DIY: T-Shirt Art

Just returned from a college football game and since it is officially Friday, thought I’d get this posted.

I had a lot of response to my post yesterday in which I showed you my latest piece, The Vineyard.  Thanks to all! 

Now for some DIY that is for any age…

My son has gone through a couple of big growth spurts over the last year and needless to say, has outgrown his clothes before they even had any wear or tear.  He was bummed because he had to box up some of his favorite t-shirts.  Rather than put them in a box, I decided to turn them into art for his room.  He picked out a handful of his favorites and we went to town to create this:

It is sooooo easy and a fun rainy-day activity to do with your kids.   You will need:

  • Framed canvas (Michael’s has these on sale all the time.) I used an 18×24.
  • 10-15 shirts (this will vary depending on size of canvas you use)
  • Spray adhesive
  • Mod Podge
  • Scissors and paint brush
Step ONE:
Collect the shirts you want to use.  As you can see, we also included a pair of Levi’s in the art. 
Cut out the portion you want to use but be generous.  You can always resize it more when you start laying it out.  I cut fast and left the little jags on purpose -hoping for a little imperfect, worn out look.
You will need one shirt (or two) – left in tact – or some type of fabric, to put on as the base.  This will keep any parts of the canvas from being exposed should there be a misplaced shirt glued into place.  

Step TWO:

Start playing with a pattern.  Lay the pieces out in different ways so that you get the best exposure for the “favorite” parts.  Be sure to allow room to wrap the side pieces over the edge.  Try to avoid putting like color on like color (sometimes impossible, I know.)

Once you have decided on a pattern, carefully removed the pieces in the opposite order (just to help you remember how you had them) and then start with the first piece by attaching it with spray adhesive.

I had more step-by-step pictures that were accidentally erased from my camera, but in the end, you should end up with a multi-layered piece like this:


After everything is adhered on to the canvas, it is ready to break open the Mod Podge.  This is where your little assistant can help.  We brushed it on in straight swipes the first three coats.  For the last coat, we stipled to add slight texture but being careful to not disrupt the view of the logos on the shirts.  Be sure to let each coat dry before starting the next one.

It is important to make sure the edges are completely saturated so that they don’t peel up when dry.  Make sure to pay close attention to the sides of the canvas as well.  There is one little spot on Joey’s that didn’t get enough and while it isn’t going anywhere, I notice it.  

Finally, if you are going to put any pockets on it like we did, then I suggest you put them on after it is completely dry and leave them naturally exposed.  It adds a little contrast and also allows for a “secret” hideway for those love notes (yikes) or money stash that they want to keep from older sibling snoops.

 That is it!
Once it dries, your child will have a custom masterpiece. 

Ha! Aren’t we all?!
You can do this using a variety of things such as:
  • old sports jerseys
  • vacation shirts
  • vacation postcards
  • your husband’s obnoxious (but sentimental) old rock concert shirts.  Man Cave Art!
  • your child’s baby…or in my case – teenager – blankets. (Someday I WILL get my hands on them but right now, I don’t want my hands anywhere near them!)
  • photos (copied on matte photo paper)
  • Christmas cards or those once-worn Christmas picture outfits that you want to preserve somehow…would make for some fun holiday art.
  • Anything…just use your imagination! 
Create.  Have fun.  Be inspired.

Who knows, that DIY art may bring back a special memory for your child when he/she looks at those shirts and remembers what they were doing, or where they were at when they wore them – and that is what it is about.

Have a terrific weekend!

Linking to:

freckled laundry

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

The Shabby Nest


Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

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  1. Fantastic idea! Totally doing this with all the shirts the boys win at wrestling tournaments! SWEET!

  2. Sharon, aka Bootersmom03 says:

    Great idea!! I have some good news for you – you have been awarded the Versatile Bloggers Award! You can find out more by going to my blog. I can't get the link to post, but if you click on my name it should take you there.
    Have a great weekend, Sharon

  3. Katalina Jewelry says:

    Love this idea! I noticed a couple of your sons favorite T-shirts spotlight the Ducks – he has good taste!

  4. amy of the salvage collection says:

    ha! had to check this out when i spied your guest post @ pq. LOVE this idea!

  5. reFresh reStyle says:

    That's a great idea! I need to mod podge something :) Love it!