Monday, January 23, 2012

Sweeten Up Your Wardrobe: Simple DIY Doily Stencil T-Shirt

Whether you're a Valentine's Day person or not, this T-shirt craft is too cute and quick to pass up!
Make this sweet shirt in less than 10 minutes!
I admit it, I'm one of those perpetually festive people who takes advantage of any and every opportunity to dress all matchy-matchy and accessorize on a theme. When my husband and I first started dating, he told me one of the things he loved most about me was how cute it was that I had a color-coded outfit to go along with every holiday.

Although I do have a fair number of red shirts (it's our school color, and every Friday is school spirit day), I don't have any Valentine's-specific ones. So when I saw this craft idea in the February issue of Disney's Family Fun magazine, I knew I had to try it and share it with you all!
This is all you'll need!
You'll need:
*A shirt (I got mine on clearance for $3.60 at Target!)
*Fabric paint (I used Tulip Soft in Scarlet Pearl)
*A paper doily; browse here on Amazon (I used an 8" heart, you can choose your own shape and size to suit your taste)
*A foam stencil brush (the Family Fun instructions called for a plunger-shaped one, but at Michael's the kind I bought was way cheaper, and it worked fine)
*A glue stick
*Newspaper or cardboard to put under the shirt when painting
*A dish or plate to squeeze the paint out on to
*A paper clip or toothpick
*Little nail scissors are helpful, but not completely necessary

See those little bits of paper still stuck in the doily?
Start out by using the paper clip or toothpick to poke out all the paper bits. 
My doily had some little blocks that weren't punched out at all, so that's where the nail scissors came in handy to cut them out.
Once the doily's ready, put the newspaper or cardboard inside the shirt, under where you're going to put the design. This is to protect the shirt from paint soaking through on to the back. 
Dab some glue on to the back of the doily. BE CAREFUL, just put on a bit. I made my first mistake here by really layering it on, which made for a lot of frustration later (you'll see what I mean in a minute).
Place the doily on the shirt and smooth down. I lined the top of the heart up with the armpits of the shirt, but I would suggest doing it a bit higher; I think mine came out looking a little too low.
Squeeze some paint on to the container or plate.
Get paint on your brush and dab it all over the doily to fill in every white space. Make sure you use an up-and-down dabbing motion. I brushed back and forth in some spots, and that made it harder to pull the doily off later.
Use just a corner of the brush on the edges of the doily, where you have to be really careful that you don't go out of the design.
Check your design to make sure you covered all the white spots with paint.
Once you've made sure you've filled the design, pull off the doily. DON'T wait until the paint is dry. I did wait, and look what happened!
I attribute this slight disaster to three mistakes: putting on too much glue, brushing instead of dabbing the paint, and letting the paint dry before I took off the doily. It took nearly an hour to pick every little bit of doily paper out of the dried paint.
At this point I actually gave up and called it a failed project, but some you-can-do-it-and-for-God's-sake-stop-whining talk from my parents and husband got me to take a second look and realize I could salvage it. It was really annoying, though.
Also, my sweater was a mess after having to pick off all that paper. So I say again, pull off the paper doily as soon as you're finished painting. The alternative is a real bizznatch.
In the end, you'll end up with this ADORABLE design! Let it dry and set according to the instructions for your particular fabric paint. I let mine dry flat all day, and I'm going to heat set it tomorrow with an iron. Also, be sure to wash cold, inside out.
Isn't it pretty? The design looks kind of Scandinavian to me, which is one of my favorite winter styles!
If red and hearts isn't your thing, try it out with a round doily and a different colored shirt and paint to suit your style. Whatever you do, let us know how it goes by commenting below!


  1. So Cute. Found you from Pinterest! I'm gonna make one for my daughter. She already has a red shirt so maybe I'll use that one with white paint.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jess! It makes me so excited to get a new reader! Let me know how it goes with the white paint. I'm always hesitant that it won't be opaque enough. I bet if you dab over everything twice it'll be fine. Good luck!

  2. Cool, I'm gonna try this out. Love to try out new craft projects!

    1. I'm so glad! I'd love to see a pic when you're done! And don't hesitate to come back here and ask questions!

  3. So much fun. Thank you for all the pointers! I am going to try this out with my Brownie Troupe on Friday... Wish me luck!

    1. What a great idea! I'm sure the girls will love it. Have fun!

  4. Thanks for all the cool info! I'm going to try one tonight if I can find the paper doilies tonight! It looks easy to do, pretty and fun! Karen

    1. You'll get lots of compliments when you start wearing your new shirt! Everyone just loves mine when I wear it at work! Best wishes, and thanks for the comment!

  5. Since the glue stick washes out I wonder if you could have just put your shirt in a basin of water until the paper just pulled off in the water instead of taking and hour to pick it all off. I bought some very nice shirts at a second hand shop that were brand name and very nice, so it will make an inexpensive gift. I got my doilies at party city and I wonder if you found old ones of fabric at a second hand store you could just use them over for that purpose and wash when done.

    1. Hi! I thought about just trying to wash it out, but I was too determined to get it done as soon as possible (too impatient to wait for the wash cycle!). That's a great suggestion though for anyone else who might run into that problem!

      I'm sure whoever receives these shirts as a gift will love them!

  6. Hi again Elizabeth!
    I'm glad that I stumbled onto your web-site! I made heart shirts for 5 different friends last night and your suggestions were great! I even made a few with multiple hearts! One with a heart right side up and unside down like a reflection and another with one large heart and 2 smaller hearts! Thanks again for your great advice! KAREN :)

    1. Very neat, I love the idea of adding some extra hearts! I'm sure your friends will love their new shirts. Happy Valentine's Day!

  7. I know this is an old post, but I have, like others, recently discovered your blog from Pinterest and love it. Like others have said, you're so down to earth and real. I am slowly working my way through your posts and couldn't resist commenting on this one.

    I especially appreciate all the bloopers, so to speak. You're mishaps show us that we're not perfect and really do provide great warnings for what not to do.

    Let's face it, if you don't tell us what went wrong, we'll probably do the wrong things too!

    This is a super cute project. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Dear Misty,

      Thank you so much for your kind-hearted comment. It means so much, because one of my main goals is to "pave the way" for other aspiring "farm girls" like me, and to make it seem possible in our busy modern day life. I'm sooo glad you like it!

      Stick around, I hope to chat again on here!



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