Easy DIY Painted Disney Shirts

We recently got back from a whirlwind Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise vacation. I tried my hand at making my own Disney shirts for our trip, and was super pleased with the results, and knew I had to share this easy craft with you. We made so many cute and unique shirts for our trip with only a few hours of work. Once you figure out the method for these easy DIY painted Disney shirts, the options are endless!

What You Need

  • Freezer paper
  • Exacto Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Permanent Marker
  • Fabric Paint
  • Sponge Paint brush
  • Printed design
  • Tshirts (pre-washed with no fabric softener)
  • Iron

Make your own shirts for your next Disney vacation! Our tutorial is so easy, you'll be making your own shirts in no time. Follow these simple steps for an easy DIY painted Disney shirt.

Let’s Get Started

First things first, you will need to print out or sketch your design. I choose the sun from Tangled for one of my designs. There are tons of free images you can search for on the web. I found an image I liked on google, and printed out a few different sizes. If you are good at free-handing designs, you can sketch directly onto the freezer paper. If you are like me and not gifted in the art department, you can take the easy route and print the design.

Next, trace the image on your freezer paper with permanent marker, making sure you trace on the dull side of the paper, and not the shiny side. After you are happy with your traced image, use your Exacto knife to start cutting the design out. It can be tedious, but make sure to take your time, because this will become the stencil that you use to paint. 

 

The Fun Begins

On medium heat, iron your stencil on the shirt with the shiny side down. Make sure you pay close attention to the edges of the design and get a firm seal. This will make sure that no paint gets under your stencil, into an area you don’t want it. You can test how well your image is ironed down by lightly rubbing your finger nail over the edge of the design to make sure you spot any areas that aren’t well sealed. If an area is loose, just iron it down more. Once your image is ironed on securely, take an extra piece of freezer paper or cardboard and stick it inside your shirt. This will protect the back of your shirt from paint that will soak through.

Let’s Start Painting!

With your sponge paint brush, start by generously applying your fabric paint onto your stencil. I recommend Tulip Soft Matte paint; it comes in a ton of colors, and a little bit goes a long way. I found mine at Michael’s, and there are tons of colors available, including glow in the dark paint! I did all my designs as single color shirts, just for simplicity. You can easily make multi-colored shirts, just make sure the paint is dry and you apply carefully. Also, I found out the hard way that if the paint drips where you don’t want it, it’s too bad, so watch for drips!

Coat your design well, being super careful when you are applying the paint near the edges. You don’t want the paint to seep under under stencil.

Make sure that you have really good coverage, and let your paint dry for 20-30 minutes.  You can use a hair dryer on cool to speed the process along. When your paint is completely dry, slowly start to peel the freezer paper off your shirt. A pair pair of tweezers can be used to get an edge up on the freezer paper.

After you remove your freezer paper, let the shirt lay flat for at least 24 hours. Some fabric paints recommend that you wash the shirt inside out after 24 hours. I chose not to do this, and our shirts have held up just fine.

Using the method above of cutting out the stencil and painting the empty spaces, I made the Tangled shirt, a Mickey head silhouette, the Disney Cruise logo shirts pictured below, and some super cute Mickey anchor shirts. We got tons of compliments on our shirts, and the best part was knowing that I made them!

Another Option to Try

If you like, feel free to try and do the reverse! Iron down a solid image, and paint around the design. Leaving the Mickey head stencil in the middle, we painted around the edges with the eraser end of a pencil. Lastly, remove your stencil paper once the paint is dry. This will leave the Mickey design as a blank space, with the painted edges as a border. Super cute! This method would be very fun and easy for a child to do, and fun for a park bag! 

Easy DIY Painted Disney Shirts

Don’t worry if your design doesn’t turn out perfectly. It’s the fun, creative process that counts! Whether you need a Disney vacation shirt or just want a little magic around the house, this DIY project is fun for the whole family.