Well, I can't technically call this a tutorial because there's quite a few steps and terms which you probably wouldn't understand unless you have some interest in this type of stuff and I don't think I'm cool enough to have a real "tutorial" - you have to be like a prof blogger to do that shizz AND I don't have Publisher on the comp I'm using so I'm making due with paint - which looks like child's play becuase I don't really know how to use it...but I'm excited to tell you what I know! If you have any questions on how I got started etc just let me know, I'm a teacher remember...it's what I do! ha
First of all, I bought these Fruit of the Loom men's v neck undershirts (from Target).
If you were ever in college between the years of 2004 and 2008 you know exactly the ones I'm talking about. Yep...these paired with gym shorts, a north face, and tennies or uggs. Every single day. For reals.
Anyway back to the topic....
I wanted a very subtle tie-dye feel to the tees. I went with straight yellow and didn't bother with tying the shirts with rubber bands or anything - I wanted it to just look faded by the sun. I figured just them in the dye bath would give an uneven color. I was right. Although when they came out they were quite a bit brighter yellow than I had hoped and instead of "sun like fading" it was more like blotches of dark and light yellow. C'est la vie. I went with it. These gifts were already about 4 months delayed remember??
I had never tried using this RIT dye before (you can find it at any grocery store in the laundry detergent aisle) you simply follow the directions on the box. FYI: I purposely made my water level too low for the amount of Ts (10) I had in the washing machine. I thought it would give it that 'tie dye' look...doing this did a so-so job but next time I'll fill it up...
I rewashed them (like regular with detergent) to get some more fading and dried them as usual.
Now, on to the screen print process.
I use Speedball equipment. They have a great "starter" set and all the materials are easy to get your hands on at Hob Lob or Michael's. A kit similar to this is your best bet...
Bear with the terms you don't know and shoot me an email if you want to know more!
I used the photo emulsion method. I first drew this picture after not being able to find what I wanted online. Then on publisher I made the "bee there" part. I simply cut and taped the words under the drawn pic. Then I copied that image onto a transparency sheet with a laser printer.
Now comes the screen action! I'll be easiest to do this is list form.
Steps 1-4 must be done in a dark room. I put a sheet over the bathroom window and it works fine.
Any light will mess up the process - sorry, no pics! But it's pretty simple...
1. Spread a layer of the photo emulsion liquid (comes with kit) to both sides of the screen with the squeegee. I put push pins in each corner to keep it up.
2. This will need to dry entirely. I put it in a dark closet with a small fan directly on it.
3. This is the fun part! Take your transparency and place it on your screen (face up).
4. This is where you'll need a light source. I use a halogen shop light, it was about $20 (plus the cost of the bulb) at a hardware store. Hold it about 6 inches from the screen and turn it on. Hold it there for 3 minutes to "burn" the image onto the screen.
This is how it should look:
You can see where I used this screen before to make hats and koozies for "Big D's Dirty 30", it looks like black ink is still on the screen...as long as you clean the screen perfectly then you can reusue them hundreds of times!
Now it's safe to turn on the lights!
Begin rinsing the screen with a hard stream of cool water. As you rinse front and back the image should begin to appear. Basically what your doing is removin the emulsion in the areas you want printed (the "burned" image)...
Once the image seems completely clear let it dry then you're ready to print!
I do test runs on news paper before hand. Here's the first run,
Obviously it needed some fixes, see where the ink is missing, I didn't rinse it thoroughly...go back, rinse with heavy stream of water and try again...
After rerinsing the screen (focusing on the areas where the ink didn't go through) I tried again.
The printing process is pretty self explanatory (and go figs, I forgot to take pics!)
Lay out your shirt on a flat surface, place the screen on the shirt, spread a generous line of ink onto the screen above the image, and squeegee the ink down over the entire image. Make sense without pics? Probs not! Sorry!
I printed all the Ts and laid them out to dry (which really doesn't take that long)
And here they are up close!
I felt like the front needed a little somethin-somethin so I added the girls first initials. Here I am modeling mine (fresh out of the shower with a towel on my head!)
And that's it! Doneski!
I realize my crappy quality photos don't help y'all take me seriously in the least...and obviously I am in NO way a professional at this. It's something I was really interested in and taught myself. I tried to learn about it online and from YouTube but just jumping in and giving it a shot is really the best way to learn. As is everything right??
I have printed on fabric many a times but this was my first experience with an actual t-shirt.
Like I mentioned before I was hoping for a "vintagey" look so I wanted the ink to not be solid in all places and look faded. This was much trickier than I had imagined. Some came out perfect and others are a bit messier but overall I love how the package as a whole turned out!!
This is just a really fun skill to know. It is definitely a process but it has endless possibilities. Seriously, I'd love to answer any Qs you may have and would love any tips if you happen to have them!