Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Make your own custom tshirt

So my husband likes to hang on to clothes. For a LONG time! I can't really put my finger on how long because he has several items that he's had before even meeting me in 2001. Yep! And a lot of those items would include t-shirts. College team t-shirts, old athletics event tshirts...etc etc.

I can't at this moment in time remember where we were, or what we were doing, when I saw him wearing one of his favorites, a Duke Basketball shirt. I had never paid much attention to it before, but this time would be the last! The only thing I DO remember was that we were out in public with no option for a quick change. Drats!!

As lovingly as a wife could be in this situation, I turned to him and said something along the lines of......

"OMG! That shirt is so old! Look it has a big hole at the neckline and it's ratty! You have to get rid of that thing!"

And he replies.... WHY???? I love this shirt. I've had it forever. *pouty face*


I don't think he saw what was coming next.  "What if I got you a NEW  Duke shirt? Would you finally throw this one away?" And he said yes! He doesn't seem to remember it too well, but he said yes.

So the wheels get to turning. And that's when I ran across this tutorial over at Crap I've Made. Pure Genius I tell ya! So I had what I was going to do. Now to find the shirt. you would THINK that finding a plain royal blue tshirt in his size would be semi-easy. I checked 3 thrift stores, Wal*Mart, and Big Lots before heading to Michael's. I didn't expect to find this
The ONLY one! And it happened to be in his size! The long drawn out search had ended.

So to the design. I googled the Duke logo. There were a couple options. But I knew being me, that I would need to take on the most complicated version.
Yep. That's the one. The one with a million and one cut outs. Hmm...was I making the right decision? All for love, right?

I'll walk you through my process. I feel like I need to add a disclaimer here first.
DISCLAIMER: read this entire post before starting. You'll see why!

-Plain tshirt in choice color
-freezer paper
-cutting mat (mine is a small one from Creative Memories)
-cutting tool (mine happens to be a scalpel, but could have easily used my exacto knife)
-ink pen
-cardboard (to put in the middle of the shirt to prevent bleach going through to the back)
-iron (with no steam)
-bleach in a spray bottle
Ummmm....I believe that's all. A lot of what I used should be typical household items.

So I started out with tracing the design. For this I just used my laptop screen!! Oh I almost forgot, when cutting the freezer paper from the roll, make it large enough that you have some leftover around the design. That will help prevent any outside bleed or accidental spots :)

Trace the design onto the non-waxy side of the freezer paper. I would recommend tracing lightly if you use my method. I used light pressure as to not damage my screen! If you don't have a laptop that you could use in this manner, I'm sure you could print out your design and trace that.  

Once I had the design fully traced, I compared it to the original to make sure that I had gotten all pieces. And got started on cutting it out. Make sure to keep all of the loose pieces. It will help when positioning your design onto the tshirt. Or may provide useful later on. (As I soon found out)

It was at this point that I wondered what the crap I was thinking trying to use such an intricate design.
I even contemplated leaving the design like this:
I tried to rationalize it to myself. I could see what it was supposed to be. Who cares if it didn't have the detail. But being the perfectionist that I am strive to be, I googled to see if there were any manufactured shirts that looked like my half done cut out. Nope..of course not! Dang it. Ok I'll keep cutting *pout

When you have it all cut out, place the freezer paper waxy side down onto your shirt. Iron the paper onto the shirt. When the waxy side is heated, it adheres lightly to the shirt just enough to provide a great stencil. Make sure not to move the iron from side to could get caught on the smaller pieces and possibly rip or tear them.

Then using a spray bottle of pure bleach (do not dilute. It won't work as well), lightly spray over the cut out areas until fully covered. The problem for me was that I didn't do it too lightly. I wanted to make sure that I was thorough. I used a little but too much and it ended up soaking through the inside of my stencil. Darn it!

So what I had was a big bleached out D without any inner design. NO!!!!!! All that work?? For nothing??

But wait....what about painting it? Remember me saying to keep all the pieces you cut out?? Yep, those came in handy! I positioned the leftover pieces back onto the shirt and ironed them on. This time I used some craft acrylic paint and used the leftover pieces as a stencil. A lot of people recommend using a textile medium added to your paint. But I didn't have any and have used this technique in the past and didn't need it. Do what you think will work for you.

Being my own worst critic, I wasn't sure if it liked it or not. So to make the bleached out spot look more like it was on purpose I randomly sprayed outside of the design.

What do you think?

I was nervous for my husband to get home. I wanted it to turn out perfectly, and what happens if I can't get him to trade in his old ratty shirt???? I was not prepared for

Well I lucked out. He loves it! He said that it looks like a professionally made shirt. Either he really does like it, he's just trying to be nice, or I have him trained really well. Either way....he agreed to finally let go of  his old one.

1 comment:

  1. It looks great! Awesome job. I'm not sure I would have the patience for such a project... He looks happy!


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