DIY Handpainted Finding Dory T-Shirt

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

Even if you think you can’t paint, this DIY activity is easy! It’s totally do-able to create, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist! I painted Dory here but you can use any coloring page on hand with this fun technique.

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

I like this technique of painting onto cotton fabric rather than directly onto the shirt for a variety of reasons. It’s quite a bit easier to apply fabric paint onto cotton rather than a knit fabric that stretches. Also because t-shirt knit stretches, the design won’t warp or crack this way. You can also blend colors easier on the cotton than on the knit.

I used a pretty sparkly blue fabric paint for Dory so she’ll really shine in the light! Paint your Dory as simple or as realistic as you like.

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

You’ll need:

  • T-shirt. This is a chance for you to use a tee that might have a stain on it as you’ll be able to “save” the shirt by placing an applique over the stain.
  • Coloring page printed out and resized as needed so your design will fit your shirt
  • A full color image of Dory to use for reference when painting
  • Scrap of white cotton
  • Sharpie Fine Point Marker
  • Fusible bond, like Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive
  • Disappearing ink pen, like this one from Dritz OR a pencil
  • Fabric paint in blue, white, black, yellow and red; I like the So Soft Fabric Paint Collection
  • Paint brushes in a variety of sizes; I use this Loew-Cornell Fabric Brush Set
  • Old dish and cup for water
  • Sharp scissors
  • Paper towel or old dishtowel (for wiping off brush between colors)
  • Iron
  • Optional, if you decide to sew the design down:
    • Thread in matching colors. Gutermann thread is my favorite brand as it’s strong (doesn’t break mid-project!), wide range of colors and holds up to wash and wear.
    • Bobbin thread in color to match the shirt
    • Sewing machine needle (jersey or Ballpoint Machine Needles give the best results for applique)

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

1.Place your printed coloring page on the window with a piece of tape and use your Sharpie to outline the outside edge of the design onto the reverse side of the paper. This will create a “mirror image”.

2. Place a piece of fusible bond (bumpy side down) onto the mirror image (backside that you just traced) and trace out Dory’s shape using a Sharpie marker (ball point pens or pencils will smudge or smear off onto your iron, so a Sharpie is best).

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

3. Iron out the wrinkles on your cotton fabric. Iron the fusible bond Dory (bumpy side down) onto the WRONG side of the fabric.

4. Cut out the Dory shape on the line.

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

5. Place the Dory shape (fabric side up) onto your coloring page. Use your disappearing ink pen or pencil to lightly draw the details of Dory onto the cotton fabric.

6. Peel off the fusible bond backing.

7. Lay your shirt down and iron out any wrinkles in the design area. Lay your Dory shape down on the tee, make sure the design is placed where you want it. Iron on securely.

8. Optional: Using a straight stitch, sew with a small hem (1/4″) around the edge of the fabric, securing the Dory shape to the tee.

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

9. Squeeze a small bit of each color of paint onto an old dish. Best to start off with small amounts because you can always add more paint if you need it. Mix colors if you need to get the right tones for shading.

10. Fill a cup with water and have an old towel or paper towel for brush swishing and cleaning in between colors. Don’t leave brushes sitting in water (bristles will bend). Clean them thoroughly in between colors, wipe on towel and lay flat to dry.

11. I like to start with the largest section of blue, adding shading and highlights by mixing the blue paint with black or white. I added the yellow next, then the black sections and saved the white areas for last. Fill in the red for the eyes. Go back in with the black paint on a very thin brush to add details like the rims around her eyes and in her mouth. Finish with the white on a thin brush, adding the catchlight in her eye. I also used black and white, thinned out with water to create shadows & highlights.

Your handpainted creation can be machine washed in cold water, with the shirt turned inside out.

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

Want to see all of the blogger Finding Dory posts? Check them out at Love Our Crazy Life!

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  1. […] Try this technique for hand painting a Disney design onto a tee for a unique look you won’t see on anyone else! Dory Handpainted Tee Tutorial […]

  2. […] 18th- Julie at Saving Up For Disney Julie shows us how to make this super creative Hand-painted Finding Dory T-Shirt. Seriously, this shirt looks amazing and I don’t know if mine will come out this good, but I […]

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