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This post is sponsored by Bella + Canvas. All ideas, thoughts and photographs are my own.
Are you looking for a team costume for Halloween? Grab your the t-shirt sizes of your team or coworkers and follow along as I share how to make shirts in bulk using your Cricut or Silhouette.
If you've been hired to make costumes using a brand's logo, be sure to read my interview below with Girija B. Patel. She's sharing some legal advice and tips for crafters.
Choosing the Best Blank Shirts for a Group
The unisex fit is true to size. These are great for women who don't want a slim fit style, but they are also a good fit for guys.
The 3001c style is a soft, cotton/poly blend shirt. Your team is going to rave about how soft these shirts are. If you want to check out these shirts before you buy online, Michaels carries Bella + Canvas blanks.
This is not your typical cheap t-shirt blank. I love that you can get a soft fit shirt while still keeping your costs low (great for those who are selling shirts). Plus, these shirts work great with screen printing or iron-on vinyl.
Team Halloween Costume Ideas
Halloween is such a fun time for makers to create fun costumes. There are so many simple costumes that you can create with blank t-shirts. Plus, with a t-shirt costume, you can wear it comfortably all day at school or the office!
When a group of teachers reached out to me with the idea of a Survivor themed group costume, I was excited to use my screen printing process to make this happen.
These teachers are “Surviving First Grade” this year with all of the added challenges of virtual learning and all of the extra precautions in place. So what better theme for their group costumes than Survivor!
Why Screen Print vs. Iron-On Vinyl
When you are making shirts for a group, weeding the same design over and over again can be expensive and time consuming – especially if you have a detailed design. Did you know there is a better way to make shirts using your Cricut or Silhouette?
Screen printing with vinyl allows you to make countless shirts with just one piece of vinyl that you cut on your vinyl machine. This is a more economical process when making several shirts, but it will also yield better quality shirts. No more issues with vinyl peeling off or feeling funny on a shirt!
To learn more about this technique, you can watch the entire process in my Intro to Screen Printing with Craft Vinyl digital course. You can find a list of the supplies you need here: Screen Printing Supply List
Screen Printing with a 1-Color Press
When you are screen printing on a table with a loose frame, you really only have one shot to get the ink covering your design. After you lift the frame, it's nearly impossible to place the screen back down in the right spot to add more ink.
If you love screen printing at home, the 1-color press is a great tool to have. This spring clamp allows you to lower the screen back down if you miss a spot and need to add more ink.
Plus, the press makes it easier to line up the design on your shirts. I setup the placement of my first shirt before putting ink on the screen. You can see through the screen and make sure it is lined up on your shirt.
I use a little trick to make lining up the remaining shirts easy. I put a dot sticker (you can use tape too) right under the middle spot of the collar. Then, I can use this marker as I'm placing the next shirt on my press. This will help keep your design consistently placed on each of your t-shirts.
Watch the Screen Printing Process in Action
Here's the look at the process of creating 11 t-shirts with one piece of vinyl using a 1-color press. If you look closely between shirts, you'll see the dot sticker I use to line up the collar each time.
Using Logos in your Craft Projects
with Special Guest Girija B. Patel
Are you getting requests from friends, family or customers for a custom made product with that includes a brand's logo?
If you are selling your crafts, it is important to know the laws around using trademarked logos.
To help bring clarity to this topic, I interviewed Girija B. Patel. Girija is a Licensed Attorney in Texas. She helps entrepreneurs understand the law so you can build a solid legal foundation for your small business. She also has templates for bloggers, influencers and website owners to make sure you are protecting your work.
Here is Girija's advice on using logos in your projects:
Hi Friends! I'm so excited to join forces with Jennifer and answer some legal FAQs! Also, all the information that is shared is for educational purposes and not meant for any one individual, business, or industry. If you do any legal questions specific to you or your business, please consult a licensed attorney.
Trademark is is a unique symbol or word(s) used to represent a business or its products.
Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.
Both are forms of intellectual property. You don't need to register the trademark or copyright to have protection and to stake an ownership claim. but for statutory protection or to file an infringement case, you might need the registration to move forward. Registration enhances your protection. So if you do have a mark/symbol or a copyright work that is earning revenue and/or positioning itself in your industry, you might want to consider taking the next steps to register if you haven't already.
Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services. Usually, “use,” “in commerce,” and “likelihood of confusion” are three distinct elements necessary to establish a trademark infringement claim.
Can I use a logo like Starbucks or Nike in an item that I sell?
Girija's Answer: No. You cannot use any registered or unregistered trademark without written and signed permission by the owner of the trademark, especially if you are intending to sell those items.
What if I buy a brand’s logo file from an Etsy seller… does that make it okay to use and sell items created with it?
Girija's Answer: General assumption should be NO you can't use it. However, you want to refer and read the license to use that logo from the seller. If they aren't giving you a license, you absolutely can't use it for reselling purposes. Personal purposes yes and that too with a big maybe but because it's personal you have minimal liability exposure if any. The seller has more liability if they are selling another person's trademarked logo. You can find the license in the terms and conditions of the seller or they might even give you some written information about that. Esty itself should have Terms and Conditions and read that, as well. Generally, a person has to have the right to give you the permission to use a logo. That right comes from ownership, a license which allows the extension of the right, or a representative that has the authority to assign that right. Assumptions can cause problems and if you are on the cusp of this question, then err to the side of caution and ask an attorney.
What if I add some customization to the logo… can I reproduce the exact logo but add to it?
Girija's Answer: Generally, no. The idea is from the consumer's viewpoint and if the consumer can get confused as to the owner of the logo, then you're probably infringing on the owner's trademark. Be weary of using the exact same logo and then adding your own elements to it. You don't want a consumer to purchase thinking it's from the actual owner even if you have disclosed it's not. If it's similar to the logo, then avoid. Pottery Barn kids does a great job of creating Halloween costumes that are not authorized per se from the actual brand but isn't similar enough to infringe. This Esty example is in my opinion is something to avoid. Big brands and brands that have invested in their brand trademark have to “police” their trademarks. They have lawyers that do only that! They will send you a cease and desist letter and you might just have to refund and request everyone to send the product back. That's a huge, avoidable cost.
Can you explain what would make a logo usable under the fair use laws?
Girija's Answer: Fair use is a COPYRIGHT Term and not Trademark. A fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. Fair use is a form of defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an infringement.
Most type of fair use falls into the following categories: (1) commentary and criticism or (2) parody. Many logos have trademark and copyright protection embedded in them.
The Survivor logo is also trademark and copyright protected because of the logo (trademark) and words used in it and the design they created is also protected by copyright. For example, with your Surviving shirt, you are using the logo of Survivor as inspiration and they are different enough to most probably not cause confusion in the consumer. There is a claim for parody because you haven't used the exact words or design that Survivor uses for their logo. There are similarities but different too. Most times there isn't a black/white answer and the answer is “it depends.”
If you have any legal questions or looking for contract templates for your business, check out Girija B. Patel!