Make A Personalized T-Shirt Design {Pirate Style}

My son wanted a Pirate T-Shirt for his birthday. Having just seen this this re-purposing t-shirt post by Ashely over at Make It and Love It and I was inspired and was prepared to give it a go. It would be fun, right?!?! :-) The day before I was about to start the project I found a perfect plain baseball styled t-shirt for $3 bucks at a local store. That saved me a lot of time and now all I had to do was add the pirate. I realized I applied my design differently than Ashley did (it is about half way down her post), so I will show you what I did, too. It is a super cute and fun idea!

My son was beyond excited about his new shirt! Kind of makes me want to make him some more. 😉

What You Need:

  • 2 t-shirts (pre-washed) – 1 in will be the main t-shirt to put the design on and the other will be the scrap t-shirt which you cut the design out of (can be an old shirt/another size).
  • Paper
  • Sewing machine (or needle and thread)
  • Iron
  • Iron-on adhesive (I used Heat-n-Bond Lite)


Step 1:Decide on the design you want to have on your shirt. You want to aim for a silhouette look (one solid piece/not a lot of small pieces). Draw or search for images on the Internet that can be enlarged in a word document and printed. I am not talented enough to draw things other than doodles, but my mom is and she was awesome enough to sketch out the pirate design! I also recommend choosing something a little thicker than my pirate patch straps. Those had a hard time being sewn on.

Step 2: The iron-on adhesive has paper on one side and the adhesive on the other. Place the design/drawing under the side of the adhesive with no paper on it. Trace your design with a dark marker on the paper attached to the adhesive.

Step 3: Follow the directions for your iron-on adhesive and with the iron apply the adhesive to your “scrap t-shirt” (not the shirt you actually want your child to wear).

Step 4: Leave the paper attached to the adhesive/shirt and cut out your design. Remove the paper once your design is completely cut out.

Step 5: Flip over your design so the adhesive is now down and layout it out on the main t-shirt where you would like it to be permanently. Iron the design again securing it permanently to the t-shirt. You may want to use a light cloth between the iron and the t-shirt during this final process. I always seem to get the adhesive stuck to the iron which makes a mess later or if I use a paper towel (instead of a cloth) it gets stuck to the design (which is not pretty!).

Step 6: Finally secure your design in place by zigzag stitching around the entire design.

Step 7: Sit back and enjoy your child’s excitement about their new shirt! To see how excited my son was about my silly creation really made my month!

I attempted to get nice picture of the shirt just after he put it on. I could not get him to stand still or give me a happy face, to which he replied “Mom, Pirates are supposed to be mean!” lol Gotta love 5 year-olds!


I am linking up to these parties!

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  1. says

    Wow! The pirate shirt is sooooo cute. Your son looks so adorable in the shirt. I think I will also make my 4 year old son a pirate’s shirt so he can wear it on my nephews birthday party. Thanks for sharing your great printing idea.

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