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Kids Craft: How to Make a DIY Custom T-shirt

EORupcycleshirt_titlePersonally, I have more fun making custom t-shirts and giving them as gifts than any other giftable craft. Why? Because they are all about thoughtfulness, creativity and personalization.

Not to mention they are easy to make right in your home.

Here’s what you need:

1. plain t-shirt

2. paint (I use interior house paint)

3. foam craft paper / pre-cut foam lettersEORupcycleshirt_supplies

4. Goo Gone

5. White glue

6. Scissors

7. Scrap of cardboard

8. Shirt box

9. Paint brush

Step 1: Create your custom design. For this I designed my own heart / arrow logo and then added the letters using pre-cut foam letters. Because you’re creating your design in reverse, you need to wipe the sticky stuff off the back of the letters with Goo Gone, then glue them on the scrap of cardboard in reverse.


Step 2: Insert the shirt box into the body of the t-shirt so that when you apply the paint it doesn’t seep onto the back of the shirt.

Step 3: Paint the foam craft paper design. Be sure to get good coverage, but not too globby or it will spread when pressed on the shirt.

Step 4: Flip your personal design over and stamp it on the shirt – light pressing is enough to transfer the design onto the t-shirt.


Step 5: Gently pull up the cardboard stamp to reveal your design. If there are some areas where the paint is missing or light, you can always touch up with a paint brush.


This makes a great gift idea for kids to make for their teachers, god parents, grandparents or friends! You could even do this craft as a group for class projects or birthday parties.

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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12 Responses to Kids Craft: How to Make a DIY Custom T-shirt

  1. Make Your Own T Shirt October 11, 2013 at 3:56 am #

    Being different seems to be the new mantra of life. In every aspect of life people especially the youth looks out for something new and different and in doing so, their attires must also speak for it. Not every time you get what you want in the shops out there. Therefore, the simple way to do this is to design your own t shirt. This gave rise to customized t shirts which are in huge demand nowadays. If you are creative, get your own designs done and get it printed.

  2. Wholesale Youth Tshirts October 15, 2014 at 6:17 am #

    Very nice idea. Will you please tell me, which paint we can use on tshirts?

    • Eve October 15, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      you could use permanent fabric paint or, like I do, use indoor latex paint – that stuff never comes off! Just make sure it’s an adult who is using it.

    • Stephen Juarez November 25, 2015 at 2:37 am #

      As I’ve remembered we’ved used Acrylic to print shirts. Last time I did this was in my first year in college. That’s almost three years ago.

  3. Drew January 14, 2016 at 10:51 am #

    I have always wanted to learn how to make my own custom t-shirts so this is perfect! The instructions are really easy to follow too. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. jarrod March 4, 2016 at 6:25 am #

    Well! Custom T-shirts make very good tools for self-expression for individuals and they make amazing marketing tools for companies.
    The best thing about the customization services offered today is that you can choose any design you love and be the only one sporting the look. Btw great work…and you people have explained every little thing in detail..which is a good thing for us..:)
    Thanks for sharing these steps with us…keep posting people…:)

  5. Andre Beluchi March 15, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    Tips on making a custom t-shirt are what my wife and son are wanting to know about. They’re involved in designing a shirt for their scout group. My guess is that they’ll probably want to come up with a shirt that has bold letterings and a unique coloring.

  6. larissa September 16, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    I love this diy! I think that it is simple enough for the kids to be able to play a role in the making of a tshirt. I think it would be a great bonding moment! Thanks for sharing!


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