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Painted Tee Shirt Designs for Boys

Updated on January 27, 2018
RTalloni profile image

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

Design and paint t-shirts that are just right for the boys!
Design and paint t-shirts that are just right for the boys! | Source

Boys and Painted Tee Shirts

When boys are babies, it is easy to plan out designs to paint on their little tee shirts, but they grow up fast and it is not long before they want to wear big boy clothes with no hint of anything that could be mistaken as babyish or girlish.

Staying ahead of the game means thinking older than the boys are but not too old, and paying attention to their interests and finding a way to put a new twist on them. That's been an interesting mental exercise as well as fun stuff to do for our little guys.

Three Examples

The examples shown in the photos below were created for a baby boy and a bigger boy. Oh Boy! was fun to paint in vibrant colors, and the airplane under the sun was created while thinking of how high this little guy might fly.

The planet project turned out to also be a study in impressionistic art, and after its completion I learned that in spite of the fact that I took the idea from a NASA graphic, my oldest grandson decidedly knows that Pluto is no longer considered part of our solar system.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
For a flying high little guy!Airplane sized to fit a onesie.
For a flying high little guy!
For a flying high little guy! | Source
Airplane sized to fit a onesie.
Airplane sized to fit a onesie. | Source


Painting tee shirts is a craft that's been around for a long time now, but they are still a lot of fun both to make and to see the kids enjoy.

"Oh Boy!" was an extra project just because I was in the mood to experiment with Doodle Art on tee shirts. This one turned out okay--it is definitely bright and fun--but now that I have more experience with using this method to make them I'm planning some summer projects.

This airplane isn't something the little guy wearing it will really recognize, but his sisters will think it is cute stuff and such. A simple drawing, some bright bold colors, and a little time were all it took to produce a tee to smile about.

Three tee shirt designs for boys little and big.
Three tee shirt designs for boys little and big. | Source

Sulky transfer pens make creating original iron-ons a simple task. They are reusable which makes investing in the pens and taking the time well worth it to me.

Mixing colors for more grown up designs is easy when you are prepared with small cups, water, and a stir stick (a bamboo skewer works well for small amounts of craft paint).

Oftentimes a design will blossom as you paint it. I did not intend for this solar system to be exactly like it turned out, but am very happy with the outcome.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Impressionistic solar system tee shirt design.Iron-on transfers with shirts.
Impressionistic solar system tee shirt design.
Impressionistic solar system tee shirt design. | Source
Iron-on transfers with shirts.
Iron-on transfers with shirts. | Source

Supplies and the Method


To make a shirt like one of mine to give to a little boy you know will require the following supplies:

• A blank tee shirt

• A drawn design

• Sulky Iron On Transfer Pens

• Craft Paint

• Textile Medium

• Fine tipped paint brushes

• Clean Paper to insert in shirt

• Clean Paper to use when heat setting paint


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Oh Boy! is always a fun baby boy's quote to make a design around.Sulky Iron On Transfers are reusable so remember to store them.
Oh Boy! is always a fun baby boy's quote to make a design around.
Oh Boy! is always a fun baby boy's quote to make a design around. | Source
Sulky Iron On Transfers are reusable so remember to store them.
Sulky Iron On Transfers are reusable so remember to store them. | Source

Make the Iron On Transfer

After you have the correct size tee shirt you can size your drawing to fit it, remembering that you do not want to crowd the top, bottom, or sides. You also want to consider how well you will be able to center the design. Tip: design it to go on an angle and the centering does not have to be absolutely perfect.

If your drawing’s lines are too close together the transfer will blend them when heat is applied. Tip: read through the tips in Painting Doodle Art Tee Shirts. In that Doodle Art hub you will see that the drawings can be intricate. Just think through the needed white space as you create your design.

Should the transfer lines overlap in some places there is nothing to worry about. You can use the painting process to divide them again. A second layer of paint may be needed in those places, but you may want to do that anyway for more intense coloring.

Once the drawing is complete you are ready to go over the lines with the Sulky Transfer Pens. If the design includes words or letters you will need to flip it before doing that to them. Reversing it can be done in a number of ways, including on a computer.

You can scan the design or take a good photo of it to download. Use a graphics tool to flip it over and print a copy. You will then be ready to use the transfer pens to make the iron-on.

As you go over the drawing keep in mind that you want to go as lightly as possible rather than making heavy handed lines. It is when you iron the design on that you will see a heavy handed application, and besides, it is easier to draw with a lighter touch.

Once you finish applying the transfer pen, give it a close check to make sure you have covered all the areas you need to transfer and to add any small details that come to mind as you look it over.

Finish the Painted Tee Shirt

Place the tee shirt on your ironing board with a clean blotter paper (or cardboard) under the front. Position the prepared drawing in the correct place--remember the centering tip from above. Iron on the design according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Carefully lift and remove the transfer and set it aside to cool. You can file this paper for later use since the Sulky Transfer Pens make your design reusable. (How nice is that?!)

Allow the shirt to cool for a few minutes before moving it from the ironing board. Keep the blotter paper inside the shirt and check its position before beginning to paint.

Making sure your work surface is clean, the next step is to set up to paint. If you will be blending paints have supplies mentioned above available. Give some final thoughts to your paint colors and have fun painting your original design!

An important painting tip is to go over the drawing’s lines with black paint using a fine tipped brush. The black lines make the graphic elements jump out to greet you. An example of a simple black-lined painted tee shirt transfer can be found in this Thanksgiving tee shirt hub.

Allow the paint to dry according to manufacturer’s instructions and use a fresh blotter paper over the painted design to iron it. Generally, a high heat for about 10 seconds will set the paint. Pick the iron up and place in each section rather than sliding it as if you are pressing wrinkles out.

Allow the shirt to cool completely before moving it. Now’s the time to wrap it in tissue paper, package it up, and give it to your special little guy. No--wait on that. Take a picture before wrapping it up so you can write your own hub to show off your unique painted tee shirt!

Kids Can Make Tee Shirts Too!

Don't forget that with a little supervision, kids can make their own tee shirt iron ons. If your kids enjoy drawing (or need to learn to) then you may have found just the right summer/holiday project to give them a creative outlet and keep them busy!

It's been a lot of fun to see my grandchildren's art work this week via text pics. Their drawings and paintings would make amusing tee shirts. I would not miss the opportunity to make these with them if I could have it, then, as they grew older, I would enjoy watching them make their own from start to finish.

Share Your Ideas for Painting Boys' Tee Shirts:

Submit a Comment

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    3 years ago from the short journey

    Thank you!

    Sometimes, it simply takes starting a project to get creative juices flowing, and then working on craft projects is like taking a little vacation from the rest of life. I hope you get to do something artsy/creative soon!

  • sgbrown profile image

    Sheila Brown 

    3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

    These are some really great ideas and your art is so good! I'm afraid I am not very "artsy" these days!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    3 years ago from the short journey

    ezzly:

    Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed seeing these painted T shirt designs. I hope your nephews have a great time with their fabric paints!

  • ezzly profile image

    ezzly 

    3 years ago

    These are great little ideas ! I just bought my nephews some fabric paint so I'll show them your ideas when I see them again! Thanks :)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    3 years ago from the short journey

    peachpurple:

    Thanks kindly! They were loads of fun to design and paint. So far I've not had any reports of colors fading or mixing with other clothes, but if you are worried about it you can always give a little tee shirt a quick hand wash and hang to dry.

  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 

    3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    that is cool designed tee, but would the color fade out and mix together with other clothes/

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    3 years ago from the short journey

    pstraubie48:

    Thanks much! Though I did get fall designs done, I've yet to post a hub on them, and I did not get Christmas ones done this year, but they are a lot of fun to design, especially when we can personalize them. The solar system was a combination science/art (impressionistic) theme for a young student… :)

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 

    3 years ago from sunny Florida

    These are so cute and they are unique which makes them a special gift for our own child or a grandchild ...whomever.

    My daughter is the really artsy one in our family and she has made cute tees like this for my grandboy.

    I will share this with her just to increase her tool chest of crafting images.

    Angels are on the way to you once again ps

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    Vellur:

    Thank you kindly! I appreciate that you stopped in and left your comment.

  • Vellur profile image

    Nithya Venkat 

    4 years ago from Dubai

    Great hub, creative and useful. A great tutorial. Thank you for sharing!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    VioletteRose:

    Thanks much for letting me know you liked these examples and is a project you are interested in. Hope we get to see your finished projects!

  • VioletteRose profile image

    VioletteRose 

    4 years ago from Chicago

    Wow, these are really cute. I have two toddler boys, so this is something I really need to look into :)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    radhikasree:

    Thank you very much! I appreciate your letting me know that you enjoyed seeing these designs and that you left a comment. I haven't yet painted fabric for dress materials, but my daughter did for a skirt and it turned out beautifully! Doing this sort of project with kids would be both fun and interesting for you never know what they might come up with!

  • radhikasree profile image

    Radhika Sreekanth 

    4 years ago from Mumbai,India

    These painted tee shirts are beautiful. I too love fabric painting and have painted my dress materials a lot. Great way to keep kids engaged. Voted up, useful and beautiful.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    midget38:

    They are bunches of fun, especially when the kiddo likes the way they turned out! :)

  • midget38 profile image

    Michelle Liew 

    4 years ago from Singapore

    I love personal, painted tees!! Creative!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    AudreyHowitt:

    Thanks for your response to these designs! Yes, I've done girls' tee shirts. See my latest for them in the Paint Doodle Art Tee Shirts hub, which was extreme fun to do, btw. As well, I have a variety of other tee shirt project hubs themed for holidays. You might like to take a look and create some unique designs for upcoming events.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    Nancy Owens:

    Thanks you very much for stopping in and leaving your comment. These painting projects have endless opportunities for letting the creative juices flow and that makes them uncommon, though tee shirts are quite common. :)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    angryelf:

    Thanks kindly. So appreciate your feedback on this craft project for kids!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    FlourishAnyway:

    Thanks much. It was fun to find a design to suit a little boy who is growing up fast. The fact that his mom had him studying the solar system at the time helped the decision along… :)

  • AudreyHowitt profile image

    Audrey Howitt 

    4 years ago from California

    This is very cool!! Love the idea of it--do one for girls?

  • Nancy Owens profile image

    Nancy Owens 

    4 years ago from USA

    What great ideas!

  • angryelf profile image

    angryelf 

    4 years ago from Tennessee

    So adorable! I don't have a little boy, but I can't wait to do things like this when I have children. Great hub!

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 

    4 years ago from USA

    The solar system tee is particularly cute. Voted up and more, plus sharing.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    DDE:

    Thank you for stopping in with your comment. The drawings are a lot of fun to create.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    I love the idea so creative and looks great! Children must love these pictures.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    Glimmer Twin Fan:

    Thanks so much for letting me know you enjoyed seeing these designs. You might like to see my Paint Doodle Art Tee Shirts hub for some girlie ideas to use as a springboard. Hope we get to see your finished products--maybe in a hub showing how the girls produced their works of art? :)

  • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

    Claudia Mitchell 

    4 years ago

    Just loving these. This is definitely on my to do list with my daughter and her friends this summer, just need to change up the designs a bit.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    kiddiecreations:

    Thanks kindly for your feedback here. I hope you get to enjoy making your son one of these tee shirts soon!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    teaches12345:

    Thanks bunches for stopping in with your comment! I hope you get to enjoy making a tee shirt for your grandson soon. Too bad we aren't neighbors so we could spend a couple of days on a t-shirt painting marathon. :)

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    4 years ago

    Great designs for boys. I know my grandson would love one of these T's. Thanks for sharing from your creative talent.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    ologsinquito:

    Thanks kindly! Appreciate all your feedback here.

  • kiddiecreations profile image

    Nicole K 

    4 years ago

    Cute! I have a son, so these would be perfect! Thanks!

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 

    4 years ago from USA

    The designs you featured are really nice. Voted up and shared.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    Suzanne Day:

    Thanks much for your feedback on these projects!

  • Suzanne Day profile image

    Suzanne Day 

    4 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    Another great t-shirt painting hub with excellent instructions! I know a lot of parents who I'm going to forward this hub to - who are looking to put pirates, dinosaurs, spaceships and monsters onto clothing. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and creativity and voted awesome!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    randomcreative:

    Thanks much for your feedback here!

  • randomcreative profile image

    Rose Clearfield 

    4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    All of these designs are so cute! Thanks for sharing.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    AliciaC:

    Thanks much for stopping in! It's been fun to highlight the designs I've used and I hoped they encourage others to express their creativity. I'm looking forward to some specific summer doodle art designs and then I probably will not make more for a good while, unless an unusually creative idea strikes me. I would like to do appliquéd tees one day, but I don't see that happening soon.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    MsDora:

    So appreciate that you came by and let me hear from you on this craft hub! This certainly could be a family activity--maybe instead of having game night there could be a tee shirt painting night!

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    Thanks for another very useful hub about decorating tee shirts, RTalloni. This looks like such a fun craft! It's a great way to personalize a tee shirt.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    purl3agony:

    Thanks much for letting me know you enjoyed seeing these designs and for all your feedback! Craft hubs can be some work to put together, but they are fun stuff.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    Jackie Lynnley:

    Thanks, both for your visit and the tip on possibly buying tees for a bargain!

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    4 years ago from The Caribbean

    The instructions seem like fun, and the finished result will surely provide smiles. Thanks for sharing what could very well be a fun, family activity. The photos can be be saved for the babies.

  • purl3agony profile image

    Donna Herron 

    4 years ago from USA

    Love your tee shirt designs! These would be so much fun to make for children and adults. Pinning to my craft tutorial board. Thanks for sharing these wonderful ideas!!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    Faith Reaper:

    Thanks kindly for your generous feedback. So appreciate that you were the first to comment and I hope you get to paint tee shirts with your grands soon!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    4 years ago from The Beautiful South

    These are great, too. I saw some really nicely made T-shirts at dollar tree, was surprising and of course they are $1. Super quality for a buck, can't beat that but whether they will be in all stores and permanently I have no idea but worth taking a look for; for those interested. ^++

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 

    4 years ago from southern USA

    Aw, how adorable and creative! I just love these designs. My grandson is one, and I have two granddaughters, four and six, who would love "helping" out to make these fun tee-shirts!

    Up and more, pinning, tweeting

    Enjoy your evening,

    Faith Reaper

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