Design a t-shirt – with guest Micah C Micah Do

Hello Brassy Apple Readers!

My name is Micah and I share pieces of my life over at Micah C Micah Do.  I initially started the blog to record and share family going ons and the projects I find myself in.  I am the mother of 4 (2 boys and 2 girls), married to my best friend and currently living in Japan.  This last year with the arrival of our second girl and moving to Japan things have been a little slow on the blog, but I am looking forward to fall and getting back into a routine.  I hope you stop by as the year goes on, I have a few projects in the works that I am excited to share.
I am delighted to have the opportunity to share my latest project here at Brassy Apple.  I love to read and see what Megan is doing, so again… Thank you for having me.
My school aged kiddos are boys and that can sometimes make it a challenge to make them something they will like.  I have had good luck with designing T-shirts in the past and thought I would try a stencil.
My older son is ready to start showing his personality and attitude.  Also, boys love secret messages.  So we came up with a design we could both live with.  I remember those days – when you had a math test you were dreading, too much homework that night, a boring book report to do, sometimes school simply interfered with my social life and school simply stunk.  Since I know deep down he loves it (well parts of it) I thought he would enjoy voicing his opinion.  My younger son is too nervous to show off too much attitude so we decided on a subway art style shirt.
For the School Stinks design I wanted a retro looking logo.  I found some designs I liked and I had my in-house graphic designer awesome brother-in-law help design the final look.  My oldest helped design the rocks for the front.  Both designs are available for you to download.  Enjoy!
You will need:
A T-shirt
Vinyl (or freezer paper)
Clothes Pins
Fabric Paint
Skunk Design
1.  Create your stencil.  I used my Silhouette cutter.  You could also use freezer paper and an exacto knife to create a stencil.
2.  To make transfering my stencil to the T-shirt easier I used the transfer paper (not necessary, just makes keeping your circles centered and all the little parts of the letters in place).
3.  Find the center of your shirt (the center back for the Skunk design and the center front for the subway art).  Mark it with a pin.
4.  Grab one of their store bought T-shirts and measure how far down the image is placed.  You don’t want to end up with the image too high or too low.
5.  Use a pin or washable marker to mark the top of the design and the center.
6.  Place your stencil and double check to make sure it is centered.
7.  Applying the vinyl to your T-shirt can be a bit tricky.  The vinyl would rather stick to the transfer paper than to the fabric.  I used the applicator stick to help push the vinyl down onto the fabric as I slowly peeled off the transfer paper.
8.  Then place a piece of paper (clean, free of ink) over your vinyl and on a low to medium setting iron the vinyl down onto the fabric.  This will help make sure all the edges are down tight so less paint will bleed under the stencil.  This also makes it harder to get the vinyl off of the fabric later.  It is easy to melt – so be careful.
9.  Place cardboard inside the T-shirt and pin.  Cereal boxes work great for kids T-shirts.
10.  Start painting.  Be sure to cover completely and to paint from the vinyl to the fabric.  If you paint from the fabric to the vinyl you can force paint under the stencil.  You don’t want to really goob the paint on thick or you will have a greater likelihood of the paint bleeding under and that can be hard to smooth and fix.
11.  Carefully remove the vinyl.  Be sure to wait until the paint is completely dry.  Follow the recomendations on the paint you are using.  After the stencil is removed check for any obvious places that the paint bled under the stencil (see mine).  Carefully freehand paint them to smooth them. 
12.  Follow the instrucitons for you paint to set it.  Mine says to iron for 30 seconds on the highest fabric setting.  I use a clean piece of paper again.  I iron it several times to ensure that all of it was ironed long enough.  This step is very important, if done incorrectly or not completely your design will quickly fade in the wash.
13.  For the small front image the directions are the same.  For placement use one of your kiddos old T-shirts.
14.  Put your shirt on your kiddo and they are ready to go.
Download the designs here:


  1. This is awesome! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Boys are so much harder to design for than girls so I need all the ideas I can get.

  2. Such a cool idea…especially for boy t-shirts! And thanks for such a thorough tutorial. 🙂

  3. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [30 Aug 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  4. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 5 post on Aug. 30, 2011. Thanks again.

  5. Hi all,

    Wow so nice! A design a t-shirt can also be a party giveaway or a gift. In fact design t-shirt works for just about everyone. You can design a t-shirt to establish associations with a group of individuals like your family, friends, and cliques. Thanks…

    Make Your Own T Shirt

  6. There are so many ways in designing our own tshirt such as with the photograph..This is awesome..I appreciate your work..Thanks for sharing the useful information..
    T shirts Online

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