Painting T-Shirts Experiment Fun & Interesting

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while: paint a pattern onto a T-shirt with regular house paint. It happens that right now I’m working on the exterior of my house, so I figured no better time to try it out.
Since this is more or less just a test to see how well the paint will hold up to washing, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on it, but I did want something that looked ok enough for me to wear.

I started with a print of “I Build It” on regular paper and taped that to some strips of masking tape:

The idea is to use the print as a cutting guide and stick the tape to the shirt. A much better way would be to use a full sheet self adhesive label – print the pattern on, cut it out and stick that directly to the shirt. I didn’t have any of that on hand when I did this, but will be sure I have some when I try it again.

Like I said, I was not overly concerned about top quality, and with the video camera rolling, it tends to make me even less demanding. As a result, the pattern wasn’t perfect:

I used a regular 3″ paintbrush to dab it on. I let the first coat dry for an hour then coated it again. I’ll give it a few days before I wash it, just to make sure it’s fully dried.
The paint used was acrylic latex primer, but any kind of good quality exterior paint should do.

After I tried it on, I noticed that it was a little bit crooked and off to one side. It also looked a bit plain, so I added a border around it. The border is kind of off too, so it all matches!:

It looks pretty good and there was very little bleed under the tape. Doing a light first coat and letting it dry will help with that.

To get a picture for the video thumbnail, I draped the shirt over a piece of plywood and the way it curves looks more interesting:

Going from that, I made a template that can be printed:

i build it print template

Just right click on the image above and select “save as…”. Save to a handy place and use your favourite printing utility to print it. Set to “no scaling” or “full size”. It should fit nicely on a standard 8.5″ x 11″ sheet.

I made a video showing the process from start to finish: