HOME Stencil: 3 Design Tips for Printing a Shirt

HOME Stencil: 3 Design Tips for Printing a Shirt

'DESIGNING with a stencil  is when you take it farther than just printing a design'. 

Here are 3 Design Tips that can change your work:

Starting with a solid color linen shirt, here are 3 aspects of printing that can up your game. Remove the buttons. 95% of the time, the updated shirt will be better with different buttons. Next, choose 1 stencil: On this sage green linen shirt, I am working with the Home Stencil, shown above.

#1 Mix your Colors-…just like cooking, gardening or anything else-we only get better as you do more of it, so if you are feeling anxious, just start!  In this case, I wanted a dark brown, however, mixing in 1-2 other colors will give a richer version of brown. Here are the 3 colors mixed to give some depth and shine to the printed shirt. The Jacquard paint colors used= brown, black and pewter (a metallic). A color wheel is a great tool that can also help develop your eye for mixing colors.

 My Printing on Fabric and Drawing on Fabric videos are steaming  through my website with lots of ideas and creative ways to grow your designing.

 Printing the top pocket edge with one line of the house shapes (and not putting them all over the shirt), makes the surface design stronger and more integrated with the garment. The back of the neck can be a focal point. I like the look of adding 1 of the house shapes there.


 #2 WORK each Image you Print- Give yourself the challenge to use image you print in several ways: print smaller pieces of the bigger design for variety….and on a garment, look for places you can marry the structural shapes in the garment with part of the stencil. Here is an example of that: See how the teepee shape was used to print the collar tips? That idea was repeated to print the points at the bottom of the slits at the hem too..... SO cool eh?! 


3. Create contrast: Leaving open areas (with no printing) can add interest to the design of the printed piece. Ask: IS there one shape in the stencil that could be repeated as the overall design element? ( as in the case of the smallest silhouettes of the houses printed in rows on the top of the shirt front and the yoke area on the back. With this stencil, the vertical row of houses could be fun up the front tab of a shirt with stitching and a collection of buttons to play out the theme.

Consider how the garment will be worn: If you are going to pop a collar or roll up the sleeves…that can influence where you put design elements. 

These are some of the ways to approach stenciling that can make for a successful design outcome. When designing a stencil, I always include various sizes from simple to more complex shapes. This means more options to work when you print!

 Have fun with the Home Stencil and your printing process!                           


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i have a white men’s shirt that’s been altered into a tunic. when i wear it, i’m told i look like a denyist! time to transform the look.


Does the paint that you apply leave garment stiff? And does the markers you use for drawing wash out of garment?


Seeing you cleaning and closing your studio gave my heart a lurch. I was glad to read that you’re not going away online, too. I find your work so inspiring. This week I wrote and drew on a dress I’m making – a first for me. Thank you.

HG Fuller

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