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Painted Tee Shirt Designs for Boys

Updated on May 21, 2016
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.

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

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.

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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

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.

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:

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    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 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

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 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. ^++

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 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!

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 3 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!!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 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.

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