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Friday, April 8, 2016

diy stenciled tshirt {tutorial}

I had a couple of questions about this fun t-shirt that I made for Jake to wear at his birthday party. This little project is a simple way to create a custom graphic t-shirt! Great for a special event or even to replicate a pricey item found online.

: :   Materials  : :

- t-shirt* 
 - fabric paint** 
 - freezer paper ***
  - exacto knife
 - small paint brush
 - glue stick

*I've found some great blank toddler sized tees at Walmart for $3!
**Choose a "soft paint" to keep it from just bubbling at the surface of the fabric. Screen printing paints are the best choice!
***Found on the grocery aisle with tin foil, wax paper, etc.

Start by creating your design! When I made Jake's birthday shirt, it was as simple as the number 4 in the font of my choice. This time, I'm doing a graphic tee. I will say, the more complicated the design, the longer and more precarious the project. For example: Jake's "4" shirt was something I did in a half hour. This t-shirt took me about an hour because it had more to cut out and paint. So just keep that in mind. 

Also make sure you've measured the space on your t-shirt to size it up with your design. Too small or too big of a design and things won't look right. 
I decided for Jake's 3T shirt, I'd do about a 6 1/2 by 6 1/2 graphic. 

Once your design is ready, its time to prep your stencil. Most printers will jam up if you try to print on freezer paper alone, so we're going to secure it with a piece of regular printer paper so it will feed through the machine. 
Grab your freezer paper, glue stick, and a generic sheet of printer paper. You'll want to glue the printer paper down to the waxy size of the freezer paper. Glue mostly at the top and bottom corners/edges since that's where the printer will grab it. Then trim down the freezer paper to be the exact same size as the printer paper. 
Be sure to load it into your printer correctly, as you want the design to be printed on the flat size of the freezer paper. 

Once your paper is ready, print your design! You can peel the regular printer paper off the wax paper immediately. 

Note: It's not completely uncommon for the printed to grab these pages and jam up. Try a couple of times if you need to!

Start wielding that exacto knife to cut out your stencil. Just remember to keep the little inserts on the letters that need them. i.e. On my image I had small inserts on the "R" "D" and "b" that I carefully cut around and set aside.

Crank up the iron and align the design on your t-shirt. Iron the waxy side down. If placement isn't quite right, you can peel up and try again, but your number of tries isn't infinite. Be cautious of small corners and edges pieces and make sure every little edge around your design is stuck to the paper 
(or your paint will leak). And don't forget any letter inserts!

Now paint! I usually do two layers, allowing it to try in between, to make sure that I covered the whole design well.

Once your paint is dry, peel up your stencil! 
If you need to do any tiny touch-ups with the brush, this is your time.

I also recommend washing before wearing most of the time. 
The first wash gives it that normal, faded look. 

My "weird but nice" kid did a weird but nice job at modeling this one for me, haha. 

Enjoy your new item!

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