After doing some research I decided on stenciling these shirts. I started with this awesome dinosaur shirt!
First I found a simple image of a dinosaur and printed it off twice. Believe me! Simple is best! (you'll see what I mean at the end) I used a combination of scissors and an exacto knife to cut the dino-body from one print-out, and the plates from another.
Then I put a piece of cardboard inside the shirt so the paint wouldn't bleed through and painted the body of the dino.
I used the cheapest acrylic paint out there, 50cents at walmart, and a wide, stiff brush. Brush from the outside in to help keep your lines crisp.
Carefully peel off the paper and let the paint dry.
Then lay the second page down, lining up the painted body as carefully as you can.
Then I painted the plates yellow the same way I did the red body.
Once the paint was all dry I free-hand added the eyes and mouth based on the picture.
I also did a spaceship blasting off from earth to the stars. I found a very, very basic clip-art picture of each element and added them together, layering the same as with the dinosaur.
I started with a white spaceship, and switched to red.
This was a favorite! I used an exacto-knife to cut out the words. I used a basic glue stick to put the letters D-I-R-T on to keep the lines crisp. Then I used a wide-stiff brush again to do the stenciled letters and then a swipe over 'Dirt'. (ok, so several swipes to make it look like that...) Before the glue or paint had a chance to dry completely I picked the letters off with a toothpick and then flicked paint all over the shirt to look like splatters of dirt.
And the hardest one! Mr. A is in to Robin Hood right now and this was his request... I found the wanted poster from the Disney movie and printed it three times. I then took a highlighter and chose which section to cut from each page, making sure that all parts were cut, and that two parts were never cut next to each other (for example, his shoes and legs were cut from different pages). Then I followed the same pattern as before, layering one after another.
I did end up fixing the red numbers under 'Reward' and making them more black then red.
Not pictured is the yellow shirt I did. I found an image of a fun font of the alphabet which I cut out with the exacto-knife, then pained each letter in one of four colors, totally randomly, no particular pattern. I used the glue-stick again to get better edges.
So two things I learned.
Probably most importantly, Let the paint dry! this sounds like and obvious one, but I mean like, overnight, or 24 hours, let it dry before you wash! These shirts have washed several times since and they have had no problems, they still look awesome! BUT. I had to repaint some of the rocket shirt because I washed it too soon and the paint ended up coming off a bit and sticking in other places. So, give the plenty of time to dry!
Two, this is the second time recently I've stenciled and I have read that you can use freezer paper and iron it on to achieve sharp edges. However, every time I have gone to get some it hasn't been available or is so expensive I just can't bring myself to get it. So, if that's something you have, give it a try and let me know how it goes!
UPDATE: Keep the paint thin, like, not too many stacked layers. The dinosaur shirt I painted the plates too thick, and even after SEVERAL washes, they still stick to each other sometimes. They aren't coming off or anything, they just stick.