Step 1: Modify the shirt to be the shape you desire. Knits don’t fray, so I didn’t need to hem anything. I made this plain white T-shirt (which I wore here previously) into a casual tank. I changed the neckline, cut off the sleeves, and cut off the bottom hem (so all the edges matched and some weren’t hemmed while others were not). I generally used the existing seams and hems as guides to make sure my cuts were straight.
Step 2: I put the cardboard (you can see it’s from one of T’s old diaper boxes if you look closely) inside the shirt to make sure it was slightly stretched/tight and to ensure the paint didn’t bleed through to the back of the shirt. (Note: At this point, I tried on the shirt to make sure I liked the shape before adding permanent paint.)
Step 3: I taped off the top and bottom edges of the chevrons (my two pieces of tape were five inches apart). I approximated how straight the tape was by comparing it to the bottom of the armholes. If I can’t tell it’s crooked, no one will be able to tell the design is crooked either. And heck, maybe I wanted it to be crooked?)
Step 4: I used a pencil to lightly measure the midpoint between the two lines and drew a line down the middle (parallel to the tape) to guide the midpoint of my chevrons as I taped.
Step 5: I began taping the edges of the chevrons (you could really modify to do any shape here). I used a piece of tape as my guide for the white space (where the paint would ultimately be). I wrote below on the piece I used as a guide so you can see my example. I needed to cut the edges of the tape straight so that the left most tip of the chevron was clean. You can see that I did that below.
All ready for some spray fabric paint…
Step 6: Following the instructions on the paint container, paint the white space as desired. You can see my “high quality” work here. Wait for the paint to dry as indicated on the directions of the container. Notice that on several occasions I accidentally painted outside of the painters’ tape. I did not intend to do this, but after it occurred, I turned my lemons into lemonade and decided it would add an artistic element.
Step 7: The Moment Of Truth ~ peel the tape off to marvel at your work of art. Or in my case, admire how much paint bled right through the tape and around the edges. Honestly, I wanted a white shirt with 5 black chevrons, no gray, no splotches, no loose paint (everywhere!). Luck, at least that kind of luck, didn’t find me on my balcony while I painted this. But when I tried on the shirt, despite how vastly the result strayed from the original intent, I really liked it. To an unknowing eye, it might even look intentional, especially because the chevrons did turn out so nice and sharp.
So, here’s to my new shirt that I hope to get a bit of use out of before summer bleeds through fall into winter faster than my black spray paint turned this white shirt gray. Sometimes, a little DIY disaster turns out to be a perfect failure…