Monday, August 13, 2012

Decorated t-shirt DIY: Key Imprinted Design

key decorated t-shirt

I love old style keys. I would love to sift through a drawer full of them, daydreaming about what doors, suitcases, wooden chests, or jewelry boxes they opened back in their day.  

rows of old style keys

I was so happy with how my Dots Fabric Painted t-shirt turned out, that I had to keep up my momentum and make another.

This time I used fabric paint and yes, metal keys.

T-shirt with key design

Here's how I made this "Key imprinted design" t-shirt, in case you want to make one for yourself!

As with my dots shirt, I started with a plain grey men's t-shirt. This was both a re-fit and a refashion. I share my link below, how I re-sized this men's t-shirt for a womanly fit.

Two plain gray t-shirts to decorate

The decorative metal keys, I'd bought at TJ Maxx for home decor, but since I never got them on the wall, why not cover them in fabric paint?!

I laid out my design.

lay out key design

I found a clean old towel to use in-between my shirt layers as protection, but more importantly, to provide cushion for the keys.

For the painted polkadot shirt I designed with sponges, I used a flat/firm surface (cardboard in-between shirt layers).

For the Key tee, I needed something plump in-between the t-shirt layers in order to get all the imprinted details of the key transferred to the shirt.

use towel in-between shirt layers

Tuck the fluffy towel in between shirt layers where you want your keys to be.

towel inserted between shirt layers

Paint the key generously, but not drippy, with black fabric paint, on one side. I use SoSoft Fabric Paint because I love the soft flexible feel it leaves when the paint dries.

paint key with fabric paint

Carefully pick up your painted key and press into the shirt. See how the towel "snuggles" around the key? Got a better word for it?

press painted key on shirt

I helped it a little, just to make sure all the key details transferred to the shirt.

make imprint with key

Carefully remove the key to reveal your design.
Love it!
key leaves painted design imprint

Now on to the next two keys.
Paint them on one side just like you did the first key.

apply paint to next key

And press
press key to leave imprint

details exposed with fabric paint
And press

imprint painted key into shirt

Yay! I love how it turned out.
I left it for up to 48 hours for the paint to dry completely.

painted key design complete

Once fully dry, I heat set the design using a cover cloth, a no steam iron, moving constantly, and 3 minutes of my time.

use no steam iron to set paint

Cool design! My husband was very impressed and said it looked like a designer t-shirt I would have spent $60 bucks on. He really liked the detail the keys left behind. And so did I.

fabric paint set with heat

Next, see this link for how to re-size a men's t-shirt for a woman's fit. It's the same process I used for this t-shirt, but I rounded the hemline, just to be different.

altered big shirt to smaller

Key painted shirt is one of a kind

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  1. i cant believe you got those keys at tjmaxx!! they are so intricate and beautiful. Shannon, how the heck are you so creative to think of all this stuff?!?!!?

    1. hahaha Thanks Emily! I figured I can't find anything in my closet to wear so I'd better make something I will!

  2. What a clever way to do this! I remember doing something similar in art class when I was a kid with a, uh, fish. I like your project way better.

    1. I've seen it done with leaves too. Fish would actually be cute on a shirt too, although smelly. haha Thanks for stopping by Leslie!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Kristin! I appreciate your sweet comment. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Beautiful


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