Simple Father’s Day Polo Shirt

When I was growing up, we always bought my Dad a Father’s Day t-shirt with Snoopy on it.  You can’t find those 1990s Snoopy shirts anymore though, to my knowledge at least; so I made my own!  I think he’s going to like it.  If you’d like to make one, check out the process below!

1.  Buy a polo shirt.  I bought this one at Wal-Mart for $8 yesterday.  It is extremely soft, and light-weight, which I don’t see as a disadvantage given the heat!  I think that the paint goes on smoother on this smooth cotton than it would on the mesh polos (which also happen to be a tad more expensive).  You could also use a regular cotton t-shirt.  PREWASH your shirt.  If it shrinks later, it will do strange things to your design.  While I wash pretty much everything on cold, I went with warm water this time, since he may wash it that way.

2.  Print whatever graphics you want to use on your shirt, at the scale you want them to be on your shirt.  I used a free font, Agent Orange, for the “#1 Dad”, and printed the little Snoopy graphic I found online.  This is a licensed character, so I definitely could not sell this shirt, but I *think* it’s okay to copy for personal use like this.  It’s not any different than making a shirt with your favorite football team’s logo, as far as I know.

3. Place a piece of freezer paper (similar to wax paper, but it actually says “freezer paper” on the box) on top of your printed words/logos, waxy side DOWN, and papery side UP.  Trace your words/logos.

4.  Cut out the inside of the logos and letters, and anywhere you want to paint.  SAVE the little pieces inside letters, like the D and A in this case.  If you don’t, you won’t have a hole in the middle of those letters.

5.  Attach your stencil to the shirt by ironing (low heat).  Simply place the stencil where it goes, and iron over the top of it, moving constantly, for about ten seconds or so.  It will stick.  Be sure no edges are peeling up, or your paint will escape underneath.

6.  Iron on the little tiny pieces that go inside the letters; the D, A, D and number sign, in this case.

7.  Paint inside the stencil.  You can use special fabric paint or normal acrylic paints.  Be sure to paint using an up-and-down motion with your brush (i.e. stippling), NOT a side-to-side sweeping motion like you would use when painting a picture.  This will keep the paint from going under the edges of your stencil.

8.  If you only need one coat, remove the stencil after letting the paint dry for only a minute or two, while it is still wet.  I needed three coats of white for this project, to cover the blue shirt.  If you’re painting onto a white shirt, you should only need one coat.  I removed my stencil while the third coat was drying.

9.  Remove the tiny pieces inside the letters with tweezers.

10.  For this design, it wasn’t practical to cut out all the tiny areas that needed to be stenciled, so I just stenciled the major part of it, which was all in white.  Then I used a Sharpie for all of the black in the design.  I did all of the lines in Sharpie, and filled in paint in the little tiny spaces for tools and tool belt.

11.  When it’s completely dry, place a thin cloth over the design, and iron on top of the cloth.  Don’t let the paint touch the iron.  You’re heat setting the design, so it doesn’t come off in the wash.

And, you’re finished!!!

Stop by these link parties in which I’m participating for more fun ideas!  And watch for more details/tutorials from the Amazon rainforest party tomorrow!


2 thoughts on “Simple Father’s Day Polo Shirt

  1. Brilliant! Just Brilliant! I’ve wanted to purchase a pregnant t-shirt with Baby with an arrow pointing down but I could never find my size. Now I can make one. Does this process work with larger designs? Thanks for the great idea. Renea.

    • This process works just the same with larger designs, it just requires more paint! I’m sure your shirt will turn out very well! And, for the record, I’m just passing on the idea; freezer-paper stenciling has been utilized by many in crafty blogland!

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