DIY Neon Striped T-Shirts for Spring

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Spring is here and I am more than happy to welcome warmer weather and the changes in our wardrobes that come with it. Brighter colors, happy patterns, short sleeves and breezier fabrics. And now that I have yet another little girl to dress up, mama was itching to make something fabulous for all of us. Because what fun if having two daughters if we can’t all play dress-up, right?

When Walmart challenged me to do a springy craft, I knew exactly what to make: Matching mother-daughter shirts in bright colors.

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I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of fabric spray paint, but I never quite knew how to use it in a way that wouldn’t look cheesy. When I found a 3-pack of paint in the Walmart craft section on clearance, I knew it was time to try. And trust and believe that the resulting look is in no way cheesy.

You’ll Need:

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  • White t-shirts and/or onesies
  • Fabric spray paint in bright colors
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint dropcloth
  • Scrap plastic or cardboard

If your shirts are brand new, it’s a good idea to wash them before you start. I didn’t because I’m a rebel (yeah…a lazy rebel), but the instructions on the fabric paint recommend this. Just thought I’d at least give you a chance to do it right.

Lay your shirt out as flat as possible. Put a layer of scrap plastic or cardboard between the front and back of the shirt. This will stop paint from seeping through once you start spraying. I cut up a plastic bag to fit inside each shirt with as much coverage as possible.

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Start taping off stripes, starting at the top of the shirt. The idea is that the areas you tape will remain white. I tried to make the stripes relatively evenly spaced and level horizontally, but this doesn’t have to be perfect.

You’ll also want to tape off any exposed parts of the back of the shirt. For example, you can see the back of the shirt in the neck area. Tape this as well. On the onesie, I also had to tape the the inside bottom right behind the snaps.

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You can cut the tape right at the edges of the shirt, or do what I did and fold them under. You just want to make sure that no sticky ends are flapping loose. Now, you’re ready to spray.

Lay your shirt out on  a dropcloth as flat as possible. Any folds or bunching will create problems with getting an even coat. Shake the can and begin spraying.

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You want to start by spraying on the dropcloth first, then moving back and forth over the shirt evenly with the can at least 10″ away from the fabric. If not, you will get a heavy, drippy coat. Not really what you’re going for. You want more of a light mist. The color turned out more solid for me on the onesie, because it was the first one I did before I perfected my technique. The pink shirt for my daughter has more of a dappled look because I sprayed more lightly.

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Note: To give you an idea of how much paint is in each of these small cans, it took a whole can to paint my XL shirt. I can probably get another two onesies out of the green paint, and maybe 1 onesie from the pink paint.

Allow each shirt to dry for 15-20 minutes. Then, while the paint is still tacky, pull the tape. Carefully. The paint on top of the tape will still come off on your fingers, so be careful not to transfer any of that to the white parts of the tee. My experience with painting things has taught me that pulling the tape while the paint is still wet gives you cleaner, crisper lines.

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Then, let the paint dry for at least 2 hours.

You’ll notice there’s some extra fabric in the photo of the supplies. That’s because I planned to add a patterned pocket to each shirt, but once I finished spraying, I loved the look so much that I decided to forgo the pockets. Maybe I’ll do another tutorial on making shirts with fancy patterned pockets.

Anyway, check out the finished look.

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Aren’t they great?

You can wash the shirts after painting, though you have to wait 72 hours and you can’t use fabric softener. Washing will still soften the texture a bit.

The girls and I had too much fun with these and went outside for a “We’re so happy it’s Spring” photoshoot!

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Honestly, I love these shirts, and I will absolutely be finding more ways to use fabric spray paint, because I love the imperfect look of it.

So, what springy, warm weather crafts are on your list this year?

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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8 responses
  • Kahran April 24, 2014, 8:42 pm

    Aww, love it guys! So crafty and cute.

    Reply
  • Sheena April 24, 2014, 8:43 pm

    Now I know what to do with the red, yellow, and black paint I have in my craft bin. It didn’t quite work on a monogrammed pillow project I attempted, but this’ll definitely work! P.S. Your mocs are all that!

    Reply
    • jennae April 25, 2014, 12:37 am

      Girl, try it! I thought about doing several colors on a single shirt, but I like simplicity and I’m really happy with the way the single colors turned out. As for the mocs, I think I paid like $6 for them 2 years ago. I won’t say from where O__o Lmao!

      Reply
  • Natasha B|Fashionably Fabulous April 24, 2014, 11:29 pm

    Awww….how frigin’ cute is that! I so love it hun. Crafty chic! Baby J is getting so big…so fast.

    Reply
    • jennae April 25, 2014, 12:37 am

      Thanks Natasha! She is growing up too doggone fast!

      Reply
  • Erika April 25, 2014, 2:11 am

    Ok, several things to say.

    A) You are SO creative. This is an adorable idea!

    B) Lookin’ GOOD mama!

    C) Your girls are SO gorgeous. And I agree about the playing dress-up part.

    D) You will treasure those photos forever. So happy for you my friend.

    xoxo

    Reply

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