Turning a Shirt Into a Tank Top for Men

by Erica Loop

You don't have to buy a new tank top to achieve the classic summer style. When the weather gets warm, you can transform an old Tee into a new tank with a few basic household tools, whether you want an athletic looking t-tank or a more fashion-forward printed number. Save some green while helping the environment with your creative reuse.

Choose a short or long-sleeved t-shirt to turn into a tank top. Go with a solid color for a clean-cut look, a football or baseball shirt for a sporty style, or a graphic Tee for a uniquely hip tank.

Put your T-shirt on. Look in the mirror. Decide where you want the tank to lie on your shoulders. Cover more over your shoulders with a wide strap that goes almost to the seams of the sleeves or opt for a thinner style. Draw the outline of your tank sleeves with a piece of chalk (you may need a friend to draw the back lines on). Decide if you want to keep the neckline where it is or alter it. If you like where the neckline sits, keep it as is. Create a lower neckline, or shape it into a V, by drawing an outline with chalk on the top of the t-shirt. But remember, if you plan to hem you'll need extra material to fold over so leave yourself at least 1/2 an inch of extra material.

Take the shirt off. If you don't have someone to help you to draw the back chalk outline, draw them on now using the end of the front lines as your guide.

Cut the shirt at the chalk lines. If you're happy with a distressed look, you're already done with this simple upgrade.

If you've chosen to hem the shirt, turn it inside out. Place your shirt on the ironing board with the front facing up. Line the edges of the cuts with the iron-on tape, moving it in enough from the ends to completely fold the fabric over it. Fold the edge of the fabric over the tape so that you can't see the tape anymore. Iron over the folded piece of fabric. Repeat this process for any other areas that you want to hem.

Put your new tank top in the wash, keeping it inside out. Wash and dry according to care instructions.

Items you will need

  • T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • White chalk
  • Iron-on hemming tape
  • Iron
  • Ironing board


  • If you want to make a distressed-style tank fray the edges of the cuts prior to putting it in the wash.
  • If the hemming tape doesn't stick after washing, repeat Step 5 to reapply it.
  • Follow the manufacturer's directions for the hemming tape. Different products have varying heat requirements.


  • Take caution when using the iron. Avoid careless burns and don't leave the iron on the shirt for longer than the packaging instructs or you will risk scorching the fabric.
  • Never cut the shirt when it is on your body.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images