Making your own t-shirts can be a fun family activity that everyone will remember, and it is a good way to find clothes for your kids that they will love to wear for months, if not years, to come.
Encouraging your kids to tap into their own creativity from an early age is always a good idea, but is beneficial to the whole family in more ways than you may think. Giving your child a blank canvas (or, in this case, a t-shirt) helps you–and them–to see what inspires them most, what they are interested in, and what they think about. They may be all the more apt to create something self-reflective when their art, on a shirt, becomes wearable!
There are several different ways to go about making your own customized shirts, and many of them are very inexpensive. You can tie dye, buy markers, crayons, glues, and paints appropriate for fabric and clothing, or even get a home silk screening kit. Depending on your printer and with a little help from your computer’s photo editing program and your iron, you can even transfer photos onto t-shirts.
With fabric markers and crayons, your kids can draw and write directly onto their t-shirts as if they were drawing on paper.
Kids can paint directly onto t-shirts with fabric paints, also. Be sure to try painting with a brush, your fingers, sponges, and anything else you think of.
You can also make prints of hands, feet, and even stuff you find around your home. Print your hands or baby’s feet onto a t-shirt, and maybe write the date and the age of the child, or have your dog walk through the paint and onto the shirt (if you don’t mind him or her stepping anywhere else, and clean the paint off before your dog licks it!) You can cut sponges into shapes or buy stamps. Some natural objects like certain seashells, leaves, or even half-apples might work.
Fabric glue can be fun for attaching appliqués or flat backed rhinestones. Appliques are available in all sorts of designs and are an easy way to make t-shirts featuring your kids’ favorite television and storybook characters, or even just intricate designs. Rhinestones may be especially fun for little girls, and you can find them in all shapes, sizes, and colors in the craft store. They look great when they are arranged to make an image, shape or spell out a word, or even spilt out randomly. But remember not to put too much glue on the backs: just a little dab will do!
You can use your iron to apply photo transfers to the shirt. Edit photos and flip them to mirror image on your image processing program, and print them onto transfer paper (it fits right into your printer and is available at craft stores). Lay the shirt flat with the image face down where you want it, and iron for about three minutes. Do not let children touch the iron.