Thursday, February 28, 2013

How to make a T-Shirt using a Paper Stencil


-         T-shirt
-         Paper
-         Pencil/Pen
-         Scissors
-         Fabric paint

Time Commitment:

 ~ 1/2 – 1 hour (plus paint drying time as specified by the manufacturer)

I love the look of screen-printed shirts, but usually I only want to make a few copies of a design (and screens get expensive), so I use paper stencils instead. Note that you can use a stencil brush to paint the design instead of your finger, which will give a different effect. Using your finger gives it a rough, dappled effect that I like.

How to Make it Happen:

Step 1 - The Design

1) First, draw your design. Don’t worry too much about having lots of unnecessary lines in your sketch- the only thing that matters is when you actually cut it out.

Step 2 - The important part

2) Next, cut out your design with scissors (or a razor blade if you have lots of tiny details). This is when precision matters, so take your time. If you have rips in your paper, tape them up or you’ll have phantom lines where you don’t want them.

When you’re done cutting, tape your design to the shirt. Tape the sides of the paper and underneath, near the design itself. Keep the shirt taut under the stencil, which will help keep the design from bleeding past the lines.

Step 3 - Finger painting (stencil style)

3) Dab the fabric paint onto the design with your finger or a stencil brush. Keep the motion as vertical as you can- any movement side to side will shift the stencil or the shirt, which can mess up the pattern.

Step 4 - The Payoff

4) Let the paint dry, then remove the stencil from the shirt. Your custom design is done!

Learn from my mistakes- take your time
My design, which is my spoonflower shop logo – I was rushing, so you can see a few spots where the lines aren’t entirely crisp. When the shirt is washed, the design will have a vintage t-shirt vibe.


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