Friday, 2 September 2016
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DIY Paw Heart T-Shirt - Happy Father's Day from the Pets!

Paw print hearts made with colourful fabric markers on a white t-shirt

This Sunday is Father's Day in our part of the world and today's DIY is an easy gift for a furfather (or any animal lover).  It's very simple and can be easily customised to suit your pets and preferences.  Since we recently made the pets homemade t-shirt quilts and cushions so they could snuggle with their Dad anytime, for our Father's Day DIY we decided to reciprocate and make a jammie shirt that he can wear for virtual pet cuddles when away from home. Based upon my patience-testing experience of making clay pet paw print impressions and the probability of extreme inky mess, I knew that real paw prints were out of the question, so we used a very simple template method instead.

✂️  This shirt was made before there was even a possibility of adding something like a Cricut to our crafting equipment. These days, it's crazy easy (if you have one) to whip up a custom iron-on instead of painting or inking (although both are definitely still fun).  See our Dali Momma and Dali Daddy t-shirt iron-ons for an example of a more recent quick and cute project.

Dalmatian dog with homemade paw print heart t-shirt

To make a custom shirt as shown, you will need a clean and dry plain white t-shirt, fabric/textile markers in your choice of colours, a pen or pencil, basic heart templates, a scrap of cardboard big enough to protect the back of your shirt from bleed-through, and two sizes of sticky dots for the paws, sized to suit your hearts. Depending on your  textile markers, you may also need an iron (e.g. heat set inks).  I used heart cookie cutters as templates, but you can easily make your own from scrap cardboard or sturdy paper. Sticky dots are available in stationary stores or office supply sections of large department stores and can often be found in bargain/dollar shops as well.

Step-by-step paw print heart t-shirt DIY with fabric markers

  • Position your scrap cardboard inside the t-shirt to protect the back from any bleed-through.
  • Plan your heart layout, then lightly stencil the heart(s) onto your shirt working from front to back if you are layering the hearts.  I used three hearts in my design, one for each pet, but left a small gap in the grouping to let Tiger have a little space from the dogs, just like reality!
  • Position your small sticky dots on your hearts, and then add the smaller dots to complete the paw prints.  Place the small dots close together, but leave a slight gap. Press firmly to ensure they adhere.
  • Using your heart colour(s), lightly dab the markers to ink around the edges of your stickers.  This will help avoid accidents when filling in the heart as well as reduce the risk of bleeding under your dots.
  • Carefully ink the edge your hearts, making sure to leave a gap for any overlapping areas (as shown).
  • Fill the remainder of your hearts.
  • Dry for the manufacturer's recommended time for your markers before adding edge colours.  Don't rush it!  It will bleed together. You can try lightly accelerating with a hairdryer, if you wish - this is a good way to check colour coverage in case you need to add a little more in spots before fully drying, but I don't recommend using it to circumvent the dry time...just in case!

Step-by-step paw print heart t-shirt DIY with fabric markers

  • Slowly ink your edge lines. If your markers are prone to bleeding, you may find working incrementally with a quick hit from the hairdryer helps to reduce bleeding.
  • Remove the sticky dots carefully.
  • Dry and then set ink according to manufacturer's recommendations if/as needed.
  • Launder if/as needed according to manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Optional: Allow the pets spread a little fur love on the shirt before gifting. 

Two Dalmatian dogs and a cat with homemade paw print heart t-shirt
Paw print heart t-shirt DIY with fabric markers

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