Superhero T-shirt tutorial.


If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, then it will come as know surprise to hear that my boys love superheroes right now.  I showed you Luke’s new Spiderman shirt, knowing full well that I would have to make one for Levi too, but Ironman for him.  So here it is!  I’m glad I took the photo when I did, because it is already stained on the white background.  The result of boyish play.  Let me take you through the steps that I took to make these, including a freezer paper stencil tutorial.

Materials needed:
  • t-shirt
  • scrap of white knit fabric, about 9″x 8″ square
  • fabric paints
  • fabric paint brush
  • freezer paper
  • sheet of plain old paper
  • cutting mat and exacto knife
  • hot iron (no steam)
  • your sewing machine
  • a stretch needle or ballpoint needle is very helpful when sewing with knits!
  • an image of a superhero that will fit into your scrap square (I find them online and print them out)

Step One:  Take the image that you have printed out and trace it onto the dull side of a piece of freezer paper.  Doesn’t have to be perfect, as you can see.  I actually traced this image right from my computer screen onto a piece of paper.  I could have traced it right onto the freezer paper, but I wanted to keep an original of the image to use again. UPDATE: Guess what I have learned?  You can reuse your freezer paper stencil if you are careful not to tear it when you peel it off at the end of the process!  This will be a huge time saver!

Step Two: On a cutting mat, use your exacto knife to cut out the parts of the image that you want to be painted on the shirt.  Make sure to keep the smaller pieces that you will need to complete the picture, as shown in the bottom photo. I apologize for the bad lighting in these photos, it was a rainy day when I cut  it out.

Step Three:  Place the stencil where you want it on the shirt.  For the Superhero shirt you will place it in the middle of your white knit fabric square.  With your iron on medium or high setting (no steam) iron the stencil, shiny side down, onto your fabric.

Step Four: Time to paint!  Slip a sheet of paper under your fabric because the paint may bleed through.  Fill in the stencil with the fabric paint color of your choice.

Here is where I made a HUGE mistake.  I used black instead of red, and Iron Man had to be red.  The first layer of paint always tends to soak into the fabric, so a second coat is always needed, which saved me this time.  Allow adequate drying time in between coats.  I did the second coat using red paint, and then added a third coat, in red again.  I think it actually turned out looking really cool!


*One tip on the painting: The second and third coat will not require nearly as much paint as the first coat did.

Step Five: Carefully peel the freezer paper from the material.  Turn the painted material over and iron the back side of it.  This kind of seals the paint and helps it stay looking great wash after wash.

Step Six: Pin the picture to the front of your t-shirt, making sure to center it well.  Sew all the way around the edges of the square with a zig zag stitch.


Now take some photos and don’t forget to add them to 

The Southern Institute flickr pool!



  1. Great tutorial thanks, love the artwork on the superhearo

  2. Kirsty says:

    Very cute! A time-saving step is to cut your stencil out using a “Silhouette Cameo” or “Cricut” onto your Reynold’s Freezer Paper. Then, instead of ironing it onto the blank white fabric, you can iron the Freezer Paper onto your shirt. If your shirt is a darker color, you’ll have to paint a lighter color 1st.

    • Yes, for those who have one of those machines that’s definitely a time saver! Thanks for mentioning that. :)


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