Painting T shirts with a decorating kit bubbablue and me
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Getting creative – designing and painting t shirts

I’ve had a stash of fabric paints for ages, and meant to get round to decorating some bags and tops, but needless to say we never got round to it.  But recently sent us a t-shirt design kit to let N have a go at designing his own t shirt, so we couldn’t put it off any longer.

Painting T shirts with a decorating kit  bubbablue and me

I wasn’t sure how N would take to the painting.  He’s ‘decorated’ a t shirt at a craft party when he was younger…actually I lie.  I pointed to the t shirt on the table, asked if he wanted to draw on it, he did one spot and line on it and that was it.  But on opening this box, his eyes were wide open with excitement at the thought he could draw on a piece of clothing.

t shirt painting pens

We were sent a Fruit of the Loom t shirt (takes me back to my youth when we used to have the sweatshirts and use them for school sports instead of the official school sweatshirts), a pack of fabric paint ‘pens’, and an iron on transfer.  I’m ashamed to say that N said no to the transfer.  I was surprised because he does usually quite like dinosaurs, but it obviously wasn’t on his design agenda on this occasion.

There’s so much choice at  It’s not just t shirts, but other clothing as well.  You can choose their designs or get one of your designs printed..  Great for children’s parties if there’s a theme and you want each child to have their name on, or for charity events or the like.  Going on past experience with Fruit of the Loom, I’m expecting the t shirt to wash well and keep its shape.

N wanted to get straight in with the paints.  No messing around.  I suggested he test them out to practise on some paper first.  Design decided – he wanted his name written on.  But N wouldn’t write it himself

paintin his design on t shirts

‘Mummy you do the dots of my name’, so I duly made some dot to dot letters for him to join.  But no, he wouldn’t do the letters at all so they were my (shocking attempt).  The pens did come out quite smoothly, once you got the hang of it.  Being a lefty isn’t the easiest to try and avoid smudging.  I’ll just pass off the smudges as N’s work!

N made a few swirls, then decided that he wanted some trees.  Okay.

painting a t shirt

He added the cherries, and then he decided on apples for the last tree.  Nothing like random ideas from my son.

N loved choosing the colours to use, and had a good old swirl around.  I was aiming for his t shirt to have a less is more look, so managed to hold him off turning it over to paint on the back.  I was still holding out for adding the dinosaur iron on transfer to the back, but he announced that there should also be trees on the back as well.  I’m not sure N is cut out to be a designer quite yet, but he’s loved doing this painting (and getting me to do it for him!).

finalising his painting design

N is planning to wear his t shirt to nursery school on Friday.  He refused to wear it to his day nursery, so we’ll see what he says that morning.

N's t shirt painting design

Edit: This evening I was told I could add the dinosaur on the back.  So I had to explain why I was ironing it, why it had to cool, and he was intrigued watching me peeling off the backing. The transfer looks great, and he’s very proud of his t shirt.  I shall update once I’ve got a photo of him wearing it.

Painting t shirts is easier than I expected and we had a lot of fun doing it.  Have you ever tried designing your own?

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Disclosure: We received a t shirt design kit from  All ‘creativity’ was our own!

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  1. Nathaniel did well with those trees!! His top looks really good 🙂 Glad you managed to add the transfer 🙂

    1. Sshhh, I did the trees, he did the cherries and the apple blobs!

      He had said last night he’d wear it to nursery, but this morning it was pushed away again. I don’t think he’ll ever want to wear it!

    1. I thought we’d get a tractor, but I gave several ideas because we don’t do characters here, so we got a dinosaur.

      We did get it on in the end, but N has still refused to wear it. I think he doesn’t want it to get ruined.

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