Turning Kid Art into a T-shirt (A Father’s Day Gift)


For Father’s Day, I wanted to create a one-of-a-kind gift for my husband. My 3 year old likes to do arts and crafts and draw (pretty much any excuse to play in my craft room and touch all my stuff), so I thought it would be a brilliant idea to take one of his drawings and somehow transfer it onto a t-shirt for my husband. Using the same concept as this project here, I used freezer paper as homemade templates. I had my son draw a picture of our family, and I used a craft knife to cut it out. I used the negative as a template, to paint the image onto a large men’s t-shirt. And then I heat-set the image with my iron.


Father's Day T-Shirt


Here is a video tutorial of how it was done:


An alternate method: For those who have a digital cutter, there is an easier way. You can take any drawing on any regular paper, and scan it as an image file. Use your digital cutter program (SSDE, MTE, SCAL, etc.) to create cut lines around the drawing, and have your cutter cut out the templates. And if you’re fancy, you can skip the whole freezer paper step and go for heat transfer vinyl instead!


Freezer Paper Stencils

I’m among the last to jump on this very addicting bandwagon, and I have to agree with everyone else. This is so much fun. I can’t wait to do more. A friend had a baby shower, and I pounced at the chance to do them.

So I purchased freezer paper at my local grocery store and downloaded some clipart/images online. I traced those images onto the freezer paper, and with my x-acto knife, I cut them out. Here are some of them:

So here’s the lowdown on how to put them together:

1. Prewash your fabric. Do not use fabric softener!

2. Set your iron to the setting that corresponds with your fabric of choice. For the onesies, since they were cotton, I had it on the cotton setting.

3. Iron the freezer paper stencils onto your fabric, shiny side down (for me, this took no more than 10 seconds). Don’t make the mistake of ironing them on shiny side UP, or then you risk ruining your iron (and melting the wax/plastic side all over your iron plates).

4. Using foam/stencil brushes, apply fabric paint onto your stencil in an up/down motion (as if you were stabbing the fabric with your brush). You want to be dabbing the paint on, not brushing it side to side. If you brush it side to side, you risk having paint accumulate on the sides of the stencils, and having paint bleed underneath the stencil. It’s best to apply a couple of thin coats of paint, and do them evenly, rather than just gob it all on at once.

5. Wait for the paint to dry, then carefully peel the stencil off the fabric. With this particular fabric paint (I used Tulip Soft Fabric Paint from Joanns), the instructions say to let the paint dry flat for 4 hours. I didn’t wait the entire 4 hours to peel the stencil off – I just waited until it wasn’t completely wet. Probably 5 minutes or so is good enough for peeling off the stencil, then let it dry completely for the remainder of the time.

6. After that, I would recommend sticking them in the dryer on medium/high for 10 minutes (with no fabric softener), to heat-set the paint.

Washing instructions: When you want to wash them, turn them inside out and wash in warm water, tumble low/medium.

Easy huh? Here were some of my samples:

Here are some of the girls working on their onesies at the shower:

Some of their work:

Nice huh? I would post more pictures, but the rest of my pictures ended up dark and/or blurry. (I’m still a newbie with the camera manual controls.) So instead, I’ll leave you with some REALLY GOOD cupcakes we had at the shower from Sibby’s Cupcakery.

(If you couldn’t tell earlier, the shower was ocean-themed.) =)