This blog is now exclusively devoted to crafting in general, and the shop in particular! Pretty much all of my personal content has been moved to a new blog, one that is intended primarily to help keep our family and friends in the loop. (If you are interested in following the new blog, you will find it here.) This blog will continue to feature shop news, new listings, sales, giveaways, and all of my share-worthy crafting exploits.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

T-Shirt Series: MAtNAr and BLU

We made a number of t-shirts using freezer paper and bleach (or paint) for our family and friends for Christmas this past year, but the majority of them were not delivered until about 2 weeks ago.  My dad's Star Trek shirt was one of the first ones we did, but it was the only one that got posted.   Now I finally get to post the rest!

I'm going to start with Matt's, even though it was one of the last ones we did, because I actually took a few pictures of the process for that one.  Matt is currently working on a PhD in chemistry (yes, chemistry) so of course his had to be chemistry-related.  Brandon's first idea was to spell his nickname, Matnar, using elements from the periodic table, but there is no  "M" or "Ma" so we scrapped the idea and spent months trying to come up with something else.  In the end, we came back to that first idea, and just made up our own element for the "M".  I made the design in Photoshop, printed it, and traced it.  Brandon then cut it out, leaving all of the tiny pieces attached at the corners.  Normally, he would have detached them just before ironing them on, but this time he left them together as an experiment.  He put a piece of cardboard inside the shirt, then ironed the whole thing down together, and used tweezers and the x-acto knife to pull off the necessary pieces.

Once finished, he ironed it all again, just to be sure.  You have to be careful with it, because if you don't iron it enough, the bleach will bleed under the stencil.  But, if you iron it too much, then it can be hard to get all of the paper pulled off when you're done.  Brandon has had more luck with it than I have, but we're still not sure about how to get it exactly right every time.

As you can see, we used emptied boxes from the pantry as cardboard shields to protect the rest of the shirt, and taped it all together with masking tape.  The bleach solution is just a 50/50 mix of bleach and water in a little spray bottle.  (We had the most success with one of the little ones from the travel supply section at Target.)  I didn't take and pictures of the actual bleaching process, because we did that step together.  Usually, he would mist the bleach solution over the stencil, and I would dab at it with a paper towel to soak up the excess.  Sometimes, we used the iron to speed the process, but it can cause it to look a bit uneven.  When we're satisfied with how it looks, we pull off all of the cardboard and submerge the shirt in cold water to stop the bleaching process.  Then, and only then, do we get to pull off the stencil and see how the shirt looks.

Matt's shirt is the only one that Brandon did that bled, but it wasn't too bad.  We considered trying to add to it, but ran out of time decided that it might be best to just leave it as it is.

He liked it so much that he wore it on his honeymoon last week.  (Thanks for the picture, Robin!)

John's shirt, on the other hand, turned out perfectly.  They all play video games together, so Brandon chose a design from the game  Team Fortress 2.   The players are all split into two teams, the RED and the BLU, and then they run around trying to kill each other, among other things.  I played with both in Photoshop, but went with the BLU logo, because it was less complicated than the logo for the RED team.

We used the same process for this one, except that we cut the stencil completely apart before ironing it onto the shirt.  The result was much more crisp.


More from the series on Saturday!

July 16 Edit: as requested by Clint in the comments, here is the stencil I used for the Blu logo.  The lines aren't remotely perfect, but I corrected it when I was tracing the stencil.  The globe is the worst.  Rather than trying to trace that mess, I simply drew in those lines by hand.


Kelly's Korner said...

Very cool! I like they you are crafting together.

Jessica said...

those turned out great!!

Clint Vitriol said...

Can you share the stencil you used for the BLU? I was looking for one to put on a blue footlocker and I couldn't find one. If I scale this one up to size it's going to be all distorted.