February 14, 2009 10:21 AM   Subscribe

I have 4 cotton t-shirts, 2 cans of Krylon "Fusion for Plastic" paint and some cheapo stencils from the drug store. Can I just slap them on and spray myself some shirts?

What will it look like? Should I wash them after? Other Tips? Merci pour le Help.
posted by Potomac Avenue to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know, but if you do put some thick cardboard between the shirts before spraying and don't remove it until they are dry.
posted by furtive at 10:39 AM on February 14, 2009

It'll work OK. I probably wouldn't wash them though. If you do some lite coats with the paint it'll be dry to do whatever you want with in about 45mins to an hour.

The paint doesn't set "chip" free for about a week. I'd imagine then you'd be able to try to wash them.
posted by zephyr_words at 10:40 AM on February 14, 2009

They'll work surprisingly well, though it'll definitely look way DIY and punk rock and less polished. Nothing like a silkscreen. It kind of depends on what look you're going for.

You can wash it, but it'll fade really, really quickly.

I don't insist you run to a craft store, or nothing, but you can get a jar of Jacquard Textile Paint for about $3. It's flexible and soft, completely washable, and easy to brush on through a stencil. It ends up looking like this, which is pretty sweet.

Apologies for the product whoring; I have no affiliation with Jacquard, but their products are far superior to the other fabric paints I've tried, and oh god they make fluorescent and metallic colors. Also, apologies for the self-links, but I don't know anyway who's as obsessed with shirt stenciling as I am (all the cool kids silkscreen).
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:45 AM on February 14, 2009 [5 favorites]

Yes. It's pretty hard to spraypaint stencils and not get paint everywhere (i.e. overspray and getting the stencil as flat as possible on the shirt) but you can do it. You have to be super careful about dripping because once you have a paint drop on your t-shirt, they do NOT come out. You can wash them just fine, generally the paint sticks to the fibers of the shirt but not in a big block which can actually make spraypainted t-shirts sometimes look better than those using low rent iron-ons. I did not have the fading problem Juliet Banana refers to. I mean there's a fade at the beginning and then it just stays looking mostly like that.

Also make sure you use cardboard in between or you'll get paint on the back of your shirt as well. I've done this often with regular spray paint but don't know specifically much about the "fusion for plastic" line.
posted by jessamyn at 10:50 AM on February 14, 2009

Like Juliet Banana, I have also made some shirts with the Jacquard paint. It's wonderful. If you decide the spraypaint doesn't give you the result you want, definitely go with the Jacquard.
posted by phunniemee at 10:54 AM on February 14, 2009

If you don't want to limit yourself to cheapo drugstore stencils, I really love contact paper for projects like this. I usually buy it in whatever hideous pattern the dollar store has that day. You're cutting it up and spray painting it, so it doesn't so much matter if it has fluffy bunnies on it.
Also, to prevent overspray on larger projects that aren't totally covered by contact paper, I surround the contact paper with newspaper. Not the most elegant solution, nor is it perfect, but it's quick and free.
posted by piedmont at 11:05 AM on February 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

Very helpful so far y'all! Juliet, especially--I am going for kind of a punk thing and I want to use up this excess spray paint I got for something else. I dont mind fading, they're a 1 use injoke sort of thing.

Jessamyn: What is overspraying? Just spraying one area a lot to make sure it doesn't drip?

Additional queries: I'm going to be painting the same phrase on all the shirts. Are the stencils going to get all crappy and useless after 1 or 2? In which case I will buy more. Also can I remove them from the shirt to move on to the next one right away or should I leave it on there while it dries?

Thanks again I will post some pictures of the result even (especially) if I screw it up.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:09 AM on February 14, 2009

If you don't want to limit yourself to cheapo drugstore stencils, I really love contact paper for projects like this. I usually buy it in whatever hideous pattern the dollar store has that day. You're cutting it up and spray painting it, so it doesn't so much matter if it has fluffy bunnies on it.

Another option that I used to employ when spray painting or airbrushing was manila envelopes with photo mount sprayed on the back. This works well for doing multiples as the manila envelope holds it's shape fairly well when you pull it off. You have to be very careful to get photo mount on all the tiny bits, and I'm not sure how the manila envelopes would work with brushed on textile paint- in that case, I might try using plastic instead of something potentially absorbent.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:13 AM on February 14, 2009

Overspray is the almost invisible aerosolized paint that somehow ends up becoming visible as it falls on your sleeves, floor, table, &c.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:15 AM on February 14, 2009

I´ve used regular spraypaint for decorating costume pieces before. I´ve never tried washing them, but they have held up well as stage costumes for light use. You can get some really interesting effects on thinner fabrics, on a tshirt it will likely end up coming out rather thick or having that spraypainted look depending on how much paint you apply.

Try it on one and see if you like how it looks. Do separate the layers of shirt. Do paint outdoors. Do not have a person in the shirt while painting. You don´t need to wash it before wearing.
posted by yohko at 11:16 AM on February 14, 2009

Final threadsitting comment: I am really uncoordinated, so anything involving cutting something out or delicate manipulation I just can't do since I need them for a V-day party tonight. HULK SMASH PRETTY PAPERS
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:18 AM on February 14, 2009

You will have a little bit of trouble using a stencil multiple times. The stencil gets paint on it and then after a few times gets drippy. Once you've got paint on the back of the stencil you're in trouble in a low-rent situation. So... you may want to keep a stack of paertowels nearby and after each spraypaint, flip the stencil on to something that will blot extra paint from it. Alternately wait a few minutes between stencils to give the paint time to set.

You can use an exacto knife and do decent cutouts. I suggest something hard, like tagboard. If it's even a little absorbent you'll have an easier time of it than using plastic stencils which the paint will pool up on and run off of.

Overspray just means that even if you think you're targetting the stencl area, there will be a faint fuzz of paint haze on any non-covered area, so cover the rest of the shirt with newspaper or something.

For the record, here's a stencilled t-shirt (teeny pic, sorry) I did in 2000, for a Valentine's Day party.
posted by jessamyn at 11:32 AM on February 14, 2009

1. From my experience with this, you definitely need thick cardboard inside the shirt while spraying/drying to keep paint from bleeding through to the other side.

2. You also really need to put newspaper around the area where you're spraying, over the rest of the shirt, so it doesn't get paint in places where you don't want it. This is the "overspray" everyone's talking about.

3. It helps to have one person to hold everything down flat while you're doing this, because paint can escape under and around the stencil otherwise. Just make sure that the person holding everything down doesn't breathe while you're spraying the paint.

4. You will probably smell like spray-paint tonight.
posted by limeonaire at 12:02 PM on February 14, 2009

It helps to have one person to hold everything down flat while you're doing this

If you are low on friends who are willing to get spraypainted in the course of your project, any heavy object will do.
posted by yohko at 12:57 PM on February 14, 2009

I would have made a complete mess of this if it hadn't been for Hive Help. Instead I just made a partway mess.
Getting carried away

Thanks again!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:44 AM on February 15, 2009

« Older Is Big Brother Surfing With Me?   |   I listened to Kraftwerk all day Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.