Well, it is probably best for all that i never ventured out to start a craft blog.
For all my forays into decoupage and childhood adventures with dried macaroni, i am nothing short of decidedly half-way decent when it comes to t-shirt decorating. Still, i had a blast working on both of my new “Mockingjay” tees and, though all the most winning attributes of the final products are undoubtedly due to my Design-School-Bound Brother, i know i will love them all the more come opening night!
My original vision was this: a black v-neck tee with the mockingjay symbol (as copied from the cover of the first book in the series, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins) in gold. Underneath, in a circle around it, or on the back, i wanted the following phrase painted in gold lettering as well: FIRE IS CATCHING. Mostly because it is one amazing catchphrase, and partly because it encapsulates both the title of Book #2 annnnd makes me feel a little more like the Mockingjay herself, Katniss Everdeen.
Should you be more dexterous with acrylic paint than i – or just better at crafting in general – i give you the following instructions on how to assemble on bad-ass Tribute Tee worthy of
being a person in the crowd during an interview with Ceaser Flickerman:
Step #1: The “You-Will-Need” Artsy Photogrpah & Accompanying Disclaimer That No One Sponsored Me in the Endeavor:
I procured 4 plain black tee shirts from a local unnamed craft store (only one of which is pictured here); gold t-shirt “Stencil Spray” ink (that is, apparently, the same stuff you use when properly screen-printing, but in miniature form), gold “Folk Art” acrylic paint, and an enhanced image of the mockingjay to be copied onto the garment.
Additionally, i wanted to make this shirt into a V-neck, so that required scissors, thread, and a sewing needle. For making the stencil, as you will come to see, we ended up needing not only an exacto knife, but thicker paper than the stuff i’d printed the picture on. Since we didn’t have any cardstock, we improvised with old file folders.
Step #2: The “This-is-the-first-thing-to-do-excpet-don’t-mess-up-like-us” Step, Wherein Thom the Designer is Really Good at Making Stencils and lizzie Takes Pictures of Toes.
The first thing you really need to do is make the stencil for your shirt; i left this business to my much-more-artsy brother, Thom, who regularly makes really cool works of art primarily in stencil or ceramic format. Leave it to the experts, right?
Tangential thought bubble: Thom has recently been accepted to his dream school for college, which makes for one spilling-over-with-pride big sister and means the wide world acknowledged his incredible talent in designing. While he may be growing older and into the adult world day by day, he still is my little brother to me. Nowhere was this more evident than when he was making this stencil – with studious precision he worked away on the mockingjay, but all the while his toes were curled under his seat like the kid he will always, in some way, be to me. He’s probably totally mortified by my mollifying, behaving like a mother hen-ing (if he’s even reading this), but i’m so stinking proud of him i can’t help it.
After i finished ogling my brother’s feet and getting weepy over aging, i turned to my half of Step #2: preparing the t-shirt itself for paint-age.
I wanted to make the shirt into a v-neck which is, actually, surprisingly simple to do. First, lay the shirt out on a flat surface and make a mark (i used a white pencil) about where the halfway point is on the collar. From there, cut straight down in a line. Don’t bother making the “V” yet, since that will come more naturally after the initial slicing:
Once you’ve cut straight down, take a ruler and mark from the end point of your cut to the collar in a diagonal. This will allow you to make an even cut for the “V.” Then, get hacking! I prefer to cut off the collar all the way around because it (a) looks better and (c) is easier to hem later.
Step #3: PAINT THAT S#!7 GURL.
Lay your shirt outside where the excess fumes and sprinkles of paint can be released to kill baby birds and not you in your sleep. I suggest slipping a piece of cardboard in between the layers of the shirt, so any bleeding through won’t impact the back of the shirt. Place the stencil on the shirt and, with slow criss-crossing motions, begin to spray. It’s best if you start and end the spraying on a piece of paper covering your garment, because the paint tends to splutter and splatter and generally make mischief when beginning and ending.
(it's yellow because thom tested it first with some spray paint. i think it looks boss this way!)
thom doing all the difficult stuff, per usual.
We learned pretty quickly that the thin paper was hardly enough to hold up against the “Stencil Spray” paint – thus, for shirt number two, we re-made the stencil on makeshift cardstock (old filing folders my Dad had cast off). For future t-shirt-painters, know that “Stencil Spray” is a much wetter, heavier paint than most spray paints like Valspar, and thus requires more covering of the shirt that we initially anticipated.
Because shirt #1 was a bit goopy, for the second we used our new & improved stencil coupled with more shirt-coverage:
(i got to paint this one!)
Step #4: Go A Little Beddazled-Crazy and Decorate the Hell Outta That Tee.
Because Shirt #1 was deemed to be a practice shirt, i went a little nuts in painting and decorating it. So much so that the lettering, well, failed (there’s a G about an inch away from the rest of the word “Catching”) and i deemed it a resounding C+ for effort alone.
thom said this looked like a lame rave t-shirt. i told him i would kick his district 12 butt in the hunger games. he looked on incredulously, and i was reminded of how simultaneously awesome and isolating it can be when you're such a nerd and your brother is the height of cool.
Still, i had a blast making it and shirt #2 is well on its way to being at least marginally more attractive. I won’t be seeing the film until tomorrow – i know, tears shed for missing the midnight premiere – but when i do, it will be in District 12 style.
Step #5: Take Overly-Flattering Photos of Yourself With Your Craft and Humble-Brag About How Freaking NerdCool You Are.
see the G? DO YOU SEE THAT MISPLACED G? a travesty, i tell you.
obligatory craft-blog, awkward-smile-at-the-camera pose.
Happy Hunger Games! Also, thanks Mom for taking the pictures. ‘Twas a family endeavor to make this shirt, i tell ya!
current jam: “arena” by the tributes. WATCH THIS VIDEO. REALLY. YOU WON’T REGRET IT.
best thing in my life right now: lunch with mary!