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Embellishment: A Short Discussion, Part I


How many different ways can you embellish a single shirt?

One simple solution is paint. There are all sorts of resources for stencil work, from books to the endless pages given you by a simple Google search. Furthermore, many pictures can be converted into a stencil via computer (here’s a tutorial for Photoshop and another for the free program GIMP). Another option: freehand.


This is the first shirt I painted freehand, as a test project. The paint is a cheap 99 cent bottle of acrylic mixed about 50:50 with “textile medium”- both of which should be readily available at your local craft store. I slathered it on thick and then totally and completely ignored the instructions and threw it into the washer and dryer, repeatedly, without heat setting it. That’s where the test part comes in.

After repeated wear and laundering the shirt has hardly cracked. The worst damage is on the m:

And the g:

Mzungu, for those who did not follow my summer adventures, is a Swahili word which refers to white people.

Thus reassured I have marched forward with the whole “hand-painted shirt” idea. Predictably, my first serious piece is a body part:

Still More Anatomical Hearts
Anatomical Heart, In Progress

Hey. I know what I like.

Next up: applique.

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