How to Decorate Kids' T-Shirts

Making a Splash Kids' T-Shirt
Everyone's a winner with the making a splash kids' T-shirt.
Everyone's a winner with the making a splash kids' T-shirt.

If your son or daughter excels at a particular sport, the making a splash kids' T-shirt is a great way to display their team spirit.

With this project, you can transfer the team's best photo to your child's favorite t-shirt so they can show off their winning team with pride.

What You'll Need:

  • White T-shirt
  • Photo-transfer medium
  • 1-inch sponge brush
  • Palette
  • Scissors
  • Waxed paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Fabric paint brushes (we used a flat shader and a medium round)
  • Color photocopy of desired photograph. (If there are numbers or letters in your photograph, be sure to ask for a mirror-image copy at the print shop.)
  • Blue crystal dimensional fabric paint
  • Aqua or blue soft sparkling fabric paint
  • Pressing cloth
  • Washable fabric glue
  • White paper
  • Black marker
  • Disappearing-ink pen
  • Shirt board

How to make the making a splash kids' T-shirt:

Step 1: Place your shirt on a shirt board. If your shirt board has dried paint on it, cover it with waxed paper, because dried paint may transfer to the inside of your shirt and discolor your photo.

Step 2: Trim all white edges from photocopy. Lay photocopy face up on waxed paper. Apply a thick layer of transfer medium with finger or sponge brush. Be sure all edges and corners have been covered.

Apply a thick layer of transfer medium

Step 3: Place photocopy face down on center of shirt, about 3 1/2 inches from base of neckline. Smooth onto shirt with rolling pin, making sure to remove any air bubbles.

If any transfer medium is pressed out of the sides, wipe it up immediately. Dry flat for 24 hours.

Use a rolling pin

Step 4: After 24 hours, remove shirt from shirt board and heat-set both sides of transfer for 30 seconds using a pressing cloth and a dry iron on a wool setting. Let cool.

Heat-set both sides of the transfer using a

Step 5: Soak shirt in water for 30 to 60 minutes. Remove from water. Squeeze excess water from shirt, but do not wring transfer area. Lay shirt on a clean, flat surface.

Using your fingers, gently rub paper backing. Work from the center of the transfer to the outside edges.

Step 6: When you have removed the first layer of paper, return shirt to water to soak for another 15 minutes. Remove from water, repeating process until all paper particles have been removed.

Be especially careful when rubbing edges so as not to tear the transfer. Let shirt dry flat. (Transfer may appear cloudy.)

Remove the paper backing from the transfer.

Step 7: When all paper particles have been removed and shirt is dry, return shirt to shirt board. Pour a puddle of washable glue onto palette and use sponge brush to apply a thin coat to the transfer area. Set aside to dry.

Use sponge brush to apply a thin coat of washable glue to the transfer area.

Step 8: Trace splash patterns onto separate sheets of white paper with black marker. Place patterns inside shirt above and to right of transfer, aligning corners of splash with corner of photo.

Trace patterns onto shirt with disappearing-ink pen. Repeat, moving patterns below and to left of transfer.

Trace patterns onto shirt with disappearing-ink pen.

Step 9: Use fabric paint brushes to brush soft sparkling fabric paint inside of splash lines. Squeeze blue crystal paint from bottle in a line around the edge of the transfer. Use the flat shader brush to flatten line of paint in a wavy fashion.

Use fabric paint brushes to brush soft

Making a splash kids' T-shirt variation:

The splash design works well with a swimming picture and blue paint, but you can also use the same pattern with any team photo for any sport.

Simply change the paint to the colors of your team or other colors that will coordinate with your photo, and you can make a splash even if you're not a swimmer.

Looking for more great kids' crafts? Try:


Trivia Challenge by Lisa Lerner and Kersten Hamilton

In the Mist by Janelle Hayes ad Kim Solga

Native American Feather by Janelle Hayes and Kim Solga

Spiral by contributing writers Christine DeJulio, Janelle Hayes, and Muriel Spencer

Making a Splash by contributing writers Janelle Hayes, Christina Romo Carlisle, and Janis Bullis