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How to — and how not to — make a Glitter T-Shirt

Okay, so I MIGHT be getting a wee bit excited about my trip this week to The Martha Stewart Show. I made:

DIY glitter shirt  martha stewart glitter shirt

Yes, dork = me.  Those are matching shirts for me and Bianca to wear since we’re travelling together to New York.

“Oooooo, pretty….. Which one is mine?” Princess Cupcake had found the glittery mess. After I told her one was for Miss Bianca and one for me, she said, “I want oneeeee…..” Not that she can read. Or she has any clue who Martha is. Or that it has even a splash of pink on it. She just wants in on the sparkly fun.

But really, it didn’t start out about Martha. It started out innocently enough with a crazy apparel idea for the baseball games this weekend. I am a Tampa Bay Rays fan. My long-time buddy is the strength and conditioning coordinator for the team (Hi KB!) and they made it into the playoffs – again – because they rock. And while KB is super incredibly awesome at what he does, he’s not so great at remembering to throw in an extra Rays T-shirt for the Texas contingent – no matter how many times I hint beg and offer to pay him. So I figured I’d just make some for me and the Princess Cupcake. (The hubs wisely declined on the offer for a matching glitter shirt.)

I refreshed myself with my own instructions on the 12 Simple Steps to a Super Easy Glitter Shirt, and set to finding logos online. While I was at it, I threw in a Martha logo –  just in case I had the time.

Welllllll, I tried to get all fancy this go-around. And that was my mistake.

keep calm go to target
Image from JP Creatibles FB Page

Three TB design fails later and I wore a black blouse from Target to the game, and the Princess a t-shirt from the same shopping trip.  Sigh.

Anywho… I made a blog vow to share with you the good, the bad and in this case, the ugly, so here’s what NOT to do when making the “super easy” glitter shirt.

  • Don’t try to do an outline which would require layered stencils. It’s impossible to make the stencils line up exactly and you can’t iron both layers onto the shirt. Trust me on this. I know it seems like it should doable but it’s not.
  • Don’t put the glitter glue on the shirts in the semi-dark no matter how late in the evening you start the project. You will have no idea how much glue you actually have within your stencil and you won’t have even glitter coverage. Which is critical. Even glitter coverage. Listen to me girls.
  • If you do find yourself in a situation where you –gasp — have uneven glitter coverage, you CAN go back with a paintbrush to add more glue and glitter. HOWEVER, the coverage inevitably will not match and then you end up with some very concentrated areas where they were previously quite sparse. Which may not be a noticeable (in the case of my Martha shirt) but on a black shirt with silver glitter, a little too obvious. I was tempted to freehand my second layered stencil with the same technique but wisely decided not.
  • Also, do not think that after you have tried glitter paint for the second time (After hating it the first time. Didn’t like the coverage at all, but I only applied one coat. Maybe that’s a user error. If the Michaels check-out lady had actually PUT the black glitter in my bag I wouldn’t have been in that predicament, I’m just sayin’.) – which is not very glittery – that adding a “sprinkling” of glitter on top is a good idea. Here’s what happened: After hating the two stencil projects that I tried already, I thought I’d go old school and just  do  “RAYS BASEBALL” in  black glitter paint on a grey shirt. I should have stopped there… but no, there’s that defining moment where you have a spark of an idea and it’s either going to be great – or you’re going to crash and burn and ruin it completely.
  • Here’s my genius idea: I thought I’d dribble just a hint of silver on top of the black. Well, I accidentally dumped a pile on in ONE spot, so I had no choice but to cover the whole darn thing. So now I had a grey shirt with silver letters. That’s not cool. You can’t even see that. So I got out some blue — and not the blue I wanted because my Michaels didn’t sell navy — and thought I’d just dust bit on top of that. I ended up with really thick letters with random blue on it. It’s still got a little potential if I could outline the letters. I may go get a fabric paint pen to try and save it. Or I may just sleep in it and call it a day.
Tampa Bay Rays Glitter Shirt

I did do a couple things right this second time around:

On my second Martha shirt for Bianca, I stuck with my own directions and it turned out perfect. Perfect. Martha’s logo is ideal, clean lines, easy to cut out, perfect for a white T.
I thought I was a genius with this idea: I created a light box with a plastic shoe box, the glass out of a picture frame and a flashlight. It really helped when tracing the lines. Just put the flashlight (turned on) in the shoe box and put glass from a large photo frame on top. Then I put my printout and my freezer paper on top and it was so much easier to see.






Tampa Bay Rays Glitter Shirt
tampa bay rays glitter shirt

If you haven’t tried this easy glitter technique, it’s really cool IF you don’t try to go crazy with it. The original LSU shirt that I made has been washed (in cold, hang dry) several times and still looks great.

And because I am all about Martha AND Glitter this week, here’s a video from her new season on how to glitter SHOES. No, I don’t think I have time to do those too…

Remember, these logos are trademarked. DO NOT make shirts and try to sell them. Bad things will happen.


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