Every year, my two sisters, my husband and I are crazy enough to go out just before midnight on Thanksgiving for Black Friday shopping! Usually, my niece and her husband join us, but they won’t be this year.
Last year, we all got cute, matching Christmas shirts for a few bucks from Walmart and wore them while shopping. For whatever reason, we love matching as a group, but it also did prove useful for finding each other in a crowd because we were all wearing bright green t-shirts.
This year, we decided to go a little harder for Black Friday shopping and get custom shirts with our BF roles on the back (The Driver, The Planner, The Line Holder, The Wanderer). And, because I’m me, I thought “why not make them?!” so I did. Here’s how:
- T-shirts – I bought ours from Joann Fabrics. I got long sleeved t-shirts for $5 a piece in a bright green again. Last year, we all wore long-sleeved shirts under the tees, so we decided to just go for long sleeves this year. Plus, the weather is showing as ~28 F, so it’s going to be cold.
- T-shirt transfers – depending on what color shirt you buy, you will need to get either white/light or dark transfers. You can get them in packs of 5 or 10 from Joann Fabrics.
- Computer + printer (make sure it’s an inkjet or that you get laser specific transfers)
- Wooden cutting board
- Design your shirts. We wanted something on the front and the back, so I knew I’d need at least 1.5 transfers per person. We went through a few iterations of design before settling on the ornament. TIP: when you’re doing a t-shirt transfer, anything that you don’t cut out and don’t have printing on will be white. So, if you want to do words, you need to cut out each letter individually or there will be a white background between the letters. Not a big deal for white tees, but on colored shirts, it looks a bit odd. That’s why I used a background image with the writing on top – I wanted somewhat simple shapes to cut out for the front since we were doing lettering on the back. We tried a Christmas stocking and a Christmas tree before landing on the ornament. The shape was just perfect for the words we wanted. You can use fancy programs (illustrator) for this, but I just used good ole Microsoft word with images and text boxes. For the back letters, which we made white to stand out on the green, I just created text that had a black outline with no fill. This actually made printing a lot cheaper because it required less ink since the transfer is white!
- Wash your shirts. I like to do this before putting on the transfer. That way, once the final product is done, I don’t feel like I need to wash it before I wear it. It’s already clean!
- Print and cut out your transfers. When I’m printing a huge amount of color like this, I’ll print one transfer at a time. That way, if your ink starts to go and you need to change it, you don’t have a bunch that are a waste because the color is funky. To cut out the ornaments and letters, I used a combination of scissors and an exacto. For the most part, I used the scissors. The exacto came in handy for the small inner parts on letters like P, A, and D.
- Prep your ironing materials. Ultimately, follow the instructions in your transfer pack, but mine called for a pillowcase over a wood cutting board and an iron pre-heated to the cotton setting. Be sure to iron the article of clothing first, especially where you’re going to put the transfer on. Then, iron the pillowcase on the cutting board. Then insert the cutting board with pillowcase between the layers of your project (front and back of the shirt, for example) and place it where your image is going to go. IMPORTANT: Be sure to try on the shirt and determine where you want the image to go based on how it lays on your body. I made this mistake once and the shirt looked so weird because the lettering was too low.
- Apply the transfers. Remove the backing from the cut-out transfers and place the image on your shirt (or whatever you’re using). It’s okay if the edges curl up a bit – you will then take the parchment paper that came in the transfer pack and place it over the image, being sure to smooth the transfer down completely. Then, iron over the whole transfer image for anywhere from 30-120 seconds, depending on size. You can check to see how well it’s binding at any point and continue ironing if needed. Be careful, the clothing will be HOT.
- Repeat for all shirts or the other side. If you’re doing a two-sided shirt, I recommend doing one side of all the shirts first and then going back and doing the other side. This will allow the image to cool before you press it into your ironing surface to do the other side. TIP: if you’re doing free letters on the back, like I did (free meaning they are individually cut/placed), I highly recommend using a straight edge to keep them all in line.
Here’s what you could end up with:
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers. If you’re looking for some last minute craft or food ideas, check out: