Last Sunday I went to Ocean Studios for the Illuminate 2017 festival. Local artist Rosie Drake-Knight of Native Makers led a workshop on making a reflective heat transfer vinyl t-shirt and I was able to have a go.
First I had to sketch out a design. I chose the Junkrat symbol from Overwatch which is one of my favourite games.
Next I copied my sketch on to the back (the matt side) of a reflective vinyl sheet, with the design reversed.
I cut out the individual pieces and arranged them on the t-shirt shiny side up.
Rosie worked the heat press for safety reasons. She had to hold it down for a short time. The heat press has a heated plate on the bottom and the top, so it is like being sandwiched between two irons. Apparently you can use a dry iron instead to do this at home.
The last stage was to peel the shiny plastic off the top of the design. Underneath was the reflective design permanently sealed to the t-shirt fabric.
Here I am wearing my new t-shirt! I have hand painted and stencilled t-shirts before and this seemed to take less time and was a much easier process (as long as you’re only using one colour and the design is simple, like this one). Here is how the reflective vinyl looks using flash photography:
I am going to research using an iron to do heat transfer vinyl to see if I can make more things at home. The heat press was actually borrowed from my college so I am also going to see if I can access it or maybe one of my tutors would let us use it one day.
I had a look around some more of the work on display for Illuminate 2017 at Royal William Yard. It was really impressive, there were light shows and huge animations projected on the buildings.
There was a DJ playing music to match the beats of the show on the walls. It was a freezing cold late November evening but the atmosphere was upbeat and exciting.
Inside Ocean Studios was this Ray Of Light installation by Paige Alexander. This was my favourite piece on display and it is made from ultraviolet string that glows different colours under ultraviolet light.
Illuminate is an annual event to commemorate the sailing of the Mayflower nearly 400 years ago. There will be lots of other events happening in Plymouth over the next few years linking up to the Mayflower celebrations and I’ll try and visit as many as I can.