But! You don't have to choose starvation to get an awesome shirt. You can make your own, and it's not nearly as hard as I expected. The answer: Freezer paper stencils.
With the directions here, and some images I found online, I whipped up five shirts in less than 24 hours. Paint, a sponge brush, and a package of shirts rang in below the $25 budget the husband and I gave each other at Christmas. (Only four shirts are included here-- the fifth is a Viva La Stewart shirt, but it was still wet when I took pictures.)
I've seen craft blogs claim freezer paper stenciling is addictive. "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard," I thought. Until last week, when I decided it was vitally important that I have a Gryffindor Quidditch shirt. And naturally, if I'm going to have one, my five-year-old needs one (we're almost to the end of Prisoner of Azkaban and the other night, he got so enthralled that he forgot to close his mouth and drooled on himself). And if the oldest was getting a shirt, obviously the youngest needed one too. So I let him pick, and he asked for a zebra. I have no idea why. But to make him a little more fun, I used fabric markers to fill a few of the stripes.
Want to make your own? Check out this Flickr group, The Artful Parent, The Angry Chicken, Make It and Love It, or Instructables for ideas, or watch video tutorials. Need help with the design? Download free stencils (The Paper Seed has a PDF), search for vector shapes or look for graffiti designs-- you can always find good stuff on DeviantArt.
A final note: If you use a copyrighted design, you can't sell the shirts. It's uncool and bad for your karma and also kind of illegal.
I'm thinking some kind of custom shirt might be a future giveaway prize. Good idea?