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Frugal Crafts: Under the Sea Summer T-Shirt

by Benetta Strydom for Better Budgeting 

Under the Sea and Fish Tshirt Craft

This summer use fabric pens to add an underwater scene to an ordinary T-shirt and transform your little prince into the king of the sea. The design features bright, bold colors and your lad will definitely be ready to steal a mermaid’s heart. If you don’t have a boy, don’t fret! The design can easily be adjusted for a little princess by using more feminine colors. Or maybe they would like these colors just as they are.

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printout of the provided pattern of the fish
plain white long-sleeved T-shirt for a boy aged 3-4 years
one 25mm wiggle eye
A4 sized thick cardstock
Acrilex Acrilpens fabric pens in the following colors: 520 Preto (black); 531 Marrom (brown); 503 Azul Celeste (cerulean blue); 501 Azul Turquesa (turquoise blue); 507 Vermelho Fogo (red); 565 Vinho (maroon); 513 Verde Musgo (moss green) and 510 Verde Folha (leaf green)
neon yellow Giotto Décor Textile pen
burnt soil Acrilex fabric paint
fan paint brush
fabric glue (such as Bostik Sew Simple)
iron and ironing board
newspaper to protect the working area

Instructions for making the project:

1. Wash the T-shirt to remove any sizing agent and rinse it thoroughly in cold water. Allow the T-shirt to dry thoroughly and iron it lightly.

2. Put the T-shirt flat on the working surface. Slide the piece of cardstock inside the T-shirt, between the back and front sides of the shirt to prevent the ink from staining the back side.

3. Put the printout of the fish inside the t-shirt and use the black pen to trace the provided design of the fish onto the T-shirt. Remove the printout, but keep the cardstock in place until the project has been completed and the paint has dried.

4. Use the textile pens to color the fish and add the eye:

    a. Color the line to the left of the eye area cerulean blue, and the line to the right of the tail fin turquoise blue.
    b. Color the fins and face area neon yellow, leaving a white patch around the mouth.
    c. Color a section of the tail fin with the cerulean blue.
    d. Add some moss green and leaf green patches to the tail fin.
    e. Use moss green lines to add detail to the ends of each fin.
    f. Use black lines to add shadows to all the fins, except the pectoral fin.
    g. Color the rest of the body black.
    h. Add black shadows to the right of the cerulean blue line.
     i. Add some neon yellow over the cerulean blue line.
     j. Glue the eye in place.

5. Add the coral reef around the fish:

    a. Use the fan paint brush and the fabric paint and add a U-shaped wash to the area around the fish. Remember not to use too much paint when using a fan-shaped brush ~ remove excess paint by dabbing it onto a sheet of newspaper before starting to paint. Allow to dry thoroughly.
    b. Use the red, neon yellow, moss green and maroon pens and draw random squiggly lines with these pens to add color to the reef.

6. Add a cerulean blue border all around the neck opening, as well as around the sleeves.

7. Allow to dry flat for 24 hours, and wait for 72 hours before washing the T-shirt.

Pattern and photos:

Fish pattern for Tshirt
Photo 1: Click on photo to enlarge and print pattern.

How to color the fish

Photo 2: Adding color to the fish.

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