Make Thanksgiving Tee Shirts for Kids with Sulky Pens and Paint

Make easy transfers with Sulky pens and paint a child's holiday T shirt!
Make easy transfers with Sulky pens and paint a child's holiday T shirt! | Source

Thanksgiving Tee Shirts Created with Sulky Pens and Craft Paints


If you are familiar with my previous tee shirt hubs for kids then you know how much fun I have creating something special around holidays for my grandchildren.

Hopefully, my work will give them a big smile, and, at the very least, they will have a little extra hug of love from their Grandmama during Thanksgiving's season.

Creating iron-on transfers for making painted tee shirts can be done in a few nearly effortless steps:

• Draw or copy your design.

• Take a photo and upload it to your computer if it isn't already there.

• Flip the image if words are included.

• Print the image.

• Trace the image with Sulky transfer pens.

• Iron the image onto a T shirt.

• Paint the image with bright colors or in a monochromatic drawing style.


Last year, my owls were a hit (see links below), but this year a last minute trip to see them left me with little time to do all original work. Sulky pens to the rescue! Though each one of this year’s designs has something original from me in them, all but one began with a transfer from a coloring book.

You’ll find the projects in the photos below. See how easy it is to create something special for your little ones and let me know what you think about this season’s tee shirts in the comments below. I’ll start with the youngest and go to the oldest since I made two designs for him.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Remember to flip the design if using words on a transfer.Too bad the gold paint highlights don't show up in my photos!A cute Thanksgiving onesie for a little guy.
Remember to flip the design if using words on a transfer.
Remember to flip the design if using words on a transfer. | Source
Too bad the gold paint highlights don't show up in my photos!
Too bad the gold paint highlights don't show up in my photos! | Source
A cute Thanksgiving onesie for a little guy.
A cute Thanksgiving onesie for a little guy. | Source

My 2013 Tee Shirts


For the youngest of our little brood I worked from an idea that had clearly been created very simply with the shapes tools of a computer.

Simple circles, a triangle, a quote box, and the freehand drawing option allowed me to quickly put this one together and next use a selected font in a text box for my own quote.

Filling in the geometric shapes with craft paint after the transfer was added to the shirts and adding metallic gold highlights gave this duck egg blue onesie a turkey design for sweet SJ’s first Thanksgiving, who will be 5 months old then.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A closeup of the reversed transfer created with Sulky pens.Transfer ironed on and embellished with craft paints mixed with paint medium.Colors are not true, but you can still see the cuteness.  :)
A closeup of the reversed transfer created with Sulky pens.
A closeup of the reversed transfer created with Sulky pens. | Source
Transfer ironed on and embellished with craft paints mixed with paint medium.
Transfer ironed on and embellished with craft paints mixed with paint medium. | Source
Colors are not true, but you can still see the cuteness.  :)
Colors are not true, but you can still see the cuteness. :) | Source


Our delightful two-year-old AG will be announcing how much she likes pumpkin pie in her teal T shirt.

The pumpkin and the π sign were straightforward symbols to find and I drew the I and the heart, as well as the scrolling with leaves.

Again, this transfer was effortlessly painted after it was applied to the shirt. The photographed colors are not showing true but this is also highlighted with metallic gold.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Reversed transfer image ready to go.Close up of painted design, but again, I could not get true colors in my shots or get the metallics to show in the pics.Ironed and ready for Thanksgiving!
Reversed transfer image ready to go.
Reversed transfer image ready to go. | Source
Close up of painted design, but again, I could not get true colors in my shots or get the metallics to show in the pics.
Close up of painted design, but again, I could not get true colors in my shots or get the metallics to show in the pics. | Source
Ironed and ready for Thanksgiving!
Ironed and ready for Thanksgiving! | Source


CW is our 3-year-old cute little precious pun’kin and her turkey tells us what she likes, as well.

I drew her design and found just the right font for the "Pun’kin Pie" lettering. Gold highlights here, too, with some metallic copper paint incorporated into the dots and lettering.

Transferring all of the designs after tracing and painting them, I let the paint dry according to package directions. Then a sheet of paper went underneath and on top to protect from bleed through as I heat set the painted patterns with my iron.

Happy Thanksgiving with The Dog: Number 1

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Adding words/quotes to a design can be done by hand or with a computer.Angling designs adds interest and helps solve centering issues.Another T shirt ready for the Thanksgiving season.
Adding words/quotes to a design can be done by hand or with a computer.
Adding words/quotes to a design can be done by hand or with a computer. | Source
Angling designs adds interest and helps solve centering issues.
Angling designs adds interest and helps solve centering issues. | Source
Another T shirt ready for the Thanksgiving season.
Another T shirt ready for the Thanksgiving season. | Source


Sugar pie EM, our soon-to-be 4 year old, is old enough to enjoy Snoopy’s Thanksgiving from a coloring book. Sharing a “Happy Thanksgiving!” with others is right up her alley.

I did get two for one on this transfer, but I traced and painted them with slight differences (see the 6 year old’s shirt below). Hers has two font styles, for instance, with confetti dots to highlight it.

Putting these designs on an angle gave their appearance a bit of depth, and this one does not have as much gold highlighting, which was actually more effective.

Happy T-Day with The Dog: Number 2

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A more grown up font and design was needful for a growing up boy.His shirt is a darker teal than the girls.His design was the largest since he's grown so much!
A more grown up font and design was needful for a growing up boy.
A more grown up font and design was needful for a growing up boy. | Source
His shirt is a darker teal than the girls.
His shirt is a darker teal than the girls. | Source
His design was the largest since he's grown so much!
His design was the largest since he's grown so much! | Source


6 year old T is quite the big boy now and definitely not into the babyish designs of previous years. He, however, does like Charlie Brown’s themes so announcing that “It’s Thanksgiving!” made a good to go shirt for him.

A little larger and bolder, his design is more masculine, and yet perfect for a great little kid. Snoopy will give him a chuckle during the holiday’s season, I hope! He’ll also know that his grandmama was thinking about him as being more grown up.

If you like these designs or if a different idea for one strikes you and you get busy creating one, it would be neat to see your work in a hub!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Located lower right side of the shirt, this was a simple design to trace, drawing is another story!Closer up you can see my errors.  :)
Located lower right side of the shirt, this was a simple design to trace, drawing is another story!
Located lower right side of the shirt, this was a simple design to trace, drawing is another story! | Source
Closer up you can see my errors.  :)
Closer up you can see my errors. :) | Source


T is a lover of Legos--big news for a boy, huh? My Lego car picture is a little askew, but he didn't seem to mind. Much thanks to Pearse for the coloring page that helped me with the idea/drawing! The long sleeved gray tee shirt is soft enough to sleep and play in so I hope T gets a lot of fun wear out of it.

Sorry I didn't get a full shot of this one because the design is not center front as the others are. Maybe you can see that it is on the lower right front. The next time I draw him a vehicle I plan to put a road around and up to the back center with a traffic light or road sign design at the end.

Fabric Painting

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Designing Tips


• All fabrics should be washed and dryer dried without fabric softener before a transfer and/or paint is added, whether it is a garment or otherwise. Starches in new fabrics will prevent the designs from sticking.

• Craft paints mixed with medium make an easy to use paint that is made permanent by ironing after the paint’s dry time is over. Be sure to place a clean paper or cloth under the design and use the same over the top to protect the ironing board cover and iron. Press to set the paint. It is a good idea to have a separate craft iron for this project, just in case you get paint on the iron.

• Think through the paint colors you want to use ahead of time, making sure the combinations will give the effect your want to achieve. If it is crucial that colors are true you may want to do a sample project up to make sure the color of the shirt will not affect the outcome.

• When using Sulky pens for this craft remember that words must be reversed. I take a photo/screen shot of my final design and use the flip feature on my computer to print it. A light box can also be used when tracing to reverse the words. Any other features of the pattern that you do not want backwards must be also be flipped in the same way.

• Though I’ve not yet reused the transfers I’ve created, it is my understanding that they can be reused many times. This would make them extra easy and a lot of fun for parties, family reunions, and more. Kid’s would enjoy seeing their drawn designs on tote bags, and I saw a set of cloth coasters painted with fall leaves--think hostess gifts!

Use Sulky Transfer Pens

You can see my previous create-a-tee-shirt hubs via these links:


• Thanksgiving, 2012, owls were the theme for four grandchildren’s T shirts. It is lovely that this year I had five shirts to paint!

Fourth of July T shirts, one for a boy and one for a girl.

• Toddler sized Fourth of July T shirts.

Valentines Day is a great day for a painted T shirt.

• Even boys can have painted T shirts on Valentines Day.


A Design Idea for Faded T Shirts:

More T Shirt Painting Info:



• FAQ's about fabric painting.

Some history on fabric painting/printing.


Demonstrating Sulky Pens:

Grandchildren are Precious Gifts Who need Our Prayers:


As we work to protect our youngest children from the world's harsh realities (that they will soon enough discover) and teach them gentleness, love, and grace, the need to pray for them is urgent. I've posted some of my work to that end here at HubPages both to encourage other Christians to pray for their own and to share some of my poetry for them with others. I plan to soon post one of these for our brand new grandson.

A love note to T, our first grandchild and first grandson.

With love to EM, our second grandchild and first granddaughter.

With love to CW, our third grandchild and second granddaughter.

A love note to AG, our fourth grandchild and third granddaughter.


Also see:

An interesting look at growing families can be found at this NBC report.

A short story look at an innovative foster care idea for children in need.



More by this Author


What do you think of this year's Thanksgiving T shirt designs? 44 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Super duper and fun. I want one. We are going to make a mess here! So be it!

Thanks a lot.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey Author

Ericdierker:

Thanks kindly for your visit and feedback here. Hope you enjoy your mess and make a great memory out of the project!


StephSev108 profile image

StephSev108 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

This looks so fun. Thanks for the awesome hub!


epbooks profile image

epbooks 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Looks very cute and so much fun! Great explanation!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey Author

StephSev108:

So appreciate that you checked out this craft hub and left your encouraging comment!


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    RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni1,398 Followers
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    Robertatalloni means creativity. Whether in writing, or in more typical art forms, artistry (and a bit of fun) must be part of the work.



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