My 5-year old girl received fabric markers and wanted to draw on her t-shirts.
When coloring drawing books with outlines, she's doing pretty good... but without any outline she's not doing too well yet.
That's when I wondered: why not create a drawing outline on the t-shirt and then let her color it with her markers!
This instructable will show you how.
Step 1: Gather What You Need
What you need:
1) a white t-shirt, but any other cotton cloth would work
2) fabric markers
3) a Silhouette cutter (or equivalent)
4) Silhouette heat transfer vinyl material
5) a small hook
6) an iron
7) a thin towel
... and a computer
Step 2: Get Your Drawing Outline
Search the Internet for your drawing outline, with something like this: "drawing thick outline".
Pick the one you like and save it to your computer. I chose a simple daisy for this instructable.
Make sure you pick a black outline on a white background. Note also that the more complex the outline is, the more work you will have to remove the non-outline pieces later in this instructable.
This is not mandatory, but it will ease your work inside the Silhouette software: open your drawing outline in your favorite image editor (on Mac I simply use Preview) and increase the contrast the maximum. This is to ensure that your image is purely back and white.
Step 3: Prepare in Silhouette Software
Open the Silhouette software.
Check that the dimensions of your paper are properly set to the dimensions of your heat transfer paper.
Open the drawing outline from last step in Silhouette.
Now it's time to vectorize it so that the software knows how to cut along the outline. Since this is a black and white drawing, it should be very easy to vectorize.
In the trace tab, choose "Select Trace Area" and draw a rectangle around your drawing outline.
By now, the entire outline should be in yellow highlight. If there are still a few black spots, try to get them highlighted by adjusting the "High Pass Filter" value.
When you're done, apply the following trace method: "Trace".
You can now select the black drawing outline and delete it, we don't need it anymore. Instead you will now have red lines showing where the vinyl will be cut, on each side of the drawing outline.
Step 4: Cutting
Still in the Silhouette software, got to the "Cut settings" and check everything is fine, especially:
- cut style => "cut edge"
- material type => "heat transfer material" (smooth in my case, but adapt to yours)
- blade settings => note the number proposed by the software; here "2"
Adjust your Silhouette blade depth according to this displayed setting and put your blade back in place.
Load your heat transfer material in the Silhouette. Make sure the transparent plastic piece is on the bottom and the vinyl is on the top!
You're ready to push "Send to Silhouette".
Step 5: Remove Negative Space
After the Silhouette is done cutting, unload the sheet of heat transfer material.
Use your hook to remove the negative space and keep only the outline of your drawing.
This is a tedious part. The cut is so thin that it's sometimes difficult to see. In addition, you have to be very careful because the outline is usually very thin and you could easily break it. Just take your time for this step.
Step 6: Iron
Put your iron to medium heat.
Lay your t-shirt on the ironing board. Add the heat transfer on top of the t-shirt where you want it to be transferred, this time vinyl on the bottom and transparent plastic on top. On top of it, add a thin towel so that your iron doesn't get in direct contact with the heat transfer plastic.
Move your iron on top of your thin towel in circles for about 1 minute.
After that, remove your towel and start peeling off the transfer plastic very gently. It should come off easily.
Step 7: Color
That's the last part. Your kid can now color the t-shirt as if it was a coloring book.
Thanks for reading this instructable!