Saturday, July 9, 2011

DIY: Custom Shirt Imprint

Here is a simple way to customize a blank shirt with a logo or symbol. I've done this several times with great results. This time, my husband wanted a Star Craft 2 shirt with the protoss logo which cost $20. I knew I could make it for $3.99 (the cost of a large adult blank shirt at Michael's craft store) plus the cost of fabric paint. The only other thing I needed was a stencil which I created in Photoshop and printed onto normal printer paper. Then I cut out the stencil and I was ready to go. I had bought the paint many years ago when I created a Smash Bro's T-shirt with my husbands favorite character. Today the same paint is valued at $5.99 each. Mind you it is a big tube of paint. I'm sure you can find smaller sizes for less.

What you Need:
blank t-shirt

fabric paint: I used this kind

A small paint brush, my preference is a flat tipped brush. A flat tipped brush is important because at the end when your done painting the design and it is dry, you will have to go back over some of the edges that bled beyond the stencil.

The paint brush is labeled as: 10F Loew-Cornell Fabric Dye Flat
A piece of card board or several newspaper inserts to go under the t-shirt where you plan to paint. This is very important because the paint will go through the front of the shirt and deposit on the black side if you have nothing there to absorb it.



Print out you logo. A simple logo is best. This was my design. I uploaded onto this blog sized for a 8.5in x 11in piece of paper. I think if you saved the image it will keep those dimensions if your interested in using my protoss logo. Then start cutting out the inside of the symbol.

Next, put the cardboard or newspaper under the area you plan to paint. Lay the shirt as flat as possible. Center the stencil where you would like it. If you want it to look good on the front side, I would center it about 2-3 inches below the neck line. I did not think about this so my end product was a logo that sat in the middle of my chest (bad for girls) and in an awkward middle chest area on my husband too.

Once you have it centered, tape the sides of the paper down unto the shirt to keep it in place. Begin painting your stencil by "stippling" don't brush it on in strokes. The up and down motion of stippling helps you to avoid accidentally sliding the brush under the stencil ruining the design.

Paint one color at a time. Use a little bit of paint at a time. In other words don't stipple on a huge glob of paint because it will push the paint under the stencil. Work with small quantities of paint.

This was my first layer. Since my shirt is a dark color I will have to paint about 3 layers so that the design looks nice and crisp. I waited 45 minutes between each layer application to allow it to dry. I have never tried painting on a white shirt, but I assume it is a lot easier since colors show up better.

After 3 coats I let it dry for the last time. Then I removed my stencil.

As you can see, I went out of the lines a little bit. This is where the flat tipped feature of the brush comes in handy. Use the flat edge to run across the messed up area and blend it in with the rest of the logo.


  1. Very interesting and detailed piece of information. Thanks I might try this.

  2. I did this once in an art class, was pretty fun

  3. That's sick! Thanks for sharing :D

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  7. Thanks for this great post. This is my first time I visit here and I like it very much. All the best! Nehru suit

  8. I would love to find several of this brush (10F Loew-Cornell Fabric Dye Flat). Any Ideas where to buy? I see discontinued. Maybe there is an equivalent.