Fashion Crafts: Create Your Own Vintage T-Shirt Designs

Vintage t-shirts are all the rage but the prices can put you in a rage. Make your own with this guide.

Have you ever seen a cool and clever vintage t-shirt and just had to have it? Did you then look at the price tag and suffer from sticker shock? No need to worry, you can make your own!

First you need to buy a plain t-shirt and iron on transfer paper that can be printed on by just your home printer. If you buy a dark colored t-shirt be sure to buy iron on transfer paper made for dark color fabric. There is a difference so double check.

Now you need a vintage design. A good way to start out is on a computer art program. You can either paint your own image on your computer, scan your drawn image into the computer, or a little of both by scanning your drawn image and then altering it or adding on to it with the art program. From there you just print it onto the iron on transfer paper. If you image contains text you will need to flip the image before printing. Most printer programs are equipped with a "flip image for t-shirt" button that comes up in the printer commands. If yours does not then most art programs have this capability. Just remember to flip the image to where the text is running right to left instead of the normal left to right. This way when you iron on your image to your t-shirt it will be readable.



Are you not sure how to get an idea for your vintage t-shirt image? First start out by shopping for vintage tees. You are likely to see something you like which will inspire you. If you are merely making a t-shirt for yourself or as a gift for a friend and not for financial gain of any kind, you can copy just about anything without infringing on copyright laws. That means if you see a saying you like and you aren't sure if it's copyrighted or not (however most aren't because it's next to impossible to copyright sayings from decades ago) you can make your own without getting in trouble. No one can stop you from making a "Make Love, Not War" t-shirt. However, images are another story. Most are copyrighted. It is still generally legal to use copyrighted images for personal use, however it's a good idea to search the internet for "royalty free" images. These images require no payment to use and are legal.

More vintage t-shirt ideas:

A picture of a vintage car; nothing says vintage like a cool old car.

Old slag sayings such as "Groovy," "Peace," "Sit on It," etc. Generally any saying from you favorite old shows will work.

Political statements from decades ago such as "I Like Ike" are a popular and thought provoking option.

Pictures of cartoon characters, TV stars, or movie stars from old classics make great vintage t-shirts.

You can also make your own vintage t-shirt with fabric paint. You don't even have to be an amazing artist to do so. Some of the coolest vintage t-shirts are simple images or even just a few words. However, if you are a fantastic artist it's likely your own creation will rival those store bought clones and your will be the envy worthy.

For that extra special touch, tie die is a great throw back to the 60's and works fabulous for vintage tees. And for the ultimate girly vintage t-shirt add some ribbon, fringe, rhinestones, sequins, beads, flowers, or just about anything for that retro chic look.

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