Here I will show you five epic DIY t-shirt ideas, which will help you upcycle your old shirts into amazing tops and get you all ready for summer! Hello everybody! Summer is just around the corner and I’m so looking forward to it. Long sunny days, swimming in the sea, short sleeves – I miss that very much! But talking about short sleeves, you do need a lot of cute and stylish clothes this summer. And don’t worry if your closet is full of boring t-shirts because I’m here to save you. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to transform plain t-shirts into the cutest tops and shirts that you’ll love.
I came up with four, actually five designs that I can’t wait to share with you, so let’s just get into it. First we are making this adorable panda tee with lace out of a plain white t-shirt! Mine happens to have the adorable word on, but no problem if yours doesn’t. For the lace edge you will need a piece of lace and a fabric glue. I went for hot pink lace to add some color to the shirt and we are just going to glue it along the bottom edge. Flip your shirt inside out and place a piece of cardboard between the back and the front of the shirt, to prevent them sticking together while gluing the lace. Apply some glue along the inside edge of your shirt and place on your lace, that’s how simple this is! This DIY literally takes 2 minutes and adds so much to a plain t-shirt! One side is done so turn the shirt around and keep adding more lace until the entire bottom edge is nice and lacey.
There we go! Now just leave the glue to dry for about 20 minutes and you can flip the shirt around again to see the beautiful result. My shirt still has a lot of blank space so I decided to draw a panda design on as well. Here I am just sketching the panda’s eyes, nose and mouth. For the eyes we need two large oval patches, a cute little heart for the nose and we are also going to add little pink cheeks to this sweet buddy.
Inside the black patches we need to leave two white circles for the eyes. So I am just sticking a circled piece of masking tape there. Place a piece of cardboard inside the shirt. This will make it easier to draw but will also prevent the color to transfer on the back of your shirt. And now we are all ready to start coloring our lovely panda bear. With this technique you can also make other cute animal tops, like a cat or a mouse.
These are just so easy to make and they look absolutely adorable! Nose is done, now on to the mouth. I am using black and pink fabric markers to match the lace. Lastly I am drawing two pink ovals below our panda’s eyes. This makes him look even cuter but also connects the lace and the panda design together into the prettiest shirt ever. This shirt really went from nothing special to most adorable shirt I have in my closet. I am so happy with the result, I kinda want to draw such Kawaii animal faces to all of the shirts I own. Keeping the rest of my outfit simple I paired it with black denim shorts and some white lacey sneakers. Oh Yeah! Time to transform this long shirt into a gorgeous lace heart fringe top. You’ll need a shirt, some lace, a heart stencil, self adhesive paper, fabric glue, scissors or an exacto knife. Cut a heart out of your stencil. Place it on the self adhesive piece of paper, outline with a pencil and cut it out.
Place the cardboard inside your shirt to make sure that you will only be cutting the back layer of the shirt. Take your exacto knife and trace the shape of the heart to cut your heart out. There you go you are left with a pretty heart silhouette window. Flip the shirt inside out and take a piece of lace fabric. All we have to do is stick the lace on the shirt. I like to dot a small amount of glue all around the edge and then press the lace on as I go. Let the glue dry completely, mine takes about 20 minutes and then you can flip the shirt around again to reveal the awesome lace heart that we have just created! Cut away the excess lace and we’re done! I think it looks so beautiful and I love how easy this is to make.
Ok, first half of our shirt transformation is complete, but we still have to make a knotted fringe bottom to give this shirt a summery and flirty vibe! I am sticking a piece of masking tape on as a guide up to where I want my fringe to go. My shirt is very long so I also want to cut away some of the length. If your shirt is shorter to begin with you can just skip this step. Star cutting the tassels up to the leading piece of a masking tape.
For a simple fringe top you can just leave it like this – it already looks super cool, but I will show a bit more special fringe design by knotting the fringe pairs together. Before that, let’s give our strands a little tuck so that they won’t look as freshly cut. Place a piece of a cardboard between the front and the back layer of your shirt and we are ready to start knotting! Knot together the tassels all along the shirt, making the knots as high as possible.
Just like that… the front is finished. Now we have to repeat the same steps on the back. Knot together two fringe strands and move on to the next pair until you have knots all around your shirt. Next row of knots needs to be bit lower, so I am sticking on a piece of a masking tape as a guide. Now you have to take one fringe string of the first pair and one of the second pair and knot them together, making a knot below the masking tape. Take the remaining string from the pair two and one string from the pair three and make a knot.
And so on until you reach the end of the row. I will knot the back later so here I am proceeding with the row three. Grab a string from the pair one and string from the pair two and tie a knot about half an inch below the row 2. take the remaining string from the pair 2 and string from the pair three and make a knot. Continue until the third row is finished. I decided to make four rows of knots, so this is my last one. I love how you get this pretty crochet detailing with knotting the tassels. If you want your crochet part to be wider, go ahead and make more knotted rows. I think four is just enough for me. I also knotted the back strings and this is how pretty the top looks in the end. I love how the tassels give so much movement to the outfit and make it look so interesting and full.
I am so pleased with the result!! If you want you can cut away the excess fringe but a – a, I decided to keep mine because I love the t-shirt to pieces already. I paired my top with some light washed skinny jeans and sneakers that have blue stars all over. Some brown sandals or wedges would go perfectly with this outfit too for a more romantic, bohemian look. Here I am going to show you how the shirt looks if you decide to cut away the excess fringe strings.
I happen to have an exact same shirt only that this one is pink, and I am going to repeat all the steps as before with the blue one. Here is a little stop motion movie of the process. Actually I get a lot of questions how I do the stop motion for my videos. It is really simple, all you have to do is take pictures or a second clips of the process. So I make one knot, film for a second, then I make another knot, film for a sec, make a third knot, film for a sec and so on. When you put all of that footage together you get a stop motion movie.
So here we have finished our knotting and it’s time to cut away the excess tassels! Just make a horizontal cut below the fourth row of knots. Voila, we got ourselves a beautiful cropped croche top, which I think looks gorgeous. See how you can get a completely different top with just one simple step, in this case cutting off the fringe. Since this top is shorter I like wearing it with more high – waisted bottoms, like this skirt. This t-shirt is probably 10 years old but I love the color, the graphic so I never wanted to get rid of it. However the fit is … horrible. So let’s pimp this baby into a cool shirt full of interesting cut-outs! We need a shirt, scissors or an exacto knife a thread and a needle for a couple of stitches, ruler and a masking tape.
First we are making a braided detail along the neckline. So trace with your pencil, sketching where you want your braid to be. I will be using my exacto knife for the cuts so a piece of cardboard inside the shirt is a must. Now start making one to two inch cuts crossing our sketched line. You can totally use scissors for this if you don’t have an exacto knife. Continue making these cuts all along the neckline. Now what you want to do is take the first two strands and tuck the second one under the first one.
Pull the second strand up, take the third strand and tuck it under the second strand, pull the third strand and take the fourth strand under it and so on all along the collar. I actually saw this design in a shop not long ago and I thought “hey” I could do this myself, but I’ve also seen a lot of other cutting designs recently and such unique tops are always so expensive. I just have two strands left and my braid is finished. Now we have to secure our braid. Thread the needle and make two to three stitches so our braid is locked and it ain’t going nowhere.
I also decided to make a couple of stitches on the right side just so that the opening won’t be as big. But that is totally optional. Also if you’d like you can cut away the collar of your shirt, but I decided to keep it, because it kind of looks a bit retro and old school. Let’s now make a cool triangular cut out all along the back too! Don’t forget to put a piece of cardboard or other material inside the shirt, especially if you’ll be using an exacto knife.
When I see things like this in shops I always take a picture and then I can film a video and me and you guys can rock this cool shirts for way cheaper. High five! For the guide I like to stick two masking tape pieces in a V shape like so. Now we have to cut horizontal cuts between both masking tape pieces. I am using a knife, but scissors work great too. OK, once all the cuts are made, remove the masking tape pieces and start braiding in the same way as before. Take the first two strands and tuck the second one under the first one, pull the second strand up, take the third strand and tuck it under the second strand. Pull the third strand and take the fourth strand under and so on. In the beginning this is a bit more difficult because the strands are so short but it gets a lot easier when moving up.
Here is my braid all finished so all that’s left for me to do are a couple of stitches to secure it! Try to use the thread in the same color as your shirt so that stitches won’t be visible. Yay! We’re done with this cool back cut-out! We’re not completely done yet, though! I decided to snip away the sleeves to get a nice sleeveless top. I’ll also make it a bit more cropped by snipping away about two inches from the bottom. Now… I’m happy with it – my top is all done so let’s quickly put it on! I paired it with some distressed light washed jeans, blue sneakers and cool glasses for a real tough girl look, haha! I really love how after ten years I can again wear this pretty shirt. This is the whole point of upcycling clothes, giving life to pieces you totally forgot you have. Last, but definitely not least, let’s transform this plain white long cami into a cool graphic top with tassels and beads.
For this DIY you will need a longer white top or a T-shirt, a star shape print out, self adhesive paper, scissors, fabric paint, plastic container to put the paint on, sponge applicators, beads and a pencil. Start by cutting a star shape from your print out. Place it on the piece of self adhesive paper and trace the silhouette using a pencil. We are doing the same thing as we did with the heart top, remember? Cut the star out of your self adhesive paper and here’s your stencil for the shirt! Stick your shape on the center of your top, like this. Time for the exciting part – fabric paint! I decided to go for two colors, a blue and pink. Start off with the blue one. Dip a rounded sponge applicator in the fabric paint and start making big dots on the edge of the star.
The purpose is to cover the edge almost completely and then make gradually fewer and fewer dots as you move away from the star. Let’s now add some pretty pink dots on the empty spaces. Also, as you can see, the dots on the edge should kind off go a little bit over the star, so that when you remove the sticker it will look like there’s an explosion of colorful dots behind the star silhouette. Time to remove our star stencil and reveal our cool design! I can tell that it will look absolutely amazing! See, I told you! But we are not done with this top yet. We still need to make a beaded fringed bottom! Cut away the bottom hum and then start cutting thin vertical stripes up to the masking tape. I am cutting my front and back fabric together to save me some time. Now this already looks pretty awesome if you ask me, but we still have to add beads for an even more amazing detail to our top.
Before proceeding, give your fringe a nice tuck to get rid of the freshly cut look. This part is basically similar to the lace heart top, but the fringe will be different, because we’ll be using beads instead of knotting the tassels together. Take your hama beads or other beads of your choice and cut them using scissors. This will make it easy to thread them on the fringe as you can open the bead like so. Take two fringe strands and slide a bead on. I am using scissors to help me open the hama bead and slide the bead on the tassels. Continue making these beaded pairs of tassels along the entire row until all of your front fringe is grouped in pairs.
For the second row, you have to take one tassel from the first pair and one tassel from the second pair, add a bead, and slide it a half of an inch lower than the first row of beads. Continue doing this along the entire row. Make the third row using the same technique. Take one fringe string from the first pair and one from the second pair, bind them together by sliding on a bead. Then combine the remaining tassel from the pair two with one tassel of the pair three and so on until you end up your third row. Repeat these steps on the back of your shirt and you are all done! See how absolutely out of this world awesome this tasselled design looks. I am so happy with this top I can’t even explain it! So I’m just going to shut up. No, I’m not, haha. Fringe is a huge trend this season, I have seen it all over the shops, but I don’t even care what’s in and what not, because I love fringe every summer! Fringe tops just look so fun, happy and flirty.
Perfect for the hot summer days. Here I simply paired mine with some yellow shorts and white sneakers, because with a top like this you don’t really need much more. With all of these beautiful shirts and tops we’re now all ready for the warm summer days. Hope you’ll try them out and if you do so, please send me pictures on my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Also don’t forget to check out my DIY shirts and shorts tutorials from last year for more summer clothes ideas. Let me know in the comments, which today’s short was your favorite and also what videos you would like to see next. That it is for today, thank you so much for watching, I love you to the moon and back. Bye! Take a look at the back of your closet, I am sure you will find old shirts that can be pimped into beautiful unique pieces, which you will love to wear for years to come..