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Detailed DIY M Heart Shirt Tutorial

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Supplies: plain white t shirt
red fabric paint
a small foam brush
an x-acto knife
a cutting mat or surface of some kind
clear shipping tape
a printer
Save the image at THIS link to your computer and print it out full page sized. Lay it down on a cutting mat. Now we need to paint proof this. Using clear plastic shipping tape, begin covering the stencil. Place one strip of tape longways across the top of the paper, and do the same with the next, overlapping it slightly over the first. Continue this way down the stencil until the entire thing is covered in tape. Go ahead and make your tape a touch longer than the paper - this will tape the paper to your mat and make cutting the stencil out easier. Carefully cut out around the M shape first, and then the heart. This will keep everything more stable as you cut. Direct any overcutting towards the heart - we will not be using it to paint around and it can have chunks missing (DO NOT destroy it completely though - we need it to properly align the M inside the stencil on the shirt.) Try to not make any errors or overcuts into the outer paper or the M -  these need to stay paint proof at the edges. To free your stencil from the mat, simply take your knife and cut down the outside edges of the paper, about 1/2 inch in from the edge. This will sever all the tape holding it down and you can peel the tape and tiny paper strips off your mat without worrying about tearing your stencil.
Cut out a shirt-sized rectangle of cardboard and stretch your shirt over it. This will prevent paint from soaking through to the back of your shirt. Place the outer part of your stencil on your shirt where you want the heart to go, shipping-tape-covered-side up, and tape it down at the corners. Place the heart piece exactly inside the the outside stencil. Using either double sided tape or small rolls of normal tape, apply tape to the back (plain paper side) of the M and stick it down exactly inside the M shaped hole in the heart. Now remove the heart piece! By doing it this way we ensure the M is correctly placed inside the heart stencil.
(just a progress pic, my stencils are not lined up properly here.)
Begin painting inside the stencil using a small foam brush and very little paint. The heavier fabric paint is, the more likely it is to crack, and remember, we're trying to duplicate a screen printed design. Bearing this in mind, make your paint coat light and ensure it soaks into your fabric. Paint around the outside edges of your heart and M first. Unfortunately, the outer stencil we're using is not stuck down at the edges - so there are 2 keys to getting crisp edges to your design and not having paint seep under the edges of your stencil. First, hold your outer edges taught as you paint over them. Secondly (and this applies to the M stencil as well), be sure to ONLY paint by sponging up and down - never stroke the paint on (this is why we're using a sponge brush). Once you've painted all the way around the edges of your stencils, begin filling in the rest of the heart using a similar technique.
It's important to pull off your stencils while the paint is still at least somewhat wet. The last thing we want is red paint in places that should be white, so go scrub the red paint off your fingertips before removing the stencils. Start be removing the outside stencil, which should be fairly easy. Peel off the tape at the edges and you're good to go. The M will be a little more difficult. Somehow you've got to peel it off without getting any red paint inside the outline. There's no real tutorial on a good way to do this. Just be verrrrry careful.
And Ta-Daa :-)


You have your very own M heart shirt. Follow the directions on your bottle of fabric paint re:washing and drying.



(Little legal disclaimer thing: as of right now, the only way to acquire a real M heart shirt is in person at a show. For many of us, for reasons of time, money, or simply being in the wrong country, continent, or even the wrong hemisphere, this is unfeasible. If and when the M heart shirts are put on the mikasounds webstore, and therefore available to everyone, I respectfully and understandingly bow to the mods if they feel this post should be taken down. I would have been more than happy to buy a shirt, but alas, that was not even kind of possible. I cry american tears XD.)


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