So it all started last summer when we had a bowling event taking place from work. We were to form our teams consisting of four people each and come up with our uniforms. One of our creative team-mates suggested we go for personalized t-shirts for the event and we ended up implementing the idea; we customized a famous character and created custom logos and signs and put them on the front and back of the t-shirts; we also had our very own cheerleader who wore the exact same outfit as the rest of the team. Now it's another story that our team sucked as bowlers, but we all were so proud to have won the best uniform award and a prize of free movie tickets for the entire team!
The most exciting thing about this whole event was that I got to learn how to create personalized t-shirts!!! A couple of days before the event happened to be my sister's birthday so I decided to create a personalized t-shirt for her as well with a photo of two of us on there. She was so happy to receive the gift. I couldn't believe my eyes when she declared that she'd actually wear it at work all day on her birthday, and she did! Every single person who saw her that day asked her about it and also got to know who her crazy sister was, who gifted her that t-shirt for her birthday. I am so proud of her for that and of myself for implementing the idea. ;)
Then at the end of the last year for the holidays, we had 15 of us family members getting together and guess what! This brilliant brain thought how about the same t-shirt for every single family member?! Then I thought how cool would it be to get a picture of all 15 of us and put that one on 15 t-shirts. My wish was to surprise everyone but I knew that there was no way I would be able to do it all without letting them know as each one on average takes more than 4 mins to prepare. So I decided to share the idea with everyone once we were all together and when I did, they all loved it. The elders, the youngsters, and everyone in between all got super excited about it. It was like there were 15 kids loose, doing some crazy fun activity that they all love. Just imagine! After almost a 2-hr long photo-shoot and about two dozen photos, we came up with one that we all liked. Then after some editing and decorations, we were ready to start the mega task of printing and pasting them on t-shirts. It took us one whole evening and one almost whole morning, and three to four people at work at any given time, to complete the task as we had a lot of other activities planned simultaneously (we didn’t want to waste any time inside home during the daylight or the early hours of night) but the excitement level was much too high and we had them ready in almost no time. Once that was done, now it was time to wear them outside so everyone can see our beyond-brilliant creation... and we did, when we went to Ghirardelli chocolate factory on Xmas eve!!! ;) That’s nine of us kids (yeah right!) at the chocolate factory.
Recently, I also created personalized t-shirts for my niece and nephew as well, which I know they love a lot! :)
Now the idea seems little outdated but I still get the same excitement every time I want to make a personalized t-shirt. And now for time to share the how-to's of this creative gift.
- The best fabric for these t-shirts is cotton.
- The white colored t-shirts work the best with the regular transfer paper. They also have different kind transfer paper for darker t-shirts (which is a bit more expensive) so get the kind you that works with your t-shirt color. Per their instructions, you can't use the white one for darker and vice versa.
- I have bought almost all of the cotton t-shirts from Target as they have good quality t-shirts for reasonable price. I personally don't like the ones that turn into chewed-by-cow kind of material after first wash. Plus, I want the gift to last a few washes instead of just a one-time wear so I spend a little more on t-shirts (more than $7 on sale). They also have nice collared t-shirts at Target. I love those too! Here are all different ones that you can buy from in case you're buying from Target. If you're buying from other stores, just make sure their stitches are well done and the fabric looks strong enough to last a few washes.
- Work on this project in open ventilated area as the ironing the art-work on t-shirt creates a weird smell. I find it a little suffocating but it's not that bad; it helps to be near circulating air. Makes the experience more pleasant.
- The care for t-shirts after wearing them, before washing them: take about half a gallon of cold water in a bucket and add about 4-5 table spoons of regular salt. Mix it well and soak the t-shirt in it for about an hour. Don't let it move around too much, just let it sit in the salty water. Wash in cold water. Avoid machine wash if possible, hand wash is better for the ironed-on art-work.
- Do not use laser printers to print the art-work, it will melt in there.
Buy: Avery Fabric Transfers
Instructions: Avery t-shirt transfer - full-sheet of paper (PDF File link), Avery t-shirt transfer - 4x6