You know what's better than getting Dad a new set of grill tools on Father's Day? A homemade gift — especially one from the kids. With so many DIY gift options out there, the one that truly stood out to us was an easy, customizable Father's Day DIY T-shirt Dad or Grandpa would be more than proud to show off, be it around the house, on a morning or evening walk or even at a sporting event.

All you need for this inexpensive DIY gift is an unprinted T-shirt, a bleach pen and a touch of creativity — that's it!

Sound doable? Let's get to it.

More: 16 Cool Father's Day Gifts for All Types of Dads

Image: Jessica Watson/SheKnows


  • Plain, dark-colored T-shirt (avoid shirts with stretch or pre-treated 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 the "Daddy" template and here for the "Grandpa" template)

Image: Jessica Watson/SheKnows

Now that you have the supplies, let's get started.


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

Image: Jessica Watson/SheKnows

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.

Image: Jessica Watson/SheKnows

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.

Image: Jessica Watson/SheKnows

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.

Image: Jessica Watson/SheKnows

Next: Placing the stencil

A version of this article was originally published in May 2012.

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.

Image: Jessica Watson/SheKnows

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.

More: Father's Day Gifts for Dads Who Smash the Patriarchy

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.

Image: Jessica Watson/SheKnows

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!

Image: Terese Condella/SheKnows