Introduction: Using the Cricut to Make Stenciled T-Shirts

About: I am the mother of 2 boys. I love to make things for them and the rest of my family and friends.

T-Shirt or other item to paint (prewashed)
Acrylic Paint (this time I used the Artist's Loft Brand, but Liquitex Basics works really well also)
Paint Brush
Contact Paper
Cricut Machine
Cricut Cartridge (for these I used the "Just Because Cards")
Palette (or paper plate to mix colors on)
Cardboard to put between the layers so the paint doesn't bleed

It is super easy to make customized clothes as gifts.  I wanted to make something for my son and his soon to be born little brother.  In one night I made everything.

Step 1: Cut and Place Stencil

Using the cricut machine cut the image you want to use for the stencil.  I used the "Just because Cards" cartridge.  It has one feature for "stickers" that are great as image stencils.  There is also a "stencil" feature that has sayings that go along with the images.  They are perfect for this because they are all one piece and easy to use.

Other cartridges I think make good stencils are Cindy Loo, Damask Decor, Paper Lace, Rock Princess, Preserves, and any one with a "stencil" feature.

Place a piece of contact paper on your cutting board.  It should be as big as you want the stencil to be.  Load it in the machine.  You should know well enough how to use the cricut to cut, but just in case you don't, quick version:
move the blade to the top right corner of the contact paper and keep adjusting the size until it lets you cut it.  You can set the pressure down so it only cuts the top layer of the contact paper, but I don't bother and let it go through both layers.

When the stencil is done place it on the shirt.  Insert the card board between the layers so that when you start painting, the paint doesn't go through to the other side.

Step 2: Paint

Using the acrylic paint and staying inside the lines, paint the shirt.  You can use all one color, or swirl it together.  My son LOVES the Wizard of Oz right now and is CRAZY about rainbows, so I used every color.  For the darker colors one layer was enough, but for the lighter colors I had to do 2 layers.

Step 3: Remove the Stencil

After the paint dries a bit, but not all the way, remove the stencil.  The paint will dry quicker on the shirt than on the stencil, so be careful when you are pulling it off not to let the stencil touch the shirt any were else.  If you wait too long and the paint has dried all the way the stencil sticks to the shirt a little too much and is harder to remove.

If you are only doing one stencil you are pretty much done, but if you are adding another layer, go to the next step.

Step 4: Add 2nd Stencil

I wanted the words on top of the image, so I had to wait to add them.  It took about half an hour to dry, but I imagine the thicker the paint, the longer it takes to dry.  After it is dry, add the second stencil and paint it again.  Let it dry a bit, then remove.

Step 5: Dry Then Wash

After the shirt has dried for at least 24 hours, wash and dry it.  This will soften the paint, but not remove the paint. 

Good Luck!