Painting on fabric is done with a special acrylic paint that sets in the heat (by ironing or in an oven at 302F). You can also make your own fabric paint by mixing acrylic paint with a mixer. Apply the paint with a brush or stencil brush. The fabric should have been prewashed to remove the sizing/starch that might make the paint 'slip'. Avoid even slightly fluffy fabrics when using a paintbrush, it makes the task harder.
To paint a t-shirt (what fun it is to make your own clothes)...
Click to enlarge !
you must iron the garment well and lay it out flat.
Slip a thin piece of card inside to stop the paint from staining the back of the t-shirt.
Recommendation : it being well nigh impossible to get rid of paint stains on clothes, work very carefully and don't hesitate to cover up the surfaces not meant to be painted to protect them as you're working. Paints are now available which are suitable for various materials and which can be washed off with water, (as long as they haven't yet been fixed). Unfortunately, you can't use paintbrushes as we're doing here.
If working with stencils, like in the case above, with a stencil that's not self-sticking, fix it with a temporary adhesive spray (non-staining). Work with a stencil brush and dab the excess paint onto a rag. In this you can apply different colors to create depth and light effects.
Without a stencil, when painting a motif, the best is to use a printer, that way you get to choose the size.
If the t-shirt is white or light-colored, slide the printed image inside the t-shirt to see the outline of the design.
For a darker-colored t-shirt, the easiest thing, if the drawing permits it, is to cut it out, fix it on the shirt with tape and trace round it with tailor's chalk or a gray pencil.
Painting words or letters You can buy stencils with the entire alphabet in stylized letters. However, for a wider choice (although only good for light-colored materials) there's nothing like using a word processor which offers you a choice of letter styles and sizes.
This t-shirt was painted by centering the text and painting by brush onto the outline, visible underneath the t-shirt. The butterflies were painted by stencil.
To fix the colors before their first washing, suffice to use an iron : refer to the paint manufacturer's recommendations on this, there being many different products.