How to Turn Your Painted Cotton Tee into a Permanent Masterpiece

Posted by on Apr 09, 2016

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Fabric paint, Sharpies, dyes...which is the best way to permanently mark a plain tee with the beautiful, vibrant design of your dreams? We've scoured the internet for T-shirt tips and tidbits and gathered our findings right here for you. Read on to find out how to turn a painted wearable into an everlasting masterpiece.

Acrylic Painted Tee
Tried and True

There's no need to forgo your fabric and acrylic paints! Instead, it's a matter of painting smart. When using one of these traditional paints, use a textile medium mix-in to adhere the acrylic to the cotton fibers, like Nat at NatSprat did. Also, once the paint dries, be sure to follow up with the instructions on the paint bottle to make the most of your design's vibrancy.
Chalkboard Tee
Unconventional May Be the Way to Go

Instead of resorting to acrylic and fabric paints, break out something a little more unconventional. For instance, chalkboard paint holds strong and lasts through washes, according to the Crafting Chicks. Also, Tee Juice sets permanently with the heat of an iron as demonstrated by Melanie Royals for Paint + Pattern. Something you wouldn't think of using in the first place may just be the trick to a permanent DIY design.

DIY Stamp Tee
If You Like It, Then You Should Have Put a Stamp on It

Okay, so you don't have to use stamps solely, but trying different ways of "stamping" a painted design onto the tee helps the design to last longer. Doilies, stencils (Ed Roth's are great), stamps. There are so many possibilities. A DIY stamp like this one from paunnet presses the paint firmly onto the T-shirt. Or, by ironing down a freezer paper stencil, you can paint a solid design onto any shirt with a template that stays in place, as Samantha did on The Compound Eye of a Dragonfly. If you think it, you could probably use it to paint your tee.

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