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Make Your Own T-shirts With Your Kids!

Men's  Cotton Law Enforcement in Dystopia Short Sleeve Tee ShirtIt is fun and rewarding to make your own t-shirts. That goes for adults and it certainly goes for children too. They love it. It’s an easy activity for the family to do together on weekends, at home or at the cottage. Your kids could invite friends over and make t-shirts as a group on a rainy day. It’s a fabulous activity for parties and sleepovers. Depending on the methods you decide to use and the age of your kids, homemade t-shirts can be a terrific distraction that requires little supervision, and it doesn’t even have to be super messy. In this article, I’ll outline the best methods for making tees with tots.

Make your own t-shirts online:

The least hands-on way is by going to one of the many online businesses where you can upload a photo or graphic, and they will print the shirts for you and send it by mail. It’s not much of a craft project, but your kids can have unique t-shirts with a picture or drawing on it that’s personal and special to them.


If you want a real arts and crafts project to do at home, one easy way is iron-on transfers. This is not messy at all, but the kids can still feel like they’ve made their own very unique article of clothing. And of course, they can use a drawing that they’ve made, artwork from their favorite movie or record, or words with song lyrics, jokes or messages. It’s best to scan it into a computer first so that you can reverse the image in a photo editor. This is especially important if there is any text. If the image works equally well forwards or backwards, then you don’t have to worry about reversing it. Some printer software will give you the option to choose transfer paper, and it will automatically print the reverse image for you!

Fabric Markers:

Another not so messy and very easy way is with fabric markers. The kids can literally draw or write directly onto the t-shirt. It needs to be set briefly with a hot iron and then you’re good to go.

Fabric paint:

Painting is another great way, but of course, now we’re heading into some messier territory. With this method your children can really feel like artists. They can do it freestyle with brushes, rollers, fingers, commercial stamps or homemade ones made from potatoes or whatever, spray, splatter….you name it! Or if they want a more polished and neat look, they can lightly peace and love shirts draw it on first with pencil and fill it in with fine brushes, or use a stencil.


That brings us to our next method which is stenciling. This is low-tech and inexpensive, but the part of cutting out the stencil can be time-consuming. For young children, the parent should probably do the cutting, as you’ll need to use a sharp knife. I recommend a very simple image to start with. If your kids are older, they can try designs that are a bit more complicated, and can carefully cut it themselves. For instructional photos or videos, you can buy books or DVD’s, or search websites like Youtube, or for free tutorials.


Screen printing is the most complicated and labor intensive, but if your kids are old enough, they might really enjoy it. It’ll take more research on your part, and you’ll need to buy more supplies to do it, but it could be a great thing to do with teens.


Also if your kids are over about nine years old, or if you think they have the patience and coordination for sewing, you can cut and sew shirts together, put on patches, sew on beads and sequence, fun fur, charms or whatever other fun thing your imagination can conjure up. Make something wild, for everyday wear or for dress up.

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