Monday, August 19, 2013

DIY Screenprinted Party T-Shirts

Adorable DIY Customized Screenprinted T-Shirts

Starfish T-Shirts Using Simply Screen Custom Silk Screen Kit


As B1's birthday fell into the midst of our kitchen renovation, having people over to our house for a party was out of the question. Luckily, though, we've got the beach closeby! So the idea of a Beach Scavenger Hunt was perfect for this year's party.

With birthday parties, I kind of have mixed feelings about goodie bags. On one hand, I love seeing how excited the kids get when they receive one. It doesn't really matter what's inside; they just get sort of giddy at the mention of them. On the other hand, often the bags are filled with sugar (followed by the inevitable sugar crash and likely tantrums) and various small items (all of which their baby brother will promptly try to ingest and I will spend the next 5 days picking off the floor before I finally get so fed up that they end up in the trash can). Hence, the mixed feelings.

So in an attempt to avoid the sugar overload,I came up with the idea of making tee shirts for the scavenger hunt. And that would be it; the tee-shirts would serve as the goodie bags. Just to spice it up a little I decided to use two colors; so, two teams, each of which would collect items to gather points towards a team total.

I was going to try to get shirts at one of the craft stores, but I ended up finding cute Hanes tank tops in the boys section at Walmart for $2.47. At first I planned to stencil a shape onto the shirts, but I couldn't find one I liked at Hobby Lobby, and I had run out of time to order one. Same deal with iron-ons; no sea life options (kinda need sea life for a beach party). Then as I was walking down the aisles, I noticed the Simply Screen Custom Silk Screen Kit. I'd never done screen printing before, but at $39.99 minus $16.00 (gotta use that 40% coupon), I figured it was worth a shot. I bought the kit and 3 tubes of white Simply Screen paint (but I only ended up using about 1 and a half tubes).  

The process was pretty simple, and the directions are very clear (although doing it over and over again 20 times did start to get annoying). But I think they turned out great, and the kids definitely wore them well :)

Simply Screen Custom Silk Screen Kit for Custom Scavenger Hunt Tee Shirts Process

  1. Create Your Artwork: I made the starfish in Illustrator and printed it out using a regular ink-jet printer.
  2. Place Artwork on Screen: Secure using masking tape around all 4 sides. Then place a pane of glass from a picture frame on top.
  3. Complete the Burning Process: Place everything inside the box and turn on the light for 25 minutes.
  4. Wash the Screen: Gently clean the screen in lukewarm water (using the tub and sponge provided).
  5. Place Cardboard Inside Shirt: I used the front of a cereal box.
  6. Tape Screen Onto Your Shirt: Make sure the screen is dry first or tape won't stick!
  7. Squeeze & Squeegee: Squeeze paint onto top of screen and use the squeegee to pull it down onto the design. I went over it a couple times like this, making sure to press really firmly on the last round.
  8. Carefully Remove the Screen: And put your shirt somewhere to dry!
I'd be lying if I said that all the shirts came out perfectly; there were certainly many small flaws, but for the most part, they looked great, and the kids were really excited about them. You can see from the pics that I used a few different types of shirts. Most are the same style, but I got a couple larger t-shirts just in case an older kid needed one, toddler-sized tanks for the tots, and I also made tanks for 4 of the best babysitters in the world because they helped corral the kids during the party (not to mention how much they help with my kids all summer)!

But back to the shirts: I can definitely see myself using this kit again. It comes with 3 screens (I had to use the largest one for this print), but you can buy new ones for different designs.  If you like the starfish print, click on the image below for a high-resolution copy.  The whole process really was quite simple; the most painstaking part for me was repeating it over and over, but the end result was worth it, and I didn't have to mess around with compiling bags of candy and cheap toys.  My biggest fear was hearing the kids ask, "Where are the goody bags?" but I was thrilled when the party came to an end and I didn't hear that question at all (unless it was asked out of earshot, of course)! So in my mind, success! And totally worth mastering the art of screenprinting in a box :)

Want the starfish clipart for yourself? Click on the image to open and save it to your own computer!


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