Guys, I am SO excited about this DIY! I absolutely cannot wait to try this myself! This rad DIY is brought to us by the super talented Jillian. Check it out!
DIY Pin Art T-Shirt
When Kim invited me to guest blog on Sequins + Studs, I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Her style is tough as juste un clou and it coincided exactly with a DIY project I had my eye on. I took a little time off from WhatWouldJillyWear and blogging for flash sale site PLNDR to document my punky homage to Coco Chanel. In total, I spent about $14 on materials and 3 hours of my time.
1 cotton t-shirt
Safety pins – variable quantity
Masking or painter’s tape (optional)
Fabric scissors (optional)
Step 1 – Decide what your pin art creation will be. Some ideas include basic shapes like a heart or star, an initial or perhaps 2 of them, an anchor, skull, or other tattoo-inspired design. You may want to print out your vision to refer to, or cut out and use it as a pattern. Because I am lazy, I did neither, and simply referenced my computer screen.
Gather your materials. In my case, I used a men’s size L basic t-shirt (Hanes 3 pack) and 3 packages of safety pins (brass, size 0 and 00), all of which I procured at Walmart. Try any big box store, craft store, or online; you can most likely keep it to one-stop shopping. Think about the design you’ll be pinning and buy your supplies accordingly. A filled in design (like a heart or skull) will require more pins than a letter. My advice is to err on the side of too many – better to have leftover pins to return or use later on than to run out mid-project (especially if you’re crafting during a snowstorm).
Step 2 – On a flat surface (I used my floor), lay out your t-shirt with the yard stick end-to-end. Measure the width and divide in half to ascertain the midpoint; center your design there. Because the pin art has a little weight to it, I do recommend keeping it centered but if you’re married to the idea of an asymmetrical design, consider wearing one high heel and one kitten heel to balance yourself out*. Frame out your design and take a step back. Look about right? Great – proceed to Step 3.
*Don’t do that.
Step 3a – If you’re using a pattern, use a pair of paper scissors (not to be confused with fabric scissors – if you’re a serious crafter you’ll want to keep them separate so their integrity and sharpness is maintained) to cut out the design. Pin down the design and if you’re so inclined, trace it onto the t-shirt. You’re ready to start pinning!
Step 3 – Take the plunge. Add a pin to the beginning of your design. The best part about this craft is it’s next to impossible to mess up; you can always add, move, or remove stray pins. Decide if you want all your pins to:
- face the same direction (I did),
- be arranged in a pattern like 1 up/1 down, or
- be completely randomized.
Also decide how important it is to you that your pins are drill team straight. Having a personal style description I call “sloppy chic” emboldened me to embrace a little variance in my pins (see above – the pins are perfectly imperfect).
And… pin away! Once you get started, your DIY project is a great complement to mindless TV (recommendations include Chopped, House Hunters International, or any sporting event up until the last 3 minutes), road tripping, and so on. A little advice: if you feel frustration mounting, fold up your shirt and put it away for another day. There shouldn’t be any pressure to finish to a deadline.
…keep going. I decided to cut off the sleeves and give a peekaboo glimpse of a bandeau bra beneath. I’ve done enough trial-and-error cutting and regretting (and friends, there’s no Ctrl+Z to undo real life cutting) to take the extra step and plan ahead.
Step 4 – Using painter’s tape (masking tape works well too), I outlined the cut I’d be making. I shaped it to look like a basketball jersey. Just like pinning, the beauty of using tape is that you can reposition it if you’re not crazy about how it looks. I only taped the front side of the shirt because I wanted front and back to be symmetrical, but if you want the back to be cut slimmer (as in, say, a racerback), continue taping through to the back side. ONLY tape the right side of your shirt.
Step 5 – When the tape is to your liking, cut away!
Step 6 – Take the scrap you just snipped off your shirt, flip it over (think of the right and left sides of your shirts as a mirror image) and place it on the left side of your shirt. Match up the seams. This will be your guide as you tape the left side of your shirt.
Step 7 – Remove the scrap of fabric and cut along the tape you applied. Voila! You’re finished!
Step 8 – Wear, handwash, repeat.