We found out we were expecting our second child in November 2011, just days after we celebrated Griff’s first birthday. We were taking a cruise with my husband’s entire extended family right before Christmas, so we decided to get creative and tell them during that trip.
I worked hard to create a shirt for Griffin to wear for the big reveal. This is what I came up with:
The whole scenario was a complete flop. The first night on the ship, Jon and I requested to have dinner with his parents, under the guise of discussing his final semester of grad school. We excitedly dressed Griff in his Big Bro shirt and met them at the table.
They didn’t even notice. After it became clear that my in-laws weren’t going to read the shirt and make the connection themselves, Jon said, “look at Griff’s shirt. Abby made it.” They both gave it a cursory glance and turned back to their food.
Finally, bursting with excitement and a touch of frustration, Jon said, a little more forcefully, “no, look at Griffin’s shirt. See what it says.” They read the words and made the connection. My mother-in-law’s reaction? “Oh, no.” But that’s a story for another time.
After making that first t-shirt and realizing how simple it is, I had planned to make another. Now, nearly a year and a half later, I’m finally getting around to it.
This project is as frugal as it is easy. You can pick up a package of iron-on adhesive at Walmart for around $4 (you’ll only use a small portion of this, leaving plenty left over for future projects). You can use any scrap of fabric you already have, or buy 1/8 or 1/4 yard for just a few dollars. Snag a clearance t-shirt or upcycle one you already have and you have a personalized monogram t-shirt for less than $10.
I love the idea of making these with a number instead of a letter for a child’s birthday shirt.
DIY: Easy No-Sew Monogram T-Shirt
- a shirt, washed and dried
- cotton or cotton-blend
- iron-on adhesive, such as Heat ‘n’ Bond brand
- scissors or exact-o knife
1. Iron your shirt and your fabric.
2. Cut a piece of fabric and a piece of adhesive, roughly the same sizes. Follow the directions on the adhesive to attach it to the fabric.
3. Now you need your letter (or number). I printed mine from the computer and used an exact-o knife to cut it out.
4. Trace the letter onto the paper side of the fabric/adhesive piece. You can see that I attempted to free hand a letter, but I ended up printing one because I just wasn’t happy with what I could draw. If you’re really good at that kind of thing, or if you’re using a simple letter, you could save a lot of time by drawing your letter right on the adhesive paper. Be sure to trace/draw the letter backwards, so that it’s facing the correct way when viewed from the fabric side.
5. Using your scissors or exact-o knife, cut out the letter. Be sure to save any inside pieces, like the circle inside my “g”.
6. Next, trace a shape (I chose a circle) around your letter, making sure your letter is centered inside the shape.
7. Now you have two options: you can use the outline of the letter, like this:
or the letter itself, like this:
I chose to use the outline, but I saved the actual g. I’m sure I’ll have a use for it later.
8. Lastly, follow the remaining iron-on adhesive instructions to attach the outline or letter to the shirt.
Note: I chose a lowercase g because I like the look of it better. If your child is older and learning to recognize letters and write his/her name, you might want to choose a capital letter.
I want to know: what fun spin would you put on your monogram shirt?