Tiny Tot T-Shirts – New Shirts            

Buoyed by the success of my first attempt at creating a custom patterned t-shirt, I immediately moved to implement my other patterns. I went out and bought more white t-shirts with some sized for my toddler and others for my husband. Speaking of whom, I’m really happy that my husband has been supportive of me throughout this entire process. Not only has he been supportive, he’s helped me clean up several times after the huge messes I’ve made. Excited, I moved to start implementing my other designs. I wanted our whole family to have some unique t-shirts to wear on our upcoming family vacation. I started making each t-shirt and I set it up so that I would work like a production line. I would draw all the designs first and then after putting away the dyes, I would then set all the dyes with the heat gun all at once. This would allow to me concentrate on only one task at a time instead of being all over the place. After about a week I was done drawing all my designs onto the t-shirts and it was time to set the designs. I let my shirts sit overnight to set and then I would heat cure them all in the morning. That’s when disaster struck.

Disaster Strikes

Early in the morning a tornado rolled through our neighborhood, causing a lot of destruction in our area. Thankfully, my house didn’t suffer any major damage, but unfortunately one of our trees got uprooted and tore our powerline up. We were left without power for over half the day. I’d like to personally thank www.nwatreetrimmer.com for their quick and efficient service in clearing out the uprooted tree from our house so that the utility company could move in and quickly repair our powerline. By mid-afternoon, the power was back on and I was back to curing my t-shirts. I was just relieved that our house wasn’t damaged and my family wasn’t hurt in the tornado so my excitement in finishing my project was heavily tempered. By dinnertime, I had finished curing the t-shirts and it was time to have a thankful dinner with my family. It was a very enjoyable dinner as we reflected on how fortunate we were to have each other and to escape mostly unscathed from that natural disaster. After dinner, I put our newly minted t-shirts in the wash and I waited anxiously to see the result of the wash. As I pulled out each shirt to see the patterns still intact, I was overjoyed. The project was a rousing success and my family now had a unique set of shirts that no one else could have for our vacation together.

Reflecting back on the experience of this creative project, I’d like to thank DyesRUs for being extremely helpful and patient with all my questions and requests. I’d also like to thank my family for being extremely supportive in helping me get my creative juices flowing again.

Tiny Tot T-Shirts – First Attempt            

After rereading the instructions on how to use the dyes several times, I felt I was ready to try my hand at making my first designer t-shirt. To start, I chose one of my simpler designs that only used red and black as colors. I felt this was a good way to test out the dyes without opening too many of the dye packages. I opened the dye packages expecting something with the consistency of paint but it was different than what I expected. The consistency felt more like a pasty powder, but still it was very easy to manipulate and use on the t-shirt. At first I thought with a consistency like paint I could use brushes to draw my pattern, but with this consistency I felt it was easier to just use my fingers. This made me even a little more excited because I hadn’t painted with my fingers since kindergarten. Painting with my fingers also made this experience feel more visceral, like I was closer to my art somehow. Sometimes when you’re so used to designing and creating virtual art, your start to lose touch with your art, but this experience has brought me closer to my art. With each stroke of my finger, I saw my pattern come to life. After several hours of meticulously drawing out my pattern, I finally had my finished t-shirt. I brushed off the excess dye to look at the final image and I was quite satisfied with the product. It wasn’t perfect, with several dyed areas blurring into each other instead of being very distinct, but it was distinctly mine. I brought out the heat gun that came with the dye kit and proceeded to cure the dye with heat. I went through the shirt section by section to ensure that the dye set in each section. The last thing I wanted was for the dyes to all run after the first wash. After doing this I left the shirt to set over night. The next morning, to be absolutely sure, I went over the entire t-shirt again with the heat gun to be absolutely certain that my pattern would stick after a cycle through the wash.

This next part was the real moment of truth. I was going to expose my newly designed shirt to water. My first test was the hand wash test. I wanted to take it slow at first and there was no point exposing my washer to all these dyes without at least first confirming that it wouldn’t just wash away with water. I placed the shirt in a filled sink with some laundry detergent and started washing the shirt and the result was a success. No color in the water and there was no sign that any of the pattern had been washed off. The next and final test was to put the shirt in the washer. To be safe I put the shirt in to wash with some inexpensive and unimportant clothes. After one wash cycle, I am happy to say the pattern is perfectly intact.

Tiny Tot T-Shirts – Introduction            

Hi, welcome to my little corner of the internet where I will be talking about my creative and life experiences while trying to design and make cute little t-shirts for my toddler. I am a graphic designer that is currently on leave while I tend to my toddler. Initially, my new motherly duties took up all my time, but as my toddler has gotten into a more stable routine I find myself looking for creative outlets. At first I tried to do some freelance graphic design work, but ultimately that was unsatisfactory. I wasn’t really expressing myself as much as trying to express someone else. One day while taking my toddler on a stroll through the mall, I saw some really cute designer t-shirts with some beautiful patterns, but I was immediately turned off by the price. I thought to myself these patterns are nice, but they’re not that nice to have a price tag like that. What was worse was that they didn’t even come in kid sizes. I really wanted a cute t-shirt for my toddler. This got my creative juices flowing and I started to look into how to create t-shirts with custom designs on them. My search on the internet found a lot of places where you could submit custom artwork to be imprinted on t-shirts and this was not a very expensive process. This wasn’t what I really wanted though. What I really wanted was to use dyes to create a custom pattern and image on a t-shirt and so my search continued on.

After several more days of searching I finally found a dyeing technique that allowed me to essentially draw on a t-shirt with dyes and then I could make the process permanent by curing the dye with heat. This sounded very intriguing to me as I could draw and design patterns and wash them away easily until I was satisfied and then I could make my designs permanent. With my interest piqued, I immediately ordered a supply of these dyes and a few white t-shirts from the online site. It took almost a week for everything to arrive by courier, but I was very impressed with the way everything was packed. Each dye color was not only individually packed, but they went the extra step to vacuum seal every dye package to ensure there would be no dye leakage and to preserve the dye in case I didn’t need to use it right away. After getting the dyes I started to create several t-shirt designs using my graphic software. With my creative juices flowing, it felt like I was a machine churning out design after design after design. After two days, which to me felt like a massive manic euphoric episode, I had twenty designs that I felt were good enough to test out on my first prototype designer t-shirt. First, however, I made sure to re-read the instructions on how to use the dyes. From my previous experience on DIY projects, always reread the instructions.