Paint Shirts Like a Pro! (on a Budget)




Not super professional, but it looks great once you get the hang of it.

Simple supplies and a pretty easy project with end results of people asking you where you bought that shirt and you can proudly say you made it!

Step 1: Supplies

  • T-shirt ( lighter shirts look best when painted)
  • Freezer paper (with plastic coating)
  • Paintbrushes (I find the flat tipped ones paint best)
  • Xacto knife
  • Pencil
  • Iron
  • Acrylic paint (any acrylic paint should work)
  • Textile medium

Step 2:

  • Cut two pieces of freezer paper the same size

one will be put inside the shirt and ironed into place

  • place the second piece on top of your shirt and sketch your design
  • Next on a flat surface properly draw your design and cut it with your xacto knife, try not to cut it to much or your pieces may get misplaced.

Flip the shirt inside out and iron the plain piece to the desired area

Flip it back and iron the cut piece in place. Peel away the cut design you want to paint first, adding extra paper where needed.

Step 3: Painting

Mix the paint and textile medium according to the instructions on the medium ( in my experience ,however, i found a 50/50 mix works best)

Start by painting the areas surrounded by paper

As you paint more sections be careful not to overlap previously painted parts

Once painted tear away the rest of the freezer paper only from the front

Step 4: Finishing Up...

Let the paint dry for a bit then prepare a hot dry iron and place a piece of cloth over the shirt

Evenly iron the painted piece for 20 seconds

Once done ironing, remove the inside paper.

Lastly, hang the shirt to dry completely

Do not wash the shirt for a week once painted, as to not disturb the paint.

You can paint designs as simple or as complex as you want depending on your skill level

Step 5: Warnings

The backing is very important or else the paint will bleed and get on the other side

Be cautious with darker shirts, you may want to keep painting to get a better colour, but if you do the paint will get to thick and crack while being worn.

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    9 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    this looks like an awesome tutorial for cosplay shirts and stuff!! Only thing is, how did you get Mutie's eyes that perfectly round? Is there a trick? Or just your experience?

    Great Instructable. Thanks for the idea, I think I'll give it a try.

    One thing that is missing from the instructions is mixing the paint with the fabric medium. I know that this is a necessary step, but I've never painted on fabric before, so I'm not sure how to do it. What ratio do you use? Should it be 50/50, or do you just need a little of the fabric medium?

    5 replies

    And also, what kind of paint would you recommend? I noticed in the close up of the red bottle that it is "Ceramcoat". I was planning on trying it with just ordinary acrylic paint.


    Reply 4 years ago

    I used a variety of different acrylic paints,from name brand to brands I've never heard of, so as long as it's acrylic it should be fine

    Okay, thanks. :) I usually buy my paints at the dollar store, which is fine for practice or projects that don't really matter that much, but I a slightly higher quality paint would probably be better for this.


    Reply 4 years ago

    The textile medium should have directions on the container, however I found that a 50/50 mix works best. 2/1 paint to medium tends to make it too stiff.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks. I realized after I asked that I could just have waited and read the instructions on the bottle. I think it was too early, brain wasn't awake yet. I just have to find a store that sells it. Haven't seen any around here yet, but I haven't looked everywhere.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    EDIT: Added a few more steps and details to clarify

    Most pictures have notes added to them for extra clarification


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice work! I like this idea quite a bit. Thanks!