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Topic: I've figured out the best way to stencil EVER. A must read. (tutorial and pics)  (Read 238580 times)
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« on: July 28, 2004 05:50:02 PM »

This tutorial is the result of trial and error.  I've made dozens of shirts in the past few years, and this is the best and easiest way.

First, gather your supplies.
1.  A piece of thin cardboard able to fit inside of your shirt.
2.  Paint in whatever colors you need.  Cheap acrylic craft paint works just fine.
3.  Any kind of cardstock or thick paper.  I find that watercolor paper is rigid enough to hold up under paint, yet soft enough to be cut very easily.
4.  Spraypaint.  Color really doesn't matter.
5.  Masking tape.
6.  An X-Acto knife.
7.  A small sponge paint brush.
8.  A thin to medium sized paint brush.
9.  An iron.

Next, use Photoshop to create your stencil.  The way I do this is to open it, go Image>Adjustments>Threshold.  Mess with the slide until you're satisfied with it.  Next, print it out onto your cardstock or heavy paper.  Cut out all desired areas with an X-Acto knife.  The next thing that you want to do is get spraypaint and test your stencil.  This is really optional, but worth it nonetheless.  Here is what my stencil looks like at this point.


Now comes the good stuff.  Slide your thin piece of cardboard into your shirt.  This prevents paint from going through.  Tape your stencil into its desired location.  Tape your stencil down and with your sponge paintbrush, dab up and down.  DO NOT DRAG THE PAINTBRUSH! This is ineffective and could cost you dearly.  I made this tutorial after I finished, but imagine my hand going up and down in this picture:


Put on as much paint as you like.  As long as you're going straight up and down, you shouldn't get any where it doesn't need to go.  It's good to use a small amount of paint on the brush, though.  That way you have more control.  After you've finished putting paint everywhere, give your shirt 5-10 minutes to dry.  You can use this time to wash your spongebrush.  Now you can take off the stencil and see what you're left with.  You can use your regular paintbrush to touch up areas that need to be fixed.  You can also use a permanent marker if you're using black paint.  Now lay a towel over your shirt and iron it for 2-3 minutes so that the paint becomes set permanantley.

The end result should look something like this.

Total time:  About 45 minutes.

Any questions?   Cheesy


I decided to update this a bit.  First, to prevent any cracking, always mix a bit of fabric medium into your paint.  It's available at Hobby Lobby, is fairly inexpensive, and is a really nice pearl white color.  Next, printing your image onto freezer paper and then using an iron to stick the sheet onto the fabric is an excellent method of paint control.  Just print on the dull side, set your iron on a pretty low setting, and iron the shiny side down for about 30 seconds.  It makes a really weak bond, but serves it's purpose well.  I've also gotten into the habit of letting my shirts air-dry for 4-5 days before heat setting them.  Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015 02:14:58 PM by kittykill » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2004 05:59:07 PM »

Great job Smiley I woudn't test mine out but just use spray paint for the shirt. It seems easier than acrylic paint, but would that work or no?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2004 06:00:16 PM »

Great job Smiley I woudn't test mine out but just use spray paint for the shirt. It seems easier than acrylic paint, but would that work or no?

Eh...spraypaint looks sloppy and unproffesional usually.
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« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2004 06:26:34 PM »

I love that stencil - can you post it! And thanks for the instructions - very easy to follow.

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« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2004 07:46:40 PM »

thanks for the info! I saw a few shirts at Hot Topic over the weekend that I wanted very much but didnt want to pay 20 dollars for. So I bought a couple of plain t shirts for 3 dollars and plan to experiment! Thanks again for the tute Grin

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« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2004 07:59:53 PM »

Awesome way of explaining.. I've been thinking about experimenting but haven't had good enough instructions.  Thanks.

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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2004 01:37:22 PM »

Thanks for taking the time to do that. Smiley  Very easy to understand.
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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2004 07:48:12 PM »

nice tutorial.

wouldnt the dabbing make the paint look and feel like it has a rigid texture to it once it dries? i would want my shirts to be smooth,  including the painted part. i dont use the dabbing technique and my shirts turn out pretty good.

also i suggest spray adhesive instead of tape.  maybe that is the reason you feel the need to dab instead of brush? with spray adhesive,  there wont be any bleeding if you take the time to do it right.

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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2004 02:47:00 AM »

i used a sponge roller and lots of newspaper for masking when i made my shirt, it worked pretty well except my acrylic was a bit too thick.
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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2004 05:43:43 PM »

when you use spray adhesive is there gunk on it when youre done or what?? that sounds good, but i dont want a sticky shirt-
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