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I write with no particular theme in mind, because I am random like that.

22 2010

Tee-painting in progress

I’ve been wanting to do this since forever but have been holding out for years. One, because I had little or no faith in my painting abilities – especially when it comes to fabrics. Two, I didn’t have any good-quality plain tees on hand and was too lazy to head out to source for one.

So, when a plain white tee (of very decent cotton quality) landed on my lap (thanks to the sample t-shirt sourcing done by my work company a coupla’ months ago), it was a painting opportunity screaming for my attention.

Additionally, when I spotted a giant ‘Sales!’ banner at Spotlight – Singapore’s largest fabric and craft store – the opportunity began screaming even louder. I managed to get DYLON black fabric paint at 20% off. Whee.

I began by manually drawing out letters using a blunt pencil. (Yes, manually. No stencils were involved here because I had none. I measured the dimensions of the tee like crazy to ascertain where exactly I wanted the letters and that they were positioned symmetrically. I’m that anal. :P)

Drawing out the letters.

If you intend to do a similar tee but is too lazy to draw out the letters manually, you can create your own stencils by printing out letters on light cardboard and cutting them out.

And yeah, I know your eyes are boggling right now at the choice of letters on the t-shirt. I’ve been wanting a t-shirt with “WTF” printed on it since forever and I can’t seem to find them anywhere. So I decided to make my own.

Painting in the letters with fabric paint.

Following which, I filled in the letters with a soft brush dipped in the fabric paint. Because I wasn’t using stencils, this was pretty tricky especially when it came to ensuring the edges of the letters were perfectly straight. (Well, they weren’t in the end. But the very slight jaggedness was not very noticeable unless you looked very closely.)

Thankfully, I had decently steady hands so the outcome turned out pretty well.

Leaving the tee out to dry.

I left the tee out to dry for approximately three hours. Actually, the required drying time was much less than that but I just wanted to be sure. (First time painting a t-shirt, remember? Plus, I was really worried I might screw up something – although everything was pretty smooth thus far.)

After drying, iron over the letters (to set the paint permanently) with an electric iron on the highest possible heat setting, and a cloth placed over the letters (no direct heat contact here – the last thing you’d want is a t-shirt on fire!). The instructions on the bottle of fabric paint called for 1-2 minutes, but I did this for 4-5 minutes. (Weeeell. Just wanted to be sure again.)

Thus, behold!

The end product!

Oops, pardon that magazine placed beneath the words. I wanted to separate the painted side from the back of the tee for a while more … just to be sure. (Yes, again. Hahaha.)

Now that the tee painting is complete, it’s time for the last crucial step – putting the tee through its first wash.

I really hope the fabric paint behaves the way it is expected to and stays on the t-shirt.

I do not want to end up with a blackish stained, pseudo tie-dyed shirt to account for the amount of (extremely anal) work I’d put in!

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  • 23 Aug 2010
    11:25 AM


    I! I had no idea we can paint our own t-shirts! :O
    Nice WTF shirt. WANT!

    • 23 Aug 2010
      3:57 PM


      *Passes virtual shirt over* :P

      Painting your own tees are fun. Give it a try! Haha.

  • 23 Aug 2010
    3:45 PM


    man oh man I want that shirt! wahaha can I submit t-shirt slogan ideas to you? hehe.

    i also love that you’ve tagged this “Tangible Stuff” hahaha

    • 23 Aug 2010
      3:58 PM


      For lack of a better category name. (;

      I’d love to do more shirts but I don’t have anymore plain tees left. :( And ‘WTF” was the easiest to draw out and paint, so heh.

  • 24 Aug 2010
    5:48 AM


    I probably would not try paint a t-shirt to write ‘WTF’ on it, but I’m glad you tried it! Creative stuff is fun.

    • 28 Aug 2010
      2:17 PM


      I also thought of painting ‘LOL’ on the tee, but realized I already had a tee with a similar print. So, I went with ‘WTF’ (my original plan), because it is more rebellious. *Evil laughter*

  • 26 Aug 2010
    4:48 AM


    Cool shirt. I make dinosaur (apatosaurus and pterodactyl) stencil shirts with spray on fabric paint; it’s really easy. You can pick some up on my site if you want to give it a whirl.

  • 27 Aug 2010
    12:25 PM


    That is awesome! I’ve now learned a new thing today! Will have to tell myself that patience can do awesome things – I’ve made shirts with computer-cut stencils before, that was relatively easy, but I’ve never thought of doing it all by hand!

    • 28 Aug 2010
      2:19 PM


      If you’ve used stencils before, it’s best to stick with it. (; For me, I opted to do it all manually because I wasn’t comfortable with stencils.

      One advantage of stencils though – your choice of fonts are unlimited. Whereas it is tedious if not difficult to manually draw out several fonts!

  • 27 Aug 2010
    11:52 PM


    I really want to do this now… Let us know how the wash went!

    • 28 Aug 2010
      2:14 PM


      I haven’t washed the shirt as of yet – can’t bear to. :( Hurhur. Pretty paranoid about all the colours running even though there is only about a miniscule chance of that happening.

      I’d get about to it soon and update you again! (;

    • 30 Aug 2010
      12:58 AM


      Tee has been washed, and the colours didn’t run! Awesomeness.

      For those who are wondering which fabric paint I used, I used Dylon fabric paint. (See link) The paint does not become stiff after applied onto fabrics. Instead, the painted portions remain as soft as ever. (; Recommended!

  • 31 Aug 2010
    12:29 PM

    Maria Celina

    Dude, that’s a totally boss t-shirt. =) I think if you decide to market that t-shirt you’d make a killing. But then again, it’s original, so.. =P

    • 31 Aug 2010
      12:47 PM


      Haha, thank you. (; I’m pretty torn between marketing it, or keeping it exclusive. I think I’d stick with the latter. Heh.

  • 02 Sep 2010
    12:13 AM

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