Are you dissatisfied with the choice of shirts of your favourite band? Are you female and sad, because most artists cater their clothing towards men? Is your taste in music so insanely obscure (and therefore trve), that your favourite band doesn’t even sell merchandise? Or did you ever think “why the hell isn’t this on a T-shirt?”?
Do not fear, because I am about to share some magic with you, that can solve all of these problems and make your textile dreams come true! Aka: How to use fabric paint 101. 😉
❤ T-shirt or other piece of clothing you want to paint (washed and ironed)
❤ Fabric paint. Make sure it’s the right kind for your fabric! (dark textiles, cotton)
❤ Your image, a printer or drawing skills that are good enough
❤ Glue Stick
❤ Adhesive Foil
❤ Scissors, X-Acto knife
❤ Cardboard to use as an underlay
I will start by explaining the technique for the easiest possible case. The motif I chose here is monochromatic and consists of only text. If you want to start making your own shirts, using a band logo or your favourite lyrics is definitely the best way to go.
1. Make a plan
The first thing you want to do before you touch any paint or fabric, is to make a plan. What do you want the shirt to say? How many colours will you need? I decided to make a Wintersun T-shirt for my boyfriend, that has the Wintersun logo in the front, and the lettering “son of winter & stars” in the back. Fairly easy, because all of this can be done with only one color. In this case, I chose white.
2. Acquire your motif
Type, draw, or google the motif you want to apply to your tshirt. In my case, I found the Logo I wanted to use on Google image-search and typed the lyrics in a nice font in paint. Before you print the images, you need to flip them horizontally, so that the words are in mirror writing.
3. Create the stencil
Glue the printed motif to the back of the adhesive foil. Proceed to cut out the inside of the letters, since this is the part you want to fill with paint later on. For the example above that means, that I have cut out everything black and continued to work with the remaining white piece. Remember to keep the inner white pieces of letters like O and R, you will need them later on.
4. Prepare for painting
Before you start painting, you want to place some kind of cardboard or felt underneath the layer of fabric you are working on. Otherwise, the paint might push through and you wouldn’t want that. Now, peel the adhesive foil from its background and stick it to the T-shirt. Take the middle pieces you might have left from some letters, and eyeball where to place them.
5. Apply the fabric paint
Use a brush to fill the gaps of the adhesive foil with paint. If you are using a light paint on a dark fabric, one layer is most certainly not enough. Depending on your material, you will need to apply several layers (I think I used 4), until the paint is well covering. Before you apply a new layer you want to let the old one dry first. To speed this up a little I used a heat gun.
6. Finish it!
Now that you have applied several layers of well covering paint, you want to give it a night or so to dry. Afterwards, you can finally remove the foil and marvel at your work. Don’t forget to fixate the color to make it wash resistant. You will probably have to iron it inside-out for a couple of minutes, but please make sure to check the instructions of your kind of paint.
7. Enjoy wearing your shirt!