Fun T-Shirt Crafts for Kids

T-shirt crafts are one of the most exciting activities for kids because they get to enjoy the finished project long after the fun is over. Tie-dying, drawing with bleach pens, painting, stenciling, and stamping can all be done with large or small groups of kids with a relatively small amount of cleanup. Make sure to provide lots of paint colors, containers, paper towels, and in the case of stamping and stenciling, several pre-made design options. White is usually the best choice for these kinds of crafts (and the cheapest option) so look for bulk discounts. When creating stamps and stencils ahead of time, consider going with a theme—sea life (starfish, boats, fish) and animals (dinosaurs, elephants, owls) are popular choices.

Tie Dye

Tie dying is arguably the most fun t-shirt craft to do with children because it is such a fun, inclusive activity. Students can involve themselves by tying up a t-shirt with rubber bands and dipping each section into their favorite colors. The finished product will be a fun, brightly colored shirt with a pattern unique to them! Getting started with tie dying is easier than you might think—all you need are gloves, several colors of RIT dye, large buckets or bowls, and lots of rubber bands.

First, have the kids pick out a few boxes of dye in their favorite colors. You can use many colors or only a few, just be careful not to let them mix. Remember that specific patterns can be created by tying the shirts a certain way, so have instructions handy in case a few kids want to try a sunburst or striped pattern. Otherwise, just let them freestyle and see what comes out! (A tip: dry shirts will create a more defined pattern, while wetting the fabric beforehand will leave you with a design that “flows”.)

For a fun change, use Kool-Aid in place of RIT dye (this is an especially good idea if younger children are involved). Shirts made with Kool-Aid won’t have the same staying power as those made with fabric dye, but it’s a much safer alternative for little ones.


There are several design techniques that can really showcase kids' creativity—drawing with bleach pens, crayons, and sharpies are all great ways to let the kids go a little wild. Washable crayon t-shirts are excellent for kids because they can be colored over and over after each wash. All you have to do is print out several coloring book pages and lightly sketch (or trace) a design onto the front of each t-shirt. Then, go over the lines with a black fabric marker and have the kids color in the picture with washable crayons.

Bleach or fabric pens are another fun idea—just lay the shirt flat and slip a piece of wax paper underneath to prevent bleeding. A design can be traced on with chalk or you can let the kids draw freehand, but remember that bleach spreads-- so make sure to stick to simple designs.


Stencils are another popular way to involve kids in t-shirt design and they can be created with freezer paper in just a few minutes. First, have the kids sketch their designs onto regular paper. You can then re-draw a very neat version onto another sheet of paper and then trace it onto the freezer paper. After carefully cutting out the design with an x-acto knife and taping it to the shirt, have the kids sponge on the fabric paint. Make sure to leave the stencil on the t-shirt until the paint is completely dry, and then peel it off slowly. Done!


Sponge painting can be a fun activity for larger groups of kids because it requires so few materials. Simply cut household sponges into fun shapes like hearts, stars, circles, and leaves, and have a rainbow of paint colors available for the kids to experiment with. After sponging on their designs, they can embellish with paintbrushes (make sure to have several sizes lying around!) and add extra swirls or outlines with glitter paint.

For older kids, fabric spray paint is a great option. All you need to do is draw or print a silhouette design, cut it out, and tape it to the front of a shirt. Go outside or to a very well-ventilated area and spray all around your image, making sure to spray the edges so that the design will be well-defined. Let the paint dry, remove the paper, and ta-dah! The design will show up as a negative image on the shirt.


Stamping is a quick and easy t-shirt craft that can be done with materials from around the house. Potato stamps are very popular—simply cut a potato in half, have the kids draw an image on the flat surface (hearts, stars, and smiley faces are fun choices), cut them out with an x-acto knife, and use them like regular stamps. Stamps can also be created out of Styrofoam and cookie cutters—just press out designs with the cookie cutter, rub the edges with wax to remove any extra foam (you can use a candle), and start stamping!