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diy: permanent marker graphic shirt

If you are in the States or Canada, you probably know how Brandy Melville's graphic tees are trending now. We don't have a store here but I love some of their tees and slogans. They are so fun, witty and ingenious. However, I also do not think that they are worth paying 20+ USD for. It's just a simple shirt/muscle tank with words printed on it. From some reviews on youtube, the quality of the shirts may not be worth that much either. Also, the shirts are 'one size fits all' so if you are unable to fit in them, you can't enjoy brandy prints. 

In this DIY that I also found on youtube, I recreated the 'Stressed Depressed But Well Dressed' shirt. It is a tedious and time consuming diy but it is so worth it. I am super happy with the result and I love my shirt. 

The actual font is Letter Gothic Std in font size 90 or more. But I used the one below which is Bento Sans Comp. You just need to print the image on an A4 paper and that will be good enough. 

You will need to cut out the alphabets to make your stencil so if you find Letter Gothic too thin, you might want to start out with Bento Sans first. They are almost the same and since it is a DIY, it won't be obvious. 

If you are using a white shirt, you might consider skipping the first step. Instead, you can just place the print under your shirt and trace. I'm not sure how well this will work but I will try it out soon. Also, if you are going to cut your shirt, now is a good time to do it before tracing on your shirt. 

Step 1: Using a pen knife or cutter, cut out the alphabets to make your stencil. I left some bits left for alphabets with a filling so that the 'holed' part will stay in place as well and when you are tracing over it later, you can just flip it to fill up the remaining gap. 

Step 2: Place a piece of cardboard under your shirt to prevent the ink from seeping through the other side. 

Step 3: You might want to do a patch test with your permanent marker and fabric to test how the ink will show and if it will fade when washed. You can use any permanent marker. I used a ZIG marker but you can use Sharpies as well. 

Step 4: With your stencil in place, you can tape it down so that it doesn't shift. Use your permanent marker to colour in the alphabets. 

Step 5: Once you are done with all the alphabets, you can remove the stencil and do some touch ups. 

Step 6: Leave your shirt to dry overnight and iron the print on the reverse side to lock in the colours. The ink shouldn't bleed or fade. If it does fade, you can always fill it in again but that would be after many washes. 

I took close to 3 hours to do this, so make sure you have time at hand. I used a permanent marker for this one but I'm going to get fabric paint for my future projects so do look out for another tutorial with fabric paint! 

Do share your creations with me and make sure to follow my blog! 


  1. Wow, this is the best one I have found so far, thanks so much!! I was wondering, do you iron the front of the shirt with cardboard or paper or something....? Thanks :)

    1. Yup! If you intend to iron the front of the shirt, use a piece of tracing paper to protect the print. Otherwise, iron the shirt inside out.


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