Tagged t-shirt

Father's Day Gift! DIY T-Shirt. Easy t-shirt for kids to make for dads.

Making T-Shirts for Father’s Day!

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Father's day t shirt title image

I’m passionate about making things, so any occasion means a new occasion for which to make something, usually for someone else. Father’s Day is no exception.

It can be hard to find something that can be made and can actually be used. And there have definitely been some fails (maybe sometime I’ll get my husband to tell the story of opening a box and asking me why I was giving him a dinosaur butt).

Over the years, I’ve found T-shirts to be a nice balance. They’re something that a wide variety of age ranges can participate in, and almost everyone can use a T-Shirt. This tutorial shows you 2 techniques for making personalized T-Shirts. The first one is easy enough that kids 18 months and up can help. The second is a little more adventurous.

Super Easy Father’s Day T-Shirt

What you’ll need:

Father's Day Shirt Supplies
Supplies
  • Plain T-Shirt to fit the recipient
  • Fabric Markers/ Fabric Paint Pens
  • Masking tape
  • Contact paper or clothes roller sticky sheets
  • Paper Grocery Bag

 

 

Getting Started:

*Note – If this shirt seems small, it is. Since we were making a couple of shirts, I thought one of them could be for my little guy.

  1. Masking tape relief for shirt design
    Laying out the design

    Optional but recommended step – I recommend stabilizing the back of the shirt. You can use those sticky sheets on clothes rollers, contact paper, masking tape (although, unless it’s really wide, using masking tape will take a while.) Turn the shirt inside out and place your stabilizer or choice on the back of where you’re going to draw on the shirt. (I forgot to do it on this shirt and was regretting it.)

  2. Place a paper grocery bag inside the shirt. (This helps make a stable surface. If you didn’t stabilize the shirt, it also helps the markers from bleeding onto the back of the shirt.)
  3. Putting paint pen to shirt
    Let the fun begin!

    Flip the shirt right side out and set out a border in masking tape (If you’re ambitious, you can iron it before you begin. As you can see, I’m don’t.)

  4. Lay out a “relief” pattern with the masking tape. This pattern will keep the fabric makers from transferring to the fabric, so anywhere you place masking tape, you will not get marker color.
  5. Turn the markers over and color! Make sure that you get color around the edges of the tape, this helps the design stand out.
  6. When the coloring is done, follow the instructions for “setting” markers. Some require ironing, some require time, some require nothing. “Setting” the color helps it last over multiple washings.
  7. Father's Day Shirt with Fabric Marker/ Pant Pen
    Easy shirt for almost any age.

    Wrap it up to be opened on Father’s Day (and try to keep your kids from talking about it before then)!

Tips:

  • A light colored shirt will show the widest variety of colors.
  • If you choose to use a dark colored shirt, use fabric paint pens rather than markers.
  • If you’re using fabric paint pens, open them and get them “started” before you begin working with kids. They can take a while to get the paint going, and it can be hard for little ones to wait.

Solar Ink Father’s Day Shirt

What you’ll need:

Materials needed for Solar Ink Shirt
Supplies
  • Plain T-Shirt to fit the recipient
  • Inkodye or other brand of solar ink
  • Object(s) to make images on the shirt
  • Masking tape
  • Contact paper or clothes roller sticky sheets
  • Paper Grocery Bag
  • Recommended – Inkodye Fabric Wash

Getting Started:

*Note – I highly recommend going to Inkodye’s website to read about working with their product. The individual ink packages do not come with very detailed instructions.

  1. Optional but recommended step – I recommend stabilizing the back of the shirt. You can use those sticky sheets on clothes rollers, contact paper, masking tape (although, unless it’s really wide, it will take a while.) Turn the shirt inside out and place your stabilizer or choice on the back of where you’re going to draw on the shirt. (I forgot to do it on this shirt and was regretting it.)
  2. Place a paper grocery bag inside the shirt. (This helps make a stable surface. If you didn’t stabilize the shirt, it also helps the ink from bleeding onto the back of the shirt.)

    Masking tape and contact paper shirt
    Preparing the shirt
  3. Optional Step – Flip the shirt right side out and set out a border in masking tape (If you’re ambitious, you can iron it before you begin. As you can see, I’m don’t.)
  4. Important notes about the ink:
    1. There is a finite amount of ink in each packet. If you’re not okay with a random color border, either make a small border or buy multiple packets. The instructions say that it will cover a 12″x12″ square. It didn’t go that far for me.
    2. The ink has a powerful amonia smell. Make sure you spread the ink in a well-ventilated area!
  5. Take the shirt, ink, paper towels, and relief object(s) into a dimly lit area or area with no natural/ UV light. Shake the ink packet well then bend it and snap it open at the seam in the back. The ink will come out of the packet, and you can use the packet to spread the ink around.
  6. Blot the ink on the shirt so that it is damp rather than wet. (I just blotted it once.)
  7. Place the relief object(s) on top of the ink-covered area on the shirt, carry outside, and set down in a sunny spot.

    Soaking up those UV rays!
    In the sun!
  8. Let it sit. Inkodye recommends 15 min for bright sunlight, 20-30 for an overcast day. My day was pretty overcast (fully clouded sky with no breaks of blue), so I left it out for 45 minutes.
  9. Check to see how the ink is developing. If you’re satisfied, bring it inside. If not, leave it out longer.
  10. Once you’re ready to bring it in, pick up the whole kaboodle, keeping the relief object(s) in place while it’s still being exposed to the sun.
  11. Once you have returned to your dimly lit prep area, remove the relief object(s), the masking tape, and the backing.
  12. Wash the shirt on hot/cold setting immediately (the ink will continue to develop until washed. Inkodye recommends using their wash for 2 cycles. I’ve had bad experiences with garments shedding ink, so I washed for the 2 cycles. I used their fabric wash, splitting a single packet between the 2 loads.
  13. After you get your shirt out of the dryer, admire your and the sun’s work and wrap up that Father’s Day gift!

Tips:

  • Final image of shirt
    Headless Boulder

    Be creative with your relief items. For instance, you could print out text or write on transparency sheets to put text on your shirt.

  • There are a variety of colors of Inkodye ink. Play around with color combinations between the shirt and dye. (I let my little guy pick out the colors, so that meant blue all the way.)
  • If you want to get a (very general) idea of what your image will look like, hold it up a little off the shirt while you shine a flashlight over it. (Thanks for the idea, Beren!)
  • Any part of your object that is raised or translucent will likely allow the sun to get underneath, meaning that detail won’t show as well or at all.
  • If you want a crisper outline/ sharper details, choose flat objects (on the Inkodye website they feature things like paperclips and shapes cut out of manilla folders). If you have a flat object, you can place a sheet of clear plexiglass over it while sitting in the sun – just make sure the glass does NOT have UV protection!

Takeaway and Bonus Shirt Idea

  • Another Father's Day Idea
    Fabric paint

    The only limit in creating T-Shirts is your imagination! Just look for colorants designed to be used on fabrics (they’ll last better). There are even additives that you can mix with plain acrylic paint to turn them into fabric paints. (We made this shirt with fabric paint. Can you guess what we used to apply the paint?)

  • Have multiple kids? Have them work together on the shirt. If that isn’t a good idea for your bunch, use the masking tape to create different blocks/sections and have each child work on their own section. Or you can always make multiple shirts!
  • Have some examples of shirts you’ve made with your kids? Share them with us!
  • Have question about how to do something or where to buy a supply? Ask!
  • Would you like to find a Father’s Day DIY that’s not a shirt? Let me know! I have literally thousands of ideas!