Sunday, 29 January 2012

How To Make Your Ex-boyfriend's T-shirt Into A Shangri-Las T-shirt

This is a tutorial of sorts... although you may need to use your brain box to fill in any bits I've skipped over - sorry!

I accept no responsibility for any drama that may arise from making your ex-boyfriend's t-shirt into a Shangri-Las t-shirt!
What you need:
Ex's shirt (or one of your own)
Fabric paint / pens / acrylic paint might work
Sponge / paintbrushes
Sewing machine (optional)
Transparent sticky back plastic
Craft knife and cutting mat
Computer w/ printer
Iron and board
Old newspaper

Alright, it's time to recycle that old unused t-shirt into something rad! The beauty of this project is that if it goes completely wrong and looks like the worst thing ever then it wasn't your loss! It's resourceful y'all!
First you gotta take the shirt and put newspaper inside it between the front and back (this is very important!!!). Then draw a big ol' broked heart all over the front of it! Use paint or marker pens or anything you want, pick colours that will stand out over the top and paint all over it, if yours has a print on just draw on the top of that. My shirt already had a lightning bolt motif on it so I just used fabric pens to make it heart shaped. I freehanded it because I'm cooler than you, you could stencil it on if you like. Once you've done it, let it dry and then set it (read the instructions, usually you just set it with a hot iron). I also used my powers of pent up teen angst to rip the shirt in a few places – this is optional.
I used T-shirt markers!
Nextly, make your stencil. This is my own personal method for stencilling that I've coined from years of trial and error. I make my stencils on MS Word using the 'stencil' font because a) it's so easy it practically makes itself and b) I kinda just like that font. I print it off so it takes up a whole piece of A4, which is a good size to stretch right across the front of a shirt, and I use the 'outline' setting to save on ink! Like this:
Mmm, liney!
Next I stick the stencil with Pritt Stick to an appropriate size of clear sticky back plastic (I use transparent to help me with the aligning of the finished stencil). The sticky back plastic only costs a couple of bucks for a metre and you can make a load of stencils with that – plus you can use them more than once if you're careful with them. Glue around the edge but not over the part you will be cutting or it'll be all slidey.
 Then cut out the letters carefully with the craft knife! Get an adult to supervise you! This is the most painstaking part of the whole process, I promise. You should end up with something like this.

(If you are scared or just have a really wobbly hand you might like to try another method. Cut out the letters with scissors and keep all the letter parts in order. Stick the letters themselves onto your shirt and paint over them in whatever shape you want, then when the paint is dry take them off again to leave unpainted shirt underneath. This is what I mean:
This method is called 'resisting' and it's kind of totally rad.)

Now take the paper print off the stencil. Lay your t-shirt out nice and flat and figure out where you want the lettering to go. Use a ruler if you want it really straight, or you can put it at a wacky angle. Then peel off the back and stick it on. I usually try it on in the mirror, you can re-position the stencil a few times if you need to. 
Once you are happy with the position, make sure it's all firmly stuck down around the edges of the letters, otherwise it can bleed underneath. Make sure your newspaper is back inside and then painty paint all over the stencil! Don't get paint on your clothes or it might not come out! 

I used the Dylon paint for dark fabrics so that the colour would stand out over my black heart. Also, I have this special sponge brush that I use - but a normal sponge or paintbrush also works. Start with a thin layer and then go over again with a little more.

Leave it to dry a couple of hours and then take the stencil off real careful like. Then leave it again, preferably overnight. In the morning, wake up, brush your teeth and set the stencil with a nice hot iron. Now you might need to resize the shirt if it's too big for you. This is how I resize my shirts with the 'grown-on sleeve' effect.

Lay the shirt you want to resize out nice and flat and as crease free as possible. Take a shirt that you like the fit of and lay that on top all flat and straight, making sure that the necklines match up. Now take your scissors and cut away the extra bits! Just cut it as if it was one piece – e.g. ignore all sleeve seams and everything. I know that makes me sound like I've got barnacles for brains but it will work! I don't shorten my resized t-shirts because I like them nice and loooong.
Then turn the shirt inside out and fold in half so that you can make sure the two sides look even and that the sleeves are the same length. 
Pin the sides and sew them back up using a stretch stitch. Not the sleeve holes, obviously. Then you will have 'grown on' sleeves (they look more 'grown on' the bigger the original shirt was)! I don't hem my t-shirt sleeves because I dig the hobo look.
Now put it on and be rad!
P.S. This works just as well with your ex-girlfriend's shirt!!!

This was created with the help of Gravy Train!!!! and Lou Reed