How to Decorate T-Shirts

by Elizabeth Balarini

You can save money on your family's clothing budget by buying inexpensive solid-colored T-shirts and decorating them yourself. In order to decorate T-shirts, all you need is several plain T-shirts and a few common crafting supplies.

Items you will need

  • Plain T-shirts in various colors
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Fabric paints
  • Paint brushes in various sizes
  • Various items to use as stamps (such as sponges, pieces of fruit, leaves)
  • Fabric glue (optional)
  • Plastic gems (optional)
  • An imagination
Step 1

Wash and dry the T-shirts. Commercially available T-shirts usually have sizing in them, which will affect the ability of the paint and glue to adhere to the fibers of the fabric.

Step 2

Use your imagination to come up with ideas for your T-shirts. Consider upcoming holidays, current events or trends or favorite hobbies or animals.

Step 3

Draw out your ideas with pencil and paper first. This will give you the opportunity to fine-tune and perfect your idea before it's put on the shirt permanently. Make the image as simple and open as possible. It can be difficult to paint detailed lines on fabric.

Step 4

Paint the image on your T-shirt using the fabric paints and paint brushes. Don't worry if you make a mistake. Mistakes and imperfections are part of the charm of a T-shirt that you decorate yourself.

Step 5

Apply paint to sponges or found items and press them gently but firmly onto your T-shirt, like you would a stamp. An example might be to use leaves as stamps to create leaf imprints on your shirt, if the theme of your decorated T-shirt is eco-friendly living.

Step 6

Use fabric glue to affix plastic gems to add embellishment and flair to the T-shirts that you have decorated. This step is always a hit with younger girls.

Photo Credits

  • wikimedia commons

About the Author

Elizabeth Balarini is a freelance writer and professional blogger who began writing professionally in 2006. Her work has been published on several websites. Her articles focus on where her passions lie: writing, web development, blogging, home and garden, and health and wellness. Balarini majored in English at the University of Texas at San Antonio.