If you have a plain colored shirt without any design whatsoever and want to jazz it up with a trendy design on the front or back, then you can easily do it by painting it right on. This will turn a seemingly ordinary shirt into a fabulous designer shirt. This new shirt can be a personal shirt for you to wear or you can develop it to sell commercially. The best part about painting a shirt is that you can paint any design you wish. If your design is unique, more people will appreciate it and there you may have a new potential business or an awesome gift to a friend.
Finalize the design. Before you can turn a simple T-shirt into a hip and fashionable top, you will need to determine the design you want on the shirt. Get a piece of paper and colored markers and sketch the design. It can be an image or a lettering of some sort. Once you have the design you want on paper, get some feedback from your friends. List down the colors you will need for the paint job.
Recreate your design for a stencil. Most T-shirt designers use a stencil for the paint job. This way, they standardize the art on each and every T-shirt they make. In your case, you can just get a cardboard and recreate the design by cutting around the board based on the shapes that you will need to color in. If you are using doing a lettering design, then just cut out the letters on the cardboard. You will use this final stencil design to transfer it onto the shirt.
Prepare the shirt. Wash the shirt and dry it. A clean and dry shirt is required for a T-shirt painting job. Insert the cardboard in the shirt. This will make your shirt lie flat and prevent the paint passing through the fabric on to the other side. Make sure to pull the sleeves around and tape it with masking tape. You can use clips and pins as well. Remember to make the area where you plan to paint the design on flat and without wrinkles. Once it is flat and ready, place the stencil on the flattened area of the shirt and tape it there with painter’s tape along the edges of the cardboard stencil.
Paint the t-shirt. Use fabric paint and mix it as detailed on the instructions that it came with. Dip the sponge in the paint. Dab it on a newspaper to lessen the glop. With the shirt and stencil steady, apply the sponge on the stencil according to your design. Make sure the paint is evenly spread out. Apply a second coat if you feel that the finish is not enough. Once you are done, remove the stencil and let the paint dry for about 24 hours.
After 24 hours, take a look at the shirt to see the design you made. You can now wear it and show it off to your friends. If you plan to give this as a gift, place it in a box and wrap it up. Regardless, you have successfully turned a plain, old t-shirt into a unique and hip one.