Paint Striped Neon Shirt . How To-sday

March 12, 2012 separator DIY Tutorial


I’m not typically one to jump on a trend, but I just so happened to have four little bottles of neon paint, and one thing just led to another… I’ll pretend that every single one of you does love to follow trends, so guess what?! I’ve just made your day. And your spring/summer wardrobe. You’re about to take your most boring, bored, tired shirt and turn it into a fun, springy new addition to your clothing lineup. 
You Need:
  • shirt
  • neon acrylic paint
  • acrylic paint fabric additive
  • coarse bristled paintbrush
  • thin masking tape
  • heavy cardboard
1.   Start with a laundered shirt – dried, too, if you’re usually going to dry it after washing. Decide where you want your stripes to be, and then center that spot over your piece of cardboard. Pull the rest of the shirt tight around the back of the cardboard, and then tape it in several places at the top and bottom to secure it. 


2.   Figure out how many stripes you want. I have four colors of paint, so I’m doing four stripes. You need twice as many pieces of tapes as stripes, plus one. So, for four stripes, I need nine strips of tape (4 x 2 + 1 = 9). If I were doing three stripes, I’d need seven pieces of tape (3 x 2 + 1). Tear your strips of tape at random lengths, and lay them against each other with the edges barely touching.


3.   Peel away every other piece of tape, starting with the second piece. You should be left with as many “blank” spaces as you’ll have stripes. Using the tape strips helps to make sure that your stripes are all the same width. 


4.   Mix your fabric additive into the neon paint as instructed on the bottle. Then, using a brush with stiff, coarse bristles, soak your paint into each stripe. Vary the heights of your stripes for a handmade, artistic effect. After you’ve painted all your stripes, leave it for awhile to dry. 


5.   Add a second coat of paint after the first has dried. I only painted the second coat about 3/4 of the way up to be sure that the top has a nice hand-brushed effect with a bit of transparency. For this black shirt with heavy fabric, I ended up using three coats of paint. On a light cotton or a white shirt, you’ll probably only need two.


6.   Let your paint dry thoroughly. All the way. Seriously – don’t peel the tape up early. When it looks dry – no longer shiny at all, you can peel the tape up. Peel it back parallel with the fabric, not straight up, to avoid stretching. 


7.   If, unlike me, your stripes turned out perfectly, then woohoo – you’re done! If they have some runny edges in places, then it’s time to bust out your Sharpie. Just draw over the rough edges, and you’ll have a nice, crisp, clean line. Or lines. Lots of lines. 


  1. Pingback: Bright and Bold: DIY Projects for Neon Maniacs - Diy Crafts Projects 2020 |Track Zik
  2. This is so cool! I already have a black shirt to do it with too 🙂 Thanks for the great idea. Pinned it 🙂

  3. I used painters tape and it did not bleed. I let my 5 year old paint her own and put brush swirls on the rest if the shirt. She loves it!

    1. Good point with the painter’s tape. I’d love to see pictures. How adorable to let your daughter paint her own!

  4. Thanks, everyone!

    Suzanne and Lily – Yes, it should hold up fine in the wash. Acrylic paint is permanent, and the fabric paint additive gives it the flexibility that it needs.

    – Lindsay

  5. such a great idea for summer!! neon is so in, love it!


Comments are closed.