Hey fellow kids!
What is summer without summer camp activities? Well I was never sent to summer camp because my family didn’t have that kind of money but I imagine making t-shirts would be a fun camp activity! Let’s make a t-shirt!
Step 1: Make a stencil
Choose a logo you’re completely obsessed with want to show off like the shameless fanboy/fangirl you are. Today I’m announcing my loyalty to house Articuno and recognising that Queen Blanche is the one true queen of the north, so I’ve printed out a vector image on a piece of clear acetate film. Many thanks to /u/fruitrolluperino for the vector file (https://www.reddit.com/r/pokemongo/comments/4t2xgy/the_real_team_mystic_logo_high_resolution/)! I took out that border so people will stop bitching about which emblem is the right emblem. Team members shouldn’t fight about things like that!
Take a sharp object and cut out the shapes you want to print. Don’t cut yourself too. Unless that’s your thing, then all the power to you. But that won’t help you finish the project so let’s not. Also it makes more mess and this will get messy as it is. And if you bleed to death you can’t play Pokemon Go anymore so that’ll be a real drag.
Step 2: Prepare your PRINTING SURFACE
Whether you’re printing on a t-shirt, a bag, your underwear, public property, whatever, make sure you protect your surface so the paint doesn’t stain the rest of the material. I’ve just put a piece of cardboard inside this t-shirt to eliminate bleed-through. Also protect the rest of your work area with plastic sheets or garbage bags so the landlord doesn’t scream at you for staining the carpet/linoleum/hardwood/marble floors again.
Step 3: Position your stencil
I like to spray down the back of my film with a temporary spray adhesive so that when I start painting, it doesn’t shift around. I’ve found this Sprayway brand one that smells like high-end cancers that works great. I just had to make sure I spray away from my precious face and crack open a window in my windowless basement sweatshop.
Carefully position the film on the fabric and set it down. Pat it down flat so all the corners and finer bits are fully adhered to the surface. Try to make sure it’s not crooked so that you won’t cry later about wasting your time and materials on a goofed up piece of discount-bin crap. Do your best!
Step 4: Apply paint
I’m using a stencil brush and applying fabric paint to this shirt. Apply in light layers, try not to let the paint get too thick or globby or it might bleed past the edge of the stencil or feel too heavy on the fabric.
Adding a gradation on the edges of the wings here because I like it fancy.
The stencil is fully covered now. I realised I shouldn’t have used a shitty piece of cardboard with a crease down the middle because the painting processed picked that up. So ya, use a flat piece of cardboard or board and nothing with too much texture as the backing. I guess I should’ve mentioned that near the beginning.
Step 5: CAREFULLY, CAaaaaREFULLY, lift your stencil.
Moment of truth!
STEP 6: Touch up
Attention to detail is an important life skill to have and lets potential employers know you’ve got your shit together, so take a moment and see if anything needs some extra TLC.
STEP 7: Heat-set THE print
You want your masterpiece to last forever so you’ve got to heat-set your fabric paint. Flip your fabric over, turn it inside-out or have a clean piece of fabric over your print and go over it for 2-5 minutes with a dry iron on the cotton setting, continually moving it around to make sure it doesn’t burn into any single area for too long. This will set your paint so that it doesn’t wash off on your semi-annual laundry day.
FINAL STEP: ADMIRE YOUR GENIUS
You’ve done it! You’ve made a thing! It’s wonderful! It’s priceless! You’ll be the envy of the next nerd convention!