Thursday, July 19, 2012

Under Constuction: American Flag Tank Top


Sadly I have been putting off typing up such an easy DIY for this just because I am lazy.

This awesome how-to came to me from Gabbie VanHook!!

Anything written in red is an edit from me or a suggestion.

What you'll need: (I got everything from Hobby Lobby)

  • plain white t-shirt
  • duct tape (masking tape works also)
  • scissors
  • straight pins
  • plastic bag
  • pizza box or other type of cardboard
  • spray paint (blue and red; I made three shirts with just one can of each, so one can should be good)
  • adhesive stars* (if you can't find adhesive stars, or any stars, just make a pattern for a star out of cardstock and trace enough for your shirt)
    • * I got my adhesive stars from the kids' craft section of HL where all the puffy adhesive letters are. There are assorted sizes & colors. I used only the big stars from each package (15). I made 2 shirts and the large one required all 15.
Step 1:
  • Lay the shirt out flat and cut strips of duct tape out one by one.
  • To get the same width in between strips, I spaced out the strips the same width as the duct tape. Make sure your strips wrap around to the back of the shirt, maybe about an inch overlap. 
  • Then tape off the area of the blue section with one straight strip directly in the middle of the t-shirt. Instead of using a bunch of duct tape, I taped a plastic bag - with no holes - over the said section.
  • Then make sure all the edges are firmly pressed down so the paint doesn't bleed through.
 Step 2:
  • Put a cardboard box in the shirt to separate the front and back so the paint doesn't bleed through to the back and stick together. I used a pizza box. (the pizza box is also very helpful to hold the straight pins in place later)
  • Spray lightly and don't get too close or trigger happy because the paint will bleed through! It happened on mine, but not my bf's (the second shirt I made).
  • Make sure you've distributed an even coat and let it dry for about 10-15mins...enough time to where the paint on the tape is dry, allowing you to handle the shirt without it marking up the white space. (I did mine in the heat and left the shirts in an area dirrectly in the sun, so they only took 5 mins to dry.)
Step 3:
  • Pull off the tape and now tape off the section to allow you to work on the blue area. (Protect your red area with a plastic bag.)
  • Lay down the stars in the general area you'd like them to be so you can get a good idea on what it will look like. I overlapped mine on to the duct tape because I liked the look it has.
  • Next, peel the adhesive backing from the stars and place them down. IMPORTANT: Use the pins to pin down the corners of the stars so that the paint does not get under the star making it look sloppy. If you have enough pins, go back and pin down the inner edges too. (I had enough to do this on mine, a size small) (If your stars don't have adhesive, be sure to spray them from directly above.)
Step 4:
  • Spray in the same fashion the entire blue section and wait another 10-15 mins. Pull up the pins and peel the stars off the shirt.
Step 5:
  • Once the shirt is completely dry and manageable, turn it inside out and place a tank top over it and trace the tank on the shirt. (Turn the tank inside out too so you don't get marker on either of the see-able sides of the shirts) You don't have to use a tank, you can eye-ball it, but I love the tank that I used and the way it fits, so I traced it. (Try not to use your favorite tank top; the sharpie will not come off. If you must, try using a pen.)
Step 6:
  • Cut along the lines you traced/drew. Be aware though! If you traced a tank, the neck line may be different in the front and back so be careful. (Make sure your lines touch on the arms and shoulders in the front to the arms and shoulders in the back.)
  • Turn it right side in, and voila!
  • Now, I did "mess" mine up (I got trigger happy with the spray paint and it bled a lot) and "fixed" it by making the back real cute. The edges of the red stripes looked really bad, so I taped off the front and used the pizza box again, and gave it a cool effect and then cut it up and now I LOVE it! (I, however, did NOT use this last technique on my bf's shirt! haha)  OH! and I cut the hem off the bottom of the shirt to give it less of a store-bough tee feel. And once you're all done, it's washer/dryer-safe.

If you want your shirt to look like this: 

  • Fold the shirt in half and line off a triangle shape section at the fold (with tape, etc) making the bigger end of the triangle and the tape near the shoulders.
  • Cut strips about pinky width all the way to the bottom of the triangle. Open the shirt and pull each strip from one side across to the other causing the strands to curl and become longer.
  • Next, take the second strings and pull it up and under the first string, and then back down. Now take the third string and do the same to the second and repeat. When you get to the bottom, repeat the whole process a few times depending on how narrow the bottom is and how difficult it becomes to 'braid.'
  • When you are satisfied with how it looks, (I only did it twice) take the last strand and cut it in half and tie it of to the strip previous. (My last strand was too small so I just used white thread and sewed it down to the shirt.)
  • Note: I spray painted the back of the shirt before I cut it and once the 'braid' was finished. (I did the braid first and then covered up the braid with a bag when spraying the shirt. It just depends on how you want it to look.)
QUESTIONS? Here is Gabbie's email:

Will be adding Gabbie's finished product photos when my email decides to come back up... in 1-24 hours.

Below are some variations that me and my friend did: