DIY Vintage Graphic Prints



Ditch monochrome tones and spruce up an outfit with zingy graphic prints inspired by retro dresses, pants, and jumpsuits found in some of our favorite Portland shops. Old-timey graphics are made new again in this DIY project.

Transform an old pair of jeans or shirt by splashing on ‘80s zigzags, stripes, checkers and paisley prints. Bright, juicy fruit colors scream summer, and pair eye-popping prints with simple heels, sleek hair and your boldest attitude.
For graphic inspiration, check out these outfits and accessories:

1. This vintage dress with red, yellow and black checkers and a Bora Bora cartoon print sundress from Yo Vintage!
2. These paint-splattered shoes in a street style photo from the New York Times
3. This secondhand red angora sweater and a coral silk tie-dye kimono from Vintalier
4. A knotted turban hat from Reif

Recreate a throwback graphic print: Screen print it, print it through your inkjet printer, or paint it with stencils and masking tape. Here’s a version of the vintage checkered dress in a tic-tac-toe pattern:

You’ll need:
Plain fabric (if you want to make a pillow), or an old white shirt, dress, or pair of pants
Wide 2-inch masking tape
Red and black fabric paint
Transparency sheets
Art knife


Carve out X and O block letters from the transparency sheet. The letter should be big enough to fit inside a 2-inch by 2-inch square. Once you’ve cut out the letters, the sheet becomes a stencil.

Place the masking tape in vertical lines on your fabric. Make sure they are evenly spaced, about 2 inches apart. Use more tape to place horizontal lines. Paint again. Press all the tape firmly down so that paint doesn’t seep underneath. Gently brush the red fabric paint on top. Coat your entire fabric.

Once the paint is dry, remove the vertical lines of tape. Once all the paint is dry, you should have big red checkers interspersed throughout your fabric. Lay the transparency sheet over the red checker and brush black paint over it. Vary the Xs and Os. — Dominique Fong

+ Leave a Reply