Transform your old T-shirts with stencils and textile paint

March 8, 2009 at 12:52 am 2 comments

This post is a bit less technical than the usual, it doesn’t even got anything to do with computers or microcontrollers at all! That’s right, we’re going analog! Our goal is to convert a plain boring T-shirt into an entirely home-crafted design shirt. I did this together with my girlfriend Delphine who’s a whole lot more skilled in this sort of things than I am.

1.       Creating a stencil

The book “Stencil 101” by Ed Roth is a must have when starting out with stencil art. It contains 25 reusable ready made stencils. You can also buy ready-made stencils online (e.g. on www.etsy.com).

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But to gain some real street credibility, you should be making your stencils yourself! The trick is to find some high-contrast photograph of cool stuff, open it in Photoshop and play with the “treshold” value. I made a climber and a Dirty Harry using the pictures below. Make sure there are no isolated white parts in your creation (the white should be in one piece as the black is what you’ll cut out)!

original climber, image taken from http://www.theshortspan.com/features/fairhead.htm

original climber, image taken from http://www.theshortspan.com/features/fairhead.htm

 

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Climber after some basic Photoshopping (treshold + cutout filter for smoother curves)

 

 

Original Dirty Harry, image taken from http://thaoworra.blogspot.com/2008_05_01_archive.html

Original Dirty Harry, image taken from http://thaoworra.blogspot.com/2008_05_01_archive.html

 

 

Dirty Harry stencil

Dirty Harry stencil

Once the stencil image is created, you can print it. Now we’ll have to cut it out in some plastic-like material. We used transparant sheets (like used with an overhead projector), because you can see the printed image very good while cutting.  

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Print the stencil and cover it with the transparant sheet. Now you’ll have to cut it out using a knife.

Two stencils with the climber cut out already

Two stencils with the climber cut out already

2.       Put some paint on that T-shirt!

Now we can finally apply our paint to the T-shirt. There are two kinds of textile paint, opaque (gives a more bright color) and non-opaque (more waterpaint-like, blends with the original color of your shirt).

 

Stamping technique

Stamping technique

 You can apply several layers of paint. When done, carefully remove the plastic stencil..

 

The moment of truth..

The moment of truth..

 With all the tension building up, and you being solely focussed on your T-shirt, this will probably be the time where your dog will start complaining. Promise him you’ll make him a cool shirt too and keep focussing, because we’re almost done!

 

“Why play with the paint if you could be playing with me?!”

“Why play with the paint if you could be playing with me?!”

 

3.       Heat up that iron!

To make sure the paint doesn’t go off after washing it in the machine, you’ll have to fixate it. We ironed the shirt for a couple of minutes, with a cardboard between the front and back of the shirt to protect the back, and a towel on the painted part to protect the iron. 

 

Fixate the paint by ironing it. But a cardboard and a towel in between to protect your iron from the paint!

Fixate the paint by ironing it. Put a towel in between to protect your iron! You might also want to put something between the front and back of the shirt to protect the back from being painted...

 

4.       Look flashy!

 

The end result. Pretty cool ain’t it? :-)

The end result. Pretty cool ain’t it? 🙂

 

That’s it for this post. If you made some cool stencils/shirts let me know in a comment!

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lotje  |  March 10, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    🙂 Deze post zou me nog misleiden om me op deze blog te abonneren. Al goed dat ik voor de “must have” heb gezorgd e! 🙂

    Reply
  • 2. Karel  |  March 10, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Ja blogs waar Elmo in voorkomt moet ge toch op geabonneerd zijn he 🙂

    Reply

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