T-Shirt wall art

Like a lot of guys my age, I’m a T-shirt guy. Funny ones, clever ones, geeky ones, and just plain cool ones. And I’m not the type to buy them at a normal brick an mortar shop. I prefer to find quirky and orignial designs on the web at places like Woot and Owl Movement.

Most of the shirts I get end up being limited runs, so when they reach the end of their life a little early, via stains or tears, there just isn’t any way to replace them. I’m also the kind of guy who hates to throw things out, and I just can’t bring myself to throw out art, which is what these shirts really are. So, it hit me, as long as the print on the shirt was in good condition, I can turn my shirts into wall art.

I started by laying them out as flat as I could and getting some measurements. The art was pretty squarely centered in theses shirts so it was pretty simple. I found about a 10″x10″ square area I wanted to display and measured a 12″ square around each to give me a little wiggle room and some extra material to wrap around the boards I planned on using. Then I cut them out.

After that I grabbed a scrap piece of OSB that was laying around the Workshop and measured and cut out my 10″ squares. A little bit of sanding on the disk sander to smooth the edges, and a light bit of sanding over the smoother side to catch any stray splinters and they were ready to go. Just a little FYI OSB stands for Oriented Strand Board. It’s decently strong because it’s just a bunch of strands glued together alternating the grain. It’s usually got one smooth and one rough side, and can stand some short term exposure to the elements. Although I mostly just grabbed it because it’s cheap and I only needed one smooth side to display my art.

After I prepped the boards I just laid the cutouts face down and carefully centered the boards over them. A light amount of stretching and smoothing was needed. I made sure to double check after I popped in each staple. The OSB’s rough edges were also a help in stretching and smoothing the fabric because they tended to grip it and hold it as long as it wasn’t over stretched. That’s a notable advantage over a smoother board like MDF or a finished piece of pine.

Once I was satisfied with them I flipped them over onto a clean surface (very important because you’re not tossing these back into your washing machine!) and tapped down the staples that were not fully set because I used a manual stapler. All I need is some picture hanging hardware, and now I have two pieces of cool wall art to hang around my place. I have to say, I’m not sure I’ll ever retire any of my favorite t-shirts to Goodwill again. I also have a couple of cotton rags to leave at the Workshop.

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