DIY Halloween T-Shirts – Easy & Cheap

It’s Fall!  That means Halloween is coming soon.  I think Halloween is my favorite holiday after Christmas.  I’ve always loved the costumes and decorations for Halloween.  It’s such a fun holiday for kids and adults.  I loved taking my kids trick or treating; these days I go with them to take the grandkids!  And when we’re not trick or treating I enjoy handing out candy from my witch’s caldron I keep on a table at the top of my driveway.  Of course we deck out the driveway with ghoulish props; we even set up a fog machine that spews fog all the way up the long driveway.  The neighborhood kids love it!

But in our family Halloween isn’t just celebrated on the last day of October.  We celebrate it all month long!  We start decorating at the end of September, play the neighborhood game “You’ve Been Booed”, make Halloween related crafts, go to a haunted house or two, throw a Halloween Party, and dress the kids in Halloween T-Shirts in the week leading up to Halloween.  Yes, it’s a month long celebration of spooky fun things!

This year I re-discovered the ease of iron-on transfers for DIY T-Shirts.  It was perfect timing.  Now that I’ve made Birthday Shirts for Jett and the twins, they have September birthdays, it’s time to turn my attention to Halloween. Since iron-on transfers are my current obsession why not combine it with my Halloween crafts.  So I’ve been busy designing and ironing on all sorts of ghouls, monsters, and Halloween stuff to just about everything I can think of.

One of my favorite projects are these Halloween T-Shirts.  They’re fun, easy, and very inexpensive to make.  Sure beats paying top dollar for Halloween T-Shirts the kids will only wear for a day or two.  In fact they’re cheap enough to make several Halloween T-Shirts for each kid, so he or she will have one to wear everyday leading up to October 31.

(This post has affiliate links to help you find the products I used.  Should you choose to make a purchase from the links, we get a small commission.  It helps keep this site going!  Thanks!)

halloween t-shirtsI’d considered making appliques tees, but decided against it.  I didn’t want to invest too much time making shirts that they’d only wear for a day or so; they’re sure to have outgrown them by the time Halloween rolls around next year.  That’s why iron-on transfer are perfect for this project!

You iron on anything you want on the t-shirts.  I made the Halloween Hello Kitty, and the witches’ feet for Harper, and the monster and jack-o-lantern for her twin brother, Sadi, and cousin Jett.

I even added their names to make their Halloween T-Shirts extra special. That’s what I love most about DIY T-Shirts, you can personalize them for free!  The letters fit on the same transfer sheet as the image, no waste!

Here’s what you’ll need to make Halloween T-Shirts for the children in your life.  They’ll love them!

Supplies:

T-shirt – They don’t have to be the best quality, remember they’ll only be used a few times.  I found the colored shirts on clearance at Walmart this summer.  They cost $2 each.  The white ones are actually Hanes undershirts, you can pick up a pack of 5 for less than $10 depending on the size.  In a pinch you can use any unprinted shirts you have at home.

Iron On Transfer Paper – There are several brands to choose from.  I use Avery Iron On Transfers; they’re available for dark and light colored material. When choosing which transfer paper to buy consider the color of the t-shirt.  For white and very light colors use the transfer sheets for light colored material; for dark colors use the dark colored transfer sheets.  Read my article on how to use iron on transfers for more details.  For my projects I used both types of transfer sheets.

Computer –  You can design your Halloween T-Shirt on the online software of the company who makes the transfer sheets or you can upload images from from phone or online photo sharing sites. Be respectful of copyrights, not all images on the internet are free.  You can find many images from sites like stockphoto.com, some are free others are not.  If you’re looking for some cool fonts check out dafont.com, they have lots of free fonts you can download and install on to your computer.

Printer – Once you’ve designed your shirt you’ll have to print it on the transfer paper.  Read my how to article for printing tips.

Scissors or craft knife

Iron – be sure it’s not on the steam setting

Hard Surface – NOT and ironing board.  I iron on my counter which I cover with a fabric remnant used only for this purpose.

Parchment Paper – most transfer paper comes with sheets of parchment paper for ironing on the transfer.  If yours doesn’t the parchment paper you have in the kitchen works just as well.

Directions:

Wash and dry t-shirt before you begin.  DO NOT use fabric softener.

Iron wrinkles out of the shirt and let cool completely before placing transfers on them.

Halloween T-shirtsDesign and print your transfer

Cut out images and letters they way you want to.  I used my Cricut Explore Air to design and cut my transfers, but if you don’t have an electric die cut machine you can use scissors or a craft knife to cut and trim your transfers.

Halloween t-shirts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re using dark color transfer sheets peel off the paper backing.

If you’re using light color transfer sheets DO NOT peel off  paper backing.

 

halloween t-shirtsPosition transfer on the cooled t-shirt.

For this shirt I used dark color transfer sheets so I peeled off the paper backing before I positioned it on the shirt.

It’s important the shirt is cool, otherwise the transfer will start to stick on and you won’t be able to re-position it without making a big mess!

I positioned the image and the letters on the shirt before I started ironing.

When I had everything placed the way I wanted I carefully placed a sheet of parchment paper on the entire transfer.  Be careful when you place the parchment paper on, make sure the edges of the transfer are flat on the t-shirt.  Otherwise the transfer will be wrinkled or its edges curled up after ironing.

halloween t-shirtsOnce you’ve done all that follow the manufacturer’s instructions; iron setting/temperature and time you need to press the iron on the transfer.

Be sure the iron is heated to the required temperature before you begin.

Starting on one end of the transfer press the iron firmly down on the shirt for the required time.  Do not more the iron around.  Apply as much pressure on the iron as you can to be sure that the heat goes thru the transfer.

Repeat this process until you’ve ironed the entire transfer.

Let the shirt cool completely before carefully peeling off the parchment paper (dark color transfers) or the paper backing (light color transfers).

If the transfer edges lift off the shirt replace the parchment paper or the paper backing and iron again.  NEVER place iron directly on the transfer.  You’ll  end up with a shriveled up mess.  Trust me on this!

When you’ve peeled off the parchment paper or backing you’re Halloween T-Shirt is ready to wear!

Halloween t-shirts

Have fun creating Halloween T-Shirts for your friends and family this year!  They make awesome favors for your Halloween party!

I’d love to see the designs you come up with.  Please share them with us!


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