DIY Custom Lettering From Old T-Shirts

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Introduction: DIY Custom Lettering From Old T-Shirts

T-Shirt Transformations Challenge

Runner Up in the
T-Shirt Transformations Challenge

Use old T-Shirts plastered with sponsors to create some really cool signs and personalized clothing!

If you liked this instructable, please vote for it in the T-Shirt Transformation Contest, and Beyond the Comfort Zone. (I am an engineer who works with robotics, computers and coding)

If you have a lot of old T-Shirts lying around and no real use for them, here is a cool way to use their lettering to create custom fabric signs or customize articles of clothing. The tools needed for this project are as follows:

  • An old T-Shirt with a bunch of sponsors on it
  • A sharp pair of scissors (preferably fabric scissors)
  • A hot glue gun, other adhesive or a sewing needle and some thread
  • (Optional) Another article of clothing to personalize

This instructable is designed to be accomplish-able by everyone and takes relatively little time, effort, skill and materials for a really awesome product, so on with the instructable.

Step 1: Find Viable T-Shirts

The first step to create custom fabric signs and labels is to find T-Shirts to take the letters from. One really good source of letters is old T-Shirts that are littered with sponsors. The sponsor lettering makes for a diverse set of fonts while maintaining a constant background color. Another option is to make a rainbow sign or patterned color sign once you have harvested the letters from enough shirts. In this case, I am using my old 5K shirts.

(On a side note, the front of the 5K shirt or other long distance run shirts can also be used to make a quilt of all your races you have participated in.)

Step 2: Make Your Alphabet

For the next step, I hope you passed kindergarten as we will have to do a lot of cutting. When cutting out the letters, I recommend a pair of fabric or sharp scissors. Personally, I would also focus on cutting out the brand/company or large letters as small letters can be hard to distinguish.

Step 3: Attach You Letters

The next step has some variability. To attach your letters, you can either use and adhesive or sewing. Hot glue, what I used, works okay but you have to be careful with the borders of the letters and the hot glue strings/strands as they can ruin the look. Sewing also is an option and probably would work better for fabric to fabric creations like custom socks, hats or even other T-Shirts. If you just would like to make a sign or label, the bottom of a T-Shirt that is hemmed is a good backing as it is more robust than just a cut square of fabric.

Step 4: Enjoy

I hoped you enjoyed this instructable and will use it to make some really cool personalized article of clothing or custom sign from your old T-Shirts. If you liked this instructable, please remember to vote for it in the T-Shirt Transformation contest and Beyond the Comfort Zone, it means a lot. (I am an nerd. Fabric and fashion is a first for me). Thank you very much for reading this instructable as well.

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    4 Comments

    Very neat idea. Could you wash and dry it?

    If you attach the letters by sewing (for custom clothing) you should be able to wash and dry it. Glue may wear down.

    I haven't seen this idea anywhere else. I really like it.