In this step by step article we’ll cover airbrushing a very simple skull t shirt design, no drawing skills required. I wrote this geared towards those new to the world of airbrushing t shirts to show just how easy it is to airbrush a pretty cool, simple design onto a t shirt. Written by Don Johnson.
This is the first t shirt I have done in a very long time and it was a blast, took all of about five minute’s tops. I had forgotten how much fun airbrushing t shirt was and I might just have to do a bunch more now.
Anyway I thought I share this with everyone so you could see the use of home made stencils for t shirt airbrushing. This is a very basic skull and cross bones design I quickly drew and cut out of printer paper, I fully expect you to do much better than I did here.
My intention was not to impress you with my artwork but to provide you with a very basic design you could take to the next level.
What I used for this tutorial:
For the main subject of my shirt design I choose a skull and cross bones which I drew out on plain old copier paper and cut out with a hobby knife. You could use a picture from the net and print it out, cut it out, as I have done, for your stencil. This could just as easily be a horse or wolf, I just choose a skull and cross bones for no real reason other than it was easy and fast; the technique of airbrushing the design would be pretty much the same. Using doubled over masking tape I hold my stencil in place on the shirt and we are ready for the fun part, painting.
With our stencil in place I take some black and out line the stencil as you can see in the picture above. Your spray pattern should be half on the stencil and half on the shirt when out lining the stencil. Just a faint outline is all you are looking to accomplish here. Keep your airbrush back several inches and directed sort of into the stencil to help control over spray.
Ok after removing the stencil this is what you should have, faint out-line of your stencil.
Now with the black, outline your stencil as I have done above. Here you want to outline the teeth also so you pretty much have a complete design ready for color. I prefer not to blacken the eyes totally but leave some interesting color variation there just to make it more interesting.
Again staying several inches off the shirt, begin to airbrush your areas that will be in shadow or recessed in your design; you’ll use black for this. You want to airbrush a nice even tone for the most part and keep your paint use to a minimum.
Switching to white, go back and apply white to the areas of the design you want to bring forward in the design, highlight. Areas such as the forehead, middle of the lower jaw and teeth. When applying the white do so in layers, apply a bit of white let it dry and add another layer of white.
To help clean up any over spray, add some color to the back ground of the design. You can do this while waiting for any white you applied to dry.
Once again we’ll go back in with our white and maybe even black to sharpen up our design.
I decide that the back ground is just a bit too boring so using the same background color, I add some basic skulllz just using that one color. You can see it doesn’t take much to really dress up a design; the object here is to have fun after all so go crazy.
There you have it my completed design using a home made, hand cut stencil for the main part of the design on this t shirt. Add a name, heat set the shirt and it’s a done deal. Airbrushing t shirts is fun and I hope you’ll give it a try. In these troubled financial times airbrushing t shirts just might make you some extra money.
Have fun, it’s just paint.