Sep 16, 2015

How to design and actually create custom tshirts!

So I've felt for a while now that I should create some sort of gift packet for my clients. partly to thank them for working with me and partly to further advertise my design and illustration chops to the world.
That stayed a fleeting fancy until I had the chance to attend a tie-dying workshop in Montreal. This was massive for me since it really opened up my eyes to the creative possibilities of the tie dye technique.
Before this I had always equated it with objectionable looking rainbow jobs that made my eyes cry for relief. Suffice it to say I was wrong, and now see tie dye as a valid creative outlet, and the perfect technique to showcase what i am capable of!
Oculair media tshirt floating amidst bamboo stalks
This is by no means be an all encompassing tutorial, all I will be doing is explaining the basic workflow involved in dyeing and printing fabrics. I will also list a few good resources in case you wish to do this yourself.
To effectively execute projects like this I expect you to have a working knowledge of the fundamentals of screen printing, and at least a basic knowledge of illustrator, or alternatively some other vector based graphic editing program.
This is an excelent source of knowledge for the fledgling screen printer. This is also a good reference I used when trying to decide on what dying techniques to use There really isn't any wrong way to go about this, as long as you remember to have fun with it.
So to create some custom shirts you will need.
  • A blank tshirt
  • A kickass design in digital format (vector preferred)
  • A screen printing kit (screen, squeegee, emulsion, and an exposure lamp)
  • Some clothing dye ( I used indigo because it awesome)
  • some screen printing ink (you could use regular acrylic but it wouldnt last past the first washing)
moleskine drawing of oculair
The basic technique is dye dry print dry. I apologize for the incomplete documentation I will be creating a new batch soon. At which point I will be creating an extensive photo essay documenting the process. The images below should give you a good idea of how relatively complex projects can be chopped up into nice bite size pieces, that seem less intimidating. I am really looking forward to seeing your creations!

Digital outline of the design created on adobe illustrator Screen printing  exposure of film custom dyed t shirt drying