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You are here: Home > All About Hand Dyeing > Gallery > Example 10

Fabric puffy paint with a stencil

"Take Chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" t-shirt

created August 1997

black tee, with yellow letters, saying, Take chances! Make
mistakes! Get messy! My older son, Will, became a Magic School Bus fanatic at the age of four, an interest which persisted through age six at least. An internet site revealed that Magic School Bus tees had formerly been available at stores such as Macy's, but they no longer were. Oh, well, they would have been on a white background, anyway; white tees on Will became disreputable within a few wearings. (Maybe he chewed on the collar or something.) So, I created a t-shirt for him that included Ms. Frizzle's favorite (and excellent) advice, plus a Jackson's iguana with some resemblance to Liz, a character in the show.

How I did it

I used a stencil I cut out of Contac paper with an Exacto knife, first drawing the outlines of the letters and the iguana freeform with a pencil. I created the letter shapes in an informal style. After sticking the stencil to the (prewashed) shirt, I applied Tulip brand puffy paint I'd purchased at a local hobby store. Cutting the stencil was a royal pain, but I imagined I'd be able to use it more than once (wrong!). However, the resulting letters are cleaner and crisper, all around much more professional looking, than could be achieved in direct painting. The paint goes on like any fabric paint; after it's dry, you expose it to heat from a steam iron, according to the directions on the bottle, until it puffs. You are not supposed to dry this paint in the dryer, lest the puffiness become excessive and look like popcorn, ruining the design, but the shirt has fortunately survived a couple of accidental trips through the dryer unscathed.

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Page created: August 23, 1998
Last updated: July 18, 2006
Downloaded: Thursday, December 14, 2017