Monday, June 20, 2011

Inexpensive Custom T-shirt Designs

This past weekend we went to the birthday party of a special little friend and I wanted to take a gift that was personalized yet inexpensive. Since I consider myself crafty, I combined a couple of my favorite ideas from around the web with a sale at Michael's and came up with this custom t-shirt for 5-year old Lydia.

To begin with, I laid out the shirt (sorry the colors are funky in the next 2 pictures, I took them at night in fake light) and put a piece of cardboard inside to keep the bleach from bleeding through to the back. Then, with a bleach pen (cost was ~$1.40 with coupon), I free handed a random, girly design onto the side of the shirt.

After about 15 minutes you can see that the color was already started to leave the shirt. After about an hour, the bleach gel had started to dry out and get crusty so I rinsed it in the sink then dried it.

Once it was clean and dry, I used purple embroidery floss to stitch Lydia's name on the front. I did this free hand (I'm sure you can tell), but probably should have drawn out the letters in chalk or something first for a more even appearance. I also stitched around the hem of the opposite sleeve and added a small heart near the top of the sleeve. This sweet little girl can now literally wear her heart on her sleeve. :)

I also added 5 little x's at the bottom because Lydia is now 5 years old.

To package the gift, I bought this purple messenger bag at the Target Dollar Spot and stitched it to match the shirt. The L was freehanded here as well.

Overall, this project took about 2 1/2 hours, not including the drying time for the t-shirt. I did make some mistakes, such as rinsing the shirt too early. If you look at it again, you'll notice that part of  the design on the bottom is a big blob instead of something pretty and whimsical. Also, because the fabric of this shirt was kind of on the thin side, I should have tried to design more space between my lines to make them pop a little more.

I definitely think I'll be making something like this again very soon as it really was simple and easy to work on while I watched the girls. And next time, I'll draw my design ahead of time so I think I'll be able to finish the project in less than 90 minutes. Oh, and  I am Momma, Hear Me Roar was my main inspiration for this post.

What kind of crafty gifts do you like to make as birthday gifts?


  1. This is super fantastic! I bet she loved it and I know Bethany did since she knew the special love you put into making it! Great job! Hmm.. Tuesday night project?? We could bring our own supplies but just work on it together?

  2. I Love it!! What a great idea. And I agree with Amy Tuesday night project?? :)


Thanks for commenting! Be sure to leave an email address in your profile or in your comment if you'd like a reply.