Monday, September 9, 2013

Let's Paint a T-shirt!

Welcome to Ms. Nancy's Art Class!

"Painting" a T-shirt with fabric markers is a fun and easy way to be creative while personalizing clothing. When closely supervised, this project is great for all ages!


T-shirtwhite or light colored (cotton or polyester - pre-washed and dried with no fabric softener)
Fabric Markers (We used Crayola Fabric Markers Bright Colors)
Practice paper
Water-color markers
Brown wrapping paper (medium to heavy weight)
Iron or dryer (to set the design)


First, draw your design on paper using water-based markers similar to the colors of the fabric markers. Remind the kids that in art, there are no mistakes. If you make a "blob" by mistake, turn it into something beautiful! 

While the kids are drawing, you can cut the brown paper into rectangles that will fit into the shirts. This step keeps the colors from "bleeding" through to the back side when "painting" as well as ironing.

The next step is to paint a design on the t-shirt with the fabric markers. You need to press hard so that the fabric is saturated with the marker ink. Let the design dry completely

It was interesting to see how the kids' designs changed from their original drawings to the actual t-shirt designs!

Here, animals encounter a fire-breathing dragon!

Ferocious animals

This shirt design started as a picture of "Mamaw". When my granddaughter made a blob for my eye, she turned me into a pirate! She then added his crew, a jungle, and a purple Power Ranger! 

The last step is to heat-set your design. I turned the t-shirt inside out and re-inserted the brown paper. I then ironed over the design for 4 minutes (back and forth). You can also heat-set in the dryer for 30 minutes (hottest setting).

Iron for 4 minutes -
back and forth motion.

Place brown paper in shirt when ironing.

Nancy's Notes:

  • A brown paper bag may be cut to size and used instead of the brown wrapping paper. Do not use a plastic bag when ironing!
  • Always follow the directions on your fabric markers for heat-setting and laundering your garment.
  • Fabric markers are a great way to cover up a stain on an otherwise "ruined" t-shirt or other clothing and create a whole new look!

My 2 1/2 year old grandson loves this t-shirt that I painted for him!

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