How to Decorate Kids' Sweatshirts

Keys to My Heart Sweatshirt
Hearts and keys adorn this sweatshirt.
Hearts and keys adorn this sweatshirt.

With the delicate look of these heart and key charms, this wearable craft project is sure to catch the fancy of your teenager. Making a Keys to My Heart sweatshirt -- what a great mother-daughter project!

What You'll Need:

  • Dark-colored t-shirt
  • Brass charms in key and heart shapes (other charms can be substituted)
  • Fabric paint in pink, teal, and purple
  • Fabric paint brushes (we used a flat shader)
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencil
  • 11×9" piece of tulle
  • Black marker
  • Shirt board
  • Masking tape
  • White fabric or dressmaker's pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Needle and thread to match shirt color

How to Make the Keys to My Heart Sweatshirt:

Trace the pattern onto tracing paper.

Step 1: Prepare shirt by washing and drying. Lay charms you have chosen onto a pattern to determine whether or not you need to adjust pattern. Charms should be placed in empty spaces between design elements. Trace pattern onto tracing paper, making changes if necessary. Tape tulle onto traced pattern and mark over lines with black marker.

Trace the pattern onto the sweatshirt.

Step 2: Put shirt on shirt board. Position tulle pattern on shirt in desired spot and tape in place. Trace over lines with fabric or dressmaker's pencil. Remove tulle.

Paint within the lines of the pattern on the sweatshirt.

Step 3: To paint, start at top of shirt and work your way down. Rows with rectangles are painted pink, rows with thin waves are teal, and rows with thick waves are purple. On a very dark-colored shirt, you may need to apply a second coat of paint.

Sew the charms into the sweatshirt.

Step 4: When shirt is completely dry, heat-set paint following manufacturer's instructions. Place charms in desired spots and sew.


Brass charms are available in a wide variety of styles and sizes. Try a nautical theme by using sailboat, anchor, and flag charms on a white shirt painted with red, blue, and yellow design elements. Or, try a western theme by using charms shaped like cacti, cowboy boots, and horses on a brown shirt painted in turquoise, coral, and cream.

Turn to the next page to find out how to decorate cloud-inspired sweatshirts.

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