helvetica alphabet tee

Like we shared with our recent back to school hacks post, we love using old t-shirts to create something new and exciting! We have a few to share with you this month, starting with this Helvetica Alphabet Tee. This is a popular t-shirt style we’ve seen around, but wanted to test it out for our little guys, here’s how we did it.
DIY helvetica tee


1. Using your favorite word processing program, open a new document and type the desired letters. We used Helvetica, with a font size of 350 and printed two separate pages since both letters wouldn’t fit on one page (you might be able to mess with margins and get them on one page, but two works too!

2. Print your sheets out and then using an Exacto knife, cut the letters out of the page (if your desired letters have “islands” or inside cut holes  – like A, B, R, O, P etc. – you’ll want to hold onto those island pieces.

3. Remove the black letter piece and place the paper stencil on your shirt. If you have islands, you’ll need to place those back in the desired position.  A piece of printer paper will work just fine for one t-shirt, if you’re planning on making more you might need to use something sturdier like card stock or a thin plastic sheet.

4. Secure the stencil in place with heavy cans, or weighted objects. Make sure you center yours better than we did above. 🙂 Using fabric or acrylic paint, paint over the stencil. Islands are tricky in the sense that you need to be able to hold them in place while you’re painting, sometimes an extra set of hands is nice for that part!

5. Paint a few coats , remove the stencil, touching up any edges, and let it dry completely, then enjoy!


  • Sarah
    August 8, 2013 at 5:43 am

    What kind of paint would you use for this? And just a regular ol’ brush?

    • Small Fry
      August 8, 2013 at 8:44 am

      i’d use a brush with tight bristles vs loose so you have more control around the edges. use an acrlyic or fabric paint!

  • Andrea
    August 8, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Will this wash up as usual? Thx!

    • Small Fry
      August 8, 2013 at 8:43 am

      yes it washes great! i would use fabric paint and a sealant just to be sure!

  • Lizzy
    August 8, 2013 at 10:07 am

    love this!! and that cute Hayes!
    Going to make an M for my boy.
    PS Whenever I paint on clothes I use freezer paper. You can iron the shiny side down, paint, then peel off.

    • Small Fry
      August 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      Do you print right on the freezer paper? Crazy!

  • christian
    August 8, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Great Idea! I use freezer paper too! Works so well, so the paper dose not move!

  • Gwen, The Makerista
    August 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    so cute! yes, freezer paper works really well for this and keeps it from bleeding. what a cutie. 🙂

  • Kathryn
    August 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I love this easy, fun one of a kind t shirt idea! ‘Ee’ was sold out at American Apparel for my everett. Will definitely be making one! Thank you ladies!

  • Laurie
    August 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Cute! I think I’ll do something like this for my engineer friend but I’ll put his favorite element (because you know he is a geek if he has a favorite element). Actually, now that I think about it, my friend’s little boy has a favorite element too from some flashcards he has. I should make one for him too! I can include the box and element number. Very cute!

    • Small Fry
      August 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      Genius, I may be copying.


  • Simple Savvy
    August 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I totally want to make one that has an LG for little guy!!

  • Maria
    August 12, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    great I dea, love it

  • Lego Art | Small Fry
    August 20, 2014 at 12:01 am

    […] Are your kids into Legos? We’ve seen some amazing Lego inspired rooms, parties and more! Check them all out on our Pinterest page. Also if you want to personalize more than just some art, check out this Helvetica Tee DIY! […]

  • Brittany
    October 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    What kind of sealant would you use on this? I’m a total craft newb.


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