If you’ve been to Walt Disney World (or any theme park) you may have seen them: groups of people all wearing identical custom-made shirts. I’m going to be honest: I really never thought I would actually wear a shirt that matched anybody else’s. The idea seemed a little silly. OK, it seemed A LOT silly.
Except I’ve done it a few times now, though to be fair the shirts I wore only matched one other person’s and that person happened to be my wife. Plus, two of the three times it’s happened were actually on our honeymoon. So that gets a pass. At least, I’m deciding it does.
Each time we’ve worn matching shirts, we’ve done more than just go buy the same shirt at a store. It’s taken some work to create these garments, and as it turns out the matching of shirts can be a fairly involved and personal experience. It can be a lot of fun to make them, from creating a personal image that you want to share to the actual construction.
Here’s the saga of how each one came together:
The Pirate Shirts
The honeymoon shirts were actually a surprise (to me, anyway) as my wife got them made in secret and they were waiting for us at the front desk when we checked into the Caribbean Beach.
For these, my wife went through Celebration Shirts. This company specializes in custom made designs for families and groups looking to match on their vacation, and they’re local to Walt Disney World so they deliver to all on-property resorts.
Basically, my wife got in touch with them about her ideas for the shirts, and they went back and forth until the final design was created.
The initial design was based on Haunted Mansion, but she didn’t love this one. She didn’t feel that “haunted honeymoon” really fit our pixie dusted honeymoon plans, so they went back to the drawing board.
When she sent back the Haunted Mansion design, Gilly suggested something to do with pirates and adventure. A few days later the next concept came from Celebration Shirts, this one focused on the new theme. Because what says “we’re starting our life together” more than a scary pirate skull?
She liked this one, and went forward from there. Being the picky graphic designer that she is, she had some minor tweaks that she wanted to see incorporated.
Celebration Shirts was also helpful when it came to picking the styles of shirts to put the design on, and then they silkscreened them and delivered them to the hotel in a nice little gift bag. The final shirts were made really well, and the quality printing held up against the rigors of a day at Disney (and washings since).
It should be mentioned that Celebration Shirts is generally geared more towards bigger orders, and their prices work out better when getting a larger number of shirts.
Bride and Groom
The original design for these were found on Etsy, done by TwobyTuTuCreations. She makes Disney-themed art, and Gilly purchased this particular one from her.
Once we owned the original design, we set about modifying it. We added ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ to our respective shirts, and then altered the colors of the hitchhiking ghosts.
So now that we had what we wanted, it was time to put them onto the shirts!
We printed the design onto iron-on transfer paper (just using our home inkjet printer) and from there it was just a matter of applying them to the shirts. Remember: If you’re doing this method, make sure you REVERSE the image. If it looks like you’re applying it backwards, it’ll come out correct on the shirt.
We had initially tried one on a light grey shirt, but found that it didn’t really ‘pop’ the way we wanted, so we switched to white.
It is important to note that these shirts haven’t stood up quite as well. They served their purpose–being worn on our honeymoon in the parks–but stretching and washing has cracked and faded the designs. So while the iron-on method can be an easier and quite possibly cheaper option, you may just get one trip out of them.
Haunted Mansion Mickey Heads
For our most recent trip, we decided to create Mickey heads in the Haunted Mansion wallpaper fabric. We purchased the fabric on Spoonflower, though it’s important to note that they don’t always carry this particular design. We’ve gotten lucky a couple times, but they also quite often don’t have it at all.
These shirts were actually simple to make once we had all of the materials. We ordered the fabric, and of course bought shirts, and we ordered Thermoweb from Amazon (though you can probably pick it up at a local craft store). This material adheres to your transfer and allows you to iron it onto a fabric.
Once we had everything, we went online and searched for Mickey heads that we liked. There’s a surprising amount of variance–some have round ears while others are more oval, etc–and once we found the shape we wanted we sized them appropriately and then printed them out onto plain paper to use as stencils. We then used our iron to attach the Haunted Mansion fabric to the Thermoweb, used the stencil to carefully cut out the Mickey shape, removed the backing paper, then used the iron again to stick the Thermoweb onto the shirts. The entire process didn’t take too long, but there was a fair bit of care involved: measuring, cutting, and ironing flat all required some degree of precision.
Using this method or something similar is a quick and easy way to put an image onto a shirt. You may not get years of wear from something like this but you’d definitely get at least one Disney trip. It’s ideal if you have a fabric design that you want to attach quickly, though to be fair it might not be the best option if you’re trying to make lots of shirts. It also doesn’t seem to hold up as well as I would have hoped–after we wore and washed them I found that edges were coming up and there was a crease in the design from where I had folded it. To be fair, the Haunted Mansion fabric we used was fairly stiff, which may have contributed to the issues, but it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to wear them again.
Like decorating MagicBands, shirts are projects that can not only be fun to create but are a way to show off your Disney fandom, and in the case of a special event like a honeymoon they’re a way to let everyone know that you’re celebrating. Making them ahead of time can also be a way to build anticipation of a trip!
What was fun, too, was the reactions we got from people when they noticed the shirts. It was fun to get pics of us wearing the pirate ones on the Pirates & Pals Fireworks Cruise. The Bride and Groom shirts certainly got noticed when we went to Haunted Mansion, and they did get a few remarks throughout the day. The wallpaper Mickeys got the most compliments, many people (cast members and other guests) not only commenting on them but being surprised and impressed when we said that we made them ourselves. That was nice to hear, as it was a fair bit of work to create them and it was cool to have that work acknowledged.
Though I once thought that wearing matching shirts to a theme park was pretty lame (ok, I’m sorry, but I still kind of think that) but now I’ve done it three times and–between you and me–I wouldn’t be against the idea of doing it again.
Did this inspire you to create your own Disney shirts? I’d love to see! Post a photo on Instagram and use #MagicandMisadventures to show off your work!