Posts Tagged ‘stencil a T-shirt’

I Love to Create: “You Complete Me” T-shirts!

The sweetest thing to make for your best pal on Valentine’s day? The sweetest thing for your sweetie? I call it the “You Complete Me” Tee. Part friendship charm necklace, part Pinterest inspiration (these gloves!), each T-shirt in this pair appears, at first look, to be decorated with an abstract design when it’s without its match. When the two shirts are reunited, however, they form a heart. Awww…

-2 plain T-shirts (preferably light in color)
-empty file folder (or other large piece of card stock)
Tulip Fabric Spray Paint (in red!)
-plenty of newsprint to protect your work surface

Make It:

1. Lay the folder flat and use the marker to draw half of a heart along one of the long edges. (Note: I had to make an adjustment later on to accomodate the dimensionality of the human body–so don’t be afraid to make a particularly bulbous heart in order for it to “read” when the shirts are side by side.)

2. Cut out the half-heart template and line it up along the side of the torso of one of the shirts (under the sleeve). Mask the rest of the T-shirt (and use newsprint to protect your work surface), and spray paint the half-heart.

3. Carefully remove the stencil from the T-shirt, let it dry, and then flip the template to paint the other side of the heart on the other T-shirt. Then, when both the T-shirts and the stencil have dried, repeat the process to complete each heart on the back of the shirt. (And don’t worry if the paint seeps under the stencil a bit — like relationships, it might get a bit messy at times!)

4. Let it dry completely, wear it, and go find your best bud. (And don’t forget to make sure you stand on the correct side–and bend your knees or stand on your tiptoes, if necessary!)

Thanks to my friends Michael and Helen (who thematically appropriately identify as members of Camp Friendship Basketball League!) for modeling.

[ 1 Comment | Posted on January 22nd, 2013 ]

I Love to Create: A Poetic Pocket Square!

Looking ahead to April, it’s National Poetry month, and to celebrate, the Academy of American Poets is sponsoring National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 14, 2011. Basically, you carry a poem around in your pocket, and take it out and share it throughout your day with friends, colleagues, and family. The poem can be an old classic, a modern ode, long, short, silly, or serious — Anne Sexton or Dr. Seuss, Will Shakespeare or Shel Silverstein,  Emily Dickinson or e.e. cummings… And if you can’t find a poem you’d like to share, write your own! But my point is, why limit the printed word to paper (or digital smart phone)?

Perhaps I’m taking this pocket thing too literally, but I do like to play with words and type — experimenting with the way the letters themselves can create fascinating visual patterns (even before we get anywhere near discussions of assonance, alliteration, and onomatopoeia!). A pocket square (or a hanky — just pop it in your purse!) is a more permanent way to commit to that poem. And, bonus: If you forget to take the poem out of your pocket before laundry day, you won’t end up with a pocket full of disintegrated, dried paper pulp.


-white or light-colored T-shirt

-rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat (or ruler, marker, and scissors)

-masking tape

-letter stencils

fabric paint (variety of colors)

paint tray (optional)

sponge brushes

-needle and thread (in a color to match the T-shirt)

Make It:

1. Cut a 17″ x 17″ square (or smaller, depending on your preference) from one layer of the T-shirt. Tape the edges of the square to your painting surface with masking tape. (This will allow for a margin as well as keep the fabric straight while you’re painting it.) Choose a poem or stanza and arrange the letter stencils on the T-shirt square. And don’t forget to save room to credit your poet! Note: The paint will bleed through (as evidenced in the following photos!) — use a paint surface that you don’t mind making permanently colorful!

2. Select your paint colors. I chose to use a different color for each line of the poem to highlight the original line breaks. (P.S. Can you guess the poem, Wheel of Fortune-style, based on the letters placed above?)

3. Use the sponge brush to dab the paint over the stencil one letter at a time. Note: Some of the letters will need to be moved as you go, to ensure even spacing and to account for repeated letters.

4. Continue painting, changing colors as needed, until the square is filled and/or your stanza or poem is complete. (P.S. Yes, it’s Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky.”)

5. Remove all the letters and peel off the masking tape to release the T-shirt square. Let the paint dry completely. (Don’t forget to wash your fingers if you, like me, inadvertently gave yourself a rather colorful but clumpy-looking manicure!)

6. Thread the needle, knot the end and carefully turn the edges under twice. Use a slip stitch to sew the edges in place around the perimeter of the T-shirt square.

7. Tie off the ends, snip your threads, and look online to….

8. …learn to fold (and unfold and fold and unfold–and read–and fold again) your poetic pocket square! So, is that a poem in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?


-Use fabric markers in lieu of paint and stencils to fit more text (and/or more stanzas) on the square.

-If poetry’s not your thing, paint or print a quotation that inspires you!

[ 3 Comments | Posted on March 22nd, 2011 ]