DIY Boy’s Reverse Stencil T-Shirt (I’d Flex But I Like This Shirt)

DIY Boy's Reverse Stencil T-Shirt (I'd Flex But...)

I’m so excited to be part of the 2014-2015 Silhouette Design team and although our posts don’t officially start for a few weeks, I couldn’t wait to get started. And oh how I love a good boy project! It’s a bit harder to come up with “cool” boy projects than it is girly ones but my son gets so excited when I make something for him. As you can see, he was very proud to rock his new t-shirt for a few pictures. I love the grungy look reverse stenciling and a sea sponge creates

Want to make one? Here’s what you’ll need:

Or you could get the Silhouette Fabric Ink Starter Kit (which is what I did). I always start by measuring the area that I want the text/design to cover on the shirt and then create it to those specifications. The font I used for “Flex” is Calendar Note TFB.

I'd Flex But I Like This Shirt

Then I cut the stencil vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo. I posted this sneak peak on Instagram over the past weekend.

DIY Boy's Reverse Stencil T-Shirt (I'd Flex But...)

First, put some cardboard in between the layers of your tee. I like to put a sheet of wax paper in there too so the ink on the tee doesn’t stick to the cardboard.

Next, use the hook to weed out all the vinyl areas you don’t need, in this case you want to keep the letters themselves. (Except for with the flex font. See below pic.). Then put the transfer tape over the remaining vinyl and use a scraper to make sure it sticks well. Then carefully lift it up and apply it to the shirt. Use the scraper again to press down and get the vinyl to adhere to the tee. Carefully peeled off the transfer tape (I often find I still have to “help” some of the vinyl stay on the tee and not on the transfer tape).

After all your vinyl is as it should be, lightly apply the fabric ink with a sea sponge. Go over areas you want darker again (like the edges of the text). I also made some random dabs on the edges to add to the “grungy” style.

DIY Boy's Reverse Stencil T-Shirt (I'd Flex But...)

I give it about 15-20 minutes to start to dry and then carefully go to work using the hook to peel off the vinyl.

DIY Boy's Reverse Stencil T-Shirt (I'd Flex But...)

Allow to dry at least 4 hours and then heat set with a dry iron for several minutes. I put a pressing cloth between the inked tee and the iron. Then it’s done! Put it on your little dude and snap some pics.

DIY Boy's Reverse Stencil T-Shirt (I'd Flex But...)

Obligatory flexing photo given the phrase on the t-shirt…

DIY Boy's Reverse Stencil T-Shirt (I'd Flex But...)

And then he’s had enough of this picture business and it’s right back to playing cornhole with friends…

DIY Boy's Reverse Stencil T-Shirt (I'd Flex But...)

P.S. My son promptly went to play in the dirt in his new tee shirt after these pictures were taken so I had to wash it later the same day I painted it (ordinarily I like to wait 72 hours). The fabric ink washes great! It’s soft and really gives a professional “screen printing” effect more than regular fabric paint does. I LOVE it and plan to stock up on all the colors ASAP for making apparel. :)

In the Fabric Ink Starter Kit, there was a great chart for mixing fabric ink which gives you so many color options!

via Silhouette

via Silhouette

Happy crafting!

Linking up on Tatertots & Jello Link Party Palooza


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About By Dawn Nicole

Dawn is the DIY & Lifestyle blogger/Graphic Designer behind By Dawn Nicole. She is a mom of 3 who believes in "throwing kindness around like confetti". While Dawn loves all things creative, she has a passion for hand-lettered typography. A clean-eating foodie who loves cooking as much as a a good long outdoor run, she believes in balance and rarely lets a day go by without dark chocolate and over-caffeinating. She is also a contributor to the Silhouette Blog, Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke, and The Pinning Mama .


  1. This is awesome! Such a creative look and you have me wanting to get some fabric ink. Too cool.

  2. Is it possible to do this without a silhouette?

  3. Tammi Brown says:

    So super cute! I have two grandsons & may just give this a try. Thanks for sharing the idea!

    • Hi Tammi! Thank you! And, yes, I’ve used this method with sticker letters (the vinyl kind that you can buy near “for sale” signs at places like Walmart or Hobby Lobby) and it works just as well! :) Have a great week! -Dawn

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