Back when I was in high school, I loved all things DIY. Ripping my own jeans, sewing skirts…I tried to live out my punk rock self-sustaining ideals, instead of preaching them without practicing. Of the many endeavors I explored, one of them was ways to make my own band shirts.

I was a huge music lover (I still am) back in the day, but most websites didn’t sell the shirts I wanted. New wave bands, 80’s pop groups…the memorabilia was rare. And if I could find any band gear, it was likely that I couldn’t afford it. Thus – I looked to making my own logo shirts and patches to pay homage to my favorite acts.

At first I made patches….but I just couldn’t get enough. I wanted shirts….and then a unique punk studded jacket too. It was with this curiosity and hunger to learn that I found out how to stencil my own clothing.

I still remember some tips and tricks to stencil-making and I’ve been putting them to good use.

Most recently, I upcycled a kid’s Guess jacket from Goodwill that I snagged for like under $5. On the front, I made a space to place all my favorite retro band pins. Turning around to the back, you’ll see that I sewed a vintage sequin patch in the middle and hand stenciled my Instagram handle name – @petite_punk.

As I finished this project, it dawned on me that I should probably share some resources that I use to make my own denim stencil creations. I wanted to help provide some inspiration so that you can also make one-of-a-kind beauties at home!

As you peruse these websites, please note that every project takes a few tries. With some demoing and practice runs, your stencil designs will be crisp and you’ll have radical beauties to showcase in no time!

Stenciling With Pre-made Stencils

Stencil Stories posted a great tutorial that shows how you can stencil a jacket using pre-made stencils and fabric paint. You can find a variety of sturdy stencils for purchase online with a quick Google Search.

The Freezer Paper Method

This is my frequently used way to create stencils. With this method, the design options are endless!

Warning: This is more of an advanced way of stencil design and application. It requires the ability to use a craft knife with precision. It also can become a multi-day process, that requires many steps that have to be done correctly for the stencil to turn out nicely. I used this method for my jacket showcased in this post. With this method, I also recommend using craft paint for opaque designs.

To learn more about this stencil process, visit this useful guide:

Spray Paint

You can use this type of paint for handmade and store-bought stencils. Instructables has another great guide ( for using spray paint in stencil work. A few details should be noted when using spray paint:

  • Spray paint can sometimes have a life of its own. Be sure to practice with the can so that you’re not spray too lightly or aggressively on your jacket
  • Colors can look different on various fabrics. Try a paint test on denim to ensure it’s the color you want
  • Spray paint has fumes. Use this medium outside

Thank you for reading and happy stenciling! We can’t wait to see your creations!