When I first joined C-ster, I saw lots of stenciled tees and wanted to make some for Christmas that year. And I was pretty close to broke. I had some tees in stash, but didn’t feel like I could justify spending money on freezer paper (yeah, I know it’s inexpensive, but still…) and I didn’t own a fun cutting machine at the time. So I learned how to do a stenciled tee the hard way. And I’m gonna share it with you!
I made this stenciled tee for my granddaughter. I think it turned out pretty cute!
I know lots of you have done these before, too. These instructions are going to be written as if you’re new to this type of project, so bear with me!
What you need:
Plastic grocery bag, design (I found an image online that I liked- I recommend going with something simple), cutting mat, knife, paint brush, iron… and I also used a pencil and a toothpick.
First, cut the handles and bottom off the bag, then fold what’s left in half. This gives you 4 layers of plastic.
I make sure that the printed area is sandwiched in the center. I haven’t ever had the ink come off on a tee, but hey, why risk it?
Next, lay your design on the folded plastic and go over it with your iron set on low. The plastic will melt slightly and stick to the paper. DO NOT allow the plastic to come into direct contact with the iron- you will hate yourself when you have to try to get melted plastic off your iron!
Cut the areas out of your stencil that you want to paint. Set aside extra pieces, like the centers of letters, or in this case, the white centers of the eyes.
Trim any excess plastic from the edges of the stencil and center your design on the tee. Iron the stencil onto the shirt, making sure you include any extra bits. Also put a piece of paper or plastic between the front and back of the shirt to prevent paint ending up in the back of your tee!
When you paint your design, use a fairly dry brush. Also, be aware that this stencil WILL NOT stick as well as freezer paper or vinyl. I hold the edges down as I paint to help keep crisp edges. The dryer brush also helps to prevent paint bleeding under the edges.
I opted not to do the lettering and also did two coats of glitter paint on the crown.
I peel the stencil off right away—carefully! I find that if I wait for the paint to dry, it sometimes peels from the project along with the stencil! Peeling it while it’s damp prevents that, but of course, be careful to avoid smudging!
Peeling off the tiny bits- I used the tip of my knife but a pin works well, also.
You can see I had a little bleeding. I hate when this happens but it’s usually a pretty easy fix with a toothpick and some additional paint. Of course, I had to add paint to both eyes, to even them out. I also used the toothpick to paint the mouth.
I dotted some cheeks on this little panda using an eraser. There was very little paint on it, and I used a brush with only the tiniest bit of paint on it, to round things out a bit more.