Thursday, November 8, 2012

How To: Make A Collage Shirt

   Plain shirts are nice, but a personalized shirt with your own design is far better! I used to have 't-shirt making parties' with my friend Theresa all the time in college. So I have learned many a technique for t-shirt decoration. Today I am going to share one way to turn a plain shirt into an interesting decorated shirt.... specifically a collage shirt.

Here is what you need:

  • Collage materials (interesting images, glue, exacto knife, a piece of blank paper to put your collage on)
  • A photo copy of your final collage
  • A blank T shirt shirt
  • Transfer Goop. The only kind I've ever used is called Picture This Transfer Medium. It works really well but I am sure other brands work well too. 
My Messy Bottle of Picture This
Okay, time for the fun!

Step One: Find your collage images.

Books where I found my images.
Examples of the images within.
Photocopies of images I found interesting. 
   The final image you will be using for your shirt design will be from a photocopy.  I got all my images from books full of pictures that were specifically collected for the use of crafters. The books I used were ones I borrowed from the library. Of course I did not cut the pictures right out of the book. It makes me cringe whenever I check out a book that has an image cut or ripped out. Although I love borrowing books that have writing in the margin! I bookmarked the pages that had images I thought I might want to use and made photocopies of the pages. This way, the library books returned intact for other crafters to enjoy.

Step Two: Make your collage. 

Cut, Cut, Cut
Images, pre-collage assembled
My Collage
    I just glued my collage right into my sketchbook. That way it was easily accessible. A glue stick works perfectly well. Also, the transfer goop makes a mirror image of your collage. Therefore, I'd advise against using writing in your collage because it will be backward on your shirt. 

Step Three: make a photo copy of your collage. 

   Although plenty of people have scanners attached to their printers, it is far better to use an actual photocopier. The transfer goop requires a certain type of ink to successfully transfer and most printers do not have the right kind of ink. I went to my local library to copy mine. Most libraries have photocopiers and while there you can explore the books. I made several copies just in case I messed up one. 

Step Four: cut out collage.

    If there are parts in your collage that are thinner (Such as the bar that the strong man is holding in my collage), you may want to cut differently at those parts. On the bar I did not cut exactly on the lines. I cut above the lines so that strip of paper was thicker and therefore sturdier and less likely to tear.

Step Five: Cover your image with the transfer goop!

  I put some of the transfer goop on a pallet and painted it right on the image using one of my non-treasured brushes. Also, I put my collage on a piece of saran wrap before I painted over it. This made it easier to peel  off the work surface which made it easier to avoid tearing or folding. 

  If your collage contained a thinner portion that you cut thicker, only paint on the part of the paper that you want transferred.  I only painted the bar, non the entire strip of paper.

Step Six: Place image on shirt.

  It is a good idea to figure out exactly where you want the image ahead of time. You can put marks on your shirt if you want an exact measurement.  I just found a general place I thought the image looked good and placed in that area once I was ready. Press the image on the shirt but try not to squeeze goop around the image. 

Step Seven: Wait.
  You should wait at least 24 hours for your image to set and the goop to dry.

Step Eight: Scrub off the paper. 

   You will need a small bowl of water and a washcloth.

 Dip the washcloth in the water and begin to scrub off the paper.

You will slowly uncover the image.

Voila! It is easier to clean off the paper pieces after it has dried. I brushed them off and used a lint roller to get the rest off. Wait 72 hours before washing in your washer to ensure the image is set. 

Step Nine: Make any needed repairs.
  I did not take any pictures for this step and it is not always necessary. After I scrubbed off the paper their were some flaws. Most notably, the strong mans arm had come detached from the fabric of the shirt. It dangled limply from the shirt. This is easy to fix. I used some more transfer goop and painted the back of the arm and placed it back where it belonged. 

Step Ten: Wear your shirt! 

My 'New' Shirt. 
Here I am proudly sporting my collage shirt. 


Optimistic Existentialist said...

Amber you're so artistic and talented!

Amber said...

Thanks Keith! You are kind to say so.