Embellished Tees for Kids

  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Embellished Tees for Kids

I love that my kids want to craft with me! And even better when it is something useful, not to mention super cute, like t-shirts.

Stock up on different colored tees when they are on sale or use tees you already have to cover stains! Here are two different techniques I used for making tees with my 4-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter.

Graphic Tees
Shirt Guitar Model

Guitar Model Tee Shirt

I have to admit I resisted trying the freezer paper stencil technique that has become popular thinking that it seemed like a hassle. And now I am here to warn you, it is addictive! I have so many ideas swirling around my head for what I can attack next for my family as well as for gifts and even with my cub scout den. With all of Fiskars' shape templates and punches, you can create your own custom stencil shapes just as you would combine shapes for paper piecings as I did here for a guitar. Or keep it simple and use a single shape like the butterfly template. My examples are all silhouettes as I love that graphic feel, but your kids could also have fun decorating the shapes with fabric puffy paints and markers.
An adult should create the stencil template and iron onto shirt so the child can paint. If the child is old enough to trace and cut, it would be a great exercise for the child to trace templates with a pencil and cut out design on their own being sure to make a beginning cut at center of template
instead of cutting from outside edge of paper.

1. Wash and dry shirt.

2. To create guitar stencil, begin with a large section of freezer paper keeping in mind the waxy side will be placed down onto the fabric. Therefore, place down onto craft mat shiny side down.


3. Cut out a number 8 using the Letters-1 Shape Template using the Ultra ShapeXpress for the body followed by the left stripe of cupcake liner from the Cupcakes & More Shape Template for the neck.

4. Punch tuning keys at top of neck using Rectangle Hand Punch and stars around guitar from WITHIN the already cut design. Create sound hole using the Pop-up Star Punch which will be a separate piece that will be ironed on with the final image.


5. Dry iron template onto shirt at medium-high setting. Be sure to place the iron straight down instead of back and forth to avoid disturbing smaller pieces. Be sure the shiny side of freezer paper is down against shirt and that all pieces are secured well after ironing. You can add another sheet of freezer paper INSIDE the shirt as well to avoid paint getting through to back of shirt.

Tip: Be sure you leave plenty of room around the stenciled design to cover most of the shirt to avoid stray paint marks. You can add additional pieces of freezer paper around the template at this time as well.


6. Now it's time for the child to paint! You should of course protect their clothes and work surface since we are using fabric paint. If you didn't iron freezer paper INSIDE the shirt with the previous step, slip in a piece of cardboard now to avoid paint getting through to back. Show the child how to pick up a small amount of paint (add some to a plastic plate for ease) with foam brush and tap onto fabric through stencil. It's important not to brush back and forth instead as you could push paint under freezer paper. Continue tapping until design is filled. You can very gently smooth out any rough spots being sure to brush away from edges of design. Depending on quality of fabric paint used, you will need between 1 and 3 coats. Allow to dry between coats which can be sped up with a hair dryer.

7. Once paint is completely dry, pull off stencil and heat set according to paint directions.

8. To create the butterfly shirt, cut largest butterfly from Butterflies-1 template and iron onto bottom front corner of tee following same steps as above.

Flower Tee

My daughter is really into the embellished tee trend, but the styles can be very expensive. Making one herself not only saved money but made her feel so proud.

1. Buy two of the same t-shirt on clearance. Wash and dry. T-shirts are a great material for kids to cut up since you don't have to worry about fraying.


2. Have child trace the four smallest circles on the Circles-1 Shape Template three times each onto spare t-shirt using disappearing ink fabric marker and cut out with No. 5 Pointed-tip Scissors for Kids 5+.


3. Group the circles into three stacks in ascending sizes. Beginning with smallest circle, tap little dots of washable fabric adhesive all over back and place it onto the next largest circle in size. Continue on back of that circle and place onto next largest, and continue same step onto largest circle. I used a product called Unique Stitch which is non-toxic and water soluble before drying. It is important to dot the adhesive all around so the flower can keep its shape instead of rolling up. Allow to dry fully according to package instructions.

4. Once dry, an adult can sew onto neckline of t-shirt and top with button or sew onto velcro so you can switch out with other flowers to add versatility!

Supply List


Fabric paint (high quality is worth it)

Foam brushes

Freezer paper



Washable fabric adhesive

Disappearing ink fabric marker