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Making T-Shirts as Gifts

Contributed by Leanne Guenther

We've had loads of t-shirt making ideas emailed to us and posted in the discussion group over the years and I've finally decided to consolidate them all on the site.  There are too many names to mention, but I want to thank everyone who contributed!

mother's day t shirts

T-Shirts are a great gift for children to make for dad, mom, grandparents or each other.  They're fun, relatively easy and fairly practical.  There are a number of different ideas on this page... hopefully the headings will help you quickly find what you're looking for.

And it doesn't end at T-Shirts...  You can these ideas to make baby bibs (great gift for baby showers), tote bags, pillow cases or aprons.
 

Iron-On T-Shirt Transfers

Basic Instructions:  
  • Take a computer image.
     
  • flip it horizontally with image software.
     
  • Print it on iron on transfer paper and 
  • iron it onto a t-shirt.

That's how easy making iron-on t-shirt transfers is.

Resources/Inspiration:

  • Scan artwork your child has made on paper into your computer -- if you don't have a scanner, go to your local photocopy shop and they should be able to do it for you (they can also flip horizontally for you).  Flip it horizontally with your scanner software, print it and iron it on.  Young children (baby through kindergarten) will find it easier to design the perfect t-shirt art on paper with crayons, markers or paint than they would doing it straight onto material with fabric paint.  And it isn't as painful to the pocketbook to throw out a page of art that hasn't come out right as it is to throw out an entire t-shirt.
     
  • Scan favorite family photos, flip horizontally, print and iron on.  This is a great project for age 10+.  At this age, children are beginning to learn computer image manipulation in school and most have begun to use a camera.  Kids this age should be able to do most of the steps themselves with a little supervision from mom or dad (er, honestly...  Some of the kids'll be the ones supervising *grin*).
     
  • We have a fair number of images flipped and prepared for printing on the site (everything from Angels to Winnie the Pooh).  I had children's t-shirts in mind when I made most of them but you may find some for mom and dad in there too (I love Eeyore!)

Coloring In T-Shirt Transfers

Basic Instructions:  
  • Take a B&W computer imAge (any of the coloring pages on our website for example).
     
  • flip it horizontally with image software.
     
  • Print it on iron on transfer paper and 
  • iron it onto a t-shirt.
     
  • Purchase fabric paint, fabric markers or fabric crayons
  • have the children color in the B&W image (just like they would color a coloring page, only on fabric instead of paper)

Inspiration:

  • If you want a fun t-shirt for kids to wear, color in the image with regular washable crayons.  That way, every time you run the shirt through the wash, the kids will get to recolor their shirt!

Footprint Ideas

Basic Instructions:
  • Purchase fabric paint
  • Pour into a paper plate
  • sponge brush paint onto their feet 
  • stamp feet onto T-Shirt
  • Use fabric marker or fabric paint and brush to print messages to go with the footprints

Inspiration:

  • Paint footprints all over the back.  On the front, print "My _________ walks all over me" (the blank can be daughter, son, kids, children, students, etc).

Handprint Ideas

Basic Instructions:
  • Purchase fabric paint
  • Pour into a paper plate
  • Have children dip their hands in OR sponge brush paint onto their hands (I like to sponge brush, as you get better coverage and no globs)
  • stamp hands onto T-Shirt
  • Use fabric marker or fabric paint and brush to print messages to go with the handprints

Inspiration:

  • Paint handprints all over the back.  On the front, print "My _______ deserves a pat on the back."  (the blank can be sister, brother, mommy, daddy, grandma, grandpa, teacher, etc).
     
  • Print "World's Best ___________" and with space in between "Hands Down". Put two hand prints in the middle.  (the blank can be sister, brother, mommy, daddy, grandma, grandpa, teacher, baby, etc).
     
  • You could do handprints all around and put "Many hands make light work."  (good on an apron).
     
  • Footprints as the head of a deer and handprints for antlers -- make 2.  Print "I'm Rich.  I've got 2 bucks!"  (good for hunters).
     
  • "Any Man Can Be A Father, But It Takes Someone Special To Be A Daddy!"  Add handprints and/or footprints and/or potato stamped hearts

Sponge/Potato Print Ideas

Basic Instructions:
  • Purchase fabric paint
  • Pour into a paper plate
     
  • Make a stamp out of sponge or potato or purchase premade stamps
  • Have children dip their stamp in the paint
  • stamp onto T-Shirt
  • Use fabric marker or fabric paint and brush to print messages

Inspiration:

  • Hearts with "I love you ______"  (daddy, mommy, etc)
  • Red and blue stars on white t-shirt with "God Bless America"

Tie Dying

Basic Instructions:
  • I would say age 9+ for this project and even then you should have a fair amount of adult supervision.  It can get messy.  Use rubber gloves when dipping, wear old clothes and spread out plenty of newspaper over the work area.
     
  • Purchase fabric dye and thick rubber bands
  • prepare dye according to package directions
     
  • Bunch shirt and wrap rubber band around it
     
  • Repeat until your shirt has a lot of rubber bands on it
     
  • Dip shirt into dye (according to package directions)
     
  • Let sit for 4 hours
  • Rinse with water
  • Remove rubber bands

Inspiration:

  • Prepare a few different colors of dye.  Just dip a portion of your shirt in the first color, then dip a portion in the second color, etc.  This will give you a multi-colored tie dyed shirt.

 


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