Re-living the 70’s with Iron-on Letters

by Wendy Copley on November 15, 2009

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If you grew up in the late 70’s or early 80’s chances are pretty good that you had a baseball shirt at some point in time. And if you had a baseball shirt, you most likely ironed something onto it. Maybe you had a picture of a kid with braces that said “The tin grin is in!” or maybe you had your name or perhaps you were one of the lucky kids who had both — one on the front and one on the back? My baseball shirt was white with pink sleeves and my mom and dad carefully ironed a unicorn picture to the front and my name on the back in sparkly Cooper Black font. I can assure you I was hot stuff in that shirt!

I bought Wyatt a baseball shirt a couple of weeks ago and since then it has been calling out for some fuzzy iron-on letters.

This should be a quick and easy project. Shall we begin?

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Start off by ironing the shirt. By looking at these photos after the fact, you’ll note that there is some kind of stain down the front of it. Please ignore that going forward.

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Pull the letters off the sheet. I used flocked letters because they’re fluffy and wonderful. Not quite as wonderful as sparkly letters, but these run a close second.

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Scatter the letters all over the shirt willy nilly.

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Ha ha! Just kidding. Did you know I use rulers in practically every craft project I do? I do! I’m a Virgo.

Start off by centering the ruler on the shirt. Then pick the middle letter in the name you’re adding  and put that on the mid-point of the ruler.

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Add the rest of the letters on either side, spacing them out as evenly as you can.

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Put the ruler over the bottom of the letters about a quarter inch to hold them in place and then press with the iron for a few seconds.When you lift up the iron, you may notice the T’s are stuck to the iron. If that happens, it means that you put the T’s on upside down like I did.

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When you pull them off the iron, they’ll be all melty and stuck to themselves like this. You won’t be able to pull them apart to fix them either. Check the package to see if there are any more T’s. Since there won’t be any others, it would be OK to say something like, “Oh, crap-a-doodle-doo!” at this point.

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Take a look at the shirt and see if you can get by with just the letters that stuck to the shirt. Consider creating a new nickname for your son, such as “Wya”.

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Your next step in this quick and simple craft project will be to drive back to the craft store for another package of iron-on letters.

When you get back home put your new T’s on the shirt. Check, double-check and triple-check to be sure that you haven’t put them on upside down again.

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Press the letters with an iron.

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When you lift the iron, notice that there is some kind of sticky brown goo all over the letters you just drove all the way to the frakkin’ craft store to get. Say a naughty word and look at the iron to see what the heck is all over the lang dang heat element. You should notice some brown goo in the exact same shape as the T’s you ironed the wrong side of earlier. Curse your own carelessness and shake your fist at the stupid shirt with the stupid brown letters on it.

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Try wiping the goo off with a wet washcloth. When that doesn’t work, get out a butter knife and scrape the brown goo off. This will work! Wipe the brown stuff off the iron and re-press to make sure the letters are properly adhered.

Enjoy your fancy new shirt and the Bad News Bear who will wear it.

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(Incidentally, Wyatt loves his new shirt, despite the poses he struck in these photos. When your name is Wyatt you don’t get to pull personalized license plates or mugs off the rack in the gift shop at Disneyland, so having something with his name on it finally is pretty cool.)

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  • Kim

    You are hilarious! I'm now inspired to go buy some fuzzy white letters and a t-shirt for my own little boy. I think I'll also have to buy an iron which really goes against everything I believe in.

  • Aunt Linda

    Wendy,
    I KNEW that you were going to have the goo on your iron! Been there, done that too many times. What a cute guy with his name on his shirt.

  • brookbaby

    Sounds like some of my best crafty projects!

  • You are hilarious! I loved your tutorial and I love your blog!

  • Oh gosh, I LOVE that. It's just so Charlie & Lola. Well, more Charlie, of course. 😉

    In the modern non-70's day era these style of tops are called raglan tees, by the way! I have a handful of them for my 7yo, it's my favorite style of long-sleeve shirt on him. I am definitely getting some iron-on letters to copy cat you. Well, except for the part where you got the letters upside down. I'll forego that bit.

  • So frustrating! I adore flocked anything. Do those letters have a website where you can buy them?

  • Of course it's like Charlie!! I hadn't even thought of that. I think my subconscious was forcing me to make a shirt exactly like his. That's so funny!

  • kjoyr814

    This is great! Thanks for including your mistakes…it is what I would TOTALLY do (have done and will probably do again). I love your blog. and that Wyatt?? What a cutie!!

    -kim

  • gabbe

    WooHoo- i haven't seen those fuzzy letters in forever! i want to make myself a shirt too! & you are too funny 😉 i so appreciate that you always 'keep it real'- you rock!! {{GIANT HUGS}}

  • melissa

    you're funny! i'm now subscribing to your blog! keep being funny and helpful.

  • melissa

    you're funny! i'm now subscribing to your blog! keep being funny and helpful.

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  • Dcarey

    Oh my that made me laugh so hard my daughter came to check to see what was going on! I totally remember these shirts from when I was a kid.

  • Marleni Flores

    OMG THIS HELPED ME….
    I JUST BOUGHT TED FLOCKED LETTERS….
    TO PUT IN OUR TENNIS TEAM SHIRTS…=)

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  • Ellen

    Your personality is awesome!  I can’t believe you got a stinkin unicorn, NOT FAIR!  JK thanks for this awesome human tutorial stains goo and all.  I’m a subscriber now 🙂

  • DefeatedandGifted

    I think it’s important not to space the letters too evenly. To get that true 70s effect, have a couple of letters spaced out of line just enough to be annoying, but not far out enough to look like it was on purpose.

  • T

    Wyatt is such an awesome name and he rocks that shirt! Thanks for the help – you helped me with my own iron on 😀

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