Kids Activities: Decorate Your Own T-Shirts

Designing and decorating t-shirts is a great activity you can do with children.

Kids love to let be creative and make art projects. It is fun to show their friends, grandparents or other relatives what they make. Designing and decorating t-shirts is a great activity you can do with children. Kids love t-shirt decorating because they can show everyone how cool their projects are while simply wearing it. T-shirt decorating is a change from the typical making a picture frame out of popsicle sticks or coloring a picture. Homemade t-shirts also make great gifts. Your child will have lots of fun with these t- shirt ideas; some are easy and some are more complicated. You can try just one or try them all! Be creative and think of ways to add to or personalize your t shirts. Make them your own!

First, there's the classic tie dye shirt. This shirt is colorful and fun for your child to wear. You will need fabric dyes in various colors, cotton string, large plastic tubs, wooden spoons, and of course, a t shirt. Pre-shrink your t-shirt by washing and drying it. Mix the dyes as it says on the back of the package. Use a different tub and wooden spoon for each color of dye. Get the shirt damp and squeeze out the excess water. You can make designs on your shirt by wrapping the string around areas of bunched up t-shirt. Dip the shirt in one of the dye tubs and then squeeze out the excess dye. When you are done dying any type of design, remove any string, knots, or rubber bands and rinse the shirt in the sink until the water is almost clear. Then hang up your t shirt to dry. If you want to dye the shirt different colors in different be careful to dip only that particular section in that color. Don't dye the same part of the shirt in different colors or you will end up with a gray shirt. There are many different ways to tie dye a t-shirt and they will all give you different results. You can form your shirt into a rope like shape and then tie knots in it for one effect. You can also give your t shirt a marbled look by forming it into a ball and tying cotton string in all directions on the shirt. If you find that the color is weak in an area of the shirt, put that section on the outside of the string and re-tie and re-dye the t- shirt as many times as needed. You can also make designs of your own!

A fun and simple activity is coloring on t-shirts with crayons. Coloring on their clothes is usually forbidden but your kids can color on their shirt all they want if you make this t-shirt design. This works best on a t shirt that is a 50/50 cotton or a polyester blend. You will need black dimensional fabric paint (puffy paints), crayola washable crayons, a pencil, an iron, a coloring book drawing, or tracing paper and a page from a coloring book to trace the picture and put it onto the shirt. Start by tracing the coloring book page onto the shirt with a pencil and then make the lines permanent with the fabric paint. Turn the shirt inside out and iron when the black fabric paint is dry. When the t-shirt cools your child can color in the picture with crayola washable crayons. And every time the t- shirt needs to be washed, the colors will disappear and your child can color the shirt again. Wash the shirt separately in hot water with regular detergent and no bleach to prevent the colors from getting onto your other laundry. This shirt is really cool because when you wash the shirt, the color disappears and your child can color it again and again.



The next t-shirt decorating idea is made with your own stencils on con-tact paper. You will need con-tact paper, pencil, scissors, paper plates, newspaper or cardboard, sponges, and fabric paint. The first step to this shirt is making the stencils. Cut the con-tact paper into six inch squares or circles to make sure your child's design fits onto the shirt. You could do any size but six inches is usually the best. Next have your child draw shapes and letters onto the contact paper with a pencil. Cut out the middle part of the designs with scissors and leave the outer edge as a stencil. Now you are ready to sponge the designs onto your shirt. Place a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard between the front and back of the shirt to prevent the paint from sticking together or bleeding through to the other side. After that pour some fabric paint onto paper plates and get ready to sponge. Peel the back from a stencil and place it onto your shirt, sticky side down. Then dip your sponge into some paint and sponge the paint into the center of each stencil. Make sure your child fills the stencil in completely with the paint. Peel off the stencil when the paint has set for awhile but is not completely dry yet. Repeat as many times as needed with different stencils and colors.

Handprint or footprint t-shirts are fun and easy but sometimes messy. You will need a pre-shrunk t-shirt, puffy paints / fabric paints, large piece of cardboard, and some paper plates. Squeeze the paint onto a paper plate. Put the cardboard between the t-shirt to prevent the paint from bleeding through. Have you child open their hand wide, keeping the fingers spread. Hold onto their wrist and dip their hand in the paint, you can have them blot their hand off onto a paper towel to get the excess paint off. Then place their hand on the t-shirt. Be creative and put several hand prints all over the shirt, you can also write names and dates. This t-shirt makes a great gift for grandparents.

A t-shirt decorating idea that does not include paint is bead embellishing. You can use any type of bead in any color. You will also need a needle and some nylon string used for beading. Have your child string one bead on the string and tie it on the end. Then have them string a pattern of 3 or more beads on and then sew the string right around the collar of the shirt. You will want to repeat this about seven to nine times. You can also do the bead embellishing around the sleeves.

Designing and decorating t-shirts is a great activity you can do with children. Kids love t-shirt decorating because they can show everyone how cool their projects are while simply wearing it. Have fun trying these activities at home or school.

© High Speed Ventures 2011