Painter’s Tape Stenciled Tshirt: FamilyFun Test Drive

What do you do with your kids’ T-shirts that have impossible stains? Throw them out? Turn them into rags? I have a way better idea for you—paint them! I know it seems like a stenciled T-shirt is a pain-in-the-you-know-what, but today’s FamilyFun Test Drive proves otherwise. I swear. And you know what? This project is so much fun (and easy) to do, that you don’t even have to save it for a stained tee.

When I saw this cute shirt in the June/July issue of Family Fun, I was excited to try it. It uses 2 things that I have a ton of—paint and tape. Because I know my son and his fashion preferences (yes, a 4-year-old has fashion preferences), I knew that he wouldn’t necessarily get excited about an abstract pattern. So I taped-out this little character, what we are calling a Robot Bunny. Oliver’s color of choice these days is green, so we went with that (and the green tape was just an added bonus). It’s best to use fabric paint because it stays soft and washes well. You can buy the Tulip brand at

First I put a piece of cardboard inside the T-shirt to avoid any bleed-through. I used a thin painter’s tape and taped off the body of the Robot Bunny. I really just eyeballed the design and pressed down really hard on the inside edges of the tape.

Then, with a sponge brush, I let Oliver dab on the paint. (Dab is the key technique here; you don’t want to brush or else you might find yourself with some blurred lines.) Of course the waiting to peel the tape was the hardest part! We waited about 2 hours (a bit shy of the bottle’s instructions but things dry faster in the summer!) and then pulled the tape!

Now Oliver just needs to practice is Robotic Bunny Hop moves.

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