Homemade tshirts help, experience counts.
March 6, 2005 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Suggestions on how to do handmade tshirts better? Or ideas on how to make them better that isn't handmade (let's avoid small or large run online tshirt places - too much cost. Labor is cheap)

My brother has, over the last five years, killed himself going over the top for tshirts for his daughter's birthday each year (today was shirt #5) as a gift to the kids who attend.
He literally spends weeks. This year? Tie dye, puffy paint by hand, each kids name on the back, the hand print from his daughter. He's tried stencils as well. Any new ideas? Bonus points for those things that save time.
posted by filmgeek to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There's a really simple tutorial here on the Livejournal Stencilry community. I think it's a pretty easy way to do it, comparatively.
posted by jackofsaxons at 1:16 PM on March 6, 2005

Acrylic paint (not puffy paint, just the regular kind in a bottle) and letter-shaped sponges. This should make the names go quickly.
posted by mai at 1:17 PM on March 6, 2005

Why not let the kids do the kid-friendly steps themselves? Seems to me that not only saves time, but provides an activity for the party.
posted by artifarce at 2:17 PM on March 6, 2005

A picture of the kids taken at the party, downloaded and printed out on to iron-on paper and ironed-on so that kids go home wearing a t-shirt that has a picture of them circa 1 hour ago. Have them all sign it, or make more iron-on signatures with those iron-on crayons so every kid gets a t-shirt with pictures and signatures of all the kids.
posted by jessamyn at 2:40 PM on March 6, 2005

Jessamyn's idea, but have them sign a piece of paper and scan it to make iron-ons for the other side
posted by SpecialK at 2:53 PM on March 6, 2005

Response by poster: Follow-up:

Is there a place that does a decent looking iron on? When I was a mere boy, we did this sort of thing...but it always looked lousy. And can this iron on be done from the computer?
posted by filmgeek at 11:18 PM on March 6, 2005

Iron-on's have gotten better--not great, but better. There is a product from Avery that works pretty well. You print a mirror image on it, trim it close with scissors and iron it on.

Colors come out pretty well. The down side is that it makes a textural change in the fabric and the colors fade over time, more quickly if you put it in a dryer, even more quickly if the item is right-side-out. It's also $3 a sheet.

You could try these methods, but I don't think they were made for long term wash an wear.
posted by plinth at 5:38 AM on March 7, 2005

I use the Avery iron-ons and they are good though not awesome. The trick is to make the things to be ironed-on fairly small so that you don't get a big plasticky part of your shirt. You can also get more on a sheet this way so the cost-per-shirt is pretty reasonable.
posted by jessamyn at 8:22 AM on March 7, 2005

i disagree with the quality of the avery iron ons. i personally LOVE them. i do a TON of tees for my daughter (she will be 2 in june) and i love the stuff. one word of caution is that if you use them on color tees watch the colors you use. some defiantly come out better then others.
posted by ShawnString at 9:48 AM on March 7, 2005

I would take the time to make a good set of letter stencils out of transparency film and then use acrylic paint with textile medium to paint the shirts.

Spraying the film with a spray adhesive and using a foam brush in and up-and-down direction will keep the stencil from shifting and keep paint from getting under the edges, leaving you with nice, crisp lines.

Mixing Textile/Fabric Medium with your acrylic paints and it will hold up to the wash for a long time (and eventually become smooth, like a silkscreen, rather than paint on a shirt).

I've used this technique on all of the shirts I've done, and intend to stick with it for a long time to come.
Here's one of my favorite shirts just after removing the stencil: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v332/NoPopNoStyle/Craftster_Stencil/alf_shirt.jpg

Search craftster.org for more stenciling tips.
posted by ThePants at 5:20 PM on March 7, 2005

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