Monday, February 13, 2012

I've Made a Huge Mistake

This is my latest project for my little nephew.  Before I explain how I made this, watch this video (or at least some of it).

Arrested Development is one of my favorite shows.  Even better, its one of those rare shows that all the siblings agree on watching.  I laugh every time I watch it.  It never gets old.  Anyway, I could praise this show all day.  Now that you understand what's on the shirt we'll move on.

Someone recently asked me how I make my t-shirts.  Here's how:

I start by creating my design.  I did mine in Photoshop, but where you create the design isn't important.  The font I used it called Night At The Opera.  I didn't want the middle details, so I filled it in.  Then I put it on a shirt to see the sizing.  I like to be able to visualize the sizing before I start cutting.

Next I put the design into my Silhouette software by creating a jpeg and then using the tracing tool.  I hate having to place all the little pieces on the shirt myself (like the middle of the A for example) so I used my knife tool to slice the letters so the middle would stay attached.  If you want a closer look at my cut lines you can click on the pictures and they will get bigger.

I grabbed my t-shirt and measured how big I would want the design.  That is one thing I LOVE about my Silhouette - there is no guessing.  If you want it to be 9.25 inches wide, you can have it 9.25 inches wide. Exact measurements make my brain happy.

Freezer paper is the simplest/cheapest material I have used for making shirts.  Here's what you need to know about freezer paper:
-it's sturdy, but be gentle when pulling it off the mat
-shiny side goes down so make sure you design is oriented correctly
-it irons onto clothing in seconds
-it peels right off after you're done

Next, I cut a piece of freezer paper and placed it on the mat.  Then Violet did all the hard work.  If you don't have a silhouette, you can trace your design onto the freezer paper (it's transparent enough) and then cut by hand.

For some reason, I always place my freezer paper upside down on my mat (shiny side up).  I have no logic for this, it's just how I do it.  So I always make sure to cut my design backwards - which I totally forgot to do the first time.  Oops.

Make sure to put a piece of freezer paper inside the shirt to block any paint from seeping through onto the back.  After ironing my design onto the shirt, I start painting....

...and Charlie zones out.  She hates that my projects get my attention.  She would love it if I could just sit and rub her belly all day.  Sorry pooch, not gonna happen.

There are many fabric paints that you can buy, but I always use what I have on hand - acrylic.  It shows cracks when the fabric is pulled, but other than that it holds up really well.  Once I'm finished painting the whole thing, I peel the freezer paper off right away so I can fill in my little blank spaces by hand.

It's a good thing I put that freezer paper between my shirt.

Done!  This whole process probably took 30 minutes from design to done.

I can't wait to see this on Cameron.  That kid makes everything look good.


  1. They made a huge mistake when they stopped making that show! We need a picture of Cam wearing his new shirt!

    1. I agree with both of those statements!