Friday, June 14, 2013

How to Make the "Write!" Shirt

(Click to enlarge)
You will need:
Letters (print my template here or do your own)
A piece of cardboard (about the same width as your t-shirt)
White glue
Spray bottle
Protective stuff (old clothes, gloves, goggles, mask, gas mask, hazmat suit--whatever makes you feel safe)
Butter knife (or something similar)
The bathroom sink (no joke!)
  1. Print the "Write!" template onto regular paper and cut each letter out. Don't be really precise about this. I wasn't. I just sort of averaged the cool little knobby parts and thickened things up a bit here and there.
  2. Make the piece of cardboard wear the t-shirt. (In other words, slide it inside. This keeps the bleach from soaking through to the back of the shirt.)
  3. Lay the letters on the shirt--centered, if possible. You can eyeball it or measure depending on your mood.
  4. Now, think: MODERATION. You're going to use white glue to help position the letters and make them stay put. What you don't want, though, is for the letters to be stuck for good. I mean, white glue is usually washable, but we don't want to have to was the letters off. That's just annoying. Anyhow, what I recommend is putting a tiny dot of glue on your index finger and rubbing it and your thumb together. This should create that vaguely sticky feeling preschoolers get after they've been crafting. That's just what we want to apply to the backside of each letter. Just enough vague stickiness to make them (especially the edges to prevent seepage of the bleach) stay put.
  5. So now you should have the letters positioned and lightly stuck down. Time to suit up. You want to wear old clothes you care NOTHING about just in case some bleach finds its way onto your person. See the ingredients list above for more ideas of personal protective equipment.
  6. Now grab your spray bottle and do a test with plain water to adjust the stream to the finest mist it will make. Now you can mix equal parts of water and bleach in the spray bottle, and you're ready to go.
  7. You should take the whole kit and kaboodle outside so it's an official well-ventilated area and so you won't bleach anything you don't want to. (Doesn't get much more ventilated than outdoors.)
  8. Now you're just going to spray bleach water over the paper letters. It will create a cool spattery pattern. When to stop is up to you, but I will warn you that the longer you leave the bleach on, the more--well--bleached the finished product will look. And if you leave it on too long, it will actually eat holes in the material. Not good.
  9. So, when you're starting to like the way it's looking, quickly use a butter knife to lift the paper letters off. Then grab the whole thing and rush it into the bathroom. Chuck the cardboard over your shoulder and start rinsing all the bleach out of your t-shirt. Rinse, rinse, rinse. (Remember what I said about it eating holes in the material? That's why you're rinsing like a crazy person.)
  10. When you're pretty sure the bleach is as gone as you can make it, wring the thing out and take a look. Like it? I then threw my shirt in the wash because it still smelled a little like bleach.
  11. Some extra thoughts: you probably don't need to go buy a new t-shirt. Any solid-colored t-shirt should work; even the one with a couple stains like mine had... you'll be bleaching the thing, after all. Also, if you decide to do your own word/design, try to use a font that's not too complicated and doesn't have too many thin lines.

That's all, folks! If you have any questions, leave a comment, and I'd be happy to help!


  1. Love this!!! Maybe you'd like to come out and give us a Craft Class on this neat project, Perry? Looks like something that a lot of people would enjoy! Love, April

  2. That would be so much fun! You should email me and let me know what the schedule looks like! I know you have one tomorrow; hope it's lots and lots of fun!! (We're possibly coming up there tomorrow, and I'm trying to figure out a way to drop in on y'all so you can see how big Baby Boy is!) ;)