Introduction: Strawbots: Logo & T-shirt Design

About: I'm a High School Technology teacher with Creativitis, a disease that doesn't let my brain sleep. I spend my days trying to infect my student's minds with a desire to learn. I lead by example and hope that my …

Step 1: Logo Design

When you create a project that will be used specifically for animation, it's a great idea to come with a LOGO of some sort. It will come in handy for so many things:
  • intro animations
  • t-shirt design
  • poster production

It's important to sketch out some rough ideas before you start. I based my design on the head of the first Strawbot I made, Harvey 1.0. Once I had a few rough sketches, I scanned them into Adobe Illustrator to clean up the drawings. When you choose to develop your concept on computer, it becomes much easier to experiment with design ideas and colour changes.

After I traced my original design concept, I felt like it was a little too 'cartoonish'. I hardened the lines a little, and gave it a transformer like feel, without making it too serious.

Remember to try and keep your logo simple so that it can be used in many different applications. If your logo is complicated, it may become unreadable when you shrink it in size.

Step 2: Printing Your Design

Now that you have a decent logo, it's a lot of fun to print your own shirts. I was lucky enough to buy an old heat press on Kijiji. It's looks a little rough, but it's a $1500 machine brand new. A heat press machine works much better than an iron for transfers, because it applies the transfer with consistent heat at a high pressure. I bought a pack of 5 for around $15. This is a tad expensive and the quality of iron-on transfers is not as great as one you could buy online that are intended for use on a heat press.

If you're planning on using a dark coloured t-shirt, make sure that you buy 'dark t-shirt transfers'. If you're printing on white or pale colours, you can buy the normal transfer paper.

Alrighty.... let's get started.
  1. Make sure you feed the paper into the printer correctly. On mine, the printed side starts face down.
  2. Print your design, making sure to adjust the print settings specifically for transfer paper.
  3. When cutting out your logo or design, I suggest leaving a white border around the outside for dark t-shirts. If you try to cut close to a dark edge, it sometimes shows up white at the edges because the ink sits on the top layer of the paper.
  4. Carefully cut your designs out with an exacto-knife or a pair of scissors.

Step 3: Pressing Your Transfer

Once your design is cut out, you can turn on the press. The pressure, time, and temperature will all depend on the type of transfer your are using. Higher quality heat transfer paper will typically take 10-15 seconds at around 330ºF. I found that the iron on transfers took almost 2 minutes at a temperature of 400ºF. Again, all machines and materials will vary. You may have to adjust your settings.
  1. Lay your t-shirt flat on the platten, making sure there are no wrinkles.
  2. Carefully peel the backing from the transfer paper.
  3. Position your design on your shirt.
  4. Cover your transfer with a sheet of teflon transfer paper or whatever sheet was provided with your transfers.
  5. Clamp the press and for the appropriate amount of time.
  6. Let your shirt cool down, and you're done.

Step 4: Strawbots for Gifts

The timing of my Strawbot project couldn't have been more perfect. With my nephew Jack turning five, I had the perfect gift idea. Besides, why not inspire the future 'instructables' generation.

With a couple t-shirts printed and a newly customized Harvey 2.0, I got to work.
  1. Find a cardboard box that will fit your Strawbot.
  2. Cut out a piece of foam core that will fit inside the box.
  3. Wrap your shirt around the foam core and place it in the bottom of the box.
  4. Put the Strawbot inside the box (I had to partially disassemble Harvey 2.0)
  5. Print out some custom instructables wrapping paper.
  6. Wrap the box.
  7. Make sure to film the reaction.

Step 5:

 Strawbots are not really designed for 5 years olds. After all, they're only made out of craft foam, straws, and elastics. But, who cares? This didn't cost me much to make, and the look on Jack's face when he opened his present was well worth the time it took me to make it.

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