A Patriotic DIY Project

So as you all know, July 4 is next week. Seeing as it falls on a Wednesday (gross) we are having to break up and drag out the celebrations over the course of the next two weekends. I know, shuuuuucks. This weekend, some friends and I are floating down the Guadalupe River and we decided to keep things in tune with the patriotic holiday. We all love a good themed party or event. There's NO telling what that will entail with this group and I can't wait. Now, Gap and Old Navy always have some solid American Flag tees, but that's way too easy and way too boring for a day on the river. So after seeing this pic of Kate Bosworth at Coachella, I came to the conclusion that I definitely need a similar tattered, trashy looking patriotic tank top. Who doesn't? I mean come on. Now, I'm 98% sure that little Kate did not make this one herself, and you can find similar tanks among several designers right now. But who wants to pay a ton of money for something that can easily be done ourselves? Not to mention I do love a chance for a good DIY project. This tank will be so perfect for the festivities this weekend on the river and over the holiday stretch.

SO. I got inspired and I made one. Is it perfect? No. Does it work? Absolutely. 

Don't judge me on the fact that it may or may not look like the handy work of a five year old. I wanted it to look a little distressed and messy.

Here's how I made my American flag tattered, wornout looking tank:

OK. You'll Need: 

1) Red & Blue Acrylic Paint ($2/ea at Hobby Lobby)
2) Foam Brushes ($1 at Hobby Lobby)
3) A White Tee or tank of your liking (I used a men's small cotton v-neck)
4) Scissors
5) A piece of cardboard or pillowcase to put in between shirt 
while painting so it doesn't bleed through!
6) A piece of cardstock or stencil to use for the star

First, spread the t-shirt on a table or flat surface and place the cardboard in between the front and back of the shirt. This will provide you a flat surface to paint on without the paint soaking through to the back of the shirt. I used an old pillowcase because I didn't have a big enough piece of cardboard.

My "royal blue" paint ended up looking more like lavender, so I mixed a little of the red into it and later just ended up using a whole different blue paint..

Next, choose where you want to have your stripes. I chose kind of an unconventional layout and wanted my stripes running vertically. If you want a firm, straight line, lay down a few pieces of masking tape to serve as the white stripes, then paint the areas in between with red paint and once dry, just pull the tape off! That will give you clean lines. I obviously chose not to make mine so perfect and crisp, so I just freehanded my stripes. They're pretty pathetic, but I didn't want it to be perfect.

 *Fun fact: I had an Architecture professor my freshman year give me a 'B' because she told me I was incapable of drawing straight lines. Even with a ruler. I guess it's just not my thing?

When you're done with your striped area, take your cardstock (or spare cardboard) and draw a star on it and cut it out. This will serve as your stencil unless you actually have a stencil to use. Press the star onto the shirt and hold it with one hand and use the other to paint around it. Don't paint too much! You'll want to have room for other stars.

Paint around the star, then lightly pull the stencil up, move it a few inches down and do the same again. Try to evenly space the stars out as you go along. When I finished the stars and painted in the blue area, I finished up my red & white stripes.

Next is the easy part. Take your scissors and cut the sleeves off the t-shirt at the seams. You can make the arm holes bigger if you wish. I stretched mine out some to make it more slouchy.

After cutting the sleeves off, I decided to make the neck hole a little bigger and more tattered looking. I cut it about 2 inches wider on each side, making the straps of the tank thinner and more feminine.

Next, take a scrap from the cutouts of the sleeve or neck, cut a strip and stretch it out to create a little rope. If you don't want to use the extra fabric, you can use a ribbon of your choice. When the shirt is dry, turn it over, grab each arm hole and bring them together, securing them with the extra piece of fabric or ribbon to create a racerback style.

Once the shirt has dried and you've cut it the way you like, throw it in the washing machine with a very small amount of soap and cold water. It's important to wash this by itself! You don't want extra paint ruining any other clothes. This will take the stiffness out of the shirt and wear it down some so it's comfortable and slouchy.  If you want an even MORE tattered or vintage looking shirt, throw 1/2 cup of bleach in the washer when you throw the shirt in. 

Voila! I'm ready for the holiday!

Guys..you should totally make your own tanks. It's so fun. And such a cheap way to be festive and get into the spirit of the 4th! 

...Even if it does look like the work of a small child.

Happy DIY-ing!

1 comment:

  1. Perfect project for a sweet big sis and little sis w friends!!!