How to Decorate Kids' Shirts


The Tuxedo Junction Kids' Shirt design takes the formal and adds flair!
The Tuxedo Junction Kids' Shirt design takes the formal and adds flair!
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Who needs a boring shirt when you can turn any kids' shirt into a wearable craft? Just a little bit of handiwork will positively transform an old shirt. These kids' shirt crafts brighten any wardrobe!

Try a simple three-ring bull's eye design, or dress up an already classy tuxedo shirt with a stunning array of ribbons. No matter what you do to them, you won't want to let these wearable crafts sit in a drawer.

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To help kids' shirts take on a new character, just follow the links:

Washed Denim Shirt

Create the illusion of denim on a plain white shirt.

Bull's-Eye Tank Top

Bright tie-dyeing hits the spot on this kids' shirt.

Tuxedo Junction Shirt

A plain white tuxedo shirt gets dressed up in this wearable craft.

First, get ready to convert a plain shirt into rugged denim.

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

Washed Denim Shirt

The Washed Denim Shirt makes a great gift.
The Washed Denim Shirt makes a great gift.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

There's no magic to turning a simple white shirt into a faded-denim kids' shirt craft. Scrunching, rubber-banding, and some blue dye will do the trick to create a wearable craft that everyone in the family will love.

What You'll Need:

  • White shirt
  • Rubber bands
  • Bucket
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • Royal blue liquid dye (half of 8-ounce bottle)
  • Scissors

How to Make the Washed Denim Shirt:

Step 1: Dampen shirt. Lay unbuttoned shirt on a flat surface with centers together and sleeves next to body of shirt.

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Gather shirt in from the sides and up toward the top.
Gather shirt in from the sides and up toward the top.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 2: Starting at the bottom of the shirt, use your thumbs and fingers to gather the shirt in from the sides and up toward the top. Continue this until you reach the top of shirt.

Rubber band entire gathered shirt into pie shapes.
Rubber band entire gathered shirt into pie shapes.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 3: Put rubber bands across entire gathered shirt so that they form pie shapes. Keep adding rubber bands until shirt feels secure. The shirt should be flat and circular, with rubber bands crossing in all directions.Step 4: Wearing rubber gloves, pour 1 gallon of hot water into the bucket. Add salt and stir to dissolve. Pour in half the bottle of dye. Stir until it is well mixed.

Add the shirt to the dye bath.
Add the shirt to the dye bath.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 5: Add the shirt, and let it soak in the dye for about 30 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes.

Remove rubber bands when water runs clear.
Remove rubber bands when water runs clear.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 6: Remove shirt from dye and rinse thoroughly in cool water. When the water coming from the shirt runs clear, remove the rubber bands.

Step 7: Lay shirt flat to dry, or tumble in clothes dryer with an old towel.

TIP: This is a great gift for Father's Day!

Next, discover a kids' shirt craft that hits the spot every time.

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

Bull's-Eye Tank Top

This colorfully designed kids' shirt hits the bull's-eye.
This colorfully designed kids' shirt hits the bull's-eye.

This eye-catching wearable craft is a cool tank top with bright bursts of radiant color. Both boys and girls will enjoy making this kids' craft.

What You'll Need:

  • White tank top
  • 2 rubber bands
  • Concentrated powdered dye (fire engine red, golden yellow, and cobalt blue)
  • 3 squeeze bottles
  • Soda ash
  • Large self-sealing plastic bag
  • Scissors

How to Make Bull's-Eye Tank Top:

Wrap 2 rubber bands around tank top.
Wrap 2 rubber bands around tank top.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 1: Lay tank top on a flat surface. Grasp center of shirt through both layers (front and back) and wrap first rubber band tightly about 2 inches from center. Wrap another rubber band about 2 inches farther away from center than the first band.Step 2: Wearing rubber gloves, mix the dye. Pour 1/2 cup hot water into each squirt bottle.

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Add soda ash to each bottle.
Add soda ash to each bottle.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 3: To one bottle add 1 teaspoon yellow dye, to another add 2 teaspoons red, and to the last add 2 teaspoons blue. Add 2 teaspoons soda ash to each bottle. Screw lids onto bottles tightly and shake well to mix.

Squeeze blue dye 2 inches out from last rubber band.
Squeeze blue dye 2 inches out from last rubber band.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 4: Place rubber-banded shirt on work surface. Carefully squeeze red dye on center of shirt, squirting into crevices and folds. Apply yellow dye to area between rubber bands, again squeezing into folded areas. Squeeze blue dye about 2 inches beyond last rubber band.

Step 5: Carefully place dyed shirt into plastic bag, seal, and allow to set for about 3 hours.

Step 6: Remove shirt from bag and carefully rinse one section of the shirt at a time, trying to keep dye from running over areas of shirt that have been dyed a different color. Continue rinsing until water from each section runs clear.

Remove rubber bands from shirt.
Remove rubber bands from shirt.
2007 Publications International. Ltd.

Step 7: Remove rubber bands. Lay shirt flat to dry, or place in clothes dryer with an old towel.

TIP: If the weather cooperates, do this project on a table set up outside. Kids can even invite a few friends, since each bottle of dye will make several shirts.

The tuxedo shirt gets a makeover in the next wearable craft.

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

Tuxedo Junction Shirt

No formal event is needed for this tuxedo shirt.
No formal event is needed for this tuxedo shirt.
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Here's an original idea for a wearable craft: dress up a plain tuxedo shirt with colorful ribbons and decorative charms. Kids will love the casual elegance that makes this project a favorite. As you make this kids' shirt craft with your kids, remember that they may need help selecting and cutting the necessary ribbons.

What You'll Need:

  • Tuxedo shirt
  • 7-9 5/8-inch-wide buttons, or sized to fit button holes
  • 1-1/2 yards 3/8-inch-wide polka dot grosgrain ribbon (or 2x length of pleats + 4 inches)
  • 1-1/2 yards 3/8-inch-wide picot edge satin (or 2x length of pleats + 4 inches)
  • 1-1/2 yards 5/8-inch-wide grosgrain (or 2x length of pleats + 4 inches)
  • 1-1/2 yards medium rickrack (or 2x length of pleats + 4 inches)
  • 3 yards 3/8-inch-wide striped satin ribbon (or 2x length of pleats + 2x length of cuffs + 2x length of sleeve plackets + 12 inches for clean finished edges and mitered corners)
  • 4 yards 1-inch-wide printed grosgrain ribbon (or 2x length of pleats + width of pleats + 2x length of cuffs + length of collar + 16 inches for clean finished edges and mitered corners)
  • Double-sided fusible webbing equal in length and width, or slightly narrower, to ribbon (we chose 1 package each of 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch, and 3/4-inch widths)
  • 10 3/8-inch to 3/4-inch brass charms in assorted shapes (we chose hearts, stars and keys)
  • Needle and thread
  • Iron and ironing board
  • 10-15 straight pins

How to Make Tuxedo Junction Shirt:Step 1: Remove decorative studs and buttons from shirt front. Cut 2 lengths of 26 inches each from polka dot, picot edge, 5/8-inch grosgrain, and striped ribbons, or length of pleated front plus 2 inches.

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Apply fusible webbing to wrong side of ribbons.
Apply fusible webbing to wrong side of ribbons.
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Step 2: Following manufacturer's instructions, apply fusible webbing to wrong side of 8 lengths of ribbon. Cut 2 lengths of 26 inches each, or length of pleated front plus 2 inches, from rickrack.

Step 3: With webbed side facing down, position ribbon on pleated front. Begin with striped ribbon nearest center, continue toward outer edge with picot-edge satin ribbon, polka dot ribbon, and then 5/8-inch grosgrain nearest outer edge of pleats.

Step 4: Turn under 1/2 inch at top edge and line up evenly with seam of shirt. Allow ribbon to extend only 1/2 inch past pleated edge at bottom. Trim ribbon if necessary.

Sew or fuse rickrack to center of solid grosgrain.
Sew or fuse rickrack to center of solid grosgrain.
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Step 5: Using straight pins, pin ribbon through shirt, directly to ironing board. Following manufacturer's instructions, press ribbon and fuse onto shirt. Sew or fuse rickrack to center of 5/8-inch grosgrain.

Step 6: Cut 2 lengths of 1-inch-wide printed ribbon, each 33 inches long, or length of pleated front plus 1/2 width of pleated front plus 4 inches. Following manufacturer's instructions, apply fusible webbing to wrong side of each length of ribbon.

Step 7: With webbed side facing down, position ribbon on shirt, outside of pleated front on flat part of shirt. Begin by turning under 1/2 inch at top edge and lining up fold with shoulder seam.

Position printed grosgrain outside the front pleats.
Position printed grosgrain outside the front pleats.
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Step 8: Position along side edge and miter ribbon at corner; then position along bottom edge, covering cut ends of narrower ribbons as shown. Turn under 1/2 inch of ribbon at the edge of the shirt placket, lining up fold with placket.

Step 9: Using straight pins, pin ribbon through shirt directly to ironing board. Following manufacturer's instructions, press ribbon and fuse onto shirt.

Step 10: Fold cuffs up (almost in half) just below the buttonhole and along the entire length, and press. Stitch along fold if desired.

Step 11: Cut 2 lengths of wide printed ribbon equal to length of cuff plus 1 inch. Apply fusible webbing to wrong side of ribbon. Position ribbon for outside of cuff along folded edge. Turn under ends for clean finish. Fuse into place. Stitch along all edges if desired.

Step 12: Cut 2 lengths of striped ribbon equal to length of cuff plus length of sleeve placket plus 3 inches. Apply fusible webbing to wrong side of ribbon.

Position striped ribbon to outside of cuff.
Position striped ribbon to outside of cuff.
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Step 13: Turn under one end for clean finish. Position ribbon to outside of cuff at top edge, miter at corner and position along placket. Turn under remaining edge. Fuse into place. Stitch along all edges if desired.

Center printed ribbon to outside of collar.
Center printed ribbon to outside of collar.
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Step 14: Cut length of printed ribbon equal to length of collar plus 1 inch. Apply fusible webbing to wrong side of ribbon. Center ribbon to outside of collar as shown. Turn under each end to clean finish. You may need to fold at an angle to follow bend in the collar. Fuse into place. Stitch along all edges if desired.

Randomly stitch brass charms on ribbons.
Randomly stitch brass charms on ribbons.
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Step 15: Randomly stitch charms into place on satin ribbon and collar points. Replace shirt buttons with decorative buttons at shirt front.

TIP: Though rickrack can be fused onto ribbon in Step 5, sewing it on with a sewing machine provides a neater and more secure bond.

ABOUT THE CRAFT DESIGNERS

Washed Denim Shirt by Christine DeJulio, Janelle Hayes and Muriel Spencer

Bull's-Eye Tank Top by Christine DeJulio, Janelle Hayes and Muriel Spencer

Tuxedo Junction Shirt by Janelle Hayes, Christina Romo Carlisle and Janis Bullis

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