How to use fabric paint on clothes

Hello friends!

Welcome to another Smiling Colors video.

I’m Smitha and today’s video is all about how to hand letter onto your t-shirt.

That’s right I am DIYing a T shirt to say Happy Halloween and this turned out to be

a pretty easy technique!

With this idea you can make your own custom T shirt with any phrase or saying of your


Here’s the supplies you will need: A plain T shirt of your size, I got this at my local

craft store.

Some fabric paint.

I am using this dimensional fabric paint from my stash today.

You can totally free hand your lettering onto the T shirt, but I am using a template.

I lettered these two options here and sized them to be a big small and a bit larger.

I wasn't really sure how big I would need it for the T shirt.

These are printed on typing paper itself, nothing fancy.

And now that I am looking at these, I like this script better and I think I will go with

this one.

But I will have a free download of both of the lettering templates on my blog smilingcolors.com

Another item you will need- a light box.

This definitely makes it so much easier!

You’ll see in a minute here.

I’m a visual person, so I had to see the lettering on the T shirt to decide on the

sizing, I like the bigger one, lets go with that.

Place the light pad inside your T-shirt.

Wiggle out all the wrinkles and lay your T shirt flat.

Now place the lettering template onto the light box.

Here let me turn on the light box so you can see that the template will be visible.

Now you want to move the template +light box down by about 4 inches from the neckline.

Use a ruler to make sure that your design in centered on the T shirt front.

A rough eyeballing would be to make sure that the centre P of the word happy lines up to

the middle of the neckline.

And now it it time to trace the lettering with our fabric paint.

I am going to turn the whole set up by about 45 degrees here so that its at a comfortable

angle for my wrist.

You can pin the paper template to the t shirt to prevent it from shifting while you painting,

but I have done stuff like this many times and I’m pretty sure I can do this without


Before you start lettering- grab a scrap piece of paper and also a towel or paper napkin.

These two are very important.

First use your dimensional paint on a scrap piece of paper to remove any air bubbles and

also to determine how much pressure you need to apply to the bottle for the paint to come


Once you have that figured out start tracing over the template slowly.

If you are right handed start from the left top corner and work your way towards the right

and downwards.

This way you wont smudge the wet paint with when your palm rests on the T shirt.

While using dimensional paints, apply an even amount of pressure and move your hand slowly

up and down to get neat lines.

You can use a round paintbrush with your fabric paints to trace over the template as well.

But I have to say this dimensional paint is much faster to trace with.

It is pretty easy but don't get too over confident.

Pay attention and go slowly.

And after a few lines, wipe your paint nozzle clean with the paper towel.

You want to keep doing this through out the tracing to avoid build up of paint on the


I actually ended up using the other print out as a reference on the side.

This helped me know the letter shapes that I need to trace easily.

Now my first idea for this T shirt was to totally free hand my lettering.

That would have been so much faster I thought.

BUT how would I center my letters to the T shirt??

And I knew that letters had to be in the center or else I would end up trashing this shirt.

So after thinking quite a bit I decided that tracing over a template would still be fast


For a second i thought about maybe leaving it like this just the outlines, but then I

decided to fill in the areas for a bolder font and I flooded the areas with the paint.

Make sure you keep your bottle completely upright and not at an angle to avoid smudging

the lettering you have here already.

Here’s another option for you- if you don't have a light box- use a dress makers pencil

to sketch your design onto the T shirt first and then go over it with paint.

I got this light box just recently and have used it with my watercoloring till now- but

using it this way is so much more fun!

I’ll speed up the video here for the “halloween word”.

I am doing the same thing really and honestly at this point you get into a rhythm.

I’m also a little stoked at how cool this is turning out and am telling myself- just

slow down don't mess this up.

And we’re done.

I’ll turn off the light box here so you can see this easier.

My paint didn't actually stick to the paper beneath.

I was trying to see if that happened here by moving the fabric ever so slightly.

That’s because dimensional paint is much thicker than regular fabric paint and doesn't

really soak into the fabric as much.

If you are painting with fabric paints, simple place a layer of cling wrap or clear tape

on top of the template before tracing.

Now comes the hard part.

Letting this dry.

Walk away from it and don't disturb it.

I finished this late at night and then went to bed after.

I am notorious at smudging things otherwise.

The next morning I came and checked and it dried so perfectly!

The paint looks even no cracks and it looks pretty good to me.

There is a slight dimension to the lettering but not too much at all.

I will heat set this according to the manufacturers info afterwards, but for now it’s ready

to wear!

Here is how the T shirt looks all done and Hi! that’s me!

Don’t forget to stop by my blog for a list of the supplies and the free template download.

You Let me know in the comments below if you have any other questions about this technique.

Also if you have better ideas on how to transfer your lettering onto a T shirt.

I’d love to hear them!

Happy Halloween guys!