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Introduction: Easy Method for Custom T Shirts

My buddy, JB, is celebrating his 40th birthday party. The JB4.0 Mashdown promises to be the mega party of 2011 that will ring throughout the halls of party legend for generations. I have 2 small problems: 1) what to wear and 2) what to gift.

My Armani tuxedo is at the tailor and nevertheless is entirely inappropriate for the occasion. Furthermore, JB is a man who takes what he wants and is the man who has everything. I will need to create something special to solve this problem.

My solution is to create a customized t shirt to capture the milieu of JB4.0 and to serve as a lasting souvenir of the event. There are many great instructables for screenprinting, but these involve frames, photosensitive and emulsion chemistries, squeegees, special inks or tediously cut stencils.

Luckily, over the years, I have developed a simple technique to one off a great looking t shirt whenever inspiration strikes. I now share my method with the fine instructables communityStep 1: Get the Stuff1. Plain T shirt ($3 to $20USD)

2. Sharpie brand fine point permanent marker ($4USD) (I suppose other permanent blank markers will work, but it doesn’t get an better than Sharpie)The following items are optional

1. Tracing box (based on this instructable )

a. Two Push on Lights ($4USD/each)

b. Clear storage container ($6USD)

2. Masking tape ($4USD)

3. Graphics software like Photoshop (priceless)Step 2: Prepare the Design

The first step is to decide the design for the t shirt. You should choose or create a simple design. Markers on t shirt does not allow for high resolution images.

I decided to create a custom icon for the party based on a pic of JB I pulled off the Facebooks. There are several good instructables to describe detailed how to (Like this one and this one ), soI will only briefly describe the image prep.

Here’s the fast guide to what I did: Select a photo > Remove the background > Convert to Black and White > Adjust Threshold > Cleanup the rough spots > Add the finishing touchesStep 3: Tracing the Outline

Now here is the fun step. I printed my graphic on a sheet of paper and taped it to my tracing box. Then I layed the t shirt on top of the tracing box.

I like to make a dotted outline of the design. If you try to draw the lines, you may pull the shirt material and distort the drawing.

My tracing box is based on an easy setup described here .

If you do not have a tracing box, then you can just as easily tape your image and shirt to an outside window. On a sunny day, you can easily see the design through lighter colored shirts for tracing

In a pinch, I have even stretched a t shirt around my computer monitor and traced directly from the screen. If you try this, then first cover your monitor in plastic wrap otherwise there can be marker bleed though to stain your monitor screen.
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