Child adds handprints to Father's Day t-shirt.


Gift Idea: Paint-A-Shirt For Father’s Day

Jun 2, 2017

Fellow crafty mamas-of-the-internets: I bring you a simple, thrifty DIY project for the fabulous father of your children whom you may want to make smile come Father’s Day. Perhaps what’s even more pleasing is how overjoyed your kids will be in making their dad a special surprise — something they know he will love and wear with pride. The real challenge lies in getting them to keep quiet about it!

Stencils, paintbrushes, paint, paint trays and a t-shirt.

Follow the instructions below to make your own before you think twice about scrambling to buy something from a big box store.

Child holds up two different kinds of stencils.

You Will Need:

  • t-shirt (We chose Gildan 100% cotton ones from our local craft store since the tight weave is best for painting. You can also get them at the dollar stores!)
  • fabric paints (Paint pens optional. We chose three colours — you don’t need to spend a lot — and avoid those puffy paints as they might look fun, but they wear down after many washes.)
  • plastic letter/number stencils (You can get these at your local craft or dollar store!)
  • paintbrushes, paint tray or washable plastic plate, cup with water, damp cloth and paper towels

Child holds letter stencils on a t-shirt.


  1. Talk with your kids about what they want to paint on the shirt.
  2. Pre-wash the shirt and lay out on a plastic paint sheet or papers to protect your table.
  3. Squeeze colours into separate little blobs onto your paint tray (a little goes a long way!).
  4. Help your kid(s) practice using the paintbrush and paying attention to fine details.
  5. Assist in holding the templates in place and wiping the stencil and patting dry after each use since many letters and numbers will be on the same sheet (mistakes might happen — and that’s OK!).
  6. Hang to dry for at least 24 hours and then lay a towel over top and iron: this sets the fabric paint.
  7. Wait five days before first wash and make sure to wash it inside out.

Child paints the letter D for dad.

That’s it! You can also use bleach pens and forgo stencil and paints altogether, although bleach pens for arts and crafts generally freak me out, as does glitter.

You'll Also Love: Father's Day Gift Idea — Easy Homemade Beef Jerky Kids Can Help Make

Kids add handprints for final touch on Father's Day t-shirt.

Happy Father’s Day!

Article Author Selena Mills
Selena Mills

Read more from Selena here

A multidisciplinary creative professional and artisan, Selena has over 10 years of experience writing and editing for acclaimed publications, B2B content creation, social management, brand building, design and VA services. Passionate about elevating Indigenous and FNMI stories, perspectives and voices in digital media, she strives to build bridges renegade style. When the chaos permits, Selena is an avid four-seasons permaculture gardener and a hobby “chef” who looks for other parents to revel (and or kvetch) in motherhood with. Clearly, she doesn’t like rules, most visionaries don’t.

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