Have you ever priced out a custom silkscreen t-shirt? It’s pretty expensive! Today, I’m sharing how you can make custom silkscreened shirts with your kids for under $5 each – so they can practice their hands at fashion design and you can make special shirts to celebrate just about any occasion!
If you read my Apple Box Craft post, you already know – my daughter and I tend to greet the first day back to school in tears. We both love our summers and time together so while other parents are jumping for joy, I’m contemplating homeschooling and counting down the days until the weekend.
I know. I’m a weirdo.
But, I’m really committed to teaching my daughter that she shapes her experiences – so even when we’re scared or anxious about something, we can decide to make it the Best. Day. Ever.
We can do this by adding other things to that day worth looking forward to, or reshaping how we think about the thing we’re not looking forward to – or just being willing to go with the flow and not let anything negative shape or define our day. We choose what defines our day, our lives, and ourselves.
This is the first year that I’m teaching her to establish little rituals throughout her day to center her – like I do with my morning cup of Seattle’s Best Coffee® and a bit of silent, reflection time. For kids, it could look like time to doodle, write in a journal, talking a nature walk (with no agenda), etc.
To help get my daughter in the mindset that the first day back to school can be the best day ever, we designed these cute DIY Best Day Ever Shirts using a cheap, homemade silkscreen hack.
(I also printed off some of the cute printables from the Best Day List – including the cute little lunch box notes you can see below!)
You can use this method to make just about any custom shirt design you want! It would be great for Halloween, matching shirts for special occasions – or just letting kids unleash their inner fashion designer and design their own special shirt. You could even do this as a kids’ party activity.
Mod podge and the shirts are the most expensive component of this craft – but as a bonus, you can definitely use this method on a stained shirt to get more life out of it!
Watch the video below to see just how easy this method is and then scroll down for the printable directions:
Materials Needed for DIY Screenprinting Hack
- Embroidery hoop (the same size or larger than your design)
- Nylon pantyhose
- Printed design (grab the sun design here)
- Mod Podge
- Thick marker, optional
- Fabric paints
- Cardboard or cutting board
Tip: we used a dish scrapper for the scrapper tool, but you can use a square piece of cardboard or anything you might have that’s sturdy with a flat edge and can pull around the paint.
How to Make Cheap Custom Shirt for Kids
Outline the printed or drawn design with a thick marker. Place overtop of a piece of cardboard or cutting board and set aside.
Cut your nylons down the seam to form a large square or rectangle of nylon fabric.
Open the embroidery hoop and stretch the nylon across the embroidery hoop. Add the second layer of the embroidery hoop but don’t fully tighten yet – use to to help anchor the fabric as you continue to pull it to cover the entire embroidery hoop. (Reference video.)
Tighten the embroidery hoop and then place the nylon directly onto the design.
Using a paintbrush, apply the mod podge to the “negative space” – where ever you don’t want paint to appear on your shirt. If you have a more intricate design, be sure to apply a thin layer of mod podge for the “lines” of your design. (This is where the thicker lines come in handy.)
Peel off the design and let the mod podge dry completely.
Place the cardboard or cutting board inside of the shirt (or item you want to customize) to prevent the paint from leaking through and staining the other side.
Place the embroidery hoop over the shirt and apply fabric paint where desired. Depending on the intricacy of your design, you can either paint the area using paintbrushes or scrap the paint over the design using a scrapper – we used a clean dish scraper, but just a square of cardboard will work.
Apply two coats and remove the embroidery hoop.
Let the design dry and then go back over any rough spots with extra paint. Add embellishments (rhinestones, extra paint, words) as desired.
Let dry completely before wearing.
Pin this easy DIY Silkscreen Hack for your future custom shirt projects:
Grab your free printable for this easy silkscreen shirts hack:
Miss G’s shirt has lasted through two washes and is still looking great – a good quality paint definitely helps and doesn’t have to be expensive.
To help make your own transition to back to school easier, grab a coupon for $1 off your next purchase of Seattle’s Best.
What will you use this DIY Silkscreen Hack to make? I’d love to hear about your projects – or tag me on social media if you actually do this project. I’d love to see!