Painting on Fabric: Easy ‘Let it Snow’ Coasters

Remember the paper snowflakes we made as kids? Well, here’s a little twist on them. These fabric snowflake coasters are made using freezer paper stencils and painting on fabric. Elin Waterston originally made these winter coasters with a silver Shiva® Paintstik (Quilting Arts Gifts 2010/2011), but if you don’t have Paintstiks, use metallic fabric paint applied with a sponge or foam brush.

Let it Snow Snowflake Coasters By Elin Waterston

Materials (for one coaster):

  • Background fabric, 5″ square (dark colors work best
  • Felt, 4.5″ square
  • Shiva Artist Paintstiks (silver, white, or your choice) or textile paint such as Lumiere® by Jacquard
  • Foam brush and palette (if you are using textile paint
  • Freezer paper, 3¾” square
  • Paper-cutting scissors
  • Paper towels and un-printed newsprint or brown paper for heat-setting (if you use a Paintstik)
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine and coordinating and/or contrasting thread
  • Stencil brush (optional)


1. Make the stencil by folding your freezer paper square in half on the diagonal, then again in thirds, making sure it is as evenly folded as possible. Cut the bottom edge so it is straight (cut off the tails), creating a triangle. Cut away the top point at an angle and cut 2-3 shapes out of each side of the triangle.

2. Apply the paint. Cover your work surface with newsprint or plastic and center the stencil, shiny side down, onto the fabric. Press with an iron to adhere it to the fabric.

how to paint on fabric with a paint stick and stencil

Elin Waterston used a silver paint stick and a freezer paper stencil to make a snowflake design on fabric in the 2010/11 issue of Quilting Arts Gifts.

Fabric Painting Technique #1 – Paintstik:

Use a paper towel to peel away the Paintstik’s self-sealing protective film, exposing the soft portion of the pigment. Carefully apply the pigment to the fabric in the open areas of the stencil, using a stencil brush or applying it directly. Let the paint dry for 3-5 days. Remove the stencil, cover with brown paper, and heat set the paint by pressing over the paper.

Fabric Painting Technique #2 – Using acrylic fabric paint:

Pour a small amount of fabric paint onto your palette, spreading it thin. Load your foam brush with paint and pounce off the excess on a clean part of the palette or a piece of paper towel. Pounce the brush over the open areas of the stencil, applying paint evenly. Let the paint dry overnight, then heat-set it as above.

3. Assemble the coaster. Centering the snowflake, trim the painted fabric to 4.5″ square. Fold under ¼” on each side and press to finish the raw edges. Center the snowflake square on the felt and pin in place. Using your thread of choice, machine quilt to complement the snowflake pattern. Using thread of choice, stitch along the folded edges of the painted fabric square with a straight, zigzag, or decorative stitch, securing the fabric to the felt.

You could turns these coasters into a garland by stitching several to a ribbon. Or, zigzag stitch four squares together to make one large square to use as a trivet.

You’ll find this project and dozens of others for home decor and gift-giving in issues of Quilting Arts Gifts.

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