Friday Fun

Friday Craft: Fun Kid T-Shirt Fashions

Now THESE are cute! And the best part? The kids can help decorate their own! I’m thinking getting dressed for school might not be quite SO hard with these fun fashions from Family Fun.

Bleach-Pen Drawing T-shirt

Here, the stain-removing power of bleach is used to create a negative-image design that subtracts color and adds fun. Bleach is strong stuff, so while working on this project, wear old clothes and rubber gloves, follow safety precautions on the label, supervise kids closely, and work in a well-ventilated area.


* Solid-color T-shirt
* Waxed paper
* Chalk
* Bleach pen (we used Clorox brand)
* Paper towel


1. Wash and dry the shirt, then slip a piece of waxed paper inside it to prevent bleed-through.
2. Sketch your design on the shirt with chalk. Because the bleach can spread, keep the design simple, and draw with lines and dots, as shown, rather than try to fill in large areas.
3. Shake the bleach pen and give it a few test squeezes on a paper towel to make sure it’s flowing well. Trace over your chalk lines with the bleach pen. Leave the bleach on the shirt until the fabric has clearly changed color. This can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the shirt. Wash the shirt by itself in the washing machine, then dry it.

Plastic Pocket T-shirt

We’ve seen a lot of custom T-shirt projects, but none that allow kids to customize their shirts on a daily basis. This shirt’s clear plastic pocket lets kids display their obsession du jour.


* T-shirt
* Clear plastic trading card page (available at hobby or office supply stores)
* Scissors
* Masking tape
* Embroidery needle
* Embroidery floss
* Flattish object to place in pocket, such as a photo, iron-on appliqué, artificial flower, etc.


1. Cut 1 pocket from the center of a trading card page, leaving a 1/4-inch margin around the seams.
2. Secure the pocket’s top and bottom in place with masking tape.
3. Thread the needle with the floss, knot the end, and use a simple whipstitch to attach one side of the pocket to the shirt. Remove the bottom tape and continue stitching, leaving the top open.
4. Remove the remaining tape. Place an object in the pocket.

When drying the T-shirt, always hang-dry to protect the plastic pocket.

Thumbprint Garden T-Shirt (Watch the how-to video)

These personalized T-shirts — the girls can put their own signature flower on one another’s tees — will be the hit of any party.


* T-shirts
* Cardboard
* Fabric paints
* Paper plates
* Green fabric marker (we used FabricMate from Yasutomo, available at fabric stores)


1. Set up your decorating station by first cutting a piece of cardboard to fit snugly inside each shirt, separating the front and the back layers. Line up the shirts on your worktable and squirt small puddles of fabric paint onto paper plates.
2. For each shirt, have the girls each dip a pinky finger into a puddle of paint and press it onto the T-shirt for a flower center.
3. Next, have them each dip a thumb into a different color of paint and press it onto the shirt around the pinky print to make petals
4. Use a fabric marker to paint stems and leaves.
5. Finally, have each guest use the fabric marker to write her name under her thumbprint flower on each shirt.
6. Leave the cardboard inside the shirts while they dry and refer to the fabric paint bottle for washing instructions.

Fruit Prints

With this paint-stamping activity, your child can “pear” up her favorite fruits and vegetables to produce a colorful stripe design. Or, she can turn individual prints into comical characters by drawing on stick limbs and facial features.


Fruits and vegetables
Paper towels
Plastic bag
Cardboard cut to fit between the front and back of the shirt
Prewashed cotton T-shirt
Fabric paints
Plastic plates or paintbrush
Fabric markers (optional)


1. Slice the fruits and vegetables in half and place cut-side down on paper towels. Just about any fresh produce will do, although juicy ones, like oranges or even onions, should be allowed to dry for 15 minutes or so. Meanwhile, wrap the plastic bag around the cardboard and slip it inside the shirt.
2. Pour some fabric paint onto the plastic plates and have your child practice making prints by dipping the cut surface of a fruit or vegetable into the paint (or she can brush the paint onto the vegetables) and then pressing it onto newspaper. When she feels ready, she can print directly on the shirt.
3. Once the paint dries, remove the cardboard. Then heat-set the design and launder the shirt according to the paint manufacturer’s directions.

Foam Stamps

This method couples the age-old art of block printing with modern supplies (craft foam and fabric paint), letting your child create snappy designs that she can reprint whenever she likes.

Finally, heat-set the design and launder the shirt according to the paint and marker manufacturers’ directions.


* Plastic bag
* Cardboard cut to fit between the front and back of the shirt
* Prewashed cotton T-shirt
* Pencil
* Thin craft foam (such as Foamies)
* Scissors
* Tacky glue
* Wooden blocks (sold at many craft stores) or squares of corrugated cardboard layered and glued together
* Plastic plates or soft paintbrush
* Fabric pens
* Fabric paint


1. Wrap the plastic bag around the cardboard and slip it inside the shirt. tools Have your child sketch shapes or letters onto the foam sheets. To create a row of people like the one shown here, draw a head, pants, a skirt and a shirt. Cut out two of each shape, then layer and glue each pair onto a wooden block or cardboard square (glue letters on backward). The double layer lets you apply paint to the foam without getting any on the block.
2. When the glue is dry, you can begin printing. Pour some fabric paint onto a plastic plate and dip the foam stamp into it (or brush paint directly onto the foam). Then press the stamp onto the shirt. Once your child has printed as many shapes and colors as she likes, and the paint has dried, she can use fabric pens to embellish them with facial features, hair, shoes, and other details.

Reverse Stencils

Your kids will have a blast with this technique. First you press on Con-Tact paper shapes, next you spritz paint all over the shirt, then you rip off the stencils to reveal the finished design.


* Plastic bag
* Cardboard cut to fit between the front and back of the shirt
* Light-colored pre-washed cotton T-shirt
* Newspaper
* Pencil
* Con-Tact paper
* Scissors
* Spray bottle
* Warm water
* Fabric paint


1. Wrap the plastic bag around the cardboard and slip it inside the shirt and then lay the shirt face up on the newspaper. Have your child draw various shapes, such as the shark, swirl, zigzag, or flower shown here, on the Con-Tact paper. Cut out the shapes and stick them onto the shirt so that they are firmly attached.
2. In the spray bottle, mix three parts fabric paint to two parts warm water and shake. Now your child can spray the paint onto the fabric all around the cutouts. Advise him that a light spray will produce a striking bubbly effect and is less likely to seep under the stencil. (Another option is to press paint-coated sponges onto the fabric.)
3. Once the paint dries, remove the Con-Tact paper and the cardboard, then heat-set the design and launder the shirt according to the paint manufacturer’s directions.


With a little fabric paint and a freezer-paper stencil, this tee goes formal with faux neckwear. Kids can easily design their own tie: the louder, the better!


* Plastic-coated freezer paper (found in the food-wrap section of most supermarkets)
* Masking tape
* Craft knife
* T-shirt
* Iron
* Waxed paper
* Paintbrushes
* Fabric paint


1. Draw the outline of a necktie onto the non-shiny side of a piece of freezer paper.
2. Tape the freezer paper to a cutting board or surface and use the craft knife to cut out the shape (a parent’s job).
3. Lay the stencil, shiny side down, on the T-shirt. With the iron on the cotton setting, press briefly all around the edges of the stencil until the paper sticks to the shirt (don’t sweep the iron back and forth; doing so may tear the paper).
4. Slip a sheet of waxed paper into the shirt to prevent bleed-through. Paint your design, always stroking toward the center so that the paint doesn’t seep under the stencil.
5. Carefully peel off the stencil and allow the paint to dry.

**This post was not sponsored. I just think Family Fun is, well, fun. Though if Family Fun would like to pay me to pass on their awesome crafts, I won’t complain. 😉

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