The second part of the tutorial: How to paint using a stencil. (Part 1)

There are different ways to paint using a stencil, depending on the surface you want to print we are going to need a type of ink or another.

Here I list a few:

  • Spray paint: typically used in walls, but could also work in fabric.
  • Fabric paint: well the name says it all. This is what we are going to use.
  • Acrylic paint: if you want to paint over wood, spray would work too.

My experience told me that fabric paint is the one that works best with… yeah, fabric, what a surprise!

And you can also use a brush or a sponge to spread the paint. I have found that the brush works best for me with fabrics.

So… let’s get started.

What we'll be creating

© VforViu 2016

This is the shirt I painted when documenting this tutorial.


  • Stencil
  • Some newspaper
  • Tape
  • Brush
  • Fabric paint
  • Shirt



Step 1

Placing the design

First take some newspaper pages and put it inside your shirt. Otherwise, when you paint it, ink will stain the other side of the shirt. Remove any wrinkles in the fabric.

Now we have to decide where to place our design. In this case I want to print a shirt, so the placement will be in the center of the chest.

Take some tape and stick the stencil to the shirt.

Step 2

Painting the first colour

For the lucky ones that decided to paint the design with one color, this is going to be easy. Just take the fabric paint and with the brush start giving little touches to the stencil holes.

Remember not to charge your brush too much or you’ll have a paint excess. Do not be afraid to get your hands painted, it is better to use your fingernails to press the sides of the stencil as you paint, the stencil always has to be in contact with the fabric. That way, ink won’t come down the stencil and our design will have the sharpest edges in the hood. If you do not press enough, the final result will have woobly edges.

Let dry and remove the stencil (this is always my favorite part).

Step 3

Color registration

Now we need to paint the second color. So we take the second stencil and place it over the shirt. I usually do this without measuring anything, but a good stenciler would have placed some tape in the corners of the first color, forming a square angle, so that when we put the second stencil, we can align it to that angle.

Once we have it placed, tape it and repeat the process of the first color.

If you are using a translucent paint, you will see that our design is getting a nice third color by the two inks overlapping. In my case, the red ink was an opaque paint, I had to paint it first so I could get the overlap effect when adding the green translucent paint.

Now we let the ink dry and remove the stencil.

In this stage, you can also paint some details with the brush, I decided to add some brush touches to mark the floor. You may think I messed it up because they look like stains, but stahp it. It is the floor people, it is the floor.

Step 4

Rocking our new design

Well, now we have a fully customized shirt ready to rock the world. I have no proper advice here, just wear it with pride, YOU MADE THAT THING.

What about the painting part, pals? How did you manage to do it? Was this tutorial useful at all?

I’d love to know your thoughts on it in the comments! And if you have any questions, just feel free to ask them 🙂


Never miss a post, subscribe!


Author Viu

I'm a children's illustrator and graphic designer from Barcelona. I like music and hiking.

More posts by Viu

Leave a Reply