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Paint Doodle Art Tee Shirts

Updated on January 14, 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.

Doodle art tee shirts can be painted for toddlers and used to make other projects when they are outgrown.
Doodle art tee shirts can be painted for toddlers and used to make other projects when they are outgrown. | Source

Create Painted Tee Shirts with Doodle Art Designs

Doodle art's renewed popularity has turned it into a happy trend that allows artists to follow creative inspirations to their heart’s content. If you enjoy painting original art on tee shirts but have not yet given the new doodle art methods a try now is your chance to explore the possibilities.

Like many kids, when I was stuck somewhere and there was paper and pen available I would start doodling a design, letting the abstract lines build themselves into unique patterns. Some of today’s doodles are reminiscent of the 60s/70s abstract themes but the fresh new stylings are even more fun to explore.

Painting tee shirts has been a long-standing hobby at my craft table, but why I have never painted doodles on them is now a mystery to me. No matter, I am now glad to have stumbled on the idea and had fun creating my first doodle shirts.

They can be themed around a special event or created with random lines to give you a grand finale that both surprises and delights you. Methods for drawing doodles range from simplistic repetitions to intricately detailed pictures that seem to move across the page.

If, however, you do not consider yourself a bona fide artist bear in mind that doodling is a creative outlet that everyone can enjoy. Don't hesitate just because you have not yet had the chance to look into this art form.

Take a look at how I used doodle art to make three tiny tee shirt designs, then transferred and painted them with love from Grandmama. Let them inspire you to give free reign to your own creative inspiration so it can flow from your pen and onto a little shirt that will hug someone you love.

Supplies for Making Your First Doodle Shirt

The supplies needed are simple and easy to find:

• One white cotton tee shirt, washed and dried in the dryer.

• Sulky Iron On Transfer Pens.

• Clean paper sized to fit inside the shirt as protection from the transfer and/or paint so it does not bleed through to the back.

• Fabric paints, or craft paint and textile medium.

* Small cups for blending paint colors.

• Fine tip paint brushes.

• A clean work surface.

• A clean cover sheet for pressing the painted design when it dries.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Getting ready to transfer and paint doodle art.Painted doodle art E, A, and butterfly!
Getting ready to transfer and paint doodle art.
Getting ready to transfer and paint doodle art. | Source
Painted doodle art E, A, and butterfly!
Painted doodle art E, A, and butterfly! | Source

The Basic Method

For the average crafter doing this project the way I've done it would be considered easy, but do set aside enough time to concentrate on the process.

• Draw or copy your drawing on white paper, keeping in mind that transferred letters and words need to be reversed (flipped over) for the next step.

• Go over the doodle art with a Sulky Transfer Pen, keeping the lines light by not pressing too hard when making the drawing.

• Place blotting paper inside the shirt under the area you will be transferring the design.

• Position the doodle art face down and press according to manufacturer’s directions.

• Lift transfer paper and set it aside to cool. (Remember that your transfer design is reusable so you'll want to file it for later use.)

• Allow shirt to cool in place for a couple of minutes.

• Move shirt to craft table for painting.

• Fill design in with chosen colors, finishing with black outlining.

• Allow painted design to dry according to manufacturer's instructions.

• Using a clean sheet of paper as a shield on top of the dried design, heat set your shirt's doodle art with an iron (I do not like the dryer method).

Note: Before beginning your first project it would be a good idea to practice a small design similar to the one you want to use, paying attention to how the scale of that design presses when transferred. If the design is filled in too closely it will blend together when it is set with the iron. Getting in a little practice solved that problem quickly for me.

Painted doodle art E, size 4T.
Painted doodle art E, size 4T. | Source

Three Little Tee Shirts for Three Precious Girls

A delightful E on this size 4T shirt blossomed with colorful graphics that seemed to grow out of their own happiness. It was crucial to draw the basic E (sizing it to fit the front of the shirt), draw the interior designs, and then use the Sulky Pens on the reverse side of the paper so it could be transferred correctly. Once I thought through the method, the design seemed to say, "I belong here!" and then to plant itself on her shirt!

Painted doodle art butterfly, size 3T.
Painted doodle art butterfly, size 3T. | Source

A fluttering butterfly grew to the right shape for this size 3T shirt. Its fanciful design filled with bright colors did not need to be reversed when it was drawn, though I did think through the fact that it would be flipped when it was ironed-on. Embellishments around the edges were not part of the original plan, but they added some flippy flight to this little girl's shirt!

Painted Doodle art A, size 2T.
Painted Doodle art A, size 2T. | Source

This size 2T shirt holds an A for a sunny day. Its smaller design worked out well in spite of the need not to crowd the lines too closely. The little bird with its vivid outdoor themes popped this doodled letter right off her tiny shirt, declaring her bold initial for some happy play time.

Before continuing, please share your feedback on these three designs:

What is your honest opinion of these three doodle art designs:

See results

A Look at some Basic Doodling

Doodle Your Way to Some Creative Fun!

Be sure to check out the doodle art videos in the right hand column of this hub. While there are many to choose from out on the world wide web, I have tried to choose specific examples for a variety of ages and abilities.

Survey the logical methods for making art that seems to form itself in a natural manner. Use them to begin exploring at your ability level and then enjoy producing your own designs for the special people you love and the occasions they enjoy.

Once you have some experience with making these easy projects you will be able to work with children to create their own or make them for their friends. You know it's true--it is always a good time to prepare for kids' summer projects!

Just a Bit of Doodle Fun:

Some PhotoShop Tips on Doodling:

Painted Tee Shirts are Art with a Future!

Since children are always growing out of their clothes, you may wonder if it is worth the time and effort to draw and paint these tee shirts. Keep in mind that once they are too small the tees can be used in a variety of other ways.

The shirts can be turned into accent pillows for their bedrooms, or combined to make a tee shirt quilt. They can be turned into tote bags and the smallest ones can be used as doll clothes. You'll be able to find loads of other crafts that use tee shirts online.

Thinking outside the box will encourage you to go ahead with a doodle art tee shirt project of your own. Maybe we'll get to see an original idea or new kind of tee shirt project from you one day!

Watch the Creation of Orbed Doodle Designs:

Cool Design Sums Up Doodling

More on Painting T-Shirts

Before making doodle art shirts I experimented with a variety of transfer methods for making my grandchildren some tees. The previous Sulky Pen projects have given me reusable transfers for my files.

Kids who are old enough to know what it means to make something for someone really enjoy having T shirts made especially for them. Take a look at some of my past projects posted here at HubPages:

• No matter where you live, patriotic T-Shirts like these can be a springboard for ideas to help kids take pride in their own country's history!

• Little boys always need to know how much they are loved!

• This T-Shirt Bib project is an example of an original design that was loads of fun to complete and give!

(Stay tuned for an upcoming hub on little boys' painted tee shirts, and then a new idea I have for more doodle art shirts.)

Do you have experience making doodle art?

Submit a Comment
  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    6 months ago from the short journey

    These were indeed fun to make! Personalizing them for my grands made doing the artwork very special. Thanks for stopping in with your comment.

  • ethel smith profile image

    Ethel Smith 

    7 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

    Sounds fun to do. Thank you

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    10 months ago from the short journey

    Dale Anderson:

    Thank you for your visit here and kind comment. Best to your wife as she works on her designs!

  • GetitScene profile image

    Dale Anderson 

    10 months ago from The High Seas

    My wife is a crafty sorta gal so I am going to send her this hub. I think she will probably like the idea but take some encouragement to give it a try herself.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    13 months ago from the short journey


    So appreciate your feedback. Thanks for checking out these designs and the method!

  • Eastward profile image


    13 months ago from Bangkok, Thailand

    Very cool. I didn't know these transfer pens existed!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    3 years ago from the short journey


    Hope you have fun! Thanks for stopping by.

  • peachpurple profile image


    3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    gotta get some blank plain t shirts and do some doodles. Voted up, pins

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks so much for your AWESOME feedback! :) I very much appreciate that you let me know how much you like the designs and wish you much success with your projects. Just a word of warning, doodling is addictive… :)

  • ezzly profile image


    4 years ago

    These are gorgeous you could sell them ! You are a great artist!

  • Pollyanna Jones profile image

    Pollyanna Jones 

    4 years ago from United Kingdom

    What a clever thing to do. I really love your doodles, and it has inspired me to have a go at making some unique summer wear for my little one when the weather improves. This is a great guide for the activity, thank you so much for sharing. Voted up!

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 

    4 years ago from sunny Florida

    Too use a much over-used term these are AWESOME I will find these pens and begin with your designs first. Thank you so much

    Shared and voted up pinned

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks kindly! Maybe we'll get to see some of your work in a hub one day, hint, hint. :) So appreciate your visit and feedback.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    If only I could give them real hugs…. :) Thanks again for stopping by.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    I hope you've been able to work on a project like one of these by now! So appreciate that you let me know you stopped in to see these doodles. :)

  • CorneliaMladenova profile image

    Korneliya Yonkova 

    4 years ago from Cork, Ireland

    Beautiful hub. Voted up. I love painting and it's a great idea to create nice shirts for friends and relatives. :)

  • CherylsArt profile image

    Cheryl Paton 

    4 years ago from West Virginia

    Rtalloni, that's a sweet way to give an extra little hug. : )

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 

    4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    I love to doodle, so this project should be very enjoyable for me. Thanks!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks much. They were such fun to design and paint. We live a long way from all of them, but these shirts can give them an extra little hug for me. :)

  • CherylsArt profile image

    Cheryl Paton 

    4 years ago from West Virginia

    This is such a creative and fun idea. I'm sure that the kids will love them.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Yes indeed, doodle art is fun and relaxing. Thanks much for your visit and comment on these designs. That you are inspired is a high compliment! Ideas for more designs keep running around my head but I need to think a year ahead in order to get them done in time. :)

  • cclitgirl profile image

    Cynthia Calhoun 

    4 years ago from Western NC

    I can see why you like Sharpie stuff! I LOVE these! It's so fun and relaxing to doodle, isn't it? Beautiful drawings and colors - I'm inspired!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    It's true, these are easy to make, and making them with the kids and grandkids would be icing on the cake! Thanks much for your visit and feedback.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey

    Au fait :

    These were really fun to create and it's hard not to dwell on the different designs that are possible! Hope you do get to enjoy make this type of painted tee shirt this summer.

  • moonlake profile image


    4 years ago from America

    Very pretty t-shirts and it looks easy. I always like doing projects like this with the kids and grandkis. Voted up

  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 

    4 years ago from North Texas

    This looks like such a fun project! You've got me thinking again, about all the different designs I could doodle onto a T. I have a list of projects similar to this one I hope to get done this summer, and now I'm adding this one to that list. Wish me luck in stretching this summer out to get it all done! :)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed seeing this artsy project!

  • Vellur profile image

    Nithya Venkat 

    4 years ago from Dubai

    Great hub, this sounds like fun! Creative and useful information. Using old T-Shirts is a great idea. Thank you for sharing this.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed seeing these designs. Since making them, new designs keep rolling around the back of my head and are very distracting... :)

    So appreciate your visit!

  • vespawoolf profile image


    4 years ago from Peru, South America

    I love the look of these doodle art t-shirts. They are reminiscent of magic marker coloring posters I did as a child. The bright colors and designs are very appealing and would make nice gifts, too. Thanks for this useful information.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks kindly! I guess I need to check on Zazzle again, thanks, too, for that tip!

  • ologsinquito profile image


    4 years ago from USA

    I really like the butterfly design. Did you know that you can easily incorporate your own artwork into gift items to sell on Zazzle. There is no risk because everything is made on demand.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks bunches! They were such fun to make and I'm really looking forward to making time for the next doodle art shirts this summer. Each design can be personalized and that's extra fun for grands. :) So appreciate your comment!

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    4 years ago

    I love them! The designs are so colorful and creative. I know lots of people who would enjoy making these T's.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks kindly for stopping in with your comment!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey

    Genna East:

    Thanks bunches for letting me know that this craft post has inspired you! I think that the term "doodle art" does not do the method justice because designs can be stunningly beautiful. Simpler ones are so easy on tee--shirts, though. Hope you get to enjoy giving this art form a try soon.

  • randomcreative profile image

    Rose Clearfield 

    4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    So fun and simple! Thanks for sharing.

  • Genna East profile image

    Genna East 

    4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

    I have often wondered how this is done…such great instructions on this neat “how to” hub. I am now inspired to give this a try. Thank you. :-)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Thank you for adding your comment to this hub and letting me know why you like this idea. I agree, if we can make it original we express our "selfs" and/or can personalize items for others. If only there were time enough to do it all, yes? :)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey

    Glimmer Twin Fan:

    It would be neat to see some of her work in a hub! I hope she gets to make some shirts soon. I'm planning one more doodle art tee shirt hub with a specific theme, but it will come after my next one on painting tee shirts. I'm not expecting to do more hubs on the topic after that, but we'll see. :) Thanks much for your visit and comment!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey

    KoffeeKlatch Gals:

    Wonderful! (Hope we see your projects when you get them done.)

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    4 years ago from Sunny Florida

    I love the designs you can make that gives you something no one else owns. Your directions are very clear, which is necessary for me as I have not tried this before. I use to make most of my clothing, but haven't sewn much lately. I also make stained glass, but with writing I find I like too many hobbies and run out of time. I do like the tranfers very much and they do not look too time consuming. Thanks for the great directions. Excellent hub.

  • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

    Claudia Mitchell 

    4 years ago

    I wish I could doodle like this! I will be sharing this with my daughter who is an awesome doodler and would love to do something like this. Nicely done hub with great explanations. Thanks!

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Hazelton 

    4 years ago from Sunny Florida

    You've convinced me. I have to try this.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks kindly for taking a look at this hub and letting me know you like the is t-shirt craft idea!

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Awesome idea to paint T-shirts in this way. A helpful and informative hub you explained so thoroughly and the creative thought is also a fun time.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks very much for letting me know that this craft idea will be useful to you. You will have a great time with the kids, I'm sure! Happy painting to you all. :)

  • tirelesstraveler profile image

    Judy Specht 

    4 years ago from California

    You just gave me an idea for Easter gifts. The Grands will be here tomorrow. We won't get so detailed as your idea, but we shall have a great present to give to their mom and dad. Vote up!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey

    Jackie Lynnley:

    Oh me…boxfulls?...when can we get together? :) I'm trying not to be jealous by wishing you lots of fun times drawing and painting! Hope we get to see some of your designs in a hub. Can I extract a promise by telling you I will link that hub to this one if you do it? :)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    It is a fun to customize craft and an easy project for drawing and painting that all ages can experience. So appreciate your kind encouragement! I'm planning a couple more tee shirt project hubs and then will likely leave them for other topics, but even the tee shirt painting hubs themselves are fun to do--especially when such nice people respond to them! :)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks so much for responding with your positive feedback on this craft hub. I appreciate your visit very much!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    I'm so glad you'll be able to use this idea with your grands. Thanks much for letting me know. Maybe we'll see some of their projects in a hub!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    4 years ago from The Beautiful South

    This is a keeper. I live in use to be factory T-shirt land (the best, too) and they keep coming out of closets, brand new by the box-fulls, for a song. All sizes and colors and your expertise may find me busy doodling the summer away! Thanks for sharing. ^

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    This is a great project, RTalloni. It sounds like it's fun and easy to do, and the results are lovely! Your ideas for reusing the shirts once children have outgrown them are excellent, too. I'm going to buy some transfer pens and play with them myself. Your hubs on the topic make them sound very enticing!

  • Eiddwen profile image


    5 years ago from Wales

    Brilliant RTalloni and saving for those rainy days with my grandkids. Voting up, sharing and wishing you a wonderful day.


  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from the short journey


    Teens could definitely learn to do this craft on their own and younger kids could easily do it with supervision. The doodle art would be something they would really enjoy if they aren't already into it. I agree, they could have a summer business that could perhaps grow into something more. Thanks much for adding your comment with great ideas to this hub!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from the short journey

    Suzanne Day 1:

    They are easy. Just plan to set aside a little extra time for the process. I painted in layers that needed dry time, but not all designs would require that. The monochrome designs would be striking, yes. Thank you for your visit and feedback here!

  • purl3agony profile image

    Donna Herron 

    5 years ago from USA

    Wow! These shirts are beautiful! You've made some amazing designs, but I can also see how this technique could also be used by someone with little arts or craft experience. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and pinned!

  • sallybea profile image

    Sally Gulbrandsen 

    5 years ago from Norfolk


    Very creative and something even young teenagers would probably enjoy doing. I am sure one could even get them to do some modern wall art or graffiti on the T shirts once they had learned how the process actually works. This lends itself to all sorts of creative ideas and even making some money from it.

    Very nice and voted useful.

  • Suzanne Day profile image

    Suzanne Day 

    5 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    These sound really easy to do. I didn't know anything about doodle art, but I sure do now! I think even plain black and white designs could look good as well as the coloured ones. Thanks for the useful information and I'll keep an eye out for supplies to start. Voted interesting!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from the short journey

    Faith Reaper:

    Thanks so much for your generous feedback here. It's useful to have others' opinions when planning future projects. I appreciate that yours is the first comment!

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 

    5 years ago from southern USA

    Oh, I love to doodle, and this is looks like such great fun and useful too! I love the bright colors and designs. The videos are great too.

    Excellent hub and interesting too. Up and more, tweeting and pinning.


    Faith Reaper


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