Last week's stencil project had me inspired. In my stack of stencils there were a bunch of butterflies, but I didn't know what to make with them. I had seen some projects online to make an infinite scarf out of an old t-shit, but all I had were old white t-shirts. The t-shirt below was from 1998. It was a freebie from my college days, and since I worked in the department that gave them out, I had 3 of them. This one was pretty white for being 16 years old, but it had a small hole in the top back and the hem was starting to pull out--a perfect candidate for a cut job. It was also a XXL, which would make for a decent sized infinite scarf.
I grabbed a pair of scissors and trimmed the bottom hem off. I made a quick slit and then cut through one layer of the shirt. After the hem was cut off, I folded the shirt right below the screen printed image and tried to get it relatively straight. Then I cut along the fold. I ended up breaking out my good fabric scissors to cut through the doubled up fabric. A dull scissors will make a very jagged edge.
After my tube of fabric was cut off of the t-shirt, I trimmed up any ragged edges. Since the edges roll up and jersey fabric doesn't fray, as long as you get it relatively straight, you're good to go.
After I was all trimmed up, I stretched the fabric out to create my scarf. Stretching curls the edges of the fabric over and hides any imperfections--it also makes the scarf longer.
After I stretched my fabric, I knew I needed to jazz up the white. So I grabbed some blue craft paint, a makeup sponge, and my stencils. I created a grouping of butterflies, and then painted a few smaller ones flying up and away from the grouping. As I stenciled, I made some little smudges, and I tried my best to paint over those smudges (from my paint-y fingers, the sponge going over the edge of the stencil, and from transfer from the back of the stencil).
It's pretty impossible to take photos of stenciling, but here you can see me placing a butterfly next to my grouping. When I was done, there were still a couple of light smudges that I wasn't able to cover. Before the paint set up, I put a little rubbing alcohol on a q-tip and gently rubbed the smudges off. With a little rubbing, they mostly disappeared. It's latex paint, so you may be able to use just water on the q-tip, but I knew alcohol would dry quickly and would be a little less apt to smear--luckily it worked out.
Some folks say if you're going to use craft paint on fabric, you must use fabric medium to thin the paint and keep it from feeling hard and thick once dry. When stenciling, I used just enough paint to fill in the stencil, so I wasn't worried about it being too thick, but I did read online that whether you use fabric medium or not, you should heat set your paint.
Since it's a scarf, I probably won't wash it unless it gets something on it, but since it's white, I figured I'd better be safe and heat set it. So after letting it dry for a day, I grabbed an old cotton towel and sandwiched the scarf in between it. I set my iron on high with no steam and ironed over the design long enough to get the surface quite hot (about 5 minutes).
I moved the iron around on the fabric, but I did leave it setting long enough to take a picture. I didn't have any paint transfer onto the towel, but it sounds like it could be a possibility with this step. When I was done ironing, my scarf was all done!
I did try to take a picture of me wearing the scarf, but I was using my camera and couldn't get good lighting or a good angle, so you'll have to settle for a hanger shot instead. I can't wait until I find a nice colored t-shirt in my thrift/scrap pile to turn into a scarf--it was super simple and transformed something that was destined for the rag bin--a total win win!