These Iron-On Letters Might Be The Best Couple Of Dollars I've Spent This Year (So Far)

Let's bring back shirts that say stuff. Good stuff.

Feb 24, 2014 at 9:00am | Leave a comment

I have a lot of small, silly goals I want to accomplish this year. One is to eat more smoked salmon, another is to bake a quiche. A lot of them are food-related, actually. However, one that is not is to make T-shirts with stuff on them. I realize this sounds kind of vague. I mean "stuff" could mean "pom-poms," "googly eyes," "barf stains" -- all great suggestions, but in my situation I mean T-shirts with words on 'em.

I'm a fan of the slogan tee. Usually a plain, soft shirt with some kind of zippy, witty phrase on it with the sole purpose of starting a conversation or, I don't know, looking real cool, man.

I feel like the reputation of the slogan tee has been sullied in recent years. When I was in high school it was a lot of painfully unfunny crap from Hot Topic and Spencer's that I'd see littering the halls, phrases like "I don't discriminate, I hate everyone," or straight-up misogynist hate speech emblazoned upon the concave chest of a teenage boy. Ack, no thanks. 

Instead let's hearken back to the golden age of talking shirts which, I guess, took place during the '70s and '80s if we go by the fantastic examples below.

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Keith Richards being cheeky, Doris Day with a fuzzy friend, Alice Cooper also with a fuzzy friend. You can buy replicas of the latter two tees from Flunk Life on Etsy.

Inspired by these folks, I decided to make my own. I found some incredibly cheap iron-on letters in two different fonts on spot98.com (I spent around $5, total), and when they arrived I got to work ironing my first phrase on a plain white, 100% cotton t-shirt I'd picked up at Joe Fresh.

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Lots o' letters.

For my inaugural tee, I settled on "All The Young Dudes" after the Bowie-penned Mott the Hoople song of the same name. It's one of my favorite songs, and that's pretty much where my reasoning ends. Maybe people will see it and think I date a lot of boys (I don't). I wanted to put "Boogaloo, dudes" on the back but ran out of Os. Anyway.

When I got down to it I discovered there's a bit of a learning curve with this iron-on business. Following the instructions (iron set to "Cotton" setting, firm and even pressure applied for 10-15 seconds) seemed to work perfectly for some of the letters whereas others shriveled and curled at the edges. Overall the T-shirt turned out a bit wonky, but I guess that gives it character. All the best T-shirts are a bit beat-up anyway.

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Greetings from the wavy IKEA mirrors that were here when I moved in.

So, my witty friends, if you were to make a slogan tee, what would it say? What should my next shirt say? (Please don't suggest "I'M A BIG DUMB FART HEAD.")