Introduction: How to Make a DIY Spray Paint T-Shirt

Picture of How to Make a DIY Spray Paint T-Shirt
This week on Thread Heads, we take a look back at our first episode with a fun T-Shirt stencil and spray paint job. If you have any cool DIY projects like this one,send them in! send them in! And don't forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes!

Step 1: Stencils

Picture of Stencils

First, with some poster board, trace a few designs. We picked crosses.

Carefully cut out the shapes.

Step 2: Dye

Picture of Dye

Using a plain white T, you can make your own color by using some rit dye and boiling water.

Step 3: Spray Paint (Part 1)

Picture of Spray Paint (Part 1)

On one side of the shirt, use the left over poster board as a stencil and spray paint lightly to prevent the paint from bleeding.

Step 4: Spray Paint (Part 2)

Picture of Spray Paint (Part 2)

On the other side, use the cut outs and spray paint.

Step 5: Personalize

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Give your shirt a personalized look by cutting or poking holes, dying, and/or adding some cool stitching.


jen leigh (author)2011-11-05

i believe this is a video on spray painting t-shirts. anyways, thanks for the tips ,. ive tried it before and it didnt work out so well, now i know what to do! great style!

sahmeepee (author)2008-02-04

To get a sharp edge (i.e. fine detail) on this bit, you can use some spray mount on the reverse of the stencil, smooth the tshirt out nice and flat and then press the stencil down.

kuri0sitat (author)sahmeepee2011-03-31

Or, if you're only using your stencil once, you could cut it out of contact paper, and just stick it onto the shirt.

Guardians38 (author)2010-10-14

where can you get rit dye?

aekjysten (author)Guardians382010-10-24

I've found it in grocery stores near the detergent section, but they usually have very limited color choices. you might want to check online or several different stores. they're pretty inexpensive ($3) for a box, but be sure to follow the directions carefully. I've dyed a white dress blue and white jeans purple and it's worked fantastically.

free0501 (author)2010-10-04

I have a shirt that I am going to try the spray paint idea questions are what type of spray paint should I use that works best? How would I keep the paint from bleeding too much from the stencil so I don't get too fuzzy a look and finally...Could I use glo paint over the spray paint so I can have a glow effect at night? Any suggestions would help thanks.

Hexpigge (author)2010-05-21

By "lightly" you mean few times? How many actually? 

schoonovermr (author)Hexpigge2010-10-02

you could put some posterboard in the inside of the shirt.

Demon_Darkchild (author)Hexpigge2010-08-15

I think 'lightly' means to hold the can far enough back from the shirt so that the paint doesn't soak through, but rather lays on top. You kind of mist it on until the color is as solid as you want it. I hope this was helpful.

sahmeepee (author)2008-02-04

I printed some designs onto plain paper, then laminated them before cutting them out to make them more durable. If your design is quite complex & fiddly to cut out it's probably worth the effort. For simple designs like your crosses I guess it'd take longer than just making the stencil again.

Th33w0krap15t (author)sahmeepee2010-01-22

 An easier way to create a more durable design while allowing complex designs is to use Cardstock.  You can get it at any office supply store, its just a thicker style of paper that is similar to poster board.  Also if your design uses multiple pieces you can use Spray mount to keep them attached to the shirt without making it sticky.

lenalandmine (author)2009-10-08

I'm not 100% sure, but I believe in this video, he isn't holding/taping/adhering the stencils down in any way. They're made of posterboard and he's painting almost completely perpendicular to them so the paint isn't making them move around, plus, he's doing thin layers. It also doesn't appear to be the slightest bit of wind, which will help. I personally *love* using freezer paper. You iron it on, slick side down, to your fabric and it'll stay until you peel it off. It won't leave a single bit of residue, and there's no way your paint will bleed. Plus, it's cheap as hell!

harukikusari (author)2008-04-07

I've got a question, is there a type of spray paint you use to do this with? I'd imagine if I use the normal stuff you would spell like paint (or worse) for a year :D

Sometimes people like the smell... lol

Killdoomkid (author)2009-05-15

Hey, I make spray paint t-shirts a lot but I still haven't figured out a more convenient way of making tiny stencils (like the ones in this photo) to stick without using my hands. Any suggestions? Is tape the best way?

smittybryson (author)Killdoomkid2009-08-23

Hey use blue painters tape, it is easy to shape rip and cut the way you want it :)! also easy to peel

Not sure if I get your question but I think you are asking is there a way to hold the stencil to the shirt without using your fingers? I move forward with that question. I use two different ways when this is necessary. 1. If it is for a stencil I am only going to use once(maybe a few times) and it is small enough I actually carve it out on 2 inch masking tape. The tape holds it pretty well and prevents bleedding pretty nicely. This method is also nice because you can stick the tape to the surface you are cutting the stencil on and you don't have to worry about the paper flying around like it does. 2. If its for a permanent stencil I use a fabric adhesive that holds the stencil to the shirt but will wash off later. I don't have any right now or I would give you a brand name, I am pretty certain you can find it at most art/craft stores. Taping down the stencil will also work but that will make it easier for paint to slip under the stencil. Hope this helped.

jaredisasushi (author)2009-07-09

I spray my own shirts pretty frequently but I have always gone with white because the t-shirts that they sell at stores are way too vibrant(color wise) to go along with the more dirty spray paint feel. Anyway, the white is starting to get old and dying the white shirts had never even crossed my mind until i read this instructable. Gunna make some awesome shirts now! Great article, hope a mod gets rid of all this religious garbage clogging the comments...

BigChingadero (author)2009-05-25

A coat of spraymount, like 3M 77 spray, is good. Let it dry before you stick it down, so that the goo doesn't get into the fibers. It shouldn't leave any appreciable residue on the shirt.

Killdoomkid (author)2009-05-15

Harikikusari, I spray paint shirts all the time. To get the smell out just wash the shirt (once it is COMPLETELY DRY) with regular detergent and use fabreez on it or repeat wash if it doesn't get out the first time. Seriously, the smell is gone in under three washes, I promise. You can also soak it (when it is completely dry! I usually wait a few hours to be safe) in a scented soap along with fabreez (or something like it) for about an hour and then rinse it and dry and it will be fine. And if that doesn't work... well, after a while, you get used to it lol. Spray paint is easier to combat then one might think. :)

roflmao (author)2009-02-23

justice fan much?

fancypenguin845 (author)2009-02-16

are all christians supposed to follow all of the other chrstians? i have my own beliefs

inventinator (author)2008-04-13


stevoIution (author)inventinator2009-02-16

You sound like you would like to discuss religion with me, in bold caps.

Bro. Jones (author)2007-09-20

I'm currently learning to read the original Greek. Symbolic debts...hmmm. So if someone committed a crime, should the judge not keep their "symbolic debt" just so they wouldn't have to go to prison? I have studied the Bible for myself and made my own decision. In His perfect love for us, He decided make a way out for us instead of condemning everyone like we deserve. The gift is free, but its not yours until you take it.

stevoIution (author)Bro. Jones2007-09-23

I accepted the gift and I'm unwrapping it now...


Maybe I should have just left it unopened and believed there was something in there, like religious people do.

I was wondering if you could tell me the order in which men, women and animals were created?
I wanted answers but the bible has too many to choose from.

Genesis 1:25-27 states that -
Humans were created after the other animals.

Genesis 1:27 states that -
The first man and woman were created simultaneously.

Genesis 2:18-19 states that -
Humans were created before the other animals.

Genesis 2:18-22 states that -
The man was created first, then the animals, then the woman from the man's rib.

That's a moron's definition of conclusive if I've ever seen one.

For more multiple-answer bible questions (There's plenty) see

way to make yourself look immature and ignorant. just because you are a narrow minded person doesnt mean you have to bore and anger everyone that tries to learn how to make a t shirt. you arent representing aethiests very well

You're not representing whining transvestites very well.

NinjaSloth (author)stevoIution2009-01-19

It is easy to tell your close minded. I don't know what made you so angry at god. My guess is that you wish to make yourself look intelligent by trying to be "scientific" out of insecurity of some sort. Please, i don't mean to be insulting but at least consider these questions: what makes us self aware, why is it scientific to believe the universe came from nothing(including time) or even that the universe always existed when you could believe that something somewhere that has always existed created us, made us self aware, made us to love and worship that entity, and that that entity loves us. Even if evolution is true, which wouldn't make any sense, who wouldn't rather believe that there is a god. Really, why wouldn't anyone unless they are plain and simple afraid to be weak and be an underling?

stevoIution (author)NinjaSloth2009-02-16

I didn't say there was no god, I said that your edited fictional book makes no sense.

"who wouldn't rather believe that there is a god." You just proved my point. Religion isn't about facts, it's about what people want to believe, which stems from fear and weakness. Religion is a way to vainly attempt to subvert your own death and answer hard questions with easy false answers.

The Human Genome Project proved evolution. Research the subject...unless you're afraid to find out that you're living a lie.

Sorry this really isn't the place to argue this but I couldn't let your argument stand unanswered.

The order goes animals - man - woman.

First off there is nothing stating that man and woman were created simultaneously. Genesis 1:27 merely says that they were created and gives no information concerning order. if I go to art class and make a clay pot and then the next day I make a clay dragon. Then someone asks what I did in art class for the week I would tell them I created a pot and a dragon. This does not imply that I made them the same day or at the same time.

Second Genesis 2:18-22 says nothing about man being created before animals. It references back that he created the animals. It in no way implies that animals were created after man. in fact verse 22 states "but for Adam no suitable helper was found." this implies that they were previously created and after going through all of them Adam still needed a companion.

did you actually read the verses and analyze it yourself or just put something you found somewhere on the net? If you go back and re read the skeptics annotaedbible question on this and compare it to the actual verses I put up you will find that they rearranged the passage to their liking so it sounds good but is incorrect. Be careful of the sources you find on the Internet!! I recommend getting an NIV translation of the Bible and contrasting what you find against it.

As for stating that creationism is proven wrong you are incorrect. I believe both Creation story and evolution. First off natural selection is proven and both sides believe it. Micro Evolution, the evolution of new species, is proven and fits very nicely into the creation story. However as far as I know Macro Evolution is not proven. Macro Evolution is the Evolution of the categories of organisms. For example a worm evolving into lizard. Genesis states that God initiated each group of animals and made them from the earth. Most people would take this to mean that he made them in the same way we make things but who is to say that he couldn't have created them through evolution. Now I am not saying this is or is not what happened. I can't know nor do I really care for it is trivial at best and certainly not worth arguing one opinion over another.

The key story to the Bible is our God is Love. He created us for his glory with free choice. He allowed Adam to choose to disobey separating us from God. God came to earth in the form of man. Fully God yet fully man. Born to a Virgin marry. He came to show us how to live and to die for crimes against God (sin). Through his Death we may once again be with God by His Holy Spirit dwelling within us (more then merely a conscious). Those who accept the gift of his death will have eternal life in Heaven. To accept the gift of his death one must realize his own depravity and their need for a Savior, believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and that He died for our sins. This is the most important part of the Bible and if you don't get this then nothing else matters.

If anyone has questions or would like to argue further with me my email is

lawizeg (author)stevoIution2008-06-28

I reccommend you read the bible to "disprove it".

Bro. Jones (author)stevoIution2007-09-24

Well your good at looking up stuff on the internet. Who said the Bible is written chronologically? The first four books were originally handed down as oral traditions. The first is the story of creation in general, then the second is the story of man and woman. When it was finally written down, Moses took the original stories and laid them out chronologically. He did not butcher the stories so that the individual pieces would mesh. I suppose you missed the be nice rule? Oh well, I'm used to Christians being excluded from the whole tolerance of everyone movement. The fact is there is a lot of good information on the Internet both supporting and condemning the Bible. One's viewpoint usually dictates what they find. For instance this science that you claim has a Law called the law of probability. Basically DNA is too complicated to have "accidentally" occurred according to the law of probability...much less the entire "Big Bang Theory." Law vs. Theory? Which trumps the other? Unless God reveals Himself to you and tells you Himself I don't think you will believe a word I have to say. Is there anything that can be said to convince you Christianity is real?

stevoIution (author)Bro. Jones2007-10-01

You're correct about the law of probability but you're also talking about Human DNA as we know it today. If you don't believe in evolution you might as well become a Scientologist or a poo slinging crazy hobo.
Scientifically speaking Law and Theory are equal.

There is one thing that you could say to convince me.
- "I am Jesus, you f#cked up bitch." Then make me suffer a severe but not life-threatening heart attack.

Back to your question about Judges and murderers, I believe the condemned should slaughter animals and perform stupid rituals with their blood as punishment.

Don't forget that anything that lives in the see is an abomination. Our perfect God sure did create a lot of abominations, nobody's perfect I guess....

lawizeg (author)stevoIution2008-04-04

that last parts not true. People rebeled agaisnt God, he didnt make them. He gave us all free will. I suggest you read the bible, not just little verses of it. just read genesis. PLEASE.

stevoIution (author)lawizeg2008-04-23

Genesis contains as many contradictions as the rest.

Bro. Jones (author)stevoIution2007-10-05

Okay, tell me about DNA as we know it today, or better yet point me to a website that explains my mistake. I'm not perfect.

Law= tested proven fact
Theory=untestable, but generally accepted

As for the abominations of the sea, much of the Old Testament was written to keep people healthy. Some fish in the ocean are poisoness. I suppose the poison would be an abomination to the eater, but I'm not sure which piece of scripture your referring to.

stevoIution (author)Bro. Jones2007-10-09

If you want to know about DNA I'd recommend that you start with wikipedia. Why does it say that the earth is flat and surrounded by a jacket of water?

Bro. Jones (author)stevoIution2007-10-09

Flat as in no hills or valleys, thus all the oceans covered all the land.

stevoIution (author)Bro. Jones2007-10-10

Is there also a reference to the earth standing on four pillars?

Bro. Jones (author)stevoIution2007-10-11

I may have missed that part in the Bible, but I could not find it just now. However I did find this where Job is talking about God. One problem with understanding the Bible is that it is not a science book. It is a history book. Therefore it does not define things, but merely describes them. Check out the part about the clouds below. It sounds like evaporation to me. How did Job know about such science back then I wonder? 6 Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. 7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. 8 He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them. 9 He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it. 10 He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end. 11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof. 12 He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud. 13 By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent. 14 Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand? Job 26:6-14 (KJV)

stevoIution (author)Bro. Jones2007-10-18

The only way to properly read the bible would require a time machine.

zachninme (author)stevoIution2007-10-20

Actually, Science does not disprove God -- according to the Islamic "bible" -- the Qur'an, a lot of the things we've discovered by science actually happen.

Theres a description of the Big Bang, life coming from water, and even *gasp* evolution (Although its changed a bit, to say that humans are special and were not made via evolution, but everything else is. However, we are still today looking for "the missing link", so this still stands)

Also -- the Qur'an was kept as pure as possible. There was an intense screening process of writing down the remembered stories -- cross checking them multiple times. It was about 5-10 years after Muhammid's death (he's the one who said the Qur'an, BTW. He was also illiterate, and considered the Qur'an his only miracle. If you read it, its amazingly eloquent), but there were still "first-generation" people around. After they got it down, they ordered everything else to be destroyed.

Maybe this isn't christianity, but Muslims believe that Chirstians/Jews both recieved the same exact message, but it became twisted over time.

(I'm athiest, BTW. But I'm not going to go around being ignorant and/or arrogent)

stevoIution (author)zachninme2007-10-20

.Why is an Athiest trying to convert me to Islam? Haha. (I'm athiest, BTW. But I'm not going to go around being ignorant and/or arrogent) But that's what the internet is for. "The cybernet will revolutionize the art of being a jerk" - Bill Gates, 1989 I may have made that up.

schimmi (author)stevoIution2008-02-12

i love bashing people over the internet! and i'm ok with atheists because most people admit they don't believe 100% in the bible! and i don't really care cause screw you guys i'm going buddhist! :-)

Bro. Jones (author)zachninme2007-10-20

I appreciate your lack of arrogance.

zachninme (author)Bro. Jones2007-10-21

If that's sarcasm, I'm sorry, I'm trying to defend you more than go against you... If it isn't -- Yay :P

Bro. Jones (author)zachninme2007-11-04

I'm not trying to be sarcastic. I genuinely enjoy open discussion when it is respectfully carried out. It helps people to better understand what they believe and what they think others believe.

Bro. Jones (author)stevoIution2007-10-20

I think your right. The next best thing is to study it in depth. I always encourage Christians to know what they believe and why they believe it. I don't want anyone to be ignorant as everyone must decide for themselves.

stevoIution (author)Bro. Jones2007-10-21

You should check this video out. Very interesting short clip.


Tell me what you think.

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