Tuesday, April 21, 2009

guest post: diy personalized retro kid shirts


When Kai, my three-year-old, was very little, I had a hobby of stenciling tees for him. But then #2 came along, and t-shirt making time was quickly replaced by napping-on-the-couch-if-I-had-the-chance time. But all the great freezer-paper tutorials floating around right now have inspired me to finally make Dax his own personalized shirt, and I thought I'd share my take on the process. So, to make your own retro personalized tee:

Step 1: Download the font 'Candice'

Step 2: Print out the name you'll be using for the design directly onto a piece of freezer paper trimmed to 8.5" x 11."


Step 3: Carefully cut out each letterform using a craft knife, saving the inside pieces of your letters (like the inside areas of my 'D' and 'a'). Take care to have clean cuts, resisting any urge to tear away any pieces that may be attached. Because a stencil with crisp lines = a crisp paint job on the shirt.

Step 4: Lay out the letters you just cut out onto your shirt. This is for placement purposes. So you know exactly where to lay down your stencil (second pic below). And I highly, highly recommend American Apparel tees. Here is a link to the ones I used, and link to baby onesies and lap tees.


Step 5: Remove the letter cutouts so that all you are left with is the stencil. Lightly run over the stencil with a hot iron. Add in those tiny inside pieces of your letters and iron again, making sure the inside edges of the stencil completely adhere to the shirt.


Step 6: Paint!


Now this is where my tutorial differs from the ones I've seen online. I'm only able to get my hands on the "cheap" fabric paint locally. And since I'm too impatient to order the good stuff, I settle on these for instant gratification.


Roll or brush on the ink, painting away from the edges of the stencil. You don't want to push any ink under the edges of your stencil, otherwise you won't have sharp edges. I find that I have to use a considerable amount of paint to get it really solid. Just add the paint gradually and make sure a piece of paper or cardstock is under that t-shirt to prevent any paint from soaking through.

If you have the patience, you may want to do a couple practice runs on a test fabric before you paint on your pretty shirt. Of course, this means cutting out more stencils because each stencil is a one-time-deal.

Step 7: When dry, slowly and carefully, peel off the stencil. Using tweezers, pull off the smaller stencil pieces. I've also done this part successfully while the paint was still wet. I actually got a cleaner line because this type of fabric paint tends to dry thickly, almost like a thin layer plastic. Just be careful not to smear the paint if you go the wet route.


Step 9: Set the paint by lightly ironing the backside.



My head was in the shirt stenciling game when I put together this tutorial, so I went ahead and made an age one for Dax. The font I used here is Rosewood (you'll have to purchase this one). Quite a bit of cutting involved, but I think it turned out pretty awesome. Even big brother Kai really liked "the shirt with the number on it."


And lastly, I wanted to add a download of one of my very first t-shirt stencils, bird on a branch. Hope you can find some fun applications for this! I plan to add another stencil download at my blog Ambrosia Girl next week, so make sure to stop by.

32 comments:

  1. Great post Jenn! You make it look so easy and fun. The number tee is pretty cool.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love those! I've been looking for cute boy things to make since I've been in the girl scene with my first. Question- where do you get those cute heathered shirts?

    ReplyDelete
  3. So excited to try this!
    Thanks for the tip!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is my favorite post in a long time. Thanks for the idea.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the great ideas! I love how simple and modern your shirts turned out. I may be doing something wrong, but it looks like the candice font in now only a commercial font. Oh well. I found one font, creampuff, that might be a good free substitute.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm definitely trying this! thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Kinzie Sue: I used American Apparel shirts. I added a link in the post.

    lfhcreative: I updated the link to go here instead: http://tinyurl.com/bpop85

    This font download should work!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jenn great post. I always drool over your work, but now I can make my own clumsy knockoff; I'm so excited!

    ReplyDelete
  9. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these shirts! Thanks so much for the tutorial!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great tutorial. I love these shirts!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you so much for the tutorial! I'm definately going to try this!

    ReplyDelete
  12. awesome step by step!

    everywearstore.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. These are amazing! I may have to get hat Rosewood font, it's wonderful! I'll be linking to this post if you don't mind.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for the tutorial and great idea! These are great! I've got to make some of these. The possibilities are endless...

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think maybe even I could pull this off. very cool.

    ReplyDelete
  16. these look so cute! Great job! But I need to ask - what is "Freezer paper"? Does it have another name?
    cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great post!!!!!! First of all, I love the font Candice and use it frequently. Secondly, fun!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Romana - freezer paper is butcher paper that is coated with plastic on one side to keep moisture in. I found mine at the grocery store near the foil/saran wrap.

    ReplyDelete
  19. this is SO cool!! what a great idea and a very helpful tutorial! i posted a link to your awesome idea on my blog! thanks for the inspiration!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. i love this! i'm gonna make these for my little cousins b-day :) thx for the great instructions!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I simply love doing freezerpaper stencils, which is very uncommon in Germany. It´s so easy!
    Thank you very much for sharing the wonderful birdie-template, which is already on a shirt of mine :o) If you want to have a look: http://draussennurkaennchen.blogspot.com/2009/05/wenn-ich-ein-voglein-war-ii.html

    Greetings from Caroline

    ReplyDelete
  22. This was a fun project to do. Thanks for the tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  23. ever met anyone else that had a son named Dax!!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for the tutorial. Great idea! I tried it and it works!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Beware!! I printed the stencil onto a piece of freezer paper and it melted into my printer!! Off to buy a new printer tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ok, after getting a new printer I made an awesome t-shirt for my three year old son's birthday. It turned out great!! Thank you for the idea!

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is so inspiring....now to find the time at nap time! :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. These t-shirts are the cutest! I've featured it in a DIY roundup on my site today as well. Thanks for the great ideas!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hate to be a Debbie Downer but putting your child's name on their clothes is a BAD BAD idea. Makes it very easy for someone to take your child. Hi "Tommy" your mommy said for me to take you to the park....

    But the others are super cute!

    ReplyDelete
  30. the font is no longer available :(

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...