An Easy T-Shirt Craft for Kids

Our family has participated in 4H for what seems like forever.  I cannot remember the number of years exactly, but I know it has been a good, long while.  We have enjoyed our experience.

In addition to the many other 4H events we join, our children have an opportunity to participate in a judged competition held at our local fairgrounds every summer.  Coming up with creative (and new) project ideas for the fair can sometimes be a challenge.  Each of the girls have different interests, talents, and skill levels.  In addition, I am often the project assistant.  There are only so many hours in the day for one mom to assist three girls with a couple dozen fair projects.

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Over the years, I have learned one very important rule regarding 4H fair projects: we absolutely must not procrastinate.  Procrastination is the death of any decent 4H project.  It leads to one of two outcomes: poor work or failure to finish.

Our fair charges money against the accounts of 4H-ers who fail to show up with their registered projects.  Our frugal family does not handle that well.  And poor work?  Well, what is the point of participating, then?  Therefore, we always get an early start on projects, so as to complete quality work on time.

With the exception of baking projects, which must be done at the last minute, we try to finish everything up by the end of June.  Fair judging is always early to mid-July, and that gives us plenty of time to remedy any malfunctions and catastrophes.  For this summer’s fair, our older girls only have minor work left to complete on latch hook, cross stitch, and sewing projects.  Their dyed eggs and photography entries are finished.  Baking recipes have had a test run and everyone knows what they need to do next month.

Our youngest daughter is classified as a “Cloverbud” in 4H.  This is the category for young 4H members.  Her responsibilities to the club are less than if she were an older member (she cannot hold an elected office) and her monetary rewards at the fair are less than they will be some day.

It only makes sense to me that the projects our little Cloverbud submits for judging at the fair should be fairly easy to complete.  She is required to verbally present her project to a judge and answer basic questions about its completion and construction.  Complicated projects are difficult to explain.  In addition, they require a lot less actual effort from the child and parents end up doing a bulk of the work.  I do not like that.  I want my daughter to be proud of her own work!

This year she is making:

  • Homemade crayons
  • Animal cookies
  • A latch hook project
  • Perler beads
  • Dyed eggs
  • A T-Shirt project

The eggs, perler beads, and crayons are done.  The latch hook needs minor finishing.  Animal cookies will wait until July.  And yesterday we finished the T-Shirt.  It was easy and really fun, so I thought I would share it here.

I found the initial process on Pinterest, but I wanted to simplify it into a few less steps for our own purposes.  Also, I thought we could adapt procedures slightly to utilize materials we already had on hand.  The project cost me a whopping $2.39, the cost of the T-Shirt after a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby.

And after the fair?  She can wear it.  Proudly.

Dot Frame T-Shirt Project for Kids

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Materials Needed:

  • A blank T-shirt, any color, new or used
  • Fabric markers (I used the kind that do not have to be set with heat.)
  • A thick sheet of cardboard (For inside the shirt.)
  • A piece of thin cardboard or card-stock big enough for your design.
  • Masking tape.

Directions:

  • Determine the outline shape you want on your T-Shirt.  Our daughter wanted a simple Mickey Mouse head, but you could do just about anything.  Draw your shape onto card-stock and cut it out.

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  • Spread the T-Shirt out on a flat surface, working out any folds or wrinkles.  Place a thick sheet of cardboard inside the shirt.  This will prevent bleed-through from the markers onto the back of your shirt.
  • Tape the card-stock shape you cut out onto the shirt in the location of your choice with the masking tape.

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  • Using your fabric markers, slowly outline the perimeter of the shape onto the T-Shirt using dots placed a few millimeters apart.
  • Once the initial outline of the shirt is complete, leave the card-stock in place and use other fabric marker colors of your choice to create a 1 to 2-inch border of random colors around the shape.
  • Remove the card-stock outline, leaving blank space underneath.
  • At this point, we set our shirt on a shelf (with the cardboard still inserted inside) overnight to dry.  If you used fabric markers that required heat setting, then the manufacturer’s directions would need to be followed.

Do you have fun and easy fair projects for kids to complete?  Send me an email or comment below!