A5 T-Shirt Design

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To allow a young person to create their own style of T-shirt by using the different design methods. This could be completed over 2 to 4 weeks. Taken from the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Skills, Creativity A5 Aim: To create a style of T-shirt by using the method of tie-dye or To design a T-shirt using fabric pens or To design a T-shirt to be produced by a T-shirt manufacturer or To create a stencil design to be painted on to a T-shirt.


Activity 1
• White or light coloured 100% cotton t-shirt, or anything else you like
• Fabric dyes, any colour(s)
• Rubber bands
• Plastic sheet
• Bucket or bowl, you will need one each for each colour you choose

Activity 2
• White or light coloured 100% cotton t-shirt
• Multi coloured fabric pens
• Strong tape / drawing pins / clothes pegs

Activity 3
• Paper
• Pencils
• Colouring pens/crayons
• Rulers
• Stencils

Activity 4
• White or light coloured 100% cotton t-shirt
• Picture to put on the t-shirt
• Access to a photocopier
• Marker pen
• Double sided sticky tape
• A sheet of acetate
• Craft knife
• Sponge
• Fabric paint


Activity 1 Tie Dye

Each young person will need equipment as above, and should then follow the instructions below:
1. Protect the work area with plastic sheets or other appropriate material. . .
2. Wash the shirt in warm water to pre-shrink it. C)
3. Mix the different colour dyes according to the package directions.
4. If only tie-dying one item, it is not necessary to use all the dye solution.
5. Make the dye solution as light or as dark as desired.
6. Crumple, fold, twist, knot or stitch the shirt in any design, binding it tightly with elastic bands. No dye should penetrate where the fabric is binded.
7. Immerse the shirt in the dye.
8. If using more than one colour, dip the various parts in the different colours.
9. Allow the shirt to soak up as much colour as desired.
10. Let the shirt soak for a longer period for darker colour.
11. Once the shirt is dyed allow the shirt to dry for one to two days. Do not remove the elastics during this period.
12. Once the shirt is dry, remove the elastics and gently re-wash it. Lay the shirt flat and allow it to dry.

Tips / Advice:
• The best dyes to use are fibre reactive.
• It is also possible to tie-dye pillowcases, bandanas, etc.

Activity 2 Fabric Pen Design

Aim: To design a T-shirt using fabric pens.

1. Iron the plain white T-shirt.
2. Once ironed place on flat surface and secure with sufficiently strong sticky tape; this is so the T-shirt does not crease. For making sure the T-shirt does not move, drawing pins or clothes pegs could be used.
3. Use the fabric pens to create the design.
4. When the design is complete and the T-shirt is dry, iron briefly without steam.

Tips / Advice:
• All the colours are water resistant up to 60°C.
• Practise beforehand on an old piece of material.
• Use tools such as a stencil and a ruler.

Activity 3 Company T-Shirt

Aim: To design a T-shirt to be produced by a T-shirt manufacturer.

• Discuss what type you want the T-shirt to be like:
— Colour.
— Style e.g. hoodies, v neck, polo shirt, long sleeve and short sleeve.
— Design e.g. picture, emblem and logo.
• The final design has to be a democratic decision of all young people taking part.
• Draw out the design of the T-shirt.
• Once all young people involved are sure that it is the design they want research the internet for a suitable company to produce the T-shirt / other items etc , at a reasonable cost.
• The T-shirt could then be sold at cost or as a fundraiser.

Activity 4 Stencil T-Shirt Design

Aim: To create a stencil design to be painted on to a T-shirt

1. Each young person should: Find a simple picture of something they would like to put on a t-shirt. Photocopy the picture, then adjust the colour on the photocopier so it’s darker, then photocopy your photocopy.
2. Repeat this process three or four times and this should end up with a picture that has a strong contrast between the light and dark bits.
3. With a marker pen colour in the darkest areas of the picture. Then trace the black bits onto a sheet of acetate.
4. Cut out the stencil with a craft knife.
5. Make sure not to have any ‘islands’ — areas of the picture that aren’t touching anything — they’ll fall out if you cut all the way round them. Leave a small line of acetate going to the island so it’s still attached to the stencil.
6. Lay the t-shirt out flat, putting something protective like a magazine on the inside so the fabric paint can’t run through to the back.
7. Use tiny pieces of double sided tape to stick the acetate template to the t-shirt — make sure it’s straight!
8. Sponge the design onto the t-shirt.
9. Don’t put too much paint on the sponge; gradually build it up padding the sponge over the template.
10. Add at least two layers of fabric paint.
11. It’s best to remove the template while the paint is still wet so be very careful not to smudge the paint. Young people may need assistance with this.
12. Finally iron the t-shirt once the paint is dry.

Tips / Advice:
Try to make the picture as simple as possible other wise the cutting out of the acetate becomes difficult.

Safety Issues / Risk Assessment:
Leaders may need to help cutting out the stencil with a craft knife.

For full details see the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Skills, Creativity A5


  • company
  • craft
  • creativity
  • design
  • design, design a t shirt, tshirt competition, drawing competition, drawing
  • discoverer
  • skills
  • t-shirt

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