The BlueCotton Blog

07 June 2013 ~ 3 Comments

7 Cool Things to Do with Old T-Shirts

Are you into repurposing, upcycling, refashioning or otherwise not-throwing-away your old t-shirts?  Have you shredded, tied, braided, beaded, boat-necked and modified half your clothes and you still need more ways to put your old t-shirts to use? You’re in luck! We’ve got 7 cool things to do with old t-shirts below that you haven’t seen before.

1. Braided Belt

Braided T-Shirt Belt

Super cute for summer, this soft and comfortable braided belt uses one t-shirt and only requires minimal sewing. If you can sew a button, you can make this belt. Casually cool and effortless, this t-shirt belt pairs well with jeans, and your favorite t-shirt (what else?).

2. Dog Chew Toy

Dog T-Shirt Chew Toy

If you have a puppy or a young dog, you know they love to chew on anything they can sink their teeth into– namely YOUR shoes, YOUR clothes and anything else that is YOURS. Give Fluffy your old t-shirts after lovingly braiding and tying them into a dog chew-toy. The soft t-shirt fabric will keep those sharp little puppy teeth happy and healthy, while keeping YOUR stuff in one piece.

3. Superhero Cape

T-Shirt Superhero Cape

Kids love dressing up as superheroes. Craft your favorite kid a super hero cape from a t-shirt! With a couple pieces of Velcro and your crafty super powers, you can whip up a cape faster than a speeding bullet.

4. Stadium Cushion

T-Shirt Stadium Cushion

This DIY stadium cushion promises that your favorite team will go undefeated. You won’t even need a cushion because you’ll be standing and cheering the whole time. Just in case the guarantee doesn’t work out, you’ll be able to take the loss sitting down with this upcycled stadium cushion. This tutorial also works with old sweatshirts.

5. Diaper Cover

T-Shirt Diaper Cover

For more advanced crafters, these DIY diaper covers require a bit of sewing skill but the results are soooo worth it. Talk about a sweet baby shower gift! Find some of the mother-to-be’s favorite band t-shirts and whip this rockin’, one-of-a-kind present.

6. Notebook Cover

T-Shirt Notebook Cover

This DIY t-shirt notebook may be the coolest thing to hit the classroom since the 1980’s Trapper Keeper. All you need is a composition style notebook, a bit of glue, scissors, a popsicle stick and a cool t-shirt! This one’s too easy.

7. Bangle Bracelets

T-Shirt Bangle Bracelets

Along with our old t-shirts, we all have a few (nay, many) bangle bracelets that are past their prime. They may be chipped, tarnished or otherwise unsightly. Why do we keep these, ladies? To repurpose, naturally! Pair up these DIY bangle bracelets and accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!

Finding closet space for your new seasonal wardrobe will be much easier after clearing out a few of your extra t-shirts with these DIY projects.  Do you have a unique way to reuse your old t-shirts?  Show-n-tell us in the comments below!

22 May 2013 ~ 0 Comments

9 Ideas for DIY Graduation Gifts

It’s that time of year again. Graduation time. An exciting event for every high school senior, and a reminder for the rest of us of just how old we really are. When it comes to graduation gifts, the go-to idea is usually cash, but you can’t always expect an 18-year-old to spend it responsibly. Why not try giving your favorite graduate something made with love that they’ll actually use? Check out our list of 9 DIY graduation gift ideas.

1. Tile Photo Coasters

Tile Photo Coasters

If you’ve ever lived in a dorm room you know that space is a hard thing to come by, so there’s not much room for a bunch of photo frames featuring one’s friends. Why not give your graduate some memorable photos that serve an additional purpose? These stylish DIY Photo Tile Coasters are the perfect answer! There’s no better feeling, when you’re cramming for that mid-term history exam, than lifting up that fifth mug of coffee to see your best friend smiling back you as if saying, “I know studying sucks, but our Spring Break trip will make up for it, I promise!”

2. Money Soap

Money Soap

Patience is a virtue every graduate should learn, and so is good hygiene! What better motivation is there to stay clean and smelling fresh than some cold, hard cash? None! This clever DIY Money Soap gift will keep your graduate bathing daily, or at least until they finally make it to that tightly-rolled bill in the center. Who knows… that just might be their next tank of gas to come home for a visit!

3. Laptop Sleeve

Laptop Sleeve

A recent study shows 92% of college students consider a laptop computer to be a necessity. Laptops can be expensive and fragile–especially if you get one of those branded with that famous one-bitten fruit. Help your graduate protect their investment with this cool, handmade laptop sleeve. You can even make one suitable for a tablet or e-book reader as well!

4. Instagram Journal

Instagram Journal

The popular photo-sharing smartphone app, Instagram, has over 100 million monthly active users and over 40 million photos per day. So, there’s a pretty good chance your graduate has an Instagram profile. Check out this tutorial to customize an ordinary journal or notebook with a collage of your graduate’s favorite Instagram photos.

5. Personalized Etched Glasses

Personalized Etched Glasses

When you’re sharing a tiny dorm room with another person, it’s important to define what stuff belongs to whom. This is especially true of dishes. Nothing is more annoying than washing someone else’s dirty dishes. Give your graduate some of these classy, personalized etched glasses. You could add a memorable inside joke or a few words of an inspirational nature on custom can coolers instead. They’ll appreciate knowing whose dishware belongs to whom when it comes time pack up for the summer.

6. I Heart My State Painting

I Heart My State Painting

Home is where the heart is, they say. Quite literally with this gift! “Heartify” your graduate’s hometown and state with this DIY framed painting. This conversation starter is easy and modern and will remind them of home every day!

7. Survival Kit

Survival Kit

Give your grad the gift of preparation. Whip up this snazzy little DIY Survival Kit that travels anywhere! Glove box, backpack, overnight bag – she’ll have all the pain relievers, Band-Aids and stomach settlers that life could require. No excuses for missing class, young lady!

8. Sun Jar

Sun Jar

For countless good reasons we all understand, candles are generally prohibited from dormitories on campus. But even the most austere of accommodations have a window. Give your grad the warm glow of a candle with none of the danger with the DIY Sun Jar. El sol keeps this cool little lamp powered, so no cash spent on batteries. That’s a win.

9. Floor Cushions

Floor Cushions

Oh! The places they’ll go! Help your grad hone his hosting skills with a set of comfy, cozy floor cushions. Guaranteed to make any dorm room more inviting (for study groups, naturally). Unsure what fabric to pick? Play it safe and pick up some fabric with your grad’s favorite sports team.

Which one of these DIY Graduation gifts would you have loved to receive when you graduated? Let us know in the comments below!

18 January 2013 ~ 0 Comments

BlueCotton’s “End of The Year” Party: The Big Lebowski Style.

BCbash

BlueCotton capped off 2012 with an End-of-The-Year party at Crescent Bowl in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Traditionally, our year-end party involved a fancy-schmancy sit-down meal and more formal awards program where we all put on our best duds – we decided to switch it up this year and have a more casual evening of fun and games. Pizza and homemade desserts were served to employees and their guests. Unlimited bowling was enjoyed throughout the evening.

Everyone had the opportunity to enter a BlueCotton tournament for cash and prizes. Rene R. won the men’s tournament with a high score of 234. Kathy B. won the women’s tournament with a high score of 149. Low scores were also awarded to Jim M. and Morgan C. with 69 and 50 points, respectively. Hey, it’s all about having fun here! Am I wrong?

There were no “toe over the line” incidents reported.

Awards were presented to employees who were selected by their peers for best exemplifying BlueCotton’s Core Values. BlueCotton’s Core Values.

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Check out some other photos from the big night.

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27 November 2012 ~ 0 Comments

The Most Talked-About Gifts I Ever Gave

Some of you brave souls actually went Black Friday shopping. I know this not from personal experience, but from the pictures I saw on tv. You are warriors, my friends! You actually went out of your house (by choice) to snag up on doorbuster deals at your local brick-and-mortar stores. Admirable, your bravery. I salute your dedication to the cause.

I waited until Cyber Monday to pick up a few gifts whose price tags I could not resist. Yesterday, I bought two sleeping bags for little more than a song, and hurdled exactly zero shopping carts during the purchase. Hurrah!

Today, I’m a little nostalgic for the most epic gifts I ever bought.

Several years ago, I had become weary of shopping.

I wanted to give something more personal… more thoughtful…something with meaning.

Instead of trying to dream up the perfect gift for several individuals with varied tastes, I decided to order a dozen custom t-shirts for my dad’s side of the family.

My grandfather was a coal miner, and my father and his nine brothers and sisters grew up in a coal mining camp in Coalgood, Kentucky. I found a picture online of the tokens that the coal mining company minted to pay wages to their employees. I selected the $20 token with “Mary Helen Coal Corporation” stamped on it. I uploaded the photo and placed in squarely on the t-shirt. I chose a charcoal grey t-shirt to compliment the coppery-bronze patina of the token. Once the design was perfected, I selected each family member’s size and made the purchase.

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The custom t-shirts were a huge hit. The token printed on the t-shirts was a piece of my family’s collective history, and had meaning for each of them. We sat together after opening gifts and talked about their childhood.

My dad remembered using these coins to ride the bus into town and to buy a movie ticket at the Margie Grand Theater. My aunt remembered buying her first pair of new shoes at the Mary Helen Coal commissary with these tokens. Almost-forgotten stories of childhood were shared by my uncles. Some of these were heard for the first time by grandchildren. These were not only the easiest gifts I selected and purchase, they are easily the most “talked-about” presents I ever gave.

Here at BlueCotton, we’re dedicated to making things easy. The easier it is for you, the more we like it. Would you believe you can take care of everyone on your list in one fell swoop, and give them a unique gift they will remember? You can, and I’ll show you in 5 easy steps how it’s done.

1. Think about your extended family. I know it’s all-at-once painful and hilarious – like hitting your funny bone, but do it anyway. Do you have a nifty story in your ancestry that would translate well to a t-shirt design? Mike Coffey (our CEO) has a family-owned gas station in his history. My maternal great-grandfather once owned a motel. Any kind of business works well on a t-shirt, and makes for great storytelling when you’re with the family. Better yet, invent one! Does your family like coffee? You could create a Coffee House with your last name – or a Hunting Lodge, or a Ski Resort, or a Drag Strip. The possibilities here are endless – whatever fictional business or activity would appeal to your family works perfectly.

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2. Go to BlueCotton.com and start your design! You can use our clip art archives, or upload photos of your own. Do you have a picture of great-great-great-great Grandpa Chester? Upload that old photo of him with his Model-T and share it with everyone on a t-shirt. Family trees also make for great designs. Maybe you can finally figure out how you’re related to that cousin twice removed. Enlist assistance from other family members to fill in the blanks.

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3. Once your design is ready for prime time, you can begin adding your sizes. Refer to your list, and add sizes next to their name. Tally up the sizes and enter them in to the Design Studio.

4. Checkout! During checkout, you may add additional shirts in another color, or another style. If you’d like a different color of shirt for Aunt Clara who strongly dislikes the green shirt you’ve chosen, you can add your design to a different color or different style while still enjoying the bulk pricing. See? I told you we like to make things easy.

5. Your order arrives! All your presents arrive together, and you never once had to stand in a line. You simply open the box, unfold them and wrap them. You could even take the easy way out by dropping them in those fancy printed bags, stuffing tissue paper in the top (or not), and slapping a tag on each one.

6. Be the hero and give a thoughtful family-themed custom t-shirt that they’ll remember!

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11 October 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Keep Calm T-shirts: They Do Carry On

You’d have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” trend that’s been circling the globe. The British motto is ubiquitous, appearing on mugs, doormats, baby clothes and all sorts of various products.

Do you know where this saying originated?

According to Wikipedia, “The (Keep Calm) poster was initially produced by the (British) Ministry of Information at the beginning of the Second World War. It was intended to be distributed in order to strengthen morale in the event of a wartime disaster. Over 2,500,000 copies were printed, although the poster was distributed only in limited numbers.” In fact, only a handful are still in existence outside of the government archives.

The Keep Calm and Carry On poster was “rediscovered” in 2000, and since the Crown Copyright expired after 50 years, the Keep Calm logo is now in the public domain.

BlueCotton took its very first “Keep Calm” order in 2010, and the trend has gradually picked up steam. It is hard to walk past our printers without seeing one ready to ship daily. It is a perfectly simple and versatile design style. Simply remove Carry On and replace it with anything you desire. For inspiration, take a look at a few designs that our customers have created below!

KeepCalmVolleyball

KeepCalmTeach

KeepCalmSax

KeepCalmRelay

KeepCalmPhyllis

Keep Calm shirts

18 September 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Raising the Bar: BlueCotton’s Guaranteed 24 Hour “Shirts in A Day” Service

Sometimes the need for custom t-shirts steals up on you like your Mom’s birthday. It’s tomorrow! It’s too late to send a card! I’m the worst son/daughter in the world to forget Mother’s birthday. Panic at the disco ensues. We’re here to help. We are the only custom t-shirt printer who has a 24 hour delivery service. We have offered our industry-leading Shirts in a Day service for over a year, but had a 12 piece minimum requirement in place. Recently, we expanded our 24 hour service (along with our Super Rush Service (3 day delivery) and Rush service (5 day delivery) to NO MINIMUMS! That’s right! You can order as little as 1 shirt and enjoy any of our super-fast, double-quick, Johnny-on-the-spot services with only 1 shirt. Delivery times are guaranteed on all of our rush services, so you know you order will arrive on time. Take a look at our Shirts in a Day infographic below, and let us know what you think. And hey – get your Mom a t-shirt for her birthday. SHe’ll love it, and you’ll remain her favorite child. We guarantee it.

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