Comments Off

How to Stencil a T-Shirt

By Amber Ortega on March 9th, 2009

Clothing for children can become very costly.  Kids always want clothing with their favorite characters or whatever they are obsessed with at the moment.  Currently my house is obsessed with Pokemon, High School Musical and Thomas the Train.  Keeping all the kids happy can become costly and drive me crazy trying to find the perfect shirt they want.   I have found a great way to keep my kids happy, without spending a fortune.

You can stencil your own shirts, jackets, pants, whatever.  Stencils are readily available online for free, with just a few easy to find supplies and a blank canvas, your clothing can take on a whole new persona.  I have made my kids shirts, jackets and even a set of sheets.  Over Christmas my son only wanted new Pokemon bedding, but it isn’t made anymore.  There isn’t Pokemon fabric easily available either, so I took to the internet and found a few different Pokemon stencils.  He know has a completely unique, original set of Pokemon sheets that all of his friends are jealous of.

So you ready to try it out?  Let’s get started!

Supplies needed are as follows:


  • T-shirt (in this case I’m using my son’s hoodie)
  • Freezer Paper (this can be found with the cling wrap, alumimum foil, etc.)
  • Fabric paints (NOT the puff paint you may be thinking of, you want soft fabric paints)
  • Xacto knife
  • Iron
  • Stencil (readily available online, see below for websites)
  • Something to place between shirt (can be cardboard, a few pieces of paper, newspaper, whatever works)
  • Paint brush (personally I like the sponge-type better than a normal brush)

If your unsure of where to find the perfect stencil, you can check some of these websites:

    1. Now that you have your stencil, you need to transfer it onto the freezer paper.  You want to trace your stencil on the non-shiny side.  The shiny side is covered in wax, which you will need to be free to ink.  I am using a Thomas the Train stencil for my son.
    Cutting out Stencil
    2. You will now use your Xacto knife to cut out all of the pieces.  Do this carefully, you do not want to tear the freezer paper.
    iron stencil
    3. Now you have your stencil ready to go!  Get your iron hot and t-shirt ready.  You are going to place your stencil exactly where you want to place it and iron it in place.  Iron it well enough to make sure it sticks in place and all pieces are stuck to the shirt.
    Apply paint
    4. After allowing the fabric to cool down, begin to apply paint in thin layers.  If you apply too much paint at one time, you may notice the paint beginning to leak outside of your stencil.   For a clean look, apply several thin layers, allowing a little time between each for the paint to dry.
    Now we wait.  You need to ensure the paint is dry prior to removing the freezer paper.  The paint bottle says to allow to dry for four hours.  I normally let it sit over night and remove the freezer paper in the morning.  This will ensure your paint is fully dry and will not smudge when you remove it.  In the past I removed the freezer paper shortly after painting and ended up with little paint smudges on my shirt.
    5. To remove the freezer paper, just gently pull it away from the shirt.  This will reveal your new stenciled shirt that your little one is going to love.

It is easier than you thought to make a cute shirt, isn’t it?!  I have made these stenciled shirts for people of all ages, just use your imagination and have fun, you can create anything!


Comments are closed for this post.