Introduction: The Two Dollar T-Shirt Makeover!

About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

My uniform of the day, most days is a t-shirt.  Love the simplicity, feel, utility, and price!  I get a lot of shirts at thrift shops for around two dollars most days. So I find it real hard to pay 12, 20 dollars or more for the same thing, only newer perhaps. I recently bought some white shirts with the idea that they would be great for summer wear, and be very visible while riding the bike.  But white is plain white, and I decided to "spiff" up a couple of shirts.  I came up with the ideas presented here, and am happy with the result.

Step 1: Before and After Shots

I think the simple designs make a world of difference!

Step 2: Obtain Shirts and Gather Art Materials

Gather the shirts you want to up cycle and a few necessary supplies:
1.  Paint-regular acrylic art paint.
2.  Texture Medium to add to paint and make it more permanent.
3.  Contact paper: not absolutely necessary, but I used the adhesive kind, seemed to work well. Plain paper or card stock would work.
4.  Brush or stencil sponge.
5.  Cardboard insert to separate layers of t-shirt while painting...avoids bleed through.

Step 3: Cut Stencils

I went for real simple designs as shown, so didn't spend a lot of time on them.  First, I cut a one inch square pattern, and then a one-half inch pattern.  One row of each is cut, and then simply move the stencil when ready to do the second row. Saves time in stencil cutting!

Step 4: Sponge or Brush on Paint

Using careful techniques, align and place stencil and proceed to do the coloring in.  Don't overload brush/sponge and make sure that the stencil is pressed down tightly to prevent bleeding around edges.  It's better to start light, and then darken as you proceed.

Step 5: For Circle Pattern, Just Use Stencil Sponge

Using the same one inch grid stencil, mainly to orient your stenciling, just dab on the paint into the center of each square. Since the sponge is nearly round, it saves the step of cutting circles in the contact paper....

Step 6: Let Dry and Then Iron Painted Areas to Set Color

Ironing the shirts after completion sets the color and adds to the permanence of your design.  I kind of like a faded look, however and won't mind as the shirts wear out, the color diminishes in intensity. 

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