T Shirt Holiday Design

by  Rene Remero

Rene is one of the most talented t shirt artist I know of and I thank him for letting me publish this on howtoairbrush.com.

Supplies used- Createx airbrush colors, Paasche VL double action airbrush, t shirt board, spray glitter

 T Shirt Holiday Design
t shirt design


Here is a fun design for the holidays, elf lovers, for fun, or for any other occasion, first I sketch the design onto the fabric with a charcoal pencil.


 T Shirt Holiday Design
t shirt design 2


 T Shirt Holiday Design
t shirt design out lined

Next I begin by painting the skin tone on the little elves……and outlining the letters of the name with red.


 T Shirt Holiday Design
adding color


 T Shirt Holiday Design

I proceed to fill in the letters and paint the clothes of the elves, I also add lime green to them.



 T Shirt Holiday Design
adding background
 T Shirt Holiday Design
adding background

Now is time for some swirls in the background with fluorescent raspberry, and baby blue for the stars and dots.


 T Shirt Holiday Design
completed t shirt design


There you go pretty simple and fast holiday t shirt design. Finally I outline all the elements on the design with black and white, and finish the whole thing with golden glitter.

Making Airbrush T Shirt Stencils

Making airbrush t shirt stencil tutorial covers materials used to make your own airbrush t shirt stencils and the techniques to go about making them.

Airbrushing T Shirts is fun and can be very profitable as a hobby or a full time job. To make stencils for airbrush t shirts where you will be using the stencil repeatedly the best material to use is pennant felt stenciling material. Written by Don Johnson brought to you by Airbrush Technique Magazine

Where using card board, plastic, x-ray film as stencil material can get pretty messy as they will not absorb the excess paint pennant felt will. A huge advantage when using a stencil for airbrushing t shirts as you don’t have to worry about the excess paint getting on your t shirt.

stencil material
stencil material

Pennant felt is sold in rolls by the yard and is about two dollars a yard at the time I wrote this. That is a fairly cheap for stencil material that you can use over and over and not have worry about cleaning. When your stencil gets to much paint on it you just toss it and make another.

Above you can see some of the t shirt stencils I have used cut out of pennant felt, a horse, clouds, circle. On the right are some temp tattoo stencils I cut out of pennant felt, pennant felt works great for that application also.


thin material

Pennant felt is a felt like thin material that is very easy to cut and is flexible.


cloud stencil

Here you can see the cloud stencil I cut out of pennit felt.


tools to cut stencils

Pennant felt can be cut easily with a hobby knife or stencil burner.


spray adhesive

Once you have your pennant felt stencil cut it can be held in place on the t shirt with repositionable spray adhesive.Be sure to allow the spray adhesive to dry a little before sticking it on the shirt for best results.You can purchase pennant felt at some craft stores locally, if that is not possible here are two other outlets that sell pennant felt.The Felt People where you can order On-Line or Troy Corporation at 800-888-2400 Hope you found this helpful. Have fun, it’s just paint.

Making T Shirt Boards

Making T Shirt Boards

There are many ways of making T Shirt boards in this tutorial I’ll show the way I’ve found worked best for me when I owned a T Shirt shop. Don Johnson..airbrushgallery.com

What is a T Shirt board?
For those of you who don’t know a T Shirt board is inserted into the garment you intent to airbrush to separate the front from the back of the garment. It wouldn’t do to have the paint you apply to the front of a shirt bleed thru to the back with the board in between the front and back this will not happen. The T Shirt board also acts as a foundation from which to hang the garment so you can stand it on an easel while airbrushing. And lastly it provides you with a way of gently pulling the garment tight to provide a nice flat, wrinkle free surface to paint on. The same type of boards can be made to use in pant legs, shirt shelves also while airbrush designs on these parts of a garment.

What do you make shirt boards out of?
Just about any rigid thin material will work just fine as a shirt board, most commonly used is card board, hard board or particle board. A sheet 3/16 In. x 4 Ft. x 8 Ft. service tempered hardboard at Home Depot retails for about $10.00 and you should be able to get four to eight boards out of it depending of course on the size you make them.

What size should you make the shirt boards?
You will find that having several different size boards for different size shirts, shelves or paint legs is very handy. The board should fit snuggly into the garment but should not stretch the garment to much beyond the natural fall of the garment. The best way is to actually measure the garments is side to side and top to bottom to come up with the best dimensions for your boards.
Some artist like their boards to be smaller than the top to bottom measurement so you fold the tail of the shirt under the bottom of the board, others prefer the boards to be slightly bigger that the shirt. It’s personal preference and will require some experimenting on your part to find what is most comfortable for you.

Below is an example of how I go about making shirt boards.


t shirt board 1
t shirt board 2

I like to use hard board or particle board which can be purchased at Home Depot, Lowes type stores in the lumber section. You can generally purchase full sheets measuring eight foot by four foot or half or quarter sheets. This board measures about three sixteenths inch thick or about the same thickness as most card board if you have a hard time picturing three sixteenths of an inch.


tools for making t shirt boards

After you have measured your shirts side to side, top to bottom simply use those measurements to cut your particle board to size using a jig saw. To keep your garment from snagging on the corners when you are inserting or taking the board out of your garment it’s best to round the corners off. For this I simple laid a roll of masking tape in each corner tracing the circumference of the roll of tape to get nice rounded corners. Again use a jig saw to cut your corners and hit it quickly with some medium grit sand paper.


t shirt

Pictured here you see the T Shirt compared to the board I cut for it, notice it is not very much wider than the shirt itself. If you make the board to wide and stretch the shirt to much it will of course result in finished art work that is a bit distorted.


t shirt board

Here you can see my shirt board is longer than my shirt which is how I prefer to make my boards. With the shirt on an easel paint will collect on the shelf of the easel as you airbrush if the board is shorter than the shirt requiring you to fold the shirt tail under the shirt board at the bottom chances of getting that paint sitting on the shelf on the shirt is pretty much a given. To solve this potential problem I make my boards longer than the shirt so no part of the shirt will touch the shelf of the easel.
Taping the shelves of the shirt around the back side of the shirt board will ensure they stay out of your way while you are airbrushing the design.


t shirt boards 6

Pictured here is a T Shirt board I cut for a children’s shirt you can see how much smaller it is compared to the adult T Shirt board behind it. I hope this gives you some ideas on making your own shirt boards.

Jordan On Black T Shirt

by Dainon Woudstra


 Jordan On Black T Shirt
portrait one

Michael Jordan This design begins with yellow chalk outlines that have been blown out with an airbrush at 25psi. The design needs no borders but I would like the sleeves to be kept black. There for, masking off the seam in the sleeves is a good idea.


 Jordan On Black T Shirt
portrait two


 Jordan On Black T Shirt
portrait three


The main focus in the portrait is Jordan’s face. I’ve begun with the highlight areas of his face and use the overspray to cover some of the darker areas. Detail is important in this stage of the white process so keep it clean. I’ve also misted in the back of his head and his hand.



 Jordan On Black T Shirt
portrait 4

The background to the left is going to be bright white. Notice that I’ve filled it in white but it isn’t all that bright. An even spray of white is what is important because this area needs another layer after the black stage to brighten it.


 Jordan On Black T Shirt
portrait 5

Now that the white is laid out, I move into black. I started this stage with the left outline of his face. I then cut out his body area from his chin and background. Then the head is defined and the area between his hand and face.


 Jordan On Black T Shirt
portrait 6
 Jordan On Black T Shirt
portrait 7

Now that I can see the shapes of his face and hand, adding in his features is next. I’ve sprayed in the eyes and shaded his face. Since Michael Jordan has dark skin, the shading of the black will be darker.


 Jordan On Black T Shirt
portrait 8

I’ve now moved on to his hand and rings. The rings were mostly white before and they need to have more definition so painting them in mostly black will allow the white to be much brighter in the final stages.



 Jordan On Black T Shirt
portrait 9

Now I’ve balanced the design with black and white until he has the right contrast. Notice the blotchy areas on the right side of the face. This is a spaying technique to allow the portrait to have more life. It is created by using light amounts of white, followed by light amounts of black and repeated until the desired tone is met.


 Jordan On Black T Shirt
portrait 10
 Jordan On Black T Shirt
portrait 11


The close up above shows the edge of the face and the detail in the eyes. Keep in mind this is without any masking. A lot of times, masking will leave the image raw and unreal.

Heat Setting Airbrush T Shirts

Heat Setting Airbrush T Shirts

Heat setting airbrush T Shirts tutorial covers techniques used to hopefully keep your artwork from fading when the t shirt is washed. If you use Createx Wicked Colors, Aqua Flow, ETAC or Medea Textile paint you should find this helpful. The most commonly used airbrush paint for airbrushing T Shirts all need to be heat to make the color fast so it will not wash out or fade. Heat set fabric for permanence by one of the following methods with a house hold iron or heat press for best results. Written by Don Johnson Airbrush Artist

Hix heat press

Pictured above is a Hix T Shirt Heat Press which is commonly used in commercial airbrush t shirt shops to heat set their t shirt designs. At a cost of about $850.00 for a 15 inch by 15 inch press it puts it out of the budget for most airbrushing hobbyists.



airbrush t shirt

For the t shirt airbrushing hobbyists or small commercial t shirt airbrushing operation a more cost effective method for heat setting their t shirt designs is using a house hold iron. To cover the design while heat setting Parchment paper can be purchased from most grocery stores very inexpensively. What you will need than is a house hold iron, parchment paper and a clean flat surface to heat set your t shirt design with this method. Pictured above is a t shirt design I airbrushed and the equipment, supplies I will use to heat set the design. The elephant design t shirt I airbrushed a few months ago, hasn’t faded thru dozens of washing.


heat setting with iron

To heat set your t shirt design place the t shirt on a clean flat surface with no wrinkles in the shirt place the parchment paper over your design. Iron the shirt for two minutes using the highest setting on the iron (300 degrees is suggested) keeping the iron moving all the time.

Heat Setting Airbrush T Shirts Video

If you are airbrushing T Shirts from home and don’t own a heat press here is a way to heat set your shirts.  Please read the tech sheet for the paint you are using as to what they recommend. This is the hard way to heat set your artwork but it will work if done correctly. I’ve never seen the clothes dry heat setting technique work but you can give it a try.


heat setting t shirts

For Createx Paint:

Fabric– Including 100% cotton, 50/50 blends, denim, sweatshirts, and most natural fibers.
1) For best results, wash item first to remove sizing and mill finishes.
2) Airbrush the design onto fabric avoiding thick buildup of paint and excessive paint layering.
3) Allow colors to dry, or a heat gun may be used to accelerate drying time. Drying time varies depending on application.
4) Heat set fabric for permanence by one of the following methods: a) Iron for 2 minutes at 300º F use a protective cloth, keep iron moving. b) Turn item inside out and put in clothes dryer for 40 minutes at highest heat.

Easy T Shirt Design Transfer

Easy t shirt design transfer tutorial covers another way to transfer your design onto a T Shirt for airbrushing. Written by Brad De La Torre sponsored by Airbrush Technique Magazine.

Quick, simple way to transfer a design onto a t shirt for airbrushing is simply tracing the design. Here is a very easy way to transfer a T Shirt design onto your T Shirt for airbrushing. This of course is just one of many ways to accomplish transferring a design that I hope you find helpful.


design to be airbrushed

1. Print out the image to the size you would like it to appear on the shirt.


place design under the shirt

2. Place the image inside of the shirt in the proper position for painting.


start airbrushing

3. Fill in the colors that you would like to use.


continue airbrushing the design

4. Start outlining the colors.


Finish adding your color, heat set and you are done. Pretty easy stuff making it possible for just about anyone to airbrush a simple t shirt design using this airbrush technique.

Bjork T Shirt Design

I began this shirt with yellow chalk outlines. After laying out the portrait, I masked off the sleeve right side. The photo of Bjork was in black and white on a white background. I wanted this portrait to feel like it was painted on a white background. by Dainon Woudstra
Choosing to start with the nose and upper lip, I applied a mixture of Createx White (90%), Createx Extender (7%) and water (3%). I like the white to have a layering characteristic. This will allow repeated applications to build different shades.

start airbrushing bright areas

Step #2 
The brightest areas to work with are the nose and upper lip. I started with them because they will need constant attention from the white. It is best to get this process started now. In addition to this, it helps me know how bright or not too bright other areas of her face should be. I’ve expanded the white to fill in her face up to and along the hairline. I like to use as much of the black on the shirt as possible. Plus, painting in hair with white just to paint it out with black doesn’t look the same.


airbrushing with white
airbrushing face
airbrushing face

I try to keep the shading of her face at a constant correctness until it reaches the proper tone; always building the paint layers in light coats. The more light coats used, the better the paint will apply.


airbrushing face

Step #3
Now that her face is coated with white, the background will need its first layers of white. Once again, keep in mind that I carefully go around the blackness of the hair and only spray in white ovals at the bottom. You can already see her hair and I haven’t even painted it.


airbrushing face
airbrushing face

Step #4
Now that I have an idea of what the design will look like, I need to CUT OUT* the shapes. I think this is the most enjoyable part of painting. Since I am using the black color from the shirt, there isn’t any guesswork. I fill in the black areas with black and CUT OUT around the white areas. * CUT OUT – Using black on a black shirt to eliminate the white overspray and define edges.
I started with the hair on the right side and add a little black to the left of her nose. The hair in front of her eye will have to wait.


airbrushing face

Step #6
Now, I have sprayed over the freckles with a gentle misting of fuzzy and not so fuzzy white dots. I also sprayed the whole freckle area with white. While doing so, I added the same white effect to her cheeks.

Step #7

While the white background is drying, I add some more white to her face to develop stronger high lighted and shadow areas. I have also added white to her neck, forehead and eye. After toning in her face, I repaint the background with another strong, controlled layer of white; I want it to look like a white shirt.


airbrushing face

Step 8

I’ am trying to achieve a happy balance in her face of freckles and shading. You can see in these photos that some areas become brighter and some become darker. You can specifically tell the nose issue I mentioned before. All of these subtle changes were done with light layers of black and white until I was happy enough to move on. I also painted in her eyes.


airbrushing face

I don’t like the flow of her face with relationship to the shirt; so I blended the left contour of her face into the shirt better; this gives the portrait a more appealing look. I’ve also used black and white to render her lips.


airbrush face

Step #10 
Now that I have finished her freckles, eye and symmetry of the shirt, I am ready to add the rest of her hair. I use an Iwata HP-BC for all my black work, it is used for filling in areas to spraying fine lines. Here, I sprayed tiny lines to represent her messy yet artsy hairstyle. I’ve also darkened her face structure around the check and behind her hair. Her nose still bothers me a little; so, I added some black around her nostril to remap its shape.


portriat complete
portrait complete
portrait complete

Step #10

Remember: Her hair might always seem like the next step but, if you move to fast, anything behind it cannot be repainted. Well, that is unless of course you want to start that area all over. I finished this painting with white highlights in the eyes and some final bursts in the high points of the cheeks, lips, nose and chin…and a signature. Have fun painting.



Airbrushing T Shirts

Airbrush T Shirts will cover the basic’s of airbrushing T Shirts and which supplies and equipement you will be needing. by Don Johnson, airbrushgallery.com

Personalizing T Shirts, jackets and hats using an airbrush has been around for years hitting it’s height in popularity in the 1960’s and 70’s for the most part. Today airbrush t shirt shops can still be found in some retail malls, flea markets and a few Walmart stores a crossed the US but the numbers have dwelled.

I have a friend who has been running a successful airbrush T Shirt shop on the board walk in Daytona (The Shirt Shack) for over 50 years in the same location so it can be done but it’s not the easiest business in the world to operate successfully, profitable. As a home based business it’s a great way to make some extra money while expressing your self artistically.


airbrush t shirt

Above shirt airbrushed by T Shirt guru Jammer

The basic pricing for airbrushing simple designs on T Shirts is about $1.00 a minute, a design that takes ten minutes to airbrush would go for $10.00. This pricing has been in place for over twenty years and although all other costs associated with running an airbrush t shirt business have gone up dramatically the base price of $1.00 a minutes has not risen. You can only charge so much for a simple personalized t shirt after all, what the market will bear so to speak.

Tie dyed shirts have been all the rage again recently with high school aged kids so we can only hope airbrush t shirts will come back around in popularity also.

So there is my short take on airbrushing t shirt now what you will need to get started.


The most commonly used airbrush for airbrushing T Shirts is the siphon feed airbrush which handles the higher viscosity textile paints tend to be very well. Be sure to buy the correct hose for the airbrush you buy; Iwata, Badger, Passche all use different size hose’s


badger 175 airbrush


Iwata BCS airbrush



Paasche Vl airbrush

Siphon feed airbrushes also allow for quick color changes which is a must when airbrushing t shirts. The trick is to have separate bottles for each of the main colors you will be using that way you can change colors quickly.


fast blast bottles

Above examples of the type of bottle used in a siphon feed airbrush for quick color changes.



Airbrush holder – provides you with a secure place to set your airbrush down when not airbrushing.(example pictured below)


airbrush holder



Air Source

You’ll need a compressor capable of providing you with 40 to 60 psi working pressure meaning when you are using your airbrush the compressor will provide a steady flow at 40 to 60 psi. If you are just going to be airbrushing a t shirt once in awhile the air compressors marketed for airbrushing should work if the manufactures spec’s name t shirt airbrushing as a use. If you plan on doing a lot of t shirts you will be better off with a commercial type compressor from Sears, Home Depot, Lowes.


 Airbrush Textile Paint

To ensure your design does not wash out of the t shirt you’ll need to use a airbrush paint made specially for the task of airbrushing t shirts. Most if not all of these paints require heat setting the design once airbrushed on the t shirt. Heat setting can be accomplished using a house hold iron or commercial heat press.

Goldens GAC 900 can be used as a clear coat over your design but must be heat set also.
GAC 900 can also be used before you start airbrushing your design on the shirt to knock down the fuzzes which tend to catch over spray. Apply tone or two coats of GAC 900 and heat set as per the manufactures directions to provide you with a super smooth surface to airbrush your design on. For a simple name design this might be a bit over board but for more complex t shirt designs it might well be worth taking this step.

Some of the more popular airbrush textile paints are Aqua Flow and Createx’s Wicked colors, ETAC.


aqua flow paint


createx wicked colors

T Shirts

Of course you’ll need t shirts to airbrush your designs onto. Weather to use 100% cotton or 50/50 blend t shirts is more or less personal preference either will work. It’s said that 50/50 blends the airbrush designs fades less over time and of course the shirt will shrinks less. There is no need to wash the t shirt before airbrushing your design.


Heat Setting

A house hold iron will work for hobby airbrushing t shirts but if you plain on doing a lot of shirts a commercial heat press might be called for.

Here is a video I put together about heat setting t shirts HEAT SETTING T SHIRTS VIDEO

Here is a tutorial I wrote about heat setting setting t shirts HEAT SETTING
Createx recommends: Iron for 2 minutes at 300º F use a protective cloth, keep iron moving at all times.


Design Transfer/Layout

There you have a list of what you will need to airbrush t shirts now getting your design ideas onto the t shirt to airbrush it. You can use a soft lead pencil, vine charcoal to draw your design out onto the t shirt as long as you keep the lines very light.

Here are a couple tutorials about transferring your design onto a t shirt…Tutorial One, Tutorial Two

Airbrush T Shirt Design One

Airbrush t shirt design one tutorial I’ll show you just how easy it is to airbrush a simple T Shirt design making your own t shirt stencils. The stencil for this are at the bottom of this article if you’d like to use them. Written by Don Johnson, airbrushgallery.com

Although I started out airbrushing T Shirts years ago it’s been at least five or six years sense I’ve airbrushed a T Shirt so I’m way out of practice but that’s ok. I took this challenge up as part of a design contest we where having on the forum to see who could come up the best Airbrush Technique T Shirt design. As you can tell my lettering skills are very rusty but that’s ok as the object here is for you to add your own style lettering and make me look bad. Actually I had a lot of fun putting this together and I hope you do also. Just remember it’s just paint, relax and have fun with it. To become proficient at airbrushing lettering it is something you’ll need to practice daily, which I have done in years.
So here is what you will need for this little project.
Double Action Airbrush – I used an Iwata HP-CS but you can use a Paasche VL or Iwata Eclipse BCS, these are the most commonly used airbrush’s by professional T Shirt artists.
Compressor – I used my five horse power compressor purchased from Home Depot use whatever air source you have. Air pressure 25 to 40 PSI depending on your personal preferences.
Paint Createx textile colors or Aqua Flow or ETAC work equally as well and are used by more professional T Shirt artists than any other brand.
Shirt board
Hobby X acto knife with several blades
Masking tape
Light weight poster board to make your templates
One white T Shirt


airbrush design drawn out

Now for some fun; sense this is a shirt design to promote Airbrush Technique Magazine it will need airbrushes included in the design. I draw all my designs on tracing paper as it allows me to make changes by adding new features to another piece of tracing paper and simply sliding it in behind the original. Should I decide the changes are not needed I simple pull the second piece of paper out and I’m back to the original design.


design transfer

Now to transfer the design I flip my original design over and trace the design. Flip it back and place it on top of the poster board, trace the original design, remove the tracing paper and there you have the design transferred to the poster board.



designs cut out

Carefully use the X acto knife to cut the design out, remember the knife will follow where your eyes command it to go.



protecting from overspray

We are new ready to airbrush the frame that will contain our lettering. With the shirt secure on the shirt board I’ll position the big airbrush stencil where it needs to be on the shirt. You could use spray adhesive to secure your template but I find it holds it to secure and prefer to use the masking tape which forms the border of my template to hold the template in place. The masking tape boarder will also help control over spray if you feel it’s needed.
Starting out with black and spraying sparingly along the template edges we begin to paint our t shirt design. Be sure to keep your airbrush square to the template. If you spray holding your airbrush toward the outside of the template will lift the template and allow paint to creep under the template, not a good thing in most case’s.



adding more airbrush designs

Now we’ll just work our way around the design adding the other three airbrushes which will make up the frame which will contain our lettering.


frame completed

Above you can see our frame completed. You might want to add just a touch of blue into the airbrushes at this point as you can see I have done. The middle of your T Shirt design should be about level with the arm pits in the shirt.


add lettering

Now to add our lettering, here’s where you can out shine my efforts pretty easily. We’ll add the letters with simple dagger strokes making the letters very easy to render. You might want to start with the middle letters in each word to ensure you have enough room to fit the whole word in. Using a pencil or vine charcoal is also another way to go about laying your lettering out within the frame. These letters will require several dagger strokes to complete each letter. As you can see to make it more interesting I’ve made ever other letter smaller than the preceding letter with the bottom of the letters real fat. Please feel free to use any lettering style you wish.


adding more airbrush designs

Now to add some small airbrushes inside our letter frame I use a smaller version of my airbrush template, also included at the bottom of the page for you to print off. With no real pattern I’ll just airbrush some small airbrush using different colors through out the inside of the design. This part could have actually been done first and the name airbrushed right over them, whichever way you find works for you best.


airbrushing color into the design

Pictured above the next step is to add airbrushes outside the frame and that stencil I have also included at the bottom of the page. These little airbrushes outside the frame we will again airbrush using different colors. After all it is a shirt design to draw attention, promote a product so having it nice and bright can’t hurt.
Place the positive part of our T Shirt template (the little airbrush) on the T Shirt in the desired location and simply spray your color around the outside of the template. Use a small piece of masking tape doubled over to secure the small airbrush to the T Shirt.


finished shirt

To finish the design off add more blue in the big airbrushes and some high lights with your white. Add high lights in your letters where you feel they would look best, sign your name and after heat setting the shirt your done. Refer to the directions of the paint you are using on how best to heat set the T Shirt. Createx and Aqua Flow this must be done to keep the paint from washing out.