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Paint Doodle Art Tee Shirts

Updated on April 5, 2017
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:

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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?

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    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 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

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 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!

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 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!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 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.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 3 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!

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