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I’ve been a vegetarian for almost three years and it’s great, I love it. But some people seem to think, despite an appetite that can decimate a farmer’s market, that I’m going to waste away. Instead of constantly pointing out that all plants have protein, some more than meat (lentils, anyone?), I thought I’d make a few t-shirts and carry the message out into the world.

What better ambassadors than the biggest, strongest, fiercest vegetarians around?

Ms. Rhino was first. I figured the easiest way to do it, since I don’t have silkscreen equipment, was by iron-on transfer from my ink-jet printer. Easy peasy! Here’s the process.

I designed the image and output it onto the transfer paper. The rhino drawing is from a book of 19th Century engravings, which are copyright free. The design was inspired by Barbara Kruger.

I let the paper dry for 30 minutes, then trimmed out the image. The default background color of the transfer is white. I defined the outline of the drawing with an indelible black sharpie marker.

As a New Yorker, of course I’m transferring onto a black t-shirt. A pack of 5 iron-on transfer sheets for dark-colored textiles is $13.50 from Dick Blick.

Next, I peeled off the adhesive backing, placed the cut out image on the shirt, covered it  with the supplied parchment paper, ironed for three or four minutes without steam, and waa-la! A new shirt to wear.

I wasn’t happy with the legibility of my message, so when it was Ms. Elephant’s turn, I switched the typeface to black and the shirt to gray.

I wore the Elephant shirt for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and it was a hit! At a vegetable stand at the side of the road where we were choosing our wildly overpriced heirloom tomatoes, the young girl at the cash register told me she was a vegetarian, too. Her younger brother looked at my shirt, considered it carefully, looked at me and told me soberly, “You don’t look wimpy to me.”

Up next: bison, hippos or maybe a giraffe. I’m still undecided about the color, though. What do you think, black t-shirt or grey?

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