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Making a Stencil for T-Shirts

Up to 1 hour


Pre-K – 12+

What Will You Learn?

Learn how to make an easy stencil by hand that can be used to decorate Maker Camp t-shirts.

From Family Maker Camp 2020

Watch the first half of this video to learn how to prepare your stencil!

Prepare your Stencil

Step 1

Start by printing your stencil image onto copy paper or cardstock. A template of our mascot, Makey, is easy to start with.

Step 2

You may want to consider glueing your paper stencil to a heavier weight material such as a manilla folder or cardboard from a box of crackers or cereal. To make a water-proof stencil, you can tape your paper stencil to craft vinyl, contact paper, freezer paper or a thin flexible kitchen cutting sheet. A heavyweight or waterproof stencil will be easier to use.

Cut your Stencil

Step 3

Using either .sharp scissors or a craft knife, carefully remove the black portions of the stencil. The white portions will be the “mask”, stopping paint or marker from going through to the shirt. Be careful around the “bridges” of the stencil. These connect the “islands” to one another. Without them, the stencil will fall apart when you apply it to the shirt 

Step 3

If you accidentally make a mistake and cut the wrong area, use a bit of masking tape to repair the damage.

If you have a digital craft cutter like a Cricut Maker or Silhouette Cameo, you can simply cut the stencil using the machine. You can download an SVG at

What's Next?

Continue on to the next project, Using Your Stencil for T-Shirts​ for ways to use your stencil. Or check out The Big Book of Maker Camp Projects by Maker Camp Coordinator, to create color-changing, spin art, bleached, or soil-painted Maker Camp t-shirts.

Maker Camp Sandy June 23, 2021
Sandy Roberts, has been a certified STEM educator for over 13 years. She shares her love of science, engineering, technology, and maker activities through her business, Kaleidoscope Enrichment, as the 2022 Maker Camp Community Manager, and as the author of The Big Book of Maker Camp Projects. As a scientist, a teacher, and a mom, she loves to learn with her students as they create and innovate. Read more about Maker Camp: Maker Camp Should Be a Part of Your Summer This Year Kaleidoscope Maker Camp: All STEM & Smiles My talk at World Maker Faire 2017, Six Years of Maker Camp: Tips and Reflections. Check out my playlist of activities from last year's Family Maker Camp! Find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.