Over Christmas I was spending time visiting my beloved Aunty Carol in hospital. I wanted to keep her company and stay in there for as long as I could. I'm not one for sitting still for too long so I thought it would be best if I took a project in with me. We had a lovely time as I entertained her (while also feeling incredibly productive)!
My inspiration for this design came from an amazing t-shirt by the sensational Australian design duo Sass n Bide. Ok... I'll admit it, the t-shirt I've created here is very similar in design. Making this shirt was great as it got me to explore the technique. Since creating this piece I've been researching other tribal designs and thinking of ways to transform t-shirts with my own flavor (I haven't actually worn this one as I don't like to copy).
What to do:
Almost finished! Just needs some bedazzling!
Firstly, I bought a mens T-shirt from Target. I cut off the sleeves and trimmed down the bind on the neck (the bind is still attached but I've roughed it up a bit with the scissors).
Next I placed the T-shirt over the table in the hospital (or an ironing board will do) and started cutting the masking tape to size, and started taping out my design.
Once I was happy with my design I mixed the paint with the fabric medium (as directed on the bottle) and I started painting the areas not taped.
* Tip: Be careful not to apply the paint too thick. It will stiffen the fabric (which is what happened with this sample I made). I would recommend painting with a slightly damp brush, and avoid painting too many layers (of paint). If there's too much paint it will bleed under the masking tape.
This is a great example of tribal art I saw at MONA in Hobart recently
Once the area you want is painted, remove the masking tape and hang shirt on a clothes hanger to dry.
To create the zig-zag down the middle, once the paint has dried, tape up zig-zag lines down the centre front panels. Apply a second coat of paint and quickly shake glitter over the area before it dries. Once it's dry, remove the masking tape and shake all of the excess glitter off.
* Tip: I shake it over newspaper so I can collect the excess and use it again.
To finish off you will need to heat-set the paint. By heat-setting it you will safely be able to put your T-shirt through the wash, knowing that your design won't wash off.
The fabric medium has instructions for how to heat-set paint. I used a regular iron and placed brown paper over the T-shirt (in between the iron and the shirt). I've been spinning this shirt through the washing machine and it's been coming up like new! Over time the glitter has worn off a bit (as I expected) so it may be worth trying to apply the glitter with a fabric glue rather than paint.
Gosh I'd love to see what designs you come up with! Please post your Revamped Tribal T's on our facebook page. Sharing your designs will inspire other Revampers to give it a try Let's revamp this planet together! :D
I am a freelance designer and stylist who creates avant-garde fashion and costume. I specialize in custom making costumes for musicians, physical theatre, and dance companies. I love what I do and I love to share my passion and teach others :D