Friday, September 10, 2010

a friday DIY: painterly shirt

I've said it before, I'm addicted to stripes. I've never met a stripe I didn't like.

Feeling inspired by some of the painterly stripes I've seen out there, I set out to make a DIY version. I'd never worked with fabric paint before (those neon puffy paints from the 90s don't count), so this was a fun experiment.

the summery inspiration from J Crew

DIY Painterly Stripe T

materials needed:
plain t-shirt
fabric paint - make sure you pick the right paint for your fabric
paint brush
ruler or straight edge
tailors chalk
some sort of dropcloth

1. make sure you start with a clean, washed t-shirt. I had an old tar-jay T-shirt that I knew was clean already.
2. Lay out your dropcloth.  You may find it easier to work if you have the dropcloth taped down. I didn't because I'm deathly afraid of ruining the hardwood floors. My landlord put the fear in me when we moved in.
3. Slide a piece of cardboard or paper bag inside the shirt. You don't want to paint through to the other side!

4. Using the tailors chalk and your ruler, make lines to your desired width. I went for about 3/4 " lines with about an inch between each stripe. I wanted some extra space between my stripes so I went wider but you could certainly make your stripes bigger or smaller to get whatever effect you prefer!

5. Start painting!! I was extremely surprised by how quickly the fabric absorbed. The first line was definitely a bit more saturated then I had planned but I started to get the hang of it by about the third line. If I was smart, I would've painted a few lines on some scrap fabric first, but I have zero patience so I just went for it!

6. Wait for the front to dry. Mine took about an hour to dry to the touch.
7. Flip your shirt over and repeat the process on the back.
8. Once both sides are dry, follow your paint manufacturers' instructions for setting the paint. Mine called for ironing for 3 minutes on the reverse side. I decided to keep my cardboard inside while I ironed and I'm glad I did because some excess paint absorbed into it.

9. Turn your shirt back to right side out and you've now got a fun, painted T-shirt that you did yourself for a fraction of the $70 price tag.

I really like the way this turned out. The blue was quite a bit brighter than what the bottle and sample in the store showed. Next time, I think I would like to experimenting with mixing some of the colors to come up with something more custom. I also think this could be awesome with darker T-shirts and lighter colors or some metallics on top.

What do you think?