Monday, August 31, 2009

Express Your Innermost Dad!

DIY t-shirts

If you’re a dad you probably use this expression frequently.

Why not memorialize it in a t-shirt.

And why not make one for everyone in the whole blaspheming family?...

I’ve seen t-shirts with lots of my favorite IM messages emblazoned across the front but I couldn’t bring myself to shell out 20 bucks for one of them.

So how hard could it be to iron a few letters onto a t-shirt…

… pretty hard let me tell you!

Here’s what you’re going to need:
DIY t-shirts
  1. T-shirts for everyone in the family.  Preferably in the same color so your family can be as cute and sickly sweet as possible.
  2. Iron-on letters.
  3. Measuring tape, preferably the cloth kind that tailors use.
  4. Chalk.
  5. An ironing board.
  6. A dry iron – no steam!
  7. A cutting board or cork board from the kitchen.

    First go to your local craft store for your supplies.  I went on a Sunday, unshaven and unshowered and I’m surprised they let me in the joint.

    Craft stores normally have a supply of t-shirts at decent prices.  One of my local stores happened to have shirts on sale for 3 bucks a pop.  I bought one for myself, eM, D and J.

    Next stop: the iron-on letter aisle.  I bought two sets of large block fonts for the adult t’s and two packs of a smaller font for the kids’ shirts.  Lesson learned: the kids’ font types weren’t the same as those I grabbed for the adult shirts.  The large letters were block and the small letters were not and I didn’t notice until I got home.

    I examined a few of the t’s in my closet and determined that the bottom edge of art work for most t-shirts falls about 5” from the bottom of the collar, 3” for kids’ shirts (who knew).

    I also measured out my letters and determined that the whole expression, accounting for equal spaces between the letters (1/4” for the adult shirts, 1/8” for the kids), would need about 4.5” of real estate.  I used chalk from J’s blackboard to make my marks on the shirts.

    Tip: Work on one letter at a time.  It takes longer but it’s worth it.  If you run through the entire process for each letter, you can make tiny adjustments with each successive letter.  If you were to iron-on all the letters at once you run the risk of effing the whole thing up on your first pass and that would suck (you would probably also yell, “OMFG!” and that’s just going to scare the children).

    Measure down 5” from the bottom of the collar (3” for the kids’ shirts) and make a mark with the chalk.

    DIY t-shirts

    Find the center of the shirt and travel down to your mark.  The first half of the expression will be to the left of center and the second half will be to the right – make sense?

    In other words, if the total expression uses 4.5” of space, that means the letters will begin 2.25” to the left of the center mark.  Remember to account for even spaces between the letters when you calculate how much space you’ll need.  Your total space may be different depending on the size of your letters.

    DIY t-shirts

    Tip: After you think you have a letter lined up right, stop what you’re doing and view the letter upside down.  The new perspective will help you see any flaws.

    DIY t-shirts

    Next, carefully slide the cork board or cutting board into the shirt and under the letter – this prevents any potential bleed-through and gives you a nice hard surface for the pressing phase.

    Make sure your iron is fired up and on the appropriate setting for the shirt.  Set the iron down onto the letter carefully at first and then press gently.  This prevents the letter for shifting under the weight.   Keep the iron still while you’re pressing.

    Watch out for the M’s – mine wanted to shift as I was pressing down with the iron.

    Follow the rest of the directions on the label that came with the letters to the letter – bada bing!  (Be sure to tip your waiters and waitresses everybody, I’m here all week, good night!)

    Now off you go to offend family, friends and the clergy.


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