Sunday, August 12, 2012

Painting T-Shirts: An Experiment in Patience

Eight months ago, I must have been an ambitious person. I must have thought to myself: I have no need of free time ever again! I must have assumed what little social life I have wouldn't interfere with volunteering myself to design almost six dozen T-Shirts for an upcoming family reunion. S just thinks I'm crazy.
Hand Painted T-Shirts

This weekend we are travelling about eleven hours to Mont Tremblant, Quebec, to attend a large family reunion. It will be a weekend of fun, excitement, activities, and wine. In a moment of insanity, I volunteered to make personalized shirts for every attending member.

Designing them was the easy part. I used photo editing software (but it's just as easy to use a word processing program) to pick the font and style of the text. I used an art knife to carefully cut out the letters - which takes a lot longer than you might think! Luckily, I was able to monopolize various members of my family to help with cutting out, including S who spent two days cutting stencils. For the front stencils, I used a thick plastic so they would be reusable, but otherwise the paper stencils are single use only.

I used a re-positionable spray adhesive to fix the stencils to the t-shirts. Using spray adhesive makes for nice clean lines, really crisp images and a very sharp result. Overspray is easily cleaned up with rubbing alcohol.

Wait for the spray adhesive to dry before pressing it onto the shirt - this way, it doesn't leave lots of goopy glue marks on the shirt which you would later have to remove with rubbing alcohol. Different types of stencils dry faster than others (the plastic ones take a couple minutes, whereas the paper ones dry almost instantly).

Instead of buying expensive fabric paints, I used acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is water soluble, but permanent in fabric and other textiles once it dries. Give it a 24-hour curing time just to be safe.

Once you're done, carefully peel the stencil off the shirt. If it's not exactly what you hoped for, you have a few minutes to tweak it before the paint sets. Use a paintbrush dipped in water to carefully clean up any messy areas (you'll need lots of water, but be careful not to disturb the areas you like!) or a paintbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean up any areas where the spray adhesive has transferred to the fabric.

Let it dry, and then you're ready to wear your fabulous new shirt! Can you imagine doing 68 of these for a family reunion? S is right - I must be insane.

This was an amazing family reunion - I got to reconnect with relatives, meet new additions to the family, and introduce S to everyone he will soon be related to.

After the family reunion, we headed to Parc National du Mont Tremblant, a really wonderful national park in the heart of Quebec. Three gloriously rainy days later, we found ourselves wandering around the heart of Montreal in anticipation of Wicked - the fabulous fabulous fabulous musical S bought tickets for as a birthday present. Who knew he'd put up with three hours of singing, dancing and costumes for me?

As for me, I'm far too wired for sleep (and singing Wicked songs under my breath, poor S). Tomorrow we have another 8 hour drive ahead of us, and will hopefully find ourselves in Waterloo to visit some cousins and have a (hopefully) successful interview with the university!

Sorry to those who complain I should update more (I'm talking to you Mark) but I haven't been home in forever. More updates to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Your right, S does think your insane. But, He loves you anyway.