There is a nice collection of instructables about customizing T-shirt, covering specify techniques ranging from baking paper. spraypaint to gluing plastic film to your shirt. With their creative workaround, i would like to contribute mine, to further simplify the process! This instructables aim to cover the whole process of t-shirt replication, with acrylic paints and Stencilng. From buying a blank shirt to wearing your pride spirit!! This is a result of my ongoing T-shirt hacking journey. High quality print and no messy paint everywhere grantee!!
Fellow Cricut users may have a bonus advantage!! If you are not, its some good old X-acto knife time. With perseverance, you will get it done. Ain't that true for any craft project?
Tag along and Hack your shirt! Speaking of hack, why not go to the biggest life hack masters the Mythbusters. Great! the source file i used will be attached in later steps!!
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Step 1: Research & Motivation
As an physics student, artist and props/craft lover, Adam Savage is one of my Craft Hero! He is a interesting science communicator who inspired many kids! maybe your kid would enjoy wearing this shirt too!!
His wardrobe of black shirt on-air had evolve through the years. there are a few that caught my attention. With the series coming to an end, Let's make a shirt to celebrate their legacy!! For those of you from Hosue Hyneman, its not like he wears alot of t-shirt for us to replicate....
In earlier days, Adam Savage wore a "I DO ALL MY OWN STUNT" shirt, notably on the Alcatraz paper crossbow segment. I then research and saw Super natural cast member Jim Beaver also wore a similar shirt on comic con panel. Such a interesting shirt, We are so doing it!!
Step 2: Material and Tools
- cutter or Cricut
- Flat wooden board / table
- Paper clips and claps
- Sticky Vinyl
- A t shirt of choice
- Acrylic paint
- Acrylic textile medium(optional)
- Garbage bag/disposable table cover.
- Baking paper
In order for the acrylic paint to grip confirmly, 100% cotton is recommended. However, not all 100% cotton t-shirt are identical. What you should really look for are:
- *soft with fine fiber (so paint will grip better with less cracks in long term)
- *not too elastic (high spandex % is no good)
- *iron friendly (sealing the paints require heat treat)
In Hong Kong, there aren't many clothing store that sell comfy shirt in plain color. I find uniqlo is a good place to get soft comfy shirt, quite durable and reasonably priced. Around USD 7-8, they have a wide range of colors, color may varied per season, so grab a few more if its a color you want!
Step 3: Computer-Aided-Design CAD
For reference, try finding HD front view of the shirt. If not possible, like in my case, get ref photos from multiple angles. Then make a small sketch.
Recreation, Pixel or Vector? As you can see, this pattern has discrete colors. Thus, vector offers more flexible outputting for the design. You can use Adobe Illustrator or inkcape. For design beginners, I will use inkscape as an example since it's free!
Import your reference picture and use guideline to keep things in proportion. The last thing you want is an inaccurate pattern after all the painting.
The falling human shape is composed of circles and similar rectangles. I simplified it to circles and very thick white lines (positive space) since inkscape doesn't do well in accumulative transformations. Of course I can't resist to add in my own details. The mythbuster logo had black wording(negative space) on the back. Also the A. Savage tag on shoulder. please see the pattern i drew downloadable here
I picked this font for its resemblance. It's simply a trial and error process.
If what you are after is very universal, you can google it, i. e. Google "Avengers title font", download the font from a credible source and respect the font license of the creator.
Step 4: Stencil Cutting (Cricut)
Hold a ruler to your chess and eyeball the dimension of the pattern. Press clt-a in inkscape to select all shapes you drew. Ctrl-shift-e and Choose "Export selection" as .png at 300ppi for cricut, since cricut read transparency. For exacto blader, print it out in the desire dimension.
For Cricut users, go through the cricut designspace procedure. I have flash version trouble again. The Cricut Explore also act up a bit with firmware problem. But one after another i resolved it.
For exacto (some how always sounds like a comic assassin to me) buy the transparent sticky vinyl stencil, so that you can trace the pattern easily. i've been there!! I cant begin to imagine the trouble of fixing the paper on color vinyl and cutting on top, hope i saved you some trouble. I did that with my Girlfriend to paint shoes when i dont have access to my explore.
Step 5: Painting
Everybody can paint with brush and acrylic, you may say. I am merely suggesting some habits to ease the process.
- Frame your shirt on a flat wooden board (cardboard), this ensure the shirt be flat and stay in shape.
- Put an A4 paper inside the shirt to prevent the paint bleeding through layers of fabric.
- Press the stencil hard with your nails before painting
- Use acrylic textile medium since it make the paint for flexible, in turns durable(doesn't crack).
- Brush along the edge of the stencil, not into it.
- Paint patterns 1 by 1, i did 3 separate graphics here, let the first one dry before doing the second one!
- Use plastic bag to keep the shirt clean, Avoid accidental paint in unwanted area.
Step 6: Ironing and Washing
After the paint is dried. Remove the stencil.
Since the acrylic form a continuous surface covering both your shirt and the stencil, remove stencil involved tearing this layer of paint. Again tearing along the edge of the stencil gives better edge. As Mathematician would say, tear along the tangent of the curve.
For Small vinyl pieces, remove them with a needle or tools with a pointy tip.
After the stencils are removed, it's ironing time!! cover your print with a baking paper, its non-sticker property protect the print during ironing. I iron them on max heat for 5 mins, as my gel medium bottle suggested. As i know, the heat treatment melt the acrylic a bit so they grip to the cotton fiber tighter. You should check the instruction printed on the product you are using. The print may feel a bit stiff right after ironing.
Then, wash the area with print gently with cool soap water. Rub gently, you would feel it soften up a little as the cotton fiber absorb water and expand again. Hang to dry.
Step 7: I Reject Your Reality and Substitute My Own!
Am i missing an eyebrow?
haha, the Savage catch phrase never stops! Wear your shirt and spread the word!
To carry on the Mythbusters spirit! Pay tribute to the end of this great television series!! Mod your shirt now!! Upload a pic of your shirt!!
Thank you for your time and support! Vote for me in the T shirt transformation contest if you like my work!! The grand prize is a 3d printer! Leave a comment or share this with your friends! Constructive criticism are most welcome!Until next time! Happy instructabling!