1) use 100% cotton ONLY. Poly blends will not work
2) use spray adhesive to keep your stencil flat on the shirt
3) do not oversaturate your material (causes bleeding)
Half the fun is watching the bleach "develop" the shirt, especially out of a black shirt since black ink often has some other color as a base, usually a rust or pinkish tan. We experimented with khaki, which can give anything from a greenish yellow to orange.
This past week, my friend Eric and I decided to make some shirts to honor our new favorite geekdom, Portal, in particular, the Weighted Companion Cube from the game (see above). This led to a few more fun designs, including the MYST spaceship (a 2-stencil design by Eric) and the Maria-Sama ga Miteru text logo and some character silhouettes.
Here's Trey and I modeling our wolf and horse designs. Each stencil (usually with more simple designs) can be used in both the positive and the negative. These were done with a globby, generic spray bottle and no adhesive on the stencils.
Here's the Companion Cube in all its glory on a black shirt. Its fun to bleach some areas a bit more than others in order to achieve a grungy, airbrushed look.
Here's Eric in his $8 Carhartt coat with MYST rocket ship. He did this stencil in two pieces, one for the body and one for the fins and nose. Carhartt takes more time to bleach than a thin shirt but the end result is worth the patience for sure. I gotta come up with something to put on my own Carhartt...
The Marimite logo. It says "Maria-Sama ga Miteru" which loosely means "Maria is watching Us" or "[the Virgin Mary] Watches Over Us". This was done on a slate blue longsleeve shirt.
My second Marimite shirt with the addition of a stencil of two characters running hand-in-hand along the bottom hem. The characters (Sei and Shimako) were made with the vector from the blue wallpaper in my previous post. I used two sheets of acetate taped together to get the width I needed to get the design to wrap around the side of the shirt so that one character was on the front while the other was on the back. What is amusing about this shirt is that while the fabric is navy blue, it bleached out a magenta color. I was kind of bummed at first but I think it makes a rather striking shirt. :)