Are you attending a family reunion? Are a you part of a group participating in a charity event? Or, like me, went on a fabulous trip with great friends and want to help commemorate the event in a fun and memorable way? Why not make t-shirts with your own personal touch!

As we began counting down the days I wanted to come up with a fun creative way to commemorate this event. So, the idea of making our own t-shirts was born.

At first, I started looking on line for open source images to use as the primary theme for our shirts. As time went on, I just couldn’t find anything that really captured what I was envisioning. Lucky me, I’m married to guy who likes to doodle and he came up with a cartoon of a laid back beaver giving a toast with his cocktail. PERFECT!!! That was the image on the back of the shirt.

Next, I wanted to personalize each t-shirt. Instead of just putting the person’s name on it, I used fun nicknames. Now, there were nine of us going on this trip, but not many of us had nicknames that we used amongst ourselves. So, I began thinking of everyone’s personalities, hobbies, interests, crazy and funny things they have said or done, etc. From this, I was able to come up clever nicknames that suited each friend. I then typed out each nickname using a fun, colourful font. This was to go on the front of the shirt.

Finally, to show our Canadian pride, I went online and got an image of a Canadian flag that matched our tropical and beachy theme. I decided to put this on the sleeve.

Now, how did I get all this onto a t-shirt? It couldn’t have been simpler. I bought a package of t-shirt transfer sheets. I got 18 sheets for $20. These are inkjet printer friendly and can be purchased at most craft or business supply stores.

Next, I scanned the image of the beaver onto my computer and saved it.

To help add some umph to the front of the shirt, I captured a palm tree from an on line open source and by put it above each nickname.

Since the palm tree and flag were smaller images, I was able to conserve the amount of sheets I used by printing multiple images of each onto one sheet. Now, the printing onto the transfer began. I started with the beaver. As it was a large image, I needed to use one transfer per image. So, I loaded up my printer with nine sheets and pressed print. To be safe, I didn’t let them pile up in the printer when done. I moved them to a table to dry… better safe than sorry.

Once dry, I cut out the individual palm trees/nicknames and and flags and matched them up with the beaver. Since I was making nine shirts, this helped to keep everything in order. Then, I got to ironing them onto the shirts.

Lay the clean t-shirt flat on your ironing board
Place the trimmed transfer image face down on the spot where you want it to be
Check the directions of the brand of transfers that you buy. I am sure they each have different temperatures and times
Once you have ironed the transfer on, let it cool and slowly peel the backing off
The front image of our shirts
The back image of our shirts

Now, I didn’t just want to hand them out to everyone. So, I decided to roll each shirt up, tying them with a colourful ribbon and attaching name tags to each of them. This really helped to personalize it and hopefully made everyone feel like they were getting something special.

Voila!!! All done and they looked great. Now, not only did I have a great surprise for everyone, but a fun way to memorialize this special time with our friends.

So, the next time you are looking for a way to help your group stand out in the crowd, try making your own t-shirts!

~ Shoana

*one of the people in our group got salt water on his shirt and the colours ran a little. All of the other shirts were totally fine when they were washed or touched by pool water. So, maybe it was the salt water? I am not totally sure but I wanted to mention it.

Shoana Jensen