Re-fashion: band & logo shirts (part two)

Apocalyptica t-shirt to tank re-fashion

Apocalyptica t-shirt to tank re-fashion (iPhone photo)

In a previous post I showed off a few different t-shirt re-makes /  re-fashions. I have had a few people ask how I upcycle t-shirts that I’d never wear, aren’t flattering, or just don’t fit right, so I figured I’d do a blog post showing how I’ve done some of these upcycle projects so you can do the same if you’re so inclined.

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Re-fashion: band & logo shirts

I hate t-shirts.  I never wear them.  When you’re a busty gal, even “girly-fit” t-shirts (oh, how I hate that descriptor) don’t fit right, largely because of a hideous mix of low-stretch knit and boxy cut….

I also don’t like the idea of being a walking advertisement for someone else’s product without some sort of personal benefit…

These aspects combined, mean that generally the only time you’ll see me in a branded shirt is if you come over to help me paint or putter in the garden.

There are, however a (very) few exceptions… I attended a large conference a number of years ago (actually, I attended a few years in a row) and ended up getting their t-shirt.  Rather than adding it to the dust-rag or donation bin, it went into a ‘re-fashion’ pile – clothing I need to update, alter, or in some other way re-fashion into something else.  There are also band t-shirts.  While I have no interest advertising a sports team or business (even where I work…) on my chest, sharing the love of all things Cello-Metal (Finnish metal/hard-rock cello group Apocalyptica) or beloved Scandinavian melo-death Metal is a lot more tolerable… shirts from concerts and other events have been added to that same ‘re-fashion’ pile, just waiting for me to have the time, energy, and inspiration to recycle these shapeless knit blobs into something a little more wearable.

A number of people have asked me how I re-make my shirts, and if I’ll help them do the same, so I figured I’d make a blog post to show off what I’ve done, and how to do the same.

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Jorvik-style hood in silk

Front view of the silk hood

Front view of the silk hood

I received a number of bags of fabric and clothing not too long ago from my former teacher – she was de-stashing, and so I got to stash-build instead! (Like I need more fabric…. LOL) I kept some of the pieces I thought I could use, and gave away the rest, but one of the pieces I kept was a lovely lightweight silk blouse (with a nasty fringe and some rips around the buttons, so it wasn’t wearable).

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Third Lunula pendant

Finished Bird Lunula made from shrink plastic

Bird Lunula made from shrink plastic after baking and shrinking (larger than life!)


Since I was quite happy with the results of my first & second Lunula pendants, I decided to make a third, a bit more elaborate.

I started with inspiration from a Pinterest pin – which included three different Lunulae – and I chose the more complicated and detailed of the three. Of course, so much of Pinterest leads to Tumblr.. and Tumblr is like the wild-west of copyright violations and lack of credit/attributions… so I had no idea of the original source.

After I had already made my version though, and was just wandering around the web… I found what I think might be the original source – or at least a website selling the item pictured on Pinterest. Visit the “Slavik Paganism” page of if you’d prefer a metal (Bronze or Sterling Silver) version to my plastic one… (I would!) describes the design as:

Bird Lunula – Also called a lunitsa – Crescent moon shaped woman’s charm found in ancient Slavic and Norse cultures – shaped in the double bird image found in Scythian art – a reproduction of one found in a 8th century burial in Nitra-Lupka, Poland”


The bird lunula before shrinking

The bird lunula before shrinking

Like my previous shrink plastic projects, I used Grafix brand matte shrink plastic which starts as transparent and shrinks down to white in colour. I traced the design to both sides of my plastic and used black, bronze, and silver Sharpie markers. I didn’t sand the plastic before colouring, and found that large areas of colour weren’t as solid as I wanted.

Since my original Lunulae had short (about 1″) long ‘stems’ which folded over to create the ‘bail’ to attach the pendant to a chain or cord – and the resulting fold over was only enough to go around a toothpick… I made the ‘stem’ substantially longer on this version so it could easily go around a chopstick instead – and thus a larger cord.

Not quite right…

Although the finished shrunk plastic pendant was ok – the colours were nice and bold… I didn’t really feel that it looked metal. Like the other pendants, I opted to emboss this as well, using silver embossing powder.

Pendant covered with embossing powder before knocking off the  excess powder

Pendant covered with embossing powder before knocking off the excess powder

When the pendant was re-shaped and embossed, I decided to scratch some of the design back into the pendant, which I’m kind of fond of, though I might need to live with it for a while before knowing if it’s ‘right’.

Copper pendant along with a silver one and  the bird silver embossed pendant.

Copper pendant along with a silver one and the bird silver embossed pendant.

More to come…

I still have a few more projects to share with shrink plastic – so stay tuned! In the mean time if you have some cool inspirational links for shrink plastic – feel free to share them in the comments below!

Some of the shrink plastic projects I've made recently...

Some of the shrink plastic projects I’ve made recently…


Shrunken head

… a self-portrait on shrink plastic

self-portrait in pencil crayon on shrink plastic before shrinking

self-portrait in pencil crayon on shrink plastic before shrinking

When starting to work with shrink plastic I read that if I wanted to use coloured pencil, that it would be a good idea to lightly sand the surface before starting. I had NO idea what I wanted to draw, so while looking around my craft room my gaze landed on a self-portrait I had recently painted, and I decided to give that a whirl – mostly to try out the technique more than anything else.

I sanded down the plastic, and then sketched out the portrait pretty loosely (having thought that the colours would intensify, but also thinking that details would be lost) with two shades of blue, white, and a tiny bit of pink pencil crayon.

I ended up using a full sheet of plastic, since I couldn’t really figure out where to cut it… again – this was just to try out the technique.

When the end result came out of the oven, I figured I’d also test out bending the plastic around a form… and bent it around a can sitting on the counter – so it sort of is a portrait that stands by itself!

Some of the other projects I've worked on recently

The portrait after baking along with other projects I worked on at the same time.

While the colours intensified a great deal (I actually am a bit disappointed how much the pink came through) I thought that the detail of the shading marks would blend together – and they didn’t… I don’t really love how I can see every pencil line.. though it’s definitely a different kind of self-portrait!