DIY Printed Shirts

Christmas Hymns - Carols of the Christ Child
Let's just start off by saying I am listening to Christmas music. And I love love love it.
I think the only Christmas music I tolerate is the hymns (Silent Night, Away in a Manger, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing). I tend to get annoyed with the Santa ones (Up on the Rooftop, Santa Claus is Coming to Town). 
Needless to say, at our church Christmas party last night they handed out Christmas cds, and I love this one! It's called Christmas Hymns: Carols of the Christ Child, by Mark Geslison & Geoff Groberg. The hymns are beautifully orchestrated (I'm listening to one with a harp, and it's lovely) and I love that not all of them have words. I love listening to instrumental Christmas music more than anything. I grew up with Mannheim Steamroller playing throughout the house every Sunday morning before church. I guess listening to instrumental, soothing Christmas music brings me right back to my childhood. I want our children to grow up knowing not only the carols they sing in school about Santa, but the ones about our Savior too. The mood instrumental Christmas music brings is so unique and special.

But back to my DIY printed shirts.

Lately I've been wanting to make tshirt designs. But once I saw how expensive inkjet printer transfer pages are now (and how their quality hasn't improved much at all) I knew there had to be another way to do it. I saw a post on How About Orange and slapped myself, wondering why didn't I think of that? In high school I learned this same technique, but using canvas instead of fabric.

First I made a design in Illustrator:
I was going to write all of the directions out, but why don't you check out How About Orange? Her directions are far superior than mine would be. I'll just make a few suggestions:
  • I used gloss medium (that's all I had on hand) and it turned out just fine. I was worried about it being shiny but it isn't. But I recommend using gel medium (matte). It's much thicker and you will get better results. You can pick up a tiny jar at a craft/art store. In the long run, this is a much cheaper option than buying inkjet transfer paper.
  • My first attempt (see my Christmas trees below) didn't turn out so well. I skimped on the gloss medium, and the image didn't fully stick. Then I tried to scrub it off, which didn't work. Moral of the story: don't paint on too thin of a layer.
  • I also used a paint brush. I didn't want a huge area in the background to be stiff, so I just painted on the actual image with a little bit of border around it. I hate how inkjet transfers have the ghosting in the background. For my JACK transfer I just painted a teensy bit outside the circles as well. This also made washing it off easier.
  • Don't scrub too hard. See the A on my JACK transfer? (I also might have not had enough gloss medium on it)
  • You must use a laser print, or this will not work. Also, don't forget to flip (mirror) your image when you print it, or it will transfer backwards.
    UPDATE: I tried washing them, and some of the design came off. So either you can't wash it, or I should have turned it inside out and run it on delicate/hand wash. Sad! But if this method of transfer doesn't work for clothing, it would look awesome for a canvas tote! You could make tons of reusable grocery bags, or a beach bag...the possibilities are endless.

    Questions? Comment or email me and I'll help you out. Good luck!

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