How to make a portrait on a t-shirt

Today I want to talk about a really cool t-shirt that my 10 year old daughter did for my boyfriend’s birthday.


Using an embroidery tracing pen (Amazon affiliate link) and tissue pattern paper she first traced a photograph of him. To get the outlines more prominent I used the Stamp filter in Photoshop before I printed the image for her, but she ended up using both a print of the actual photo and the outlined stamp version.

Then she transferred the drawing which turned out trickier than expected. It took both a lot of heat and some steam to get the purple colour to transfer onto the fabric.

Using a couple of textile pens (with different tip sizes) she then filled in the purple outlines. After that I helped her set the colour with a hot iron and rinsed away the purple lines. The colour bled a bit, probably because we started to rinse straight after the ironing. My experience with textile painting and printing is that the colours should set for a while in order to be fully permanent.

The end result. It’s looking even cooler when you see his actual face too, but I’m giving my somewhat camera shy partner a break tonight.


  • Antoinette
    September 3, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    What a great technique! The shirt turned out wonderfully. I hope your bf gets a kick out of wearing his likeness on his t-shirt! I think I'd get a kick out of seeing it. 🙂

  • Johanna
    September 4, 2009 at 9:50 am

    >>Antoinette: He was very happy with the t-shirt and wore it all night, so I think he is pretty comfortable with displaying his face in that way 🙂 I think this method opens up endless possibilities when it comes to drafting on clothes. Though my daughter said that it was a little tricker since the pen gets stuck in the fabric and doesn't flow as well as on paper.

  • Joanna
    September 9, 2009 at 10:57 am

    så himla fin!
    bilden idén tanken och flickan.

  • Johanna
    September 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    >>Joanna: Jag är förstås fullkomligt partisk, men jag tycker att min dotter är helt briljant 🙂


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