Monday, 25 February 2013

Silhouette T-Shirt Painting How-To

My t-shirt painting method: use regular paper as a stencil, and dab on the paint.

Sounds highly technical, no? Should I try patenting the method? Yes, I am kidding.

By Cicely Ingleside
A horse t-shirt for me
Earlier this year, I experimented with painting on t-shirts, and had some mixed results. What I finally figured out worked well for me was making painting silhouettes on t-shirts, and I made a bunch for Christmas presents.  Here are my tips for anyone who wants to try this.

By Cicely Ingleside
I made a fish t-shirt for a Pisces, and a Mustache T for someone who  participated in Movember. Really, mustaches seem to be everywhere now, don't they?

First, find what you want to print. At first, I bought stencils from a craft store, but then I realised it wasn't very complicated to make my own. I found pictures on the internet of silhouettes and printed them out. Now, a lot of DIY-instructions you may read about fabric printing will tell you to use an acetate sheet or something hard and plastic. Now, I think that's a good idea if you are planning to re-use the stencil. However, for a one-off t-shirt, you can just use regular paper. If you want, you can use a slightly more thick paper.

By Cicely Ingleside
A fish  T for Susan the Pisces and a Scorpion for Barry the Scorpio.

Then, cut out the area of the design. Tape your paper down, using painter's tape (that green masking tape) or the blue masking tape - whichever one you've got ... these are tapes that are easier to take off than normal masking tape. If you have little parts on your drawing, like the legs on the scorpion t-shirt I made above, then put a little bit of tape on the back of the paper in these areas to make sure that part of the stencil stays down. Put a piece of cardboard (I used an old cereal box) in between your t-shirt layers.

Then, take a thickish brush and some fabric paint, and start dabbing the paint. I like to dab around the edges where the stencil meets the fabric first, filling in a sort of outline. Then, dab the paint inside. 

By Cicely Ingleside
Personalised Ts for my little ones.
The reason I recommend dabbing the paint - I mean kind of smushing your paintbrush down - is that I find that it helps it to go on thickly, while not pulling on the t-shirt like a brush stroke would do, and the paint doesn't seem to bleed. In some of my not-so successful experiments, I tried making a fabric stamp by carving it, which worked great for stamping on paper things, like cards, but on fabric the stamp just did not get enough paint down to make a solid picture. (Maybe it depends on the fabric paint you use - who knows?)

On the t-shirts above where there are names, I used a set of alphabet-letter stamps I bought at the craft store. These were a worthwhile purchase, since I've used them for lots of things. The bird on the t-shirt is a purchased stamp too. I found these stamps worked best if I used a brush to spread a thin layer of fabric paint on the stamp and then press it down. But the bigger your item, the less well the stamp method seems to work  - so the crab above is done with a stencil, like the others above.

Another method I have been reading about is cutting out your stencil on freezer paper, and then ironing it on to your t-shirt so it doesn't move when you paint. Haven't tried it yet, but I think I will soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Pin It button on image hover