As I've mentioned before, I've got pretty limited graphic making & drawings skills. Even so, I don't let it stop me wanting to create my own designs on clothes. Today I'm going to show how to make fun custom transfers - that anyone can do - using Ink Effects.
So what am I talking about? Ink Effects is a fabric transfer ink made by DecoArt (one of my lovely sponsors). I really wanted to try it out, because I've always had a love/hate relationship with traditional iron-on transfers. I love the idea of ironing on an instant design, but no matter what I did, they ALWAYS peeled off. Who wants a shirt you can wear once or twice and then looks defective? That sheet stuff also limits things to a single color, is a bit pricey & requires a cutting machine if you want to make a custom shape. And it looks plastic-y. So frustrating!
The inks transfer best on synthetic fabrics, but will still work with cotton blends for a more watercolor-like finish. The trick with those is using their spray-on base coat to help the ink adhere better. I used it with the two t-shirts I did:
It's also important to go by the colors on the caps when designing - not the color of the ink as it goes on. It'll transfer on the fabric as the cap color:
For my first one I just painted up a coloring book page. My little miss is a My Little Pony fanatic, so I knew she'd go bananas for a pony-themed shirt. I painted the black outline with a really thin craft brush:
Then I filled in with some colors. There's no way I could draw Rarity myself, but I can paint in the lines of a coloring book:
Then I just ironed it on. You've got to keep the iron moving a bit and press really firmly to get the colors to transfer evenly. With the cotton blends it took a few minutes:
Then I just peeled the paper away and could see some purple pony peeking out:
Ta-da! We have a pretty pony! I was hoping little miss would like it and the minute she saw it she went "MY LITTLE PONY! It's a Rarity shirt!!!" and snatched it out of my hands. I think it's safe to say she approved.
If you want to do your own custom designs it's nearly as easy. I wanted to make a Harry Potter-themed shirt for my 10yr old since he's a big fan, but I had nothing I could just color like that. So, I downloaded a free Harry Potter font from dafont.com and typed up the phase I wanted in Word and remembered to mirror it before printing (you don't want backwards letters!). For the wizard's hat I freehand drew a pointed hat with a little "H" crest and traced two quarters to make the perfectly round glasses.
I painted two layers so the black would be pretty solid. It took a little time painting the letters, but it wasn't hard. Then I lined up the papers to a spacing I liked & did the ironing.
I didn't iron the edges quite as long as I probably should have, so I could have transfered the black a bit better, but it kind of gives is a bit of a dreamy, foggy feel. Since that's sort of Potter-esque, my little guy still digs it:
And if you want crisper, brighter color, using 100% synthetic fabric is the way to go. I had this plain polyester white top I hadn't worn in years because it was a bit boring, but add some freehanded blue sparrows and it's much more interesting:
I liked the freedom to do whatever kind of design I want and not be overly complicated. It's also making me want to do more things with synthetic fabrics, which is something I usually avoid. Now I want to rummage though some more old clothes in the basement and see what else I can transform!
I'm also sharing this project with my FAVE LINK PARTIES.
Click HERE to check them out!
I was not financially compensated for this post. I received free products, of my own choosing, from DecoArt to use in my own project ideas. The opinions are completely my own, based on my experience.