How to Decorate Girls' T-Shirts


You'll have a ball as you decorate girls' t-shirts like the Tie-Dye Bouquet shirt here.
You'll have a ball as you decorate girls' t-shirts like the Tie-Dye Bouquet shirt here.

Decorate girls' t-shirts and you'll discover one of the easiest wearable crafts you can do. You can start with a plain t-shirt that you probably already have at home. From that blank canvas you can create a beautiful, and comfortable to wear, piece of art.

Girls will love the opportunity to put flowers, hearts, and spunky scraps on their clothes. These t-shirt project kids' crafts will help you get started.

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Follow the links to start decorating girls' t-shirts:

Happenin' Heart T-Shirt

You'll fall in love with this easy-to-do heart t-shirt.

Tie-Dyed and Pleated T-Shirt

This folded and dyed t-shirt recalls a bygone era.

Scrappy Scrunchy & T-Shirt

Fabric scraps look great in the hair and on a t-shirt.

Springtime Shadow Applique T-Shirt

The t-shirt gets sophisticated in this lovely wearable craft.

Tie-Dye Bouquet T-Shirt

Bright tie-dye blooms in a bouquet on this t-shirt.

Let the t-shirt decorating love begin with a craft you'll heart on the next page.

For more clothing projects and kids' crafts, go to:

Happenin' Heart T-Shirt

It's no surprise: Hearts make a great t-shirt design.
It's no surprise: Hearts make a great t-shirt design.

Wearable crafts make great slumber party projects. Each friend brings a t-shirt and you supply the paint. It would be hard not fall in love with the happenin' hearts on this girls' t-shirt craft.

What You'll Need:

  • T-shirt
  • Fabric paint: rose, light blue, light purple, and peach
  • Dimensional fabric paint: yellow, green, dark purple, rose, light purple, and pink
  • Iron
  • Cardboard
  • Sponge
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Disposable plate
  • Paper towels

How to Make the Happenin' Heart T-Shirt:

Step 1: Prewash t-shirt, but do not use fabric softener. Press out any wrinkles with a warm iron. Place a shirtboard or large piece of cardboard inside the shirt.

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Step 2: Download and print this PDF pattern to use as a guide and cut heart out of the sponge.

Step 3: Squirt fabric paint onto plate. Dip heart in paint. If there is too much paint on your sponge, you may want to blot it on paper towels. Position heart on t-shirt carefully and press in place.

Press heart sponge in place on t-shirt.
Press heart sponge in place on t-shirt.

Step 4: Using the 4 colors, alternate colors of hearts on t-shirt. Refer to photo if needed. Let paint dry.

Step 5: Using the dimensional paint, outline each heart. We used yellow to outline the rose hearts, green to outline the light blue hearts, dark purple to outline the light purple hearts, and rose to outline the peach hearts. Let paint dry.

Use dimensional paint to outline each heart.
Use dimensional paint to outline each heart.

Step 6: Make designs inside each heart. You can refer to the photograph if you'd like to copy our t-shirt. But go ahead and design an original!

Make designs inside each heart.
Make designs inside each heart.

Step 7: Let paint dry overnight. For washing instructions and heat setting, follow manufacturer's directions for paint.

Next, turn a t-shirt into a brightly colored classic with pants to match.

For more clothing projects and kids' crafts, go to:

Tie-Dyed and Pleated T-Shirt

This wearable craft has all the colors of the rainbow.
This wearable craft has all the colors of the rainbow.

Create a tie-dyed girls' t-shirt craft and you'll be seeing shades of the seventies. With the pleated tie-dye technique, you'll bring the colors of the rainbow to your t-shirt with leggings to match.

What You'll Need:

  • White cotton t-shirt
  • 6 rubber bands
  • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, light blue, and purple fabric dyes
  • 7 squeeze bottles
  • Paper towels
  • Scissors
  • White cotton leggings
  • 4- to 5-gallon bucket
  • Paint stir stick

How to Make the Tie-Dyed and Pleated T-Shirt:

Fold t-shirt over two inches.
Fold t-shirt over two inches.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 1: Soak t-shirt in cold water. Remove from water and wring water out. Lay t-shirt on work surface. Put left hand at tip of sleeve and other hand at bottom of t-shirt at corner. Fold over 2 inches.

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Fold t-shirt into an accordion-pleated tube shape.
Fold t-shirt into an accordion-pleated tube shape.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 2: Flip shirt over onto back side and fold over 2 inches. Repeat folding every 2 inches and make sure to flip t-shirt over after each fold. When finished, t-shirt should look like an accordion-pleated tube.

Wrap rubber bands around t-shirt.
Wrap rubber bands around t-shirt.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 3: Wrap rubber band around center of folded shirt. Continue to wrap rubber bands around t-shirt every 2 inches (above and below center band).

Prepare color dyes in squeeze bottles.
Prepare color dyes in squeeze bottles.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 4: Wearing rubber gloves, prepare each color dye in a squeeze bottle.

Apply dye to t-shirt in rainbow order.
Apply dye to t-shirt in rainbow order.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 5: Start at the bottom of the t-shirt and squeeze red dye into the first rubber-banded section. Continue with the other sections in different colors. Apply dye in rainbow order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, light blue, and purple).

Apply dye to the back side of the t-shirt.
Apply dye to the back side of the t-shirt.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 6: Turn t-shirt over and apply dye to the back side. Make sure to squeeze the same color dye in the same color section as on front. Continue until all sections are dyed.

Cut the rubber bands off with scissors.
Cut the rubber bands off with scissors.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 7: Let dye set 30 to 60 minutes, rinse under cold water, and gently squeeze until water runs clear. Blot with paper towels. Cut rubber bands off with scissors. Unroll shirt and let air dry.

Prepare the dye bath in the bucket.
Prepare the dye bath in the bucket.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 8: Soak leggings in bucket of cold water. Remove from water and wring water out. Empty water from bucket. Fill bucket with hot water. Prepare the dye bath. (We used purple for the leggings.) Mix the dye.

Put leggings in dye bath.
Put leggings in dye bath.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 9: Put leggings in dye bath. Use paint stir stick to push down. Let set in dye for 30 to 60 minutes. Remove leggings from dye bath. Blot with paper towels.

Run cold water over leggings.
Run cold water over leggings.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 10: Run cold water over leggings. Gently squeeze and release the fabric under running water until water runs clear. Let air dry.

Fabric scraps turn to fun accessories on the next girls' t-shirt craft.

For more clothing projects and kids' crafts, go to:

Scrappy Scrunchy & T-Shirt

Scrappies can go in the hair and on a t-shirt.
Scrappies can go in the hair and on a t-shirt.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Be the first on your block with this wearable craft decorated with tie-dyed scrappies! This kids' craft is so easy and fun, you'll want to make several coordinated t-shirts and scrunchies -- one for every day of the week!

What You'll Need:

  • 1/3 yard white cotton fabric
  • Rubber bands
  • Fabric paints: green, pastel blue, lavender, fuchsia, and turquoise
  • #10 flat paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Pink t-shirt
  • Cardboard/shirtboard
  • Erasable fabric marker
  • Wax paper
  • Fabric glue
  • Hair elastic

How to Make Scrappy Scrunchy & T-Shirt:

How to Make Scrappy Scrunchy & T-Shirt:

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Fasten 3 rubber bands around fabric pieces.
Fasten 3 rubber bands around fabric pieces.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 1: Measure and cut 3 pieces of 1 fabric 10x12 inches each. Wet all pieces of fabric. Squeeze out most of the water. Fasten 3 rubber bands around the 3 pieces. (This will not require rubber gloves because fabric paint is nontoxic and washable.)

Step 2: Put a small amount of paint into each paint bottle lid. Moisten the brush with water and stir the dye so it is a little thinner. Clean the brush with water every time you change colors.

Paint fabric pieces with the different colors.
Paint fabric pieces with the different colors.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 3: Paint one rectangle fuchsia and turquoise, one green and pastel blue, and the last pastel blue and lavender. Take out the rubber bands. Lay fabric pieces flat or hang them to dry.

Iron fabric pieces to set the paint.
Iron fabric pieces to set the paint.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 4: Iron to set the paints, according to the directions on the paint bottle.

Cut fabric pieces into 24 strips.
Cut fabric pieces into 24 strips.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 5: From each 10-inch piece, cut 24 strips. The strips will be 10 inches long and between 1/4 and 1/2 inch wide. Do not be too concerned about making each strip the exact same width.

Set fabric strips into 5 piles of 6 strips.
Set fabric strips into 5 piles of 6 strips.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 6: Put 2 strips of each color together, so you have 5 piles of 6 strips. Make the ends as even as you can. The rest of the strips will be used for the scrunchy.

Use one of the strips to tie a knot around the bundle.
Use one of the strips to tie a knot around the bundle.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 7: Remove a strip from each of the 5 piles. Fold the other strips in half. With the extra strip, tie a double knot around the top of the bundle, about an inch from the fold.

Fan out the strips in the bundle.
Fan out the strips in the bundle.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 8: Separate the top strips above the knots, so they make little fan shapes.

Step 9: Put the t-shirt on a flat surface. If it hasn't finished drying, put it on a cardboard or a shirtboard before moving it.

Step 10: Make a dot with the fabric marker 2 inches down from the center of the neck seam. Measure 3 inches from the center dot on either side and make a dot. (Be sure dots are 2 inches down from neck seam.)

Make five dots below the neck seam of the t-shirt.
Make five dots below the neck seam of the t-shirt.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 11: Repeat on right and left sides of last dots made. You will have 5 dots. Put wax paper inside the t-shirt.

Glue scrappies to the t-shirt.
Glue scrappies to the t-shirt.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 12: Glue the knotted side of a scrappy to a dot. Repeat with the other dots, so you have 5 scrappies on the t-shirt. Let the glue dry.

Tie remaining strips onto hair elastic.
Tie remaining strips onto hair elastic.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 13: Using the remaining strips, tie them onto a purchased hair elastic. Trim ends so they are even.

Turn a t-shirt into a fancy floral appliqué in the next wearable craft.

For more clothing projects and kids' crafts, go to:

Springtime Shadow Applique T-Shirt

A girls' t-shirt craft worth watering the flowers in.
A girls' t-shirt craft worth watering the flowers in.
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Many wearable crafts emphasize primary colors, but this delicate appliqué t-shirt features the soft pastels of silk flowers.

What You'll Need:

  • White t-shirt
  • 2 or 3 bunches of silk flowers in at least 2 different sizes and colors (we used large pink mums and small purple violets)
  • 1 bunch of silk ivy leaves
  • 1/2 yard organza, or chiffon
  • Approximately 100 pearls, 3mm each
  • 15-20 crystal E beads
  • 4 acrylic stars, 15mm each
  • 2 yards 1/2-inch-wide lace with bound edge
  • Tracing paper, or clear self-adhesive shelving paper
  • Double-sided fusible webbing
  • 2 pressing cloths
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Shirt board
  • Washable fabric glue
  • Straight pins

How to Make Springtime Shadow Applique T-Shirt:

Step 1: Lay t-shirt on flat surface. Pull shoulder seams slightly forward so they are visible at front of shirt. Smooth the rest of shirt out into its true shape.Step 2: Cut a piece of tissue paper or clear shelving paper large enough to cover front of t-shirt from approximately armhole to armhole and from top of shoulder to below armholes. Lay tissue paper over top of shirt and pin in place. If you are using clear shelving paper, remove paper backing and adhere sticky side to top of shirt.

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Step 3: Determine top of yoke pattern by tracing around neckline about 1 inch below neck ribbing. Measure shoulder seam to determine width of yoke pattern. The length of the shoulder seam is the width of the yoke pattern.

Mark pattern on tissue or shelving paper.
Mark pattern on tissue or shelving paper.
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Step 4: Measure and mark that distance in regular increments as you move measuring tape around the neck (measure from the line that you marked off for the top of the yoke pattern). Complete pattern by tracing shoulder seams. (See photo for clarification.) If you are using tissue paper, mark an X on right side of the pattern.

Trace pattern on fusible webbing.
Trace pattern on fusible webbing.
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Step 5: Remove tissue or shelving paper pattern from t-shirt and cut out yoke along outline. Pin pattern wrong side up on paper backing of fusible webbing and trace yoke pattern. If using shelving paper, stick pattern to adhesive side of web; then trace. Remove pattern and cut yoke out of adhesive web along outline.

Place fusible webbing on t-shirt.
Place fusible webbing on t-shirt.
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Step 6: Place fusible webbing, adhesive side down, on t-shirt. Adjust and smooth out t-shirt so webbing covers entire yoke area below neck ribbing. Following manufacturer's instructions, bond webbing to t-shirt. Remove paper backing.

Cut out yoke pattern on the organza.
Cut out yoke pattern on the organza.
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Step 7: Pin or stick pattern right side up on organza and cut yoke out. Leave pattern attached to organza yoke until you are ready to use it to identify the right side of the yoke. Set aside.

Step 8: Remove silk flowers and leaves from stems. Separate layers of flowers. Some flowers may require wire cutters to remove center. Discard any plastic parts of flowers, including centers. Press flowers and leaves slightly to flatten.

Arrange flowers and leaves over webbing.
Arrange flowers and leaves over webbing.
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Step 9: Arrange flowers and leaves over webbing, overlapping as desired. When satisfied with arrangement, tack in place by pressing the point of a hot iron to each flower and leaf for a second or two.

Step 10: Remove yoke pattern from organza yoke and place organza yoke right side up over floral arrangement, covering all of the webbing.

Cover yoke area with pressing cloth.
Cover yoke area with pressing cloth.
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Step 11: Cover yoke area with pressing cloth. Following manufacturer's instructions, bond floral arrangement under organza to t-shirt. Pressing cloth may stick to organza slightly, but can be removed with a gentle pull.

Roll pearls into place with toothpick.
Roll pearls into place with toothpick.
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Step 12: Slip t-shirt over shirt board. Working on a single flower at a time, squeeze a small circle of fabric glue on center of a larger flower. Drop about 15-20 pearls into glue, using a toothpick to roll them into place. The size of glue circle and number of pearls needed will vary with each flower.

Step 13: On smallest flowers, place a drop of glue in center of each and place 3 crystal E beads in glue. Arrange acrylic stars on t-shirt. Carefully lifting each star from shirt, use toothpick to coat back of stars with fabric glue. Glue stars in place on garment. Allow glue to dry.

Press lace into glue along bottom edge of yoke.
Press lace into glue along bottom edge of yoke.
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Step 14: Cut lace long enough to fit along bottom edge of yoke from shoulder to shoulder. At right shoulder, squeeze a 3-inch line of glue along bottom edge of organza. With ruffles pointing down, press bound edge of lace into glue.

Step 15: Pin lace in place every inch, inserting pin through lace, t-shirt, and into shirt board. Repeat gluing along bottom of yoke. Cut lace long enough to fit along top edge of yoke and repeat, gluing lace just below ribbing. Cut 2 pieces of lace to fit over each shoulder seam. Glue to shirt at each shoulder.

TIP: Test flowers and leaves for color fastness by soaking them in water and gentle soap for a few minutes. Agitate gently in soapy water. Check water for excessive dye. Rinse flowers and leaves and place on paper towel to dry.

More bright, bursting tie-dye action in the next wearable craft.

For more clothing projects and kids' crafts, go to:

Tie-Dye Bouquet T-Shirt

Making tie-dye is a bouncing good time.
Making tie-dye is a bouncing good time.
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With this wearable craft variation of the tie-dye technique so popular in the 1960s, you can make beautiful t-shirts and leggings. The secret to a more polished look with tie-dying is to exert more control over the dying process. By updating and refining, this technique will never go out of style.

What You'll Need:

  • White tunic-styled t-shirt and white cotton leggings
  • Thin fabric paint in 4 colors (we used yellow, raspberry, blue, and purple)
  • Black fine-point permanent marker
  • Rubber bands
  • Waxed paper
  • Paper towels
  • Water in trigger-style sprayer
  • Blow dryer
  • Iron and ironing board

How to Make Tie-Dye Bouquet T-Shirt:

Wrap rubber band around poked-up section.
Wrap rubber band around poked-up section.
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Step 1: To begin tie-dye process, put one hand inside neck of shirt and poke up a portion of shirt about 3 inches below neckline. Tightly wrap a rubber band around poked-up section so that about 3/4 inch of shirt is gathered above the band.

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Rubber band four more sections to create a circle.
Rubber band four more sections to create a circle.
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Step 2: Repeat same procedure on both sides of rubber-banded section, about 3 inches to the outside and slightly below this first section. Do 2 more about 3 inches lower and about an inch to each side of center.

Step 3: Insert waxed paper inside of shirt. Be sure it covers entire area to be painted.

Step 4: Work near an electrical outlet. Have blow dryer and spray bottle filled with water on hand.

Brush yellow paint onto paper towel.
Brush yellow paint onto paper towel.
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Step 5: Open all bottles of paint. Squeeze bottle of yellow paint slightly to get paint flowing and then brush onto paper towel. (In general, do not squeeze bottle while brushing on shirt as you may get a bigger burst of paint than you need. Always move bottle of paint over to paper towels when squeezing more paint onto brush.)

Step 6: Brush yellow paint on all poked up sections of shirt above rubber bands. These will be your flower centers.

Brush other colors around rubber-banded section.
Brush other colors around rubber-banded section.
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Step 7: Brush on other colors below rubber-banded sections in a circle about 1 inch wide. Refer to photo of finished project for recommended color placement.

Step 8: Immediately spray a fine mist of water over painted areas. Check folds near rubber bands to make sure that all areas are bleeding. Add more paint or more water, if necessary. Check progress of bleeding often.

Blow dry to stop paint bleeding.
Blow dry to stop paint bleeding.
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Step 9: Stop bleeding by blowing hot air on paint with a blow dryer until nearly dry and paint is no longer bleeding.

Step 10: Lay shirt flat on work surface, checking to make sure waxed paper covers entire inside of shirt. Add more waxed paper if necessary.

Paint bow shape below the tie-dye flowers.
Paint bow shape below the tie-dye flowers.
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Step 11: Using raspberry paint, make a bow shape below the tie-dye flowers. (You may feel more comfortable practicing on paper towels or an old shirt first.)

Step 12: Mist with water, allow paint to bleed, and then stop bleeding with blow dryer as before. Set shirt aside until completely dry. You may want to remove the rubber bands before painting the bow.

Lightly sketch stem, petals, and bow detail.
Lightly sketch stem, petals, and bow detail.
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Step 13: When dry, press shirt on the inside with a warm iron to smooth out wrinkles. Replace waxed paper. Use black fabric marker to lightly sketch in flower stem, flower petals, and details of bow. (Again, you may want to practice this on an old t-shirt first. Use light, quick strokes for best results.)

Step 14: For leggings, gather sections and tie off with rubber bands, as with shirt. This time, however, use a random pattern. There should be a poked-up section every few inches. Insert waxed paper inside legs and seat of leggings.

Step 15: Paint front of legs first. Use brush-top paints as on shirt, coloring centers yellow and selecting flower colors in a random pattern. Try not to put several flowers of the same color next to each other.

Stop paint bleeding with a blow dryer.
Stop paint bleeding with a blow dryer.
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Step 16: Immediately mist painted areas with water. Allow to bleed, checking folds as in Step 8. Stop bleeding with blow dryer. Turn leggings over, paint backs of legs, mist, bleed, and dry as before.

Remove rubber bands from leggings.
Remove rubber bands from leggings.
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Step 17: Remove all rubber bands from leggings. Keep waxed paper inside and set aside until paint is thoroughly dry. Press leggings on the inside with a warm iron to smooth out wrinkles. Leggings do not require sketched-in flower stems and petals.

TIP: If you cannot find the brush-top paint in your area, try brushing on fabric dye or diluted fabric paint. Practice on an old t-shirt first to see if you are able to achieve the look you want.

ABOUT THE CRAFT DESIGNERS

Tie-Dyed and Pleated T-Shirt by Christine DeJulio, Janelle Hayes and Muriel Spencer

Scrappy Scrunchy & T-Shirt by Christine DeJulio, Janelle Hayes and Muriel Spencer

Springtime Shadow Applique T-Shirt by Janelle Hayes, Christina Romo Carlisle and Janis Bullis

Tie-Dye Bouquet T-Shirt by Janelle Hayes, Christina Romo Carlisle and Janis Bullis

For more clothing projects and kids' crafts, go to: