The release of Taylor Swift's latest album seemed like a great event for us to build a stencil project around. Of course, that doesn't really narrow it down... when the entire world is your stencil canvas, how do you decide where to stencil?
So we backed into it. We thought about Taylor Swift fans, and what kind of project they'd like to see. Thinking critically, we asked ourselves - what, if anything, do Swifties love more than Taylor herself? The answer, of course: SHOWING people how much they love Taylor Swift. It was only natural that we painted her new album cover on a t-shirt for true Swifties to spread the love and adoration they hold within.
The album cover is pretty cool, but that didn't make it easy to turn into a stencil.
Usually, I use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to work with lifelike photos before turning them into stencil designs. I pulled the album cover into Illustrator and using a 3 color Image Trace, turned it into this:
Looks pretty good, right? It actually worked much better than I thought it would. Usually elements like haze and fog are difficult to convert into stencil form. However, this rendering definitely captured the necessary ominous vibes.
Next, I turned the three shades of gray into stencil layers that would sit atop each other. I put the screenshot above onto my phone, and went down to the Instagram zone to inspect and test our different paint colors to see what would best match these grayscale colors. I spray tested a few because the donuts - the little "caps" that show the color preview - don't always show the final painted color exactly right. I decided on Montana Black cans with the colors, from lightest to darkest, Jaws, Mouse, and Rhino.
All we had to next was finish the job. We aligned the stencils, made sure everything was held down as tightly as possible, and proceeded to spray the paint. I made sure to hit the shirt at different angles and to not put too much paint in any one area. The video at the top of the page is a very detailed perspective of how the shirt was painted, so check that out to see the exact methods I used. Additionally, I didn't remove any of the stencil layers - instead, I simply waited for the layer to dry, then placed the next layer over top.
Note: There are certain stencil projects about which we're surprised because the final result ends up being better than the outcome we had in our heads. When we peeled off the last layered stencil for this folklore t-shirt project, everyone watching went "Ohhhhh" with excitement because the end product looked so great! That's always a good feeling.
As always, enjoy the sexy results:
As a cherry on top, we also painted the front of the shirt with Taylor Swift's signature logo: