Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shirt designs!

It is another day of attempting to creatively kill time at work. So today I'm working on making stencils for fabric printing... so I can make fun clothing that's more or less unique. And at some point I really think this would be great to do with students - especially since I learned the technique I'm using at the Utah Art Educators conference this year.

The process I'm using is really simple. Basically, you take an image and transfer it on to freezer paper, typically by tracing it. then you cut out the parts that you want to be in color with an exacto knife. Then you iron the freezer paper (waxy side down) onto a piece of fabric - for the piece I'm working on, that's going to be a t-shirt - and take fabric paint to it. When the paint is dry, peel the stencil off, and then follow instructions from the fabric paint to set the color (so it doesn't come out in the wash). Poof, instantly personalized clothing. This tends to work better with simpler designs, but for some reason I'm a masochist, and I always choose rather complex designs. These always take ages to cut out, and have a high likelihood of getting messed up. But when I choose designs, I don't think about this.. just about what I like.

So today was mostly about choosing the image. I decided I wanted to put wings on the back of a shirt, so I googled images. There are actually a ton of them, so I found several I liked and saved them to my computer. Then I chose the one I thought would work the best. The image i happened to choose was someone's lovely drawing - actually a tattoo design. Granted, I hate using other people's art straight, but for this I'm not too fussed about it, since it gets changed a lot in the process. So the original image is

and I just love it. But the whole intricate details thing is definitely not conducive to cutting out stencils... So to make the image a bit more my own, and 20 times easier to work with, I pulled it into Adobe Illustrator and vectorized it. I tweaked it around until it was something I liked and that I could realistically work with.

So at this point it's already started to look different, and it'll look way different when it's on a tshirt. After this, I split it into two images (1 per wing) and printed them out at 11x17. Then I cut the excess paper off with a big paper cutter, and taped them to my freezer paper so that it won't move while I'm creating the stencil. Now is time for tracing and cutting... woot.