Are you ready for the US election to be over? I usually like politics, but I am so tired of it. The unending, stressful negativity is just wearing me down! There’s light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of our first female president, so I decided to try to concentrate on that positive aspect with these statement t-shirts. My grandma is visiting, and when she saw the “The Future is Female” shirt, without any context, she said, “It’s true, especially with this election.”
Today happens to be the last day to register to vote in Oregon, which you can do online until tonight (Tuesday, 10/18/2016) at midnight. Women have a tremendous amount of voting power, we just have to use it!
To help us focus on the positive, I made two versions of feminist statement shirts, one with iron-on letters, and the other with a freezer paper stencil. Either one is pretty easy, though the iron-on letters are the quickest. Got something to say? Put it on your shirt instead of trying to shout down your Trump-supporting relatives on Facebook (just unfriend them).
Edit: After the last debate, I think “Nasty Woman” and “Bad Hombre” shirts are in order. My husband suggested we wear them as a couples Halloween costume and go as “Donald Trump losing the election.” Feel free to steal that idea!
(Just for the record, I wouldn’t vote for a woman just because she’s a woman–Sarah Palin would never get my vote in a million years.)
DIY Statement T-Shirts
For the stenciled version
T-shirt – If it’s new, make sure it’s been washed and dried at least once.Make your views known with DIY statement t-shirts two ways. Either iron-on a message, or, for a more custom version, stencil a shirt with freezer paper.Make your views known with DIY statement t-shirts two ways. Either iron-on a message, or, for a more custom version, stencil a shirt with freezer paper.
Textile medium – I’ve used this kind and this kind.
Printed stencil template
Foam dauber or brush
Small disposable cup, or other container for mixing paint
1. Lay the printed-out stencil on top of a piece of freezer paper (shiny side down) and tape it in place. On a cutting mat or board, cut out the stencil with the X-acto knife. Be sure to keep the freezer paper centers of letters with openings (like the ‘O’ in VOTE), and the center of the woman symbol.
2. Use a ruler to help you position the stencils on the front of your shirt, then iron them into place. Use an iron setting that makes sense for your fabric. Pay special attention to the edges of the design. Add the centers of the O and the woman symbol after you’ve ironed everything else in place. (You can see a tiny stain on the front of this shirt, inside the T, which is part of the reason I used this shirt! If you’ve got a stained shirt, it could be a good be a good way to re-use it.)
3. Put a layer or two of cardboard (preferably the coated kind, like from a cereal box) between the front and back of the shirt. Mix up your paint and textile medium in a disposable cup according to the directions on the bottle. Mine said to use 2 parts textile medium to 1 part paint. Daub the paint onto the stencil. Be careful to either cover other areas of the shirt, or not to press too energetically with the dauber, because mine flicked off some tiny little paint specks onto other areas of the shirt when I first started daubing.
4. Let the paint dry, then add another layer if necessary. Let the paint dry overnight.
5. Peel off the freezer paper, then cover the dried designs with a pressing cloth, and iron over them with the hottest setting your fabric can handle to help heat-set the design.
For the iron-on version
Cotton t-shirt – If it’s new, make sure it’s been washed and dried at least once.
Iron-on letters – This set annoyingly just has 2 of every letter, so you’ll need 2 packages to spell out “The Future is Female.”
1. Cut out the individual letters you’re going to use. Lay out your letters on the shirt, and measure to make they’re level and evenly spaced.
2. Follow the directions on your iron-on letters, placing the letters face-down and ironing them in place. Mine said to use the wool setting of the iron, and to press for 15 seconds, but it didn’t say to use a pressing cloth, and I ended up scorching my shirt a bit! So learn from my mistake, and use a pressing cloth to protect the shirt. Also, since you need high heat to melt the iron-on letter adhesive, I recommend using a cotton shirt.
3. After the letters have cooled, peel off the backing, and you’re done!