Friday, February 12, 2010

If You Can't Fix It, Feature It

There's no pretty way to put this: I'm messy. If there's wet paint or dye or a similar substance of any kind within three blocks, I'll brush up against it. If it can drip, I'll have it on my shirt. If it can slosh, I'll have it on my pants. If it can stain....Well, if it can stain, I call it surface design and take credit. Years ago I even did a lecture called "Luscious Laundry: The Dirty Secrets of Surface Design."

It's a good thing I have this enormous body of knowledge stacked up between my ears. Because the other day as I was folding laundry, I had trouble finding a long-sleeve T-shirt that didn't have any stains. Time to apply my Cardinal Rule: If You Can't Fix It, Feature It.

So here's what I did to make one T-shirt more presentable. It will take longer to write this post than it took to do the shirt.
  1. Shoot. Shake a can of party string and shoot it at a shirt (or other fabric). The string will act as a resist for spray paint. Yes, I said spray paint.
  2. Mask. I laid four pieces of plastic to mask the design area. Didn't tape it down or anything. Did I mention this was all happening on the floor of my studio?
  3. Spray. I grabbed a can of black spray paint (yes, stuff from the hardware store). I know from past experience that this is permanent when you get it on your clothes. So I applied a light mist of black spray paint over the Silly String. It doesn't take much.
  4. Remove. Take off the plastic mask. Lift off the Silly String, which will have paint on it. Try not to get paint on your pants.
  5. Frame. The next day, I used a Tee Juice marker to add a frame around the image. And yes, I did put down masking tape first. That took longer than the first four steps. This marker needs to be heat set with an iron when dry.
That's it. What's next? Maybe a T-shirt with real spaghetti straps and a marinara medallion?


  1. Your post made me smile! Some of the best ideas come from dealing the hand you are dealt.

    I got a drop of bleach on a brand new red tee shirt, did some shibori stitching, dunked it in bleach, over-dyed with procion blue and black mix. Voila! aubergine and red. Boy does that tee get comments. Also dip-dyed a gray University of California, Davis tee in indigo. Another nice effect.

    Thanks for all the inspiration, good ideas and creativity starters. You brighten my day.

  2. When I opened your blog up it made me feel good. I always remember this saying since I've taken your classes. It's come in handy many times. I scorched a brand new shirt. I did some machine embroidery around it. It looks great. Everyone thinks I bought it that way. Thanks

  3. Thanks, Rosie and Judy. Now I'm inspired -- to slosh a little bleach, scorch a shirt of my own, and try your good ideas.


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