Blog / How to Paint a T-shirt: Basic Rules and Tips for Creating a Unique Design
How to Paint a T-shirt: Basic Rules and Tips for Creating a Unique Design
Posted by: Artistro Team
Making a DIY T-shirt painting is an original and fun way to breathe new life into your old clothes. You can use ready-made stencils to copy your favorite designs, logos, or sayings. Alternatively, you can get creative and freehand your own T-shirt painting ideas.
It's amazing how easy and affordable it is to create a new T-shirt design. Here's how to do it in 3 easy steps:
Preliminary preparation of the T-shirt and workspace
Drawing your design
Sealing the painting
Here are the basic rules for painting on T-shirts:
To prevent ink or paint from seeping through the top layer of the fabric, be sure to place a piece of cardboard inside the shirt.
Lay the shirt on a completely flat surface. For comfort, the T-shirt needs to be fixed (by pinning it to the cardboard with pins or tape).
Cover the edges of the T-shirt with tape. This will prevent ink from spilling onto the clean cloth, especially if you're painting T-shirts with acrylic paint (as opposed to using markers).
If you are using brand new markers that you haven’t used before, prime them first on a spare sheet of paper.
If your drawing is multi-layered, be sure to wait for the ink/paint to dry before applying a new layer.
Use markers of similar shades to create a smooth color transition. To do this, slide a marker of a different color over the underlying paint. Do this before the bottom layer dries, otherwise there will be no smudging effect.
If you want to paint on a dark T-shirt, paint over the area you intend to draw with white acrylic paint and wait until it dries completely, to create a background. After that, you can start drawing.
When it is time to seal the design, put a piece of cardboard inside the T-shirt, and put a piece of cotton fabric between the iron and the fabric of the T-shirt so that the direct heat of the iron does not melt the paint.
How to paint T-shirts: Preliminary preparation
Before starting work, it is important to prepare the T-shirt correctly. There is always a slight chance of fabric shrinkage after washing, so be sure to wash and dry the T-shirt before starting. Study the manufacturer tag carefully. It is recommended to choose a T-shirt made of natural fabric, like linen or cotton. A good rule of thumb is to not use fabrics comprising more than 10% synthetic material. Do not use a T-shirt with defects such as snagging, roughness, pilling faded tone, etc.
After applying the design, wash the T-shirt by hand in cold water (up to 30 degrees). Be sure to turn the shirt inside out first to secure the design. If it needs to be ironed, always iron a printed T-shirt on the coolest setting, without steam, and inside-out.
How to seal a T-shirt painting design
Let the T-shirt painting dry for 2 days first. Keep the shirt out of direct sunlight to protect the color of the shirt and ink.
To seal a picture, it is enough to iron the DIY T-shirt painting you made. As mentioned earlier, remember to place a piece of cardboard inside the T-shirt and a piece of cotton cloth between the iron and the T-shirt before ironing. Ironing time is 5-10 minutes, depending on how many layers the image has and how thickly the paint was applied.
That's it — your unique T-shirt is ready! Enjoy your new look, and don’t forget to enjoy the creative process along the way!