How to Stencil a T-Shirt

T-shirt stenciling is a fun way to quickly customize a shirt. It can be a way to make a very complicated image into a t-shirt picture, or a way to design a t-shirt by using simple shapes. Many people use stencils on t-shirts to customize it with letters and numbers.

Letters and numbers are simply to stencil onto a t-shirt. Stencils are available in any craft store, or you can make your own. All you need is a sturdy cardboard cut out of each letter or a plastic stencil for each. The stencils are placed in their desired arrangement on the t-shirt and then marked in place with a pencil.

On ready-made stencils, there are small cut-out points where the end of a pencil will fit through. Use these points to mark the placement of each stencil. This will allow you to line up the stencil again if it gets bumped or moved, or if you need to come back and redo the stencil with another color. It will also allow you to line up individual letters and numbers to make sure you are stenciling them in a straight line. This is a much more accurate method than simply eyeing the letters and will result in much straighter rows of numbers and letters.

If you’ve made the stencil yourself, simply mark the t-shirt along the outside edges of the stencil. This will allow you the same security as a ready-made pencil point. The pencil markings will wash away easily as soon as the t-shirt is laundered.

For more complicated designs, you can use a ready-made stencil that is meant for wall painting, or look in stencil books. Stencil books have many cardboard stencils to choose from and make it easy to find several designs with the same theme. These are punched out of the book and are used in much the same way as letter stencils. Lay the stencil on the shirt and mark it with a pencil before starting. Then, use your medium of choice to fill in the stencil.

For t-shirts, many people use markers because they are easy to write with, have a precise tip and come in a wide variety of colors. A permanent marker will work on a t-shirt, or use fabric markers. Either type can be used to fill in any stencil with solid color.

Another option is fabric paint. These paints are specifically designed to stay on fabric and not wash away. When using fabric paints, paint from the outside of the stencil to the inside, working toward the center of each area to be stenciled. This lessens the chance of the fabric paint slipping underneath the stencil and making the design blurry.

Use a small brush, even if the area to be stenciled is large. This gives you more control over where the paint goes and will keep the design neater. Most paints require setting the paint with an iron or drying it in a clothes dryer before wearing the design. Follow the directions of the individual paint type and you’ll have a t-shirt that is permanently painted with your handiwork.

One thought on “How to Stencil a T-Shirt

  1. ali

    hi my name is ali and i am trying to draw on a shirt with perminant dye like the kind you tie-dye with. but the only problem is i cant seem to find something to put be hind the shirt. paper makes the drawing bleed a bit and wax paper or any thing else to smooth makes it bleed worse so if you have any ideas or suggestions please email me. thanks.

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