Mother’s Day gift-giving doesn’t have to include pricey store-bought presents. Nothing says, “I love you mom!” like a hand-made craft. That said, those sweet handprint hearts and cutesy cards aren’t exactly age-appropriate for your tween or teen to try out. If you’re looking for a DIY that tweens/teens can craft for mom, check out these recycled t-shirt ideas. Up the artsy ante on blinging out an old cotton shirt and help your child to go beyond the simple paint projects that she may have made in her younger years. These Mother’s Day crafts are easy enough for the novice crafter to try, but add a slightly more sophisticated touch that older kids (and moms!) will enjoy.
Keep in mind, even though your tween/teen may think that he’s an adult, he still needs supervision. Whether he needs a helping hand or some guidance, stick nearby while your child is crafting.
Before starting any of these crafts, wash and dry the shirt completely.
The playful scribbling that your 5-year-old scrawls across her Mother’s Day shirt craft is adorable. The same shaky letters aren’t so sweet when they’re coming from your less-than-neat 15-year-old. If your tween’s or teen’s handwriting isn’t exactly picture perfect, she can still create a special message for mom, without the shirt looking like a kindergarten craft.
You can buy ready-made stencils or make your own by cutting letters out from a piece of cardboard. If your child wants to make her own, use a ruler and pencil to draw the letters onto the board. Cut the letters out to leave behind the stencil. Your child can also make a negative space painting (where the letters are left blank and the surrounding space has color) by using the letter cut-outs themselves. If your child doesn’t want to add letters, you can use decorative wall stencils to make a floral print!
- Insert a thick piece of cardboard or a wax-paper covered piece of board inside of the shirt to prevent the paint from transferring.
- Place the stencil or cut-out letter templates onto the shirt. Remind your child that she doesn’t need to place them straight across the front in a horizontal line. She can create diagonals, vertical words or even dress-up the back of the t.
- Apply the fabric paint with a brush or sponge it on for a textured look.
- Let the paint dry (follow the manufacturer’s directions).
- Wash the shirt (again, following the manufacturer’s directions).
Your tween or teen doesn’t have to cover the entire t with paint to make mom a cool craft for her special day. Add a few accents either around the neckline, bottom or sleeve area.
- Place a piece of thick cardboard under the area that you are gluing.
- Dab dots of fabric or jewelry glue along the neckline, sleeves or bottom of the shirt. Your tween/teen can bling-out all of the areas or pick one to highlight.
- Press sequins, faux jewels, mock pearls or flat beads onto the glue.
If your child wants to get more decorative, use stencils to create areas for the accents. Paint a layer of glue on inside of the stencil or dot the glue around the edge. Press on sequins, jewels or beads. Take care when washing these shirts. Hand-wash to care for the added embellishments.
While you may not want your child using real spray pain, get a similar effect with a textured sponge fabric paint. Mix white and another color of fabric paint to create a shadowy shade that your tween or teen paints over a wrinkled t-shirt (use the wrinkles to add texture to the paint – they’ll release when you wash the shirt later on). Use an over-sized shirt, cut the collar off and create a terrific t that reminds mom of her youth in the ‘80s.
- Mix white and another color of paint.
- Sponge the paint onto the shirt in broad swoops. Instead of a neat and perfect “mom,” make it a bit messy to look like a hip, graffiti style.
Do you need a few more Mother’s day t-shirt ideas? Your child could do the traditional type of tie-dye, or try a reverse ombre look and let her bleach the bottom of a dark-colored shirt. Soak the bottom in the bleach for a half hour, spray on peroxide to neutralize it and then toss it into the wash after it dries. Another option is to draw on the shirt with a bleach pen, or paint on bleach with a cotton swab.
Are you proud of the DIY t-shirt that your child dress-up for Mother’s Day? Show us what your creative tween or teen made for mom! Submit your blinged-out t-shirt photos to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for us to share.