Tell me if I’m reading your mind …
You have had a longstanding fascination with screen-printing.
Am I right?
No giggling. I know I hit the nail on someone’s head.
Ouch—that’s not exactly what I meant.
But, seriously, who among us hasn’t dreamed of making her own t-shirts, replete with favorite sayings and dreamy designs?
And yet, if you’re anything like me, you just haven’t found the time (or spare pocket change) to invest in one more new venture.
Well, I’m here to tell you that there is a super-easy way to print darling, DIY, vintage-style tees using stuff you probably already have around the house.
Want to try?
The technique is “sandpaper printing,” and while it may sound a little juvenile when I tell you that crayons are involved, hear me out. (We can call the crayons “colored wax sticks” if it makes you feel better—never mind that kids go crazy over this project, too.)
- Cotton t-shirt (lighter colors work best)
- Clothes iron
- Sandpaper (coarser textured paper will yield a more “pebbled” effect)
- Stencils, if desired
- Piece of cardboard slightly bigger than sandpaper
- Old towel
1. Lightly sketch a design in pencil on the sandpaper. If you’re including words, be sure to write the words AND their letters backwards because the printed image will be a mirror-image of your design (stencils come in very handy here).
2. Use crayons to color your design, using a heavy hand to lay down a thick layer of wax.
3. Place your t-shirt on an ironing board or other flat surface, and slip a piece of cardboard inside it to prevent the design from bleeding onto the other side of the shirt.
4. Position the sandpaper design-side-down on the t-shirt.
5. Lay an old towel over the sandpaper to protect your iron.
6. On high cotton setting, iron the sandpaper for about 45 seconds.
7. Carefully lift a corner of the sandpaper to see if the image has transferred well. If it looks a little light, continue ironing for another 30 seconds. The image will be “gritty,” but that’s part of the vintage appeal.
8. Gently remove the parchment and sandpaper to reveal your design.
9. To launder, wash on cold and tumble dry on low.
Here’s a cute video showing the process: