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How to Make an Original Family 4th of July Shirt

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Have a blast with your family and let everyone make their own 4th of July shirt this year. Every family member can make their own red, white, and blue design on white cotton shirts with painter’s tape and fabric paint.

Your Fourth of July shirts can be fun and original. We had such a great time making our own and even my girls (ages 5 and 3) were able to participate in the process. They were so proud of their final product.

Make your own, unique family Fourth of July T-Shirts this year using basic supplies.

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Make Your Own Fourth of July Shirt

Step One: Gather Your Materials

  • plain white shirts
  • masking tape – we used painters tape but that is because we had some.
  • sponges – kitchen sponges will do just fine
  • star stickers
  • cardboard
  • fabric paint in blue and red
  • smocks if you have little ones

Step Two: Create the Design

First, create a stripe design on your shirt using the painter’s tape. The shirt makes use of negative space, so the idea is to put the masking tape on the shirt where you want the WHITE stripes to be located. (red sponge paint will be used on the white shirt area)

I recommend doing this the night before if you have little ones. We designed the girls’ shirts on the diagonal and the boys’ shirts with horizontal stripes.

Step Two: Add the Stars

Round up the kiddos to get started and put them in dad’s old shirts to protect their clothing. Remember that fabric paint won’t come out of clothing.

It’s time to put on the star stickers. The kids are going to love this part!

If you are type A mommy, close your eyes and shut your mouth. The kids will NOT put on the stars in a neatly spaced arrangement. There will be about 100 stars in one square inch of the shirt with a few other scattered around.

Deep breath. It is OK. It’s gonna look great. Let them go at it.

And not that I would know, but if the sight of the unevenly spaced stars is causing you to gasp for air, then quickly get your shirt and your husband’s shirt and begin to design them to reflect your Type A tendencies. I am “told” that it might help distract you from “fixing” theirs.

Step Three: Paint the Shirts

Before you begin sponge painting the shirts, slide a piece of cardboard in the shirt so the fabric paint doesn’t bleed through to the back.

Now it is time to gather your sponges and the red and blue fabric paint. Begin by sponging the red paint all over the section of the T-shirt with the stripes taped to it. Note: Younger kids will need help.

Once your red section looks complete, it’s time to sponge paint with blue paint all over the area with star stickers. Remind everyone not to soak their sponge or the paint will bleed under the stars, which is going to happen a little bit anyway. But if your sponge isn’t soaked with blue paint, that will help.

Step Four: Peel the Tape (after drying)

Let the shirts for a little while in the sunshine. This is a great time for popsicles or lunch. Once everything feels dry, remove the stickers and the masking tape!


The girl’s diagonal shirt design is on the left, while my husband’s shirt is on the right. The different line designs worked well to give our shirts a little spark of originality.

Then it’s time to gather everyone around for a fantastic family photo, complete with your DIY July 4th family T-shirts.

Ready for more Patriotic Fun?

Have some fun with chalk pastel art. Draw the American Flag, famous american landmarks, fireworks, and more!


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  1. I love this craft and the resulting matching shirts for the whole family! Where do you find good quality (not transparent) white tee shirts? Thank you for the inspiration!!

  2. Dear Mary,
    I found shirts at JoAnn’s Fabric they were on sale over the weekend 5 for $10! They worked perfectly. I bought the brand of fabric paint you suggested and it also was wonderful. My family and extended family (grandma to 10 years old) all made shirts and we had so much fun. I really enjoyed seeing all the unique designs that each person created. Thank you for this spectacular idea!

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