DIY Father's Day gift

Personalized Shirt
Just For Dad

Father's Day is fast approaching and many of us are more budget-conscious than ever before. With a little bit of creativity you can create a personalized shirt to make any dad’s heart melt. This bleach-pen T-shirt tutorial comes complete with templates and costs less than a new tie.

DIY Father's Day Shirt

Dads can be hard to buy for on birthdays and holidays. Before you fall into the trap of getting him one more coffee mug, try making this easy T-shirt with design templates included. You can personalize it to incorporate the date your special guy became a father or grandfather, and the entire project is quick, easy and inexpensive.

Need a card to go with dad's shirt? Try making a homemade Father's Day card that looks like his favorite shirt.

DIY Father's Day Shirt

To create a bleach-pen T-shirt you will need:

  • Plain, dark-colored t-shirt. Avoid shirts with stretch or pretreated cotton; cheap t-shirts work best!
  • Bleach pen
  • 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of vellum paper
  • 8.5 x 11-inch piece of cardboard
  • Craft knife
  • Spray adhesive
  • Design template (click here to download "Daddy" template and here for "Grandpa" template)

Now that you've found a gift to create, what's for dinner? Pick something to make Dad happy from this Father's Day menu he'll love.

Get started:

DIY Father's Day Shirt

Step 1: Choose a design template and print the template onto vellum paper.

Step 2: Place the printed design on cardboard and carefully cut out lettering with the craft knife. Make sure to save the inside of each letter, as they will be needed to complete the stencil for your design.

DIY Father's Day Shirt

Step 3: Insert the cardboard between the front and back of the T-shirt, placing it directly underneath where you will be placing the stencil.

DIY Father's Day Shirt

Step 4: Cover the back of vellum sheet stencil with spray adhesive. Spray the back of the inside of each letter that you have saved as well. Spray generously, making sure to cover the edges of your design thoroughly to prevent the bleach from bleeding through.

DIY Father's Day Shirt

Step 5: Place the stencil evenly across the front of shirt. The adhesive will easily pull away from the shirt, so take your time centering the stencil and placing it exactly where you want it before smoothing it down completely. Place the insides of any letters that are separate from your stencil in their places as well. Make sure all edges are firmly adhered to the T-shirt.

DIY Father's Day Shirt

Step 6: Use a bleach pen to fill in the entire area of your stencil. Apply a generous amount, working from the edges inward to reduce the chance of the bleach bleeding through the stencil.

Step 7: Let the bleach dry completely before removing stencil. Use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process if needed. To remove the stencil, peel from one corner lifting upward; take care not to let any parts of the stencil touch the T-shirt once removed.

DIY Father's Day Shirt

Step 8: Using the template as a guide, choose the years that pertain to the special dad in your life and carefully pen in small lettering using the bleach pen. Let dry completely.

Step 9: Wash and dry the shirt by itself -- do not put in with other laundry. Now your personalized shirt is ready for Dad or Grandpa to wear this Father’s Day!

Need more gift ideas for dads this year? Try one of these creative Father's Day gifts Dad will love.

More great DIY projects: 

DIY framed silhouette art
DIY hankie table runner
DIY crafts for kids


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Comments on "DIY Father's Day gift"

Ranicka May 16, 2013 | 4:53 PM

can you use spray paint to do this?

Brian June 08, 2012 | 8:54 AM

I made my dad a stencil t-shirt once for his birthday and he loved it! Seeing him wearing it around the house constantly reminded me of the love and creativity I poured into it. The message on the t-shirt conveyed an inside joke me and my dad both share, and no store-bought t-shirt could contain a similar message. People would see my dad wearing the shirt and they would ask what the message meant, and it made me proud to know that I created something unique which generated so much curiosity and wonder.

Victoria June 05, 2012 | 11:40 AM

Why have I not thought of this before?! This is such a creative idea, and while being a college student, we are constantly looking for affordable yet creative ways especially now to give back to our parents. The good thing is, my dad has always been the easy going one (like most) they always enjoy a new t shirt or a nice pair of socks. With this, I know I can make a couple new shirts for my dad to wear while working in the back yard, exercising or even just lounging around the house. In the past, I would go to shopping centers and end up going way over my budget just for two t shirts. I think I would have too much fun with this craft, but something I can keep doing for not only Father’s Day, but birthdays and Christmas! I couldn’t think of a better present, especially with summer approaching as well as the heat. He will definitely need something to wear with all the yard work he’s about to get himself in to. When he finds out I made the shirt myself, he will appreciate it even more! Thanks for the clever idea, I can’t wait!

Jeff June 04, 2012 | 12:12 PM

This is sooo cute! I used to draw my dad cards on Father’s Day and for his birthday rather than buying him a card at the store. Making a gift for somebody allows you to personalize your gift to that specific person, and it also allows you to inject your own unique creativity into the gift. I’m sure proud and happy fathers will love these t-shirts!

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