The Rough Road to Bike Idaho Shirt

29 Dec


 This is the second shirt I made for Tucker for Christmas. (Here is the first, and here is a more thorough freezer paper tutorial.) It caused me all sorts of grief, and served as a bit of an education in the shirt making biz. In the above picture, it is looking pretty snazzy – aside from the unfortunate dab of yellow paint at the tippy-top of Idaho. That was disappointing for sure, but the upsets just kept coming…ending in a shirt that made it to the ‘work shirts’ drawer…


Here I was starting out rather well. I had my design – it’s a bike lane sign except an Idaho instead of a diamond. It’s the same bike as the one on the signs. I just printed an Idaho, traced my inner line, and put the bike inside of it. Then with my Exacto knife, I cut it all out.


 I used freezer paper again as well as acrylic paints.


 Here it is all lovely, except for that dumb dab at the top, of course. But what you can’t see, due to my camera trickery, is that the Idaho ended up slightly crooked. I fiddled with it so much, I’m certain I had it right just before the last time I decided to move the stencil for the umpteenth time – and then it was wrong. It’s OK, though, because later on I magically fix this eye sore.

What you also can’t see is that it took a million coats! And those long diagonal bumps – that actually give it a welcome topographic feel – are places where the shirt didn’t lie flat within the stencil. AND, with all those many coats, when I pulled off the stencil, the edges of dear Idaho tried to pull of with it – some succeeded.


 And then it dawned on me…how can I put the freezer paper down for the bike when it only adheres to fabric??? Aw, thinking I was not! Since I had already messed up with the misappropriated yellow dab, I took on a rather fearless attitude and just went with whatever ‘grand’ idea happened into my inexperienced head. So, I ironed the paper to the paint anyway, and you know what, it stuck better than I thought it would! It even came off as well!


 What it did not do well, was sealing up tight. You can see here that the paint moved under the stencil – giving the impression that it was dripping mud, which is no bad thing really. I decided maybe it was better that it wasn’t perfect, because well…IT WASN’T!!


 I still needed my black outline to give the impression that it’s a sign. But, with my adopted gutsy attitude and my need to force ingenuity due to my many errors, I came up with a new plan. I used a blue paint, and tilted the stencil to ‘correct’ the crookedness. And I let it be sloppy because this shirt was decidedly care free and did not want to be held to any rigid ideas of immaculate lines and such. (Be sure to sense the sarcasm.)


And here is the final product. And I really do like it quite a lot. But that yellow smudge…SAD. Want more SAD? When I washed and dried it for the last time, it cracked in some places and the yellow paint chipped in one spot where it had glued itself together.

Complete failure? Not at all!! Once again, I learned a lot through doing. And now, I am ready to learn and do screen printing. Lots of it!! Oh the possibilities!!! (Including re-making this shirt!!)

What crafting mishaps have you experienced? Please share, it’ll make me feel better!


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