Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.

September 25, 2008

Road-testing freezer paper for stencilling

I have been road-testing two types of freezer paper for use in stencilling: C. Jenkins and Reynolds branded papers. Both are US-manufactured products. The experiments I have conducted are a bit on the unscientific side and without controls, so I should preface all this by saying that its my opinion only! You may have a different experience, so any comments or corrections are quite welcome.

The papers
Reynolds freezer paper is sold by the roll and is 18" (about 46cm) wide. I'd estimate its weight to be about 70gsm (or around 45lb) and it has a very shiny plastic-coating on the reverse side. The C. Jenkins freezer paper is a little heavier at 54lb (about 80gsm) and is sold as flat pre-cut sheets of 8.5" x 11" (28cm x 22cm). The reverse side also has a plastic coating and is quite waxy.

The reverse side of C. Jenkins (left) and Reynolds (right) paper. The Reynolds paper is much shinier.

Being the lighter-weight of the two, the Reynolds paper is more transparent. This is certainly of advantage when you are tracing a design. I found that I really needed a light box (read: window!) to trace a design onto the C. Jenkins paper.

Freezer paper sitting over a printed sheet: C. Jenkins (left) and Reynolds (right)

Both papers were easy to handle when cutting. I tried out both a craft knife and small pair of scissors. There is a downside to the Reynolds paper though: being dispensed from a roll it has the tendency to roll or curl. You really neeed to take the time to flatten it out before you begin.

I found that the Reynolds paper fused more quickly to the cotton fabric that I tested it on (about 30 seconds). I'm guessing that this is due to it being a little thinner and more pliable than the C. Jenkins paper. I needed to iron the C. Jenkins paper a little longer. After fusing the papers there was, however, no discernible difference between them.

Fused papers on calico: C. Jenkins (left) and Reynolds (right)

When you are ironing your freezer paper, its important that you turn the steam-setting off on the iron. Steam prevents the paper fusing properly. I tried ironing both papers with a shot of steam, just for fun. The Reynolds paper was a bit more tolerant, with just a corner coming away. It is difficult to see from the photo below, but about half of the C. Jenkins paper didn't fuse.

C. Jenkins (left) and Reynolds (right). I will be making sure that I empty the water out of my iron before trying my next stencil!

Both papers worked very well for the stencilling. If, however, I had to pick one over the other I think it would be the C. Jenkins freezer paper. I liked the fact that it didn't curl, could be stored flat ... and well , I have always been a sucker for heavier-weight papers! Of course, if you were wanting to make a very large stencil, then a nice big roll of Reynolds paper would be just the ticket.

If you are in Australia and would like to buy freezer paper, please see this previous post which gives a few suggestions as to suppliers (take a peek at the comments too, as some really great suggestions that other people have left).


  1. Fantastic review! Great. Now I will place my order for paper based on your review and then I can get cracking. Talk about dragging the line.

  2. Are you a secret scientist? I am imagining you in a white lab coat with steaming test tubes (though havent quite worked out what the test tubes are for).

    Being a total copy cat (sorry), I ordered both papers like you. But being a total lazy arse just took one look at the rolled up, curly wurly Reynolds paped and chucked it under my bed in favour of the flat pack paper.

    So thank you again Dr HB for doing the legwork for us.

  3. I so need to get organised as I want to join in. I am hoping I havee more time next week to start, at least I know the best way to start - Thanks.

  4. Thank you for doing the legwork. I have been saying I was going to do this for ages.

  5. I wonder if freezer paper has changed over the last few years...I had a roll back in the States, and I could have sworn it was heavier weight than the Cjenkins stuff I have over here; but people keep saying it's lighter weight. I wish I had my old stuff for comparison!

  6. Thanks for doing all this research. I already have the Reynolds paper but it's always good to have a bit of extra product information.... she says, as if she's about to make a stencil. Always good to file knowlwdge AS WELL AS FREEZER PAPER away for future use.

    You have NO IDEA how tempted I am to spend time I don't have cutting out stencils and jumping on your little bandwagon here...


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