If you’re looking for a simple and colorful DIY T-shirt project to make with your kids, you’ve come to the right place! I like to craft with my kids during the summer (to stave off the cries of “Mom, I’m bored”) so we are always looking for fun projects. This week, we made an easy stenciled rainbow t-shirt using Tulip ColorShot Instant Fabric Color (aka — fabric spray paints). This idea is so easy, and my kids LOVE using these fabric spray paints.
Supplies Needed for this T-Shirt DIY:
- White t-shirt
- Freezer paper
- Various colors of Tulip ColorShot Paints (I used: neon pink, neon orange, yellow, neon green, blue, and purple)
- A canvas drop cloth (or several sheets of newspaper)
- Iron and ironing board
The Secret Ingredient is…
This project is easy to make, and the secret ingredient is freezer paper, which comes in a roll (and can be found in the grocery store food wrap section). One side of the freezer paper is waxed, and the other side is not, which means you can iron the paper to fabric without damaging your iron (or the fabric). When you are done, you can simply peel the freezer paper away from the t-shirt, leaving a nifty stenciled design on the t-shirt.
How to Make a Stenciled Rainbow T-shirt
Step 1: Making the Stencil. Fold a piece of freezer paper in half, and draw a heart shape on it. Cut the heart out with scissors.
Note: You can use this technique for any design you like, so think beyond just hearts.
Step 2: Ironing the Stencil. Heat up your iron to medium. While you are waiting place the heart on the t-shirt with the shiny side DOWN toward the fabric. Iron over the heart for 10 seconds, or until the freezer paper is stuck to the shirt.
Repeat with additional hearts if desired.
Step 3: Preparing Your Spraying Surface. Lay your dropcloth on the ground outside, then lay your t-shirt on the dropcloth, and make sure it is as flat as possible.
Note: if you don’t have a dropcloth, use several sheets of newspaper to protect the ground.
Step 4: Time to spray paint! Instead of spraying in rainbow order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple), we are painting every other color and then going in to fill in the gaps between the colors. I like painting the rainbow this way because it allows the colors to blend more gradually, and also keeps the colors evenly spaced on the t-shirt.
It might look or sound complicated, but I promise it’s not! Watch the video if you need extra visuals.
Shake your spray paint cans according to package directions, and then spray them in the following order:
- Pink/Red first, at the top of the shirt
- Yellow, across the middle of the shirt
- Blue, a little above the bottom of the shirt, then go back up toward the top of the shirt and paint
- Orange, between the pink and yellow
- Green, between the yellow and blue
- Purple, at the bottom of the shirt
For best spray painting results:
- Make sure you shake the can for the full amount of time the instructions say (I shook two cans at once to save time)
- Do a test spray on the canvas to make sure the paint is spraying fully
- Start on one side OFF of the t-shirt, and move your hand across the t-shirt until you reach the other side, and keep spraying until the paint is spraying off of the shirt
Step 5: Removing the Stencil. To remove the stencil, simply peel it away from the t-shirt. You can do this immediately after the shirt is painted, or wait until you are completely done with the project.
Step 6: Paint the Back of the T-shirt. When the front of the t-shirt has dried for about 15 minutes, you can flip it over and paint the back.
I tried to line the t-shirt up with the spot on the dropcloth where I had painted the front, to give me a guideline for color placement. This helps the color continue smoothly from the front to the back.
Let the t-shirt dry completely, then you can wear it! Launder the rainbow t-shirt according to directions on the spray paint can.