Now, before you even suggest it, I will not be selling these shirts on Etsy. I understand that they are incredibly rad and that lots of people on the internet have more money than sense. But I could never sell these on the internet because then I would be the kind of person that sells Hanson shirts on the internet.
I can however, tell you how to make them yourself.
For this little endeavor, you will need:
Step 1: The Stencil
The most important part of this process is picking out something to put on a shirt. You can draw your own, or find lots of stencils online that you can print off. If you need ideas, just check out The Google
. Of course, we already knew what we wanted: Hansons. So I put my excellent photoshop skills to work, and went from this:
Because there were three of us, we obviously each had to pick a brother. Seeing as E was the real fan, I offered her first pick:
Me: Since you are the reason we’re going to this concert, do you want to take Taylor?
E: DO NOT WANT TAYLOR ON MY SHIRT! I WANT ZAC!
Me: Isn’t Taylor the hot one?
E: I LOVE ZAC! ZAC AND I HAVE BEEN MARRIED SINCE WE WERE 12!
I was a little taken aback, but it turns out that E has always been an rabid Zac Hanson fan. When she was 12, she asked for a law text book for Christmas (???) and the first thing she did upon receiving it was open the book to the marriage section and check the age restrictions for marriage in South Carolina. Seeing that she conditionally passed, she then made her mother PROMISE that IF she met Zac Hanson and IF he then asked her to marry him, her mother would give her legal consent. Her mother wisely acquiesced.
So E took Zac, I dibsed The Hot One since I was putting in the effort to make the shirts, and we gave Isaac to F since she already has a tendency towards attraction to old men (j/k W!!!!).
Step 2: Cutting
Now that you have your stencil, tape it to a piece of cardboard thick enough to use an Xacto knife on without cutting through the bottom. Take a piece of freezer paper larger than the image you’re cutting out, and tape it plastic-side down on top of it.
This is the part that takes a lot of patience and attention to detail, depending on the complexity of your stencil. Our Hansons definitely fall on the complex end of stenciling (Curse you, Taylor, and your girlie neck-scarves!). Since I obviously wasn’t going to cut out all the different textures of their hair and clothing that had come through in my somewhat hasty photoshop work, I had to figure out what to keep in each image. We chose to maintain most of the structural elements of their clothes (collar lines, pocket squares, etc) and a couple of details in the hair, but avoided lots of the facial hair and clothing patterns.
The other tricky thing to worry about is saving enclosed whitespace. Think about if you were stenciling the letter A:
If you just cut out along the black outline, you’d end up with a finished product of this:
Which looks dumb. So instead, you need to cut out the middle first, and save it for later:
In a long string of words or in a stencil like this, where there’s lots of little bits of enclosed whitespace, it can be difficult to keep track of all the pieces. If they are large enough, I number them before cutting out for ease of lining them back up. I also find it helpful to lock these away in a tupperware to keep them from blowing away.
It’s usually easiest to start from the inside and work your way out. So in the Hanson case, I started with their faces, then extra details like hair highlights, ears and neck scarves, then cut out the the whole outline of the head. When you finish, you’ll have a piece of freezer paper with a silhouette cut out, and a bunch of little freezer paper puzzle pieces you’ll have to put back together again.
Step 3: Ironing
Next, you’ll need your t-shirt. It should be pre-washed so it doesn’t shrink after you paint it. Lighter color shirts are easier to work with. You can use dark shirts, too, but you’ll need to use opaque fabric paint and more layers of it than with a light shirt, reducing flexibility. Since we were using gold paint, we thought we’d run with the dark shirts for contrast, even though it would be trickier. American Apparel makes great shirts for this purpose but has the severe detriment of a) forcing you go give money to American Apparel and b) forcing you to set foot in an American Apparel. You decide if it’s worth the cost.
Turn on your iron and get another piece of freezer paper, large enough to be bigger than your stencil, but small enough to fit inside your shirt. Lay it flat inside your shirt and iron it on (I used to turn the shirt inside out to do this, but it was too difficult to invert the shirt with the freezer paper on and works just as well this way). This keeps the paint from bleeding through so is very important.
Take the silhouette part of your stencil and place it on your shirt, plastic side down. Iron on flat, being careful not to create puckers in the fabric inside your stencil.
Begin lining up your tupperware of puzzle pieces. The parts of the stencil you cut away can be helpful in placing pieces in the corret part of the stencil. It’s most painstaking but also safest to iron these on one by one, since they are susceptible to flying away when you so much as breathe. Be careful to put the plastic side down, or you will end up with a ruined piece of stencil glued to the bottom of your iron.
|Zac’s superfluous hair is a guide for placing his face
When you’re done, you will end up with the inverse of what you want your finished product to be:
Step 4: Painting
Yay painting! Get your foam brush and bottle of paint. After spending all that time carefully cutting and ironing stuff on, you will probably be eager to dip your brush in and slap on a lot of paint at once. Don’t do this! When you put too much paint on, the freezer paper stencil will start to warp and then your paint will bleed and then Taylor Hanson’s eyes will look really creepy up close. Instead, use a very little bit of paint on your brush at a time, dabbing paint slowly into tight corners and around edges, then smoothing everything out so there aren’t any thick spots.
|Be extra careful with Isaac’s pocket square
If you need more that one coat of paint, wait until it’s mostly dry to add more. I know you probably want to be done and hurry through this part, but I promise it’s worth the wait.
Optional Step 4A: Glowing
Now because I’m awesome, I decided to make them glow-in-the-dark t-shirts. I didn’t find any suitable glow in the dark paint, so I ordered some glow powder off Amazon and mixed it with some colorless textile paint extender and water. Once the gold paint had mostly dried, I put a thin layer of this on top. It only slightly affected the color of the gold.
Unfortunately, it also only slightly affected the glowing properties of the shirt. The shirts do glow, but you have to actually be in the dark, and not in say, a music venue where they have green tube lighting everywhere for safety and décor purposes. I intend to try again with a different brand of glow powder, or else some glow paint I’ve since found online. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Step 5: Drying
Yeah, this part sucks, and I never take enough time. But you really want the shirts to be properly dry by the time you peel the stencil off . This means several hours of drying time, usually. I’ve been too impatient with this before and ripped off the mostly-dry paint with the stencil.
Step 6: Peeling
THIS IS THE MOST FUN STEP. When your shirt is finally dry, peel away your freezer paper. If you have lots of itty bits like in ours, you’ll have to get tweezers for the more intricate stuff.
Step 7: Ironing
The final step is heat-setting the pain. You must iron your shirt once more to ensure the paint doesn’t come off. After you do this, take the paper out of the inside, and voilà! Most epic concert shirt ever!
|We also stenciled the Hanson logo on the back, which you can easily find with the help of google.