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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fabulous Fourth of July Shirts

O.K., this is a post I recycled from last year, but considering that hardly anyone read my blog then, I don't feel too bad.  Enjoy!

For the Fourth of July we had some friends over and I had this fabulous idea of making patriotic t-shirts for the whole family - me, Kentster, CJ and Kenzie.  It was such a fabulous idea I stayed up late to make them with brand new t-shirts I purchased - 2 navy blue, 1 red and 1 white.  Briana at Sweet Peas and Bumblebees was the inspiration for the project and I used the awesome digital graphics she suggested from Summertime Designs.  In fact, it was such a great idea that I also found a graphic online to use for Kentster's shirt.

First, you do need to launder the shirts before putting transfers on them.  For the transfer, I used fabric transfer paper from Avery.  They come in different versions for light colored and dark colored fabrics.  That's where I went wrong.  I didn't realize there was a difference and I had some fabric transfers left over from a previous project and I didn't bother to read that they were for light  colors.  Here's what happens when you use the wrong fabric transfer:

The picture can barely be seen.  In fact, the photograph looks better than the real thing.  So make sure you have the right kind of fabric transfer before you get started and make sure to carefully read the directions.

Another point - you need to make sure you reverse the graphic image on your computer before you print it on the transfer paper, otherwise, your shirt will have a backwards transfer which can be very problematic with words.  You also need to make sure when you place the image on the shirt you have it oriented properly, which can be a little confusing when it's backwards.  Here's what happens when you put the image on the wrong way.  The image is not backwards, it's actually upside down!  Ack!!

By this point I had ruined two new t-shirts and had two more I couldn't use because I had dark shirts and fabric transfers for light colors.  I had to improvise.  I managed to find a white shirt for CJ and a gray one for Kenzie in their drawers.  I used the graphic from Summertime Designs and added my own sayings in fonts I liked and voila! they look great!

I really enjoyed taking individual elements of the designs and putting them together!  It made me feel like a graphic designer!  This opens up all types of ideas for making fabric transfers.  You can transfer designs onto shirts, totes, aprons - pretty much any fabric.  You can find designs on the web, including individual pieces you can put together in Photoshop or other similar programs.  We have a Mac and I just put them together in Preview - SO EASY!!  Another idea is to scan scrapbook items - paper, stickers, tags, etc or use photos!  Be sure to honor copyrights where applicable (no reselling).
I know I will be doing more of these types of fabric transfers in the future.  Maybe the next vacation instead of buying the obligatory souvenir t-shirt, why not take a picture or make a scrapbook page to scan and put on a t-shirt.  It will be more meaningful and representative of your trip.  Let me know if you have any other ideas to use with fabric transfers.

A post script to this post - I have never used this technique since last year, but in rereading this post, I am determined to try it again.  In the meantime, my son is going to wear his shirt again this year.