Waste Not, Want Not – DIY T-Shirt Art

I love Pinterest. I think it may actually be the Internet’s little miracle. I found this great pin on what to do with old t-shirts and now I simply can’t stop, won’t stop. I’m also realizing that I have WAY TOO MANY t-shirts…

 (Photo cred: coffeeandlilacs.com)

Ok, truth; that pile of shirts is not mine. I don’t have quite that many. However, I do have about 10, maybe 15 tees that over the years, I simply couldn’t bear to part with. Now, I’m not so naive to think that I could still fit into my NYSNC concert tee from when I was 15, but who would give that up? Vintage baby!

As I mentioned above, I found a great way to recycle my shirts on Pinterest and let me tell you, they look awesome. This little DIY art project is so easy to do!

All you need is some canvas, a staple gun, scissors and your t-shirts.

(Check Michael’s or AC Moore. I bought 4 11×14 canvases for less than 15 bucks).


Now that you have all your supplies, let’s get this craft sesh started!

STEP 1: Line Your T-shirt up.

Seriously, be sure to center your shirt exactly how you want it to look before cutting or stapling anything. You know the rule; measure twice, cut once.


Also, don’t be like me. Iron the shirt first. I’ll be right back…

STEP 2: Staple One Side

Now that you have your shirt perfectly lined up (and ironed), go ahead and fold the extra material over and staple just one side. By stapling only one side right now, you can flip the shirt canvas back over and check to make sure everything is still lined up properly before it’s too late.


Don’t staple your fingers and don’t feel like you need to go crazy with the staples. See how I have them spaced out? I usually do about 5 staples per side. Be sure to hit the corners!

STEP 3: Finish the Staple Job

So you have one side done and you checked to make sure everything is still super straight and perfect and lined up. (If you’re anything like me, you checked after each staple was done. OCD much)?

Now you can continue stapling the rest of the shirt. As you go around the canvas, GENTLY (emphasis on gently) pull the material over the side of the canvas. Basically you want to make sure that there will be no wrinkles or loose material on the display side of the canvas.


STEP 4: Get Rid of the Excess

Now that you’re all stapled in, you can cut off the excess material. Be sure to leave yourself a little border of fabric around the staples, but you can get pretty close. Also, you may need to trim fabric from the corners a little so it will lay flush against the wall.


STEP 5: Celebrate Your Craftiness!

You’re done. That’s it. Flip it over, admire it, brag to friends and family about how artsy and talented you are, then hang it up.


SIDENOTE: Sometimes there is a step 6

If you have shirts that have designs on both front and back, you can choose which side you’d like to be centered on the canvas, then cut out the other side and hot glue it on in fun and creative ways. I had 2 shirts that had front and back designs. I also had a 3rd shirt that was just a weird shape so it hung off the canvas.

The Harry Potter Alliance shirt was the one where the graphic just didn’t fit right, so I cut it out and reshaped it, using the blank back of the shirt as my base. The other 2 had graphics on both front and back that I cut out and reattached.

Take a closer look below.



OK, now you’re really done and it’s time to celebrate your talent. Congratulations, you are a talented DIYer. Now go, share your skills with the world.

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