Stencil T-Shirt Tutorial by Ukaaa

This post is provided courtesy of Ukaaa on Flikr, republished in its entirety with permission by the author.
See this tutorial on Ukaaa’s Flikr page, click here.

Stencil Shirt Tutorial pt. 1
Ukaaa T-Shirt Tutorial Slide 1
Hello my fellow craftsmen and craftswomen! 🙂
For the first part, concerning creating a stencil, we will need:
– a cool drawing
– some paperboard
– tape
– a clear PVC sheet
– the superhandy exacto knife
– some background music
– a drink

After picking or drawing a nice thing to put on a shirt, get the image on the right size you want and make sure the lines are clear.
Place it on a piece of cardboard or paperboard cause we’ll need to do some cutting and you don’t want to damage mommy’s dinner table!

Place the PVC sheet over it. I suggest you tape the sides to the image so it stays in place while you cut out the stencil.

If you can’t find a PVC sheet you could also use some normal paper, but since we will paint over it later it will get sticky to the shirt and you’ll have to paint very fast to avoid this.
So I hardly recommend to get some PVC sheets!

Stencil Shirt Tutorial pt. 2
Ukaaa Stencil T-Shirt Tutorial Slide 2
Before you start cutting make sure you know exactly what and where to cut. It’s very important to avoid enclosed white spaces or so called ‘islands’.
There’s a simple image explaining this here.
(image © Prism at

Carefully (!) cut along the lines of your image with the exacto knife. It’s important that you don’t rush this part as it will determ the outcome of your shirt’s image.
Long slow cuts in 1 gentle movement are recommended, but it’s not always easy if you have lots of small details in your image.

Stencil Shirt Tutorial pt. 3
Ukaa T-Shirt Tutorial Slide 3
We now have a clear stencil and a cool cutout of your drawing to play with!

Next parts of this tutorial will follow when I buy myself a shirt!
I’ll get one at H&M, I think they have some good quality for a decent price.
We will also need some fabric paint and a sponge roller and more music and drinks!

See you soon!

Stencil Shirt Tutorial pt. 4
Ukaaa T-Shirt Tutorial Slide 3
Alright, now we’re gonna prepare things to start painting!!
First up, we need to attach the stencil to the shirt somehow, to make sure it stays in place when we paint over it.

You could simply tape the 4 sides of the sheet with some sort of paperlike tape.
But if you use lots of small details, I think it’s better to use some double side tape (which sticks on both sides) or some normal tape folded so it sticks to both sides as well.
Put some tape wherever you feel like, but certainly the detailed flaps and bits.

Place the stencil on the shirt and also place a paperboard INSIDE the shirt, right underneath the stencil.
That way you you have no risk of stains on the back or inside of your shirt.

Sidenote: For this stencil I also used some sort of sticky gum to hang up posters but I don’t recommend that since it was a bit nasty to get off the fabric after painting.

Stencil Shirt Tutorial pt. 5
Ukaaa T-Shirt Tutorial Slide 5
Painting time!

I use some opaque fabric paint by a french brand called Pébéo (
They got a nice variety of colours and I guess you can also mix them to get new colours.

For the painting I used a sponge roller. Since it’s made of sponge, the paint gets ‘sucked’ into the cells so you’ll need to push down the roller to get most of it out.
Therefor it’s important you have a good quality roller and not a cheap one like me.
If I push it down to hard, the roller jumps out and it could roll over my shirt!
And you don’t want that!!
So… get a good roller and maybe even do a simple test roll in the shop!

Because my image was rather big, the cutout came very close to the edges of the PVC sheet. So I placed some old magazine sheets near the sides to avoid paiting on my shirt over the edges (see photo).
After some tests I found out it works best if you use a cover with a pretty girl on it!

Ok, not get paiting over that stencil!! 🙂
(We’ll start with our first base colour and add other colours later)

When you’re done painting, slooooooowly (!) pull off the stencil. Be carefull not to make stains on the shirt with the wet stencil or your clumsy fingers. You can now let the paint dry. I dunno how long it takes exactly, just give it a few hours.

Stencil Shirt Tutorial pt. 6
Ukaaa T-Shirt Tutorial slide 6
As you can see in the top left and bottom left, the elastic sticky gum I used for the details wasn’t a good idea. It was hard to get out of the fabric. So like I said before, I suggest you use tape only.

Unless you are a natural stencil talent, you’ll have some edges which aren’t perfectly straight. So what I do then is some little cheating! Mhaha 🙂
By using a pencil point or a sharp stick, dipped in paint, you can make some corrections to the edges or even paint on whole details like the notes I did in the photo above.
I used an icecream stick wich I sharpened with a knife, cuz a pencil might make some pencil stains.

Stencil Shirt Tutorial pt. 6
Ukaaa T-Shirt Tutorial slide 7
If one colour seems a bit boring, why not add more?

Normally, you’ll have to let your first base colour dry, make a new stencil for the 2nd colour parts and redo the previous steps.

But since my 2nd and 3rd colour parts were so little, I chose to add them using the same sharp stick from the previous photo.

When your whole design is dry, you need to do a final step to set the paint into the fabric a little bit more. Therefor place a piece of cloth over the image and iron over it.
Repeat this a few times.

To me, it always looks like this doesn’t make much of a difference, but this is the way I learned to do it by a tutorial I followed myself.

There! I hope this was a pretty clear tutorial, I’m sure there’s some messy parts here and there, but if you still have questions feel free to ask!

Now get creative and share your lovely shirts! 🙂

This post is provided courtesy of Ukaaa on Flikr, republished in its entirety with permission by the author.
See this tutorial on Ukaaa’s Flikr page, click here.

Thanks to Ukaaa for this tutorial


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: