stencils using fusible interfacing and nylon net is adapted from her best-selling book Art Cloth: A Guide to Surface Design for Fabric–considered by many to be the quintessential book on fabric painting and other surface-design techniques.

Make Your Own Stencil from Fusible Interfacing
By Jane Dunnewold


  • Cutting mat and craft knife
  • Fusible interfacing (about the weight of copy paper, large enough for your design and a generous border)
  • Pencil and permanent marker
  • Nylon net or tulle (as large as your interfacing pieces)
  • Plastic sheet to protect your surface
  • Latex house paint, any color and paintbrush or roller
  • Scissors
  • Steam iron and board
  • Parchment paper or non-stick pressing sheet



1. Cut 2 pieces of fusible interfacing the same size. Position the pieces with the fusible sides together. Do not iron yet.

fabric painting diy stencil dunnewold
Here Jane applies fabric paint via her
new, handmade stencil.

2. Draw a 1″ (2.5 cm) border around the perimeter of the interfacing to remind yourself to stay inside the line.

3. Draw a design on the interfacing or trace on from another source. Use the craft knife to cut out the design through both layers at once.

4. Sandwich your tulle or net between the layers of fusible, overhanging a bit on one side (so you hang it while drying). Add free-floating details (such as the wing on the bird pictured), making sure to match up both pieces of the fusible above and below the net.

5. Cover the sandwich with parchment or a non-stick pressing sheet and fuse the layers together using the manufacturer’s instructions. Starting in the center and work out toward the edges.

6. Cover your worktable with plastic and lay the fused interfacing on it. Coat both sides of the interfacing sandwich with paint. If the paint fills any of the holes in the tulle, gently wipe it off with a clean brush or cotton swab. Make sure the interfacing is covered completely (hold up to the light to check for pinholes), and then hang to dry.

7. Once dry, trim the stencil to remove the excess net and square it up. Press the stencil front and back to set the paint. You can store dry interfacing stencils upright in a file folder to keep them clean and flat.

Interfacing stencils are washable after you heat-set the latex paint application. After using the stencil for painting fabric, rinse it in cool water and hang to dry. If it warps, use a steam iron to flatten it.

From fabric stamping, stenciling, and screen printing by hand to generating designs on the scanner and printing fabric digitally, Jane is constantly thinking up new ways to create interesting textiles and sharing her techniques with others.

As our featured artist this month, her books and videos are available together in one convenient collection, Design Your Own Fabric with Jane Dunnewold. Start creating your own unique fabric designs with Jane’s guiding hand.

P.S. Do you make your own stencils and stamps, or do you prefer to buy them? Leave your answer below.

Other topics you may enjoy:


Fabric Painting & Dyeing, Monoprinting & Screenprinting, Quilting Daily Blog

8 thoughts on “Fabric Painting DIY: How to Make Stencils from Fusible Interfacing

  1. I found the tutorial above to be unclear, especially the relationship between the interfacing layers, the tulle, and when the outline was cut out relative to when the outline was ironed. Clicking on the example pictures for further information only brings me to a page that is an invitation to buy a book.

  2. Hi craftalife,

    You put the two layers of interfacing together with the fusible sides together (facing each other). Cut out your design. Place the tulle between the cut pieces of interfacing and iron so that the tulle is stuck between the layers.

  3. I love Jane Dunnewold’s work. Thanks for the tutorial on making stencils with interfacing. I like to make my own stencils and silkscreens. This is one more tool in my basket of surface design techniques.

  4. I love Jane Dunnewold’s work. Thanks for the tutorial on making stencils with interfacing. I like to make my own stencils and silkscreens. This is one more tool in my basket of surface design techniques.