Custom Tee Shirt Tutorial – Simple and Only A Few Dollars Each!

I actually did this this custom tee shirt tutorial several years ago but am wanting to make a couple more and realized I never posted about it. So here goes. It’s so fun seeing my guys when they were so little (seriously, they’re shooting up like weeds).

The reason I did this is because I wanted to make a few custom things that weren’t from Target (I love Target, it’s like 3 minutes from my house) but then everyone is wearing the same things sometimes and I like to be a little different. Or you can find something on etsy, which I love and sell on, but those can be spendy so I decided to give it a go and made some up

We ended up doing a craft day with some friends and their kids so each got to make their own shirt. I didn’t want to spend a ton on shirts and while you can buy plain colored shirts at places like Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabrics or some other craft store, often times they are at least 5 dollars each. I wanted something cheaper. So I bought some white boys undershirts on sale like these which ended up being about $1.50 each for the ones I got.


I realized if I bought plain white shirts and then dyed them it would be a much better deal and I even had a couple of dye colors on hand. You don’t need a lot, these packs are super inexpensive. Then you just follow the directions to dye them. Honestly I add in more water than they say mostly because I had to stretch it a little and ended up loving it because it gave the shirts a more vintage feel.


To dye you first get the shirts wet.



Then use a large container to dye them in, I used my canning pot which is the biggest one I have!



Then start to dye! I let them soak for a bit and then rinsed a few times and washed in the washer.


These are the colors that came out. Some red, dark blue, teal and green. I did a bunch because I wanted to make up a bunch of shirts for us and the other kids as well.



These were a couple of store bought ones someone had. You can see the color difference. They are much brighter and more vibrant. But like I said, I like the ones I did.


Then you’ll need to do a stencil. To make a stencil all you need is freezer paper and an exacto knife or a silhouette cutter. I had recently bought mine and so I made up a ton of stencils with them. A bug one, bike one, sports one. The possibilities are endless. The freezer paper has a waxy side and a non waxy side. The waxy side will be going face down on the shirt and being ironed in place. Don’t worry, the shirt won’t get waxy! By ironing it, it makes sure that there are clean lines.


After you have your stencil cut and ironed you can start painting. I didn’t want to buy specific colors of fabric paint because they can be more expensive and I didn’t want to limit my color choices so I ended up getting this textile medium which will turn any regular paint into a textile paint. You get a lot more bang for you buck with it.


Then you start painting! This is the part the kids did thought they did help place the stencils and iron a little. I used ones like these that I think I even found at the dollar store. Stencil ones just make it go on a little better though you can use other brushes.

Here you can kind of see the other shirts we did (I wish we took more pictures!). One was a superhero one because my son was way into superheros that year. We even did a big superhero birthday party for him! And then we did a bug one and a bunch of others.


Even this trike one cause it’s awesome!




Custom Tee shirt tutorial
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