Shirt Painting Designs, Tips and Techniques

Shirt paints are inexpensive, easy to use, and fun for adults or kids. Find the paints at a store that sells fabrics. There are many quick and easy designs that you can do on a tee shirt to make it look totally different. Available in single bottles or packs of “metallic paints” or “pearl paints”, the paints require little effort to apply. The tip of the bottle is tiny allowing you to squirt the paint directly onto the shirt for writing or drawing. If you’re a fair artist you can use brushes to draw on the designs but if stick people are more within your talent range try some of these tips and techniques for awesome-looking shirts.

Smooth tee shirt out well on a hard surface. Choose one color in glitter or opal paint. This is the color you’ll use to make the entire design of a star burst pattern. Fold about a third of the shirt backwards, at the bottom. On the remainder of the shirt find the approximate center and squeeze out a rather large dot. Get the roundest-looking dot you can get by holding the paint over the area, straight up and down, and squeezing easily. Do not move the tube around or back and forth. The dot should be about the size of a nickel and well-rounded.

Now place a considerably smaller dot at six points around the first dot. These dots should be a little smaller than a dime. Place the first two at the side center area on each side of the first dot. Space two more across the top, divided evenly. Place two more across the bottom, divided evenly. Stay about an inch and a half away from the original dot when you place the next six dots. When you’re finished painting the first two sets of dots you should have one large dot with six smaller ones circling it.

Begin at one of the top circling dots and place another dot above it. The dot should be barely smaller than the previous one. Make another dot above that one, slightly smaller, then another, slightly smaller. Continue this until you have a line of dots which travels towards the collar/shoulder area. Stop short of making the line of dots go all the way to the collar/shoulder. Instead, place about 8 to 10 dots in a row and stop. Do the same thing to each of the dots that are circling the largest dot, making sure that you get smaller and smaller as the line of dots continues. Leave about an inch between each dot. Now you should have one large dot in the center, circled by six smaller dots, then lines of dots coming out of each of those.

Between the lines of dots you now have wide spaces. Start at the center point between two lines of dots, up close to the center dot. Begin placing dots in a row keeping them centered between two of the previous lines of dots. This new line of dots should be even smaller than the ones on either side of it. This line of dots should continue past the sets on either side of it and reach up to the shoulder area, off to the side of the shirt, and down low towards the bottom of the shirt. You should see a definite pattern of a star that has blown apart.

Untuck the folded bottom part of the shirt. Here and there, all around the shirt, put a stray “star”. Just a dot of the glitter paint is all it will take to make each star. Place them randomly around the shirt at the collar and shoulder areas, the sides of the shirt, in between the drawn lines of dots, and down towards the bottom. Place more down towards the bottom to give the appearance of pieces falling from the exploding star.

Make a scribble shirt by first smoothing it out onto a hard surface. Metallic or pearl paints are great for this project. Stand over the top of the shirt and simply squeeze a color out, just letting it scribble around, here and there on the shirt. There’s no need to let it dry before moving to the next step. Take another color and begin squeezing it over the shirt, allowing paint to fall where it may. Be sure and let some paint fall on the collar and some on the sleeve fronts. Proceed with as many paints as you’d like. This is a unique and fun look that even a child can do.

Fold a piece of paper into a triangle and trace around it on the shirt with black paint. Tuck one point of the bottom of the triangle behind the paper and lay it against the original triangle. Trace around it. This will give you one pyramid with another in the background. Use small lines to draw a broken line down the center of each of the pyramids. Leave one side of the pyramid blank but use broken lines to emulate bricks on the other. Do this by starting at the bottom half, beside the center line, and drawing broken lines over to the outer edge of the pyramid. Go up about a half-inch and use broken lines to make the next set of bricks. Continue doing this until both pyramids are bricked on one half.

Overhead, alternate orange and yellow paints to make a sun. Draw the lines to form a circle of yellow, orange, yellow, orange and so forth. Raise up above this circle of lines and start another circle of lines using the orange/yellow pattern in between and above the original set.

Make simple palm trees that are standing in the foreground by using brown lines to make the trunk. Start by making a brown line, about a half-inch long, horizontally. Leave an eighth-inch space and make the next horizontal line. Continue leaving an eighth-inch space before making the next line and the next. Don’t simply go straight up with the tree trunk; allow it to curve and twist around the pyramids. As the tree trunk gets taller the lines should become shorter and shorter.

When the tree is as tall as you want use green paint to make the palm leaves. Start by making a small green line beside the top of the tree trunk. Make another beside it and another beside it, until the green lines encircle the top of the tree trunk. From each of these lines begin making parallel lines that extend outwards. The lines should start out about a half-inch long, then slowly taper off until the last ones are mere dots. Don’t make your leaves go straight outwards; have some curve down to point towards the ground and others that go up then slightly curve. This is a simplistic design that is very easy to do.

Make cute kids shirts by drawing a simplistic swing using just lines for the frame, swings and slide. Draw stick-people kids on the swings and slide, and others playing nearby. Make a sun overhead with yellow and orange lines formed into a circle. Make simplistic trees with apples or a sandbox with a couple of kids playing.

Personalize shirts for your kids by spelling their name in a vertical manner. Use each letter of their name to write a word that describes your child. For example, if your child’s name is “David”, write it downward on the shirt. Beside the first “D” write “aring” to form the word “Daring”. For the “a” use a word like “artistic”, and so on. Write the letters of their name in one color and the other letters in another color so that the name stands out more.

Make easy flowers on a shirt by starting with a dot. Make six smaller dots and place them in positions to surround the original dot. Now use green paint and make a line coming out of one end of the flower. Allow the stem to curve rather than painting it straight downward. Shape one or two leaves on the stem.

If you’re simply no artist use a coloring page to make your design. Poke holes in the outline of any coloring page. Lay the page on the shirt and use a pen to color through the pin holes and onto the shirt. Now use paints to cover the pen marks and you have a beautiful outline design. Color in with paints or leave as an outline.

There are lots of simplistic designs you can do on shirts. Look at some objects around your house and consider brushing some paint on them and stamping them on your shirt. You’ll be surprised at how much of an artist you really are.

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