Clothing, DIY

Upcycle DIY: Painted Crop Top

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If you are like me, you have wayyyyy more T-Shirts than necessary. I even end up keeping worn out or stained ones which leaves me with very little room in my closet and a not so top notch wardrobe. However, most of my tees are super comfy and a lot of them I got for free! Because of this, I try to figure out ways to dress them up! So, I came up with the painted crop top DIY below for an old stained shirt!


Step 1

Cut strips of freezer paper to the desired size of the stripes. Keep in mind that the freezer paper will cover the area of the shirt that you do not want paint on. I ended up making six strips of freezer paper that were 3″ in width to cover the stain.

I used a lined cutting board to measure the strips and make sure my lines were straight. Also, this rotary cutter was way easier to use than scissors or an x-acto knife!

Step 2

Lay the shirt out on an ironing board and make sure it is flat. Place the freezer paper, plastic side down, to make stripes on the shirt. The areas you want painted should not be covered by the paper. Iron the paper on to the shirt, making sure the edges are stuck down. Go ahead and do the back now so you can put the iron away.

Step 3

The paint will bleed through so you’ll need to put something inside the shirt like a board. I used a plastic poster board but cardboard can also work! If you do use cardboard, or anything else that absorbs, you’ll need to cover it in foil before painting.

Step 4

Now you can use fabric paint and skip this step all together. But, I have found that the best paint for t-shirts is a mix of acrylic paint and polycrylic. The mixture holds up better in the wash and just looks better in my opinion. Also, you can mix just the right color for your project.

You’ll want to find a container to mix the paint in. I recommend a tall glass jar. Pour as much polycrylic into the container as you want to make paint. Then add colored acrylic and mix until you’ve got the color you want and the consistency is no longer watery. The more watery the consistency, the more transparent the paint will be. Since I was using a dark colored shirt, I also mixed a batch of white paint to use as a base.

Step 5

Paint your shirt! Pour some paint onto a paper plate and use make-up sponges to DAB it on to the exposed parts of the shirt. Make sure not to rub the paint across the shirt because it will get under the freezer paper and you won’t have clean lines.

I did several layers of white, front and back, until it was relatively solid. I then painted one thick layer of yellow on top. NOTE: this does take time. Between letting the paint dry and adding new coats, it took me about a day and a half to finish this DIY.

Step 6

Once the paint is dry, peel the freezer paper off to reveal the design! My lines ended up not being the cleanest possible because I accidentally moved the paper. But, hey! It adds character to the shirt. It’s also now safe to remove the board from the inside of the shirt.

Step 7

Crop the shirt! Make sure the shirt is laid out flat and the front and back are lined up. Use scissors, ideally fabric scissors, to cut straight across the front and back of the shirt. I ended up cutting along the bottom of the last stripe as a guide.

Step 8

Rock the crop top! Throw on your brand new old shirt and take some pics! NOTE: I found the shirt to be kind of stiff so I ran it through the wash and crumpled up the painted sections to loosen it up.

Don’t forget to pin the graphic below!! If you try this DIY, let me know how it went in the comments!

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