A visit to Das T-Shirt Automat



Ever wondered what that striped terraced house on Johnston Street is housing? Well I did, for a very long time. At this one time I even had a long discussion with Sandra about when the house was painted in the first place. A couple of weeks ago we got all our questions answered when we got to have a chat with one of the owners and get a peek of the inside of this striped house-turned-t-shirt-vending machine.

It all started back in the spring of 2012. Two friends wanted to do something fun during the Spanish Festival held on Johnston Street and the one stop shop t-shirt printing vending machine (Phew! Try to say that out loud five times in a row) was born. Half of what  they do is custom prints, and the other half are prints from their own menu, where most of the designs are created by local artists.

From pop-up to permanent

They only planned it as a pop-up for the festival, but during those few hectic days, the venture went so well that they figured they would keep it open until Christmas. That Christmas came and went a year and a half ago, and Das T-Shirt Automat is still around and more popular than ever. There’s even talk about opening up at a second location…

Das-T-Shirt-Automat-1 Das-T-Shirt-Automat-2

More than just t-shirts

It was a cloudy Saturday afternoon when we headed there and stepped into the house. Behind the neat facade is a room crammed with everything you’d need to print t-shirts. Well, to be fair, there’s a whole lot more than t-shirts nowadays. If you’re in the mood for hoodies, totes, pillows and whatnot, you can get them there too. Hey – they even say they offer badger taxidermy, although I doubt that their printing press will do that job for them.

Not long ago they even ventured outside of their soft comfort zone of fabrics and onto some louder areas. At a recent visit at the famous South by Southwest festival they got a glimpse of record cutting, and was immediately smitten and started creating custom vinyls as well. And to be honest, I don’t even have a record player, but was straight away tempted to have something cut. There’s this certain charm about records that simply can’t be described. I think you’ll just have to have a record cut and listen to it.

The room is crammed with things. Shelves filled with clothing and walls peppered with posters, business cards and scribbled notes. In some ways it’s the epitome of creative chaos, and the place oozes of personality, just as only a project sprung out of fun rather than functional will do.


With a fondness for vending machines and German efficiency

So why vending machines? And why such a German sounding name? Well that one was easy. The owners simply have a predilection for German efficiency (Sandra can vouch for that!) and vending machines, so it was an apparent path to take. We wouldn’t recommend trying to communicate with any of the staff in German though, as none of them speak it. Although, if you still want to – give it a go! And do tell us how that panned out for you.


I know I’ll be back for some t-shirt printing sooner rather than later. Cause you know all those weird (possibly drunken) ideas one has about t-shirt prints? This is the perfect place to get them all done. And from our experience, it will be done with a smile and a joke, at the cutest little striped store front you’ve ever seen.


Das T-Shirt Automat
152 Johnston St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
0497 070 927

Opening Hours
Tuesday – Saturday / 11am – 6pm
Sunday – Monday / Closed

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