Stenciling | A (fictitious college) shirt

For reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me, my son decided he wanted a Wisconsin State University shirt for Christmas this year … which posed a bit of a problem because, as those of you who live in this neck of the Midwestern woods know, there is no such school as Wisconsin State.

fabric painted shirt
Apparently there is, or was at some time, a movement afoot to rename UW-Milwaukee Wisconsin State. I don’t think it’s gained much traction, but my son, a UW-Milwaukee student, is still holding out hope.

freezer paper stencil
Anyhoo, since I couldn’t go to the college bookstore and buy a Wisconsin State shirt, I had to make a stencil and create my own. I started by trimming a piece of freezer paper to 8 1/2 by 14 inches, then feeding it through my computer printer and printing the words “Wisconsin State” (in Rockingham Condensed) on the flat/non-shiny side.

stenciling a shirt
I weeded out all the letters with an Xacto knife.

stenciling on fabric
I saved the inside of the O and the A, but the rest of the letters were waste.

stenciling on fabric
(It’s times like this when I wish I had one of those fancy die cutting machines … )

stenciling on fabric
Once I had the letters trimmed, I positioned the stencil.

stenciling a shirt
Then I ironed it onto the shirt.

stenciling a shirt
The shiny side of the freezer paper adhered to the fabric.

textile medium and acrylic craft paint
I made my own fabric paint out of one part of textile medium and two parts of acrylic craft paint.

fabric paiint
Then I pounced the paint on with a stencil brush.

fabric paint
I tried not to go too heavy with the paint because the thicker the paint, the more likely it is to crack.

fabric paint
Plus, I wanted the shirt to have a vintage look, to hint at Wisconsin State’s long and storied history …

freezer paper stencil
Once I had the letters all painted, I peeled up the stencil.

freezer paper stencil

Then I just had to flip the shirt inside out and iron it to heatset the paint.

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