Step 6: Final Thoughts

JB loved the t-shirt and I even got a few orders to make some more. 

I have used this method for a while and the t-shirts that I made years ago still look great. Please see some pics attached.

• Go forth to make your own rad shirts and share some photos
• Share questions and constructive criticism (this is my first instructable)

coznick4 months ago


tuffguy15003 years ago
Just made two shirts for an upcoming Spartan Race. This was such an easy way to do it. Things I did: Used an ultra fine sharpie to make the outlines and color in around borders, then used a regular sharpie to fill in the larger areas. Super clean edges, looks awesome. Thanks for the idea!!
chkrvrty3 years ago
I did this one night a couple of years back for a "pirate" themed event. I used almost this exact same method. The only thing I didn't do was wash it in cold water and air dry, so the ink ran just a tiny bit and blurred the dges - no big deal.

Few repiles to various comments:
1. fabric markers are a good idea, but if you're just doing one or two t-shirts, it's not worth a separate trip to the store. Just pull out that Sharpie you have sitting in the drawer!
2. mronallo asked how you fill the shapes in without pulling on the shirt. well, once you trace the outline with dots, it doesn't matter if you pull on the shirt. you're not damaging the shirt, just moving it so it doesn't line up with the reference drawing anymore. Once the drawing is copied via dots, I would recommend removing the reference drawing and just setting it beside you while you simply fill in the dotted areas by scribbling. Final artistic touch can be done freehand while looking at the reference drawing.
verybluesky3 years ago
Awesome instructable. Thanks for posting. Love the tracing box.
inkette3 years ago
Someone mentioned "how do you keep the shirt from moving when you draw on it"? Use spray adheasive lightly sprayed on the plastic lid and the image paper you're tracing and smooth the shirt flat. Its similar to what screen printers use(Platen Spray) to keep the shirt from moving.
Great idea. I also use a sheet of 150-grit sandpaper glued to the backing board.
danugrah3 years ago
You can't always do that when your t-shirt moving or stretched when you paint your tees.. Your t-shirt need t-shirt glue or double tape to do that..
WizenedEE3 years ago
Wow that was really well-written - I only noticed by the end that the instructable, in a sentence, was "Draw on your shirt with sharpies."

How long does it take to make? A day per shirt?
inkette3 years ago
I'd suggest using fabric markers! They are made with textile dyes and will not wash out or change color like a sharpies do. (remember that old high school t-shirt you had everyone sign at grad night? Well everyone signed mine with a black sharpie and it faded into purple & red-blue shades over time and washings. After using the fabric markers you'll want to heat set the drawn image with an iron set at 360 degrees.
There are some ink jet printer t-shirt iron-on transfers that are a lot easier to use and get you full color. I have some that I made over 4 years ago that while a little faded still look great. The marker trace you did here is a great job, but time-consuming, especially when you need to do more than 1 shirt.
mronallo3 years ago
Great instructable! The one thing I don't understand is how you fill it in without pulling on the shirt, which you did dots instead of lines to avoid. (Probably a dumb question, but I'm not that quick on the uptake.) Thanx for putting this up! :)
never_more3 years ago
Perhaps you could still do the dotted outline with sharpies, but then use a fabric paint and brush in the color? That could help with fading, and extend the life of the sharpies!
vfx3 years ago
Can you use a new sharpie to re-ink the 5 year old shirt? Or is there a problem of the fabric being too worn and/or the ink bleed is too difficult to deal with?

I'm gonna try it. thanks.
mvieke (author)  vfx3 years ago
I dig the worn look, so I never tried to touch up my old shirts.
neosoyo3 years ago
Have you tested any other color? or just black will work? i really like the result but i guess will be hard to find this sharpie here in brazil
rmolenaar3 years ago
VERY VERY cool instructible---I know whats being made for Yule this year!!
dwilkinson13 years ago
One word: WOW!

Your instructable is extremely well written, even with links to other how to's VERY VERY WELL DONE...

Im definitely going to do that very soon!!!! In fact Im out of work at the moment so might make some to sell.. but I might get into screenprinting as well..


P.S. Was it an epic party? lol
joefed623 years ago
Awesome instructable! I never thought of creating the tracing box. You mentioned air drying the shirt after washing...is this something you should always do to keep the shirt looking good, or do you now use a dryer once it's been washed a few times?
foobear3 years ago
this is great!
NNN53 years ago
Your 1st instructable went well! Move on.
highjacked3 years ago
Simple but effective! I love this technique, not only is it cost effective, but now I wont have a bunch of screen-printing stuff lying around collecting dust between uses. PLUS, I can use different colors. Keep up the good work!