How To Make a Handprint T-shirt

The handprint t-shirt is a wonderful way to preserve the memory of your little one.  It is a gift that can be given to parents, grandparents, siblings, or even the child himself.  There are many different ways you can make a handprint t-shirt.  It can be designed around the holidays making a reindeer or turkey shirt or it can be the traditional grandparent t-shirt with the handprints of all the grandchildren.   

Materials needed to make a basic handprint shirt include a t-shirt, fabric paint, newspaper, and a wet cloth for wiping any mess.  Be sure to plan your color choices out prior to making the shirt, such as a dark t-shirt that would look best with a light colored paint.   

  1. Find a smooth, flat surface to work on.  A kitchen table or a craft table works the best.  Lay the shirt onto the table and smooth out the wrinkles.  Take some newspaper and put between the layers of the shirt.  This is to prevent the paint from bleeding through to the back side of the shirt.   
  2. Determine how many handprints are going to go onto the shirt and have a general idea of where are going to place them before you start.  If you have more than2 children’s handprints to put on the shirt then it is best to only do one handprint per child.   
  3. Let the child decide on what color paint he wants his handprint to be.  Have him open his palm flat with fingers spread wide apart.  Apply the fabric paint to his hands spreading it all around.  Do not spare paint on this step.  Make sure to spread it on the fingers and in the creases.  This can be tricky to do with infants and toddlers.   
  4. Once the paint is applied, take the child’s hand, or he can do it himself if he is old enough, and place it on the t-shirt.  Make sure to press the hand down hard to get a good print. Very slowly, lift the hand up off of the shirt taking care to hold the shirt down while doing so.  At this point, have the child wash his hands because once fabric paint gets onto fabric it can be difficult to remove.  Wearing old clothes for this project is a good idea.   

Before you go on to the next child, take some paint and touch up the handprint a bit.  You can even outline it if desired.    Once this is done, using paint of the child’s choice, add the child’s name to the shirt beside his handprint.  Use this same process for all the kids participating in making the shirt.  When all handprints have been added, let the shirt air dry overnight to ensure complete drying.


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