Sponge Paint Shirt Making

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It’s baby season again. I know at least five expectant mothers, and it inspired me to try a different type of fabric printing. As much as I love the effect of screen printing, it’s not a feasible method for one-off productions – you really need to be working in bulk for it to be worth it. But thanks to our Silhouette Cameo cutter, I’m able to create a detailed design for much smaller projects.

First, I began with the cutter and some adhesive vinyl, and I cut out my designs.

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I am using the vinyl as a stencil, so the design itself becomes the negative space.

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I repurposed a few letters from a rainbow baby design to decorate the raptor pen.

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Next, I used transfer paper to cover the design, and a squeegee to make sure it was firmly attached.

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Now I could remove the backing to the vinyl and stick it onto the pre-washed onesie. I used a fondant smoother as a squeegee here.

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I very carefully peeled off the transfer paper and made sure all the vinyl was stuck down well. Because my designs were close together on the vinyl so as not to waste space, some of the designs came pretty close to the edge. I added some hockey tape as a protective border to ensure that I didn’t colour outside of the lines too much.

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Remember of course that fabric is porous, so if you’re pushing ink onto it, you have to protect the back side of the shirt. I cut little rectangles out of a plastic bag and shoved one inside each onesie.

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Now for the application! I am using regular cellulose kitchen sponges, which are very soft and have large holes in them. This will produce something of a vintage, faded effect on the onesie, because you’re not producing as much pressure as you would while screen printing. If you wanted something a little sharper, use a finer sponge, like a cosmetic sponge. They also make sponges specifically to apply paint and ink so you could use one of those as well.

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I’m using my Speedball fabric screen printing ink, because that’s what I had on hand, but you could use any form of fabric ink or paint and you’d probably have a similar result.

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Dabbing a little bit of ink on the sponge – don’t want too much all at once.

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Deep breath – ready?

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Here I gently dabbed the ink into the negative space on my stencil, dabbing a few times to ensure I got everything covered.

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Then I started experimenting with blending colours.

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It got a little tricky when all the cut-outs were so close together.

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Now I had to force myself to wait overnight for these to dry properly before I could see what they looked like.

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Okay I cheated: I pulled them off about four hours later. So this is the dried ink just after removal of the stencil. Everything is pretty sharp, but you have to wash this AGAIN to get any loose ink off.

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Here are my designs after another wash and run through the dryer. You can see that the ink is sort of faded in the corners, like a vintage t-shirt. TADA!

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Fun with the Silhouette: Temp Tats

Part of my Hallowe’en costume (update on Friday!) is making Poison Ivy look like she’s got actual ivy growing along her skin. For that I chose to pick up some Silhouette temporary tattoo paper. The great thing about this is that you don’t even need a Silhouette to do this project – you can always cut the tattoos out by hand. Any colour printer will do.

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Design your tattoos on your computer and make sure to mirror them in the image you print out onto the special paper.

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Print them at high quality on the shiny side of the paper.

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Use a squeegee to ever so carefully smooth the sticky plastic sleeve over top of the printed and dried design. It’s really quite easy.

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Cut it out carefully with scissors. Or use your Silhouette if you’ve got one.

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Then go ahead and stick stuff to your skin! These would make great gifts for people if you customized it to their tastes. I bet they’d make great favors at weddings too!

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Fun with Adhesive Vinyl

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The Pie and I are really enjoying all the cool things that can be done with our new Silhouette Cameo die cutter. And now that everyone we know knows that we have one, we’re fully expecting people to flood us with ideas of things to make. For them. But for now we’re still making stuff just for us. This past weekend we created some decals for the Pie’s new batting helmet, complete with his team logo on the front and his name and number as well.

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And requisite hidden corgi inside.

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I also have a huge blank space inside my office above my whiteboard. In our office the whiteboards often have inspirational sayings on them, mostly to do with sales or customer service or opportunity or whatever. Mine is thankfully blank. And I like the idea of putting words up on the wall but I’m not a huge fan of the flowery sayings that people use and then spread all over Pinterest. It’s just not my style.

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So I got a little creative with my thinking and went with something a bit different, to remind me to simply chill out when dealing with my particularly challenging clients.

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It was kind of a pain to put up and it’s a little crooked but I love it.

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I used the extra space on the vinyl to add some Space Invaders as well. Also crooked. Crooked is definitely my style.

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Everyone in the office over the age of 25 comes in and goes, “SPACE INVADERS! AWESOME!” and everyone under the age of 25 comes into the office and goes, “CRAY CRAY! AWESOME!” So at least I know I’m hitting all the demographics.

Our New Toy! Silhouette Cameo

New Silhouette 25After much deliberation and discussion, it was decided that my parents would purchase a Silhouette Cameo die cutter to be shared between myself, the Pie, and my mother. We ordered it recently and I finally got it set up this past weekend. New Silhouette 10

It’s a bit of a frustrating tool to use, to be honest. The manual, while lengthy, is not particularly useful. There is, however, a plethora of information about it by users on the internet, with handy instructions such as, if your cutting mat is too sticky, rub it with a t-shirt for a bit and it will be fine. Seriously.

New Silhouette 11Basically, you take your paper, stick it to the mat, shove it in the machine, and you’re ready to go. New Silhouette 13

Then you use the software to design a thing and then you “print” it to the machine and the machine cuts it out. It makes a terrifying noise that sounds like it’s jammed and it takes for-freaking-ever but it cuts it.

New Silhouette 15There’s a lot of trial and error, like figuring out how thick your paper is versus the setting on your blade – this butterfly was made with a lower cut setting than it should have been and that’s why you see the rough edges. New Silhouette 1

Another error was trying to use construction paper.

New Silhouette 17Don’t use construction paper. I don’t think it’s cohesive enough. New Silhouette 18

But when you get the settings right it’s so satisfying to pull the paper off and watch the design reveal itself.

New Silhouette 20I originally thought this weird spatula tool would be totally useless. New Silhouette 14

But it’s super handy getting all the little stuff up off the mat.

New Silhouette 21And you can make some really neat 3D objects with some careful layering, like this little succulent. New Silhouette 6

New Silhouette 7And this flower. I MADE THAT. OUT OF PAPER. New Silhouette 5

New Silhouette 2The possibilities this opens up are pretty amazing. My mother wants to use it to create 3D city scapes and greeting cards. The Pie and Trav want it for cutting out custom templates for their role-playing games. It’s also going to be way handy for making screen prints – no more printing out three layers of transparency and hoping they line up properly – I can just print out a sheet of opaque vinyl and adhere it right to the screen. Or use it as a stencil on its own. New Silhouette 22

I also decided to use it to make a nice decorative banner using two different patterns and two colours of paper: the yellow flowers you saw earlier and these green vines.

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I used a dab of glue to stick the little flowers to the vines and then I strung both flowers and vines up on a length of fishing line, so it’s all delicate and floaty. I love it!

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