How to Make a Heart Doily Shirt

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Heart Shirt

Heart doily printed shirt for Valentine’s Day. You know you want to make one! They are so darn cute and quite easy to make.

Here’s what you need for the heart shirt:

Heart Shirt

How to Print Your Heart Shirt

1. First step… Lay your heart doily right side up on a sheet of newspaper or paper. Have another piece of paper handy nearby.

2. Now pour a small amount of your fabric paint onto a plate (I use an old acrylic box frame) and roll your paint roller around to evenly coat it with paint.

3. Roll your paint-covered roller over the doily, coating it as evenly as possible with the paint. (You could use a paint brush or foam brush for this step, but the paint may not be applied as evenly.)

Heart Shirt

4. Set your doily, paint side down, on the center of your shirt (or wherever you want the heart print).

Heart Shirt

5. Lay that extra piece of paper that you kept handy over the doily and use your hard rubber brayer (or rolling pin or bottle of Chardonnay or whatever) to roll over the paper and doily to transfer the paint evenly to the shirt.

Heart Shirt

6. Lift the paper and doily off to reveal your heart print.

Heart Shirt

7. Let dry 8 hours or overnight.

8. Heat set the paint according to the instructions on the paint bottle. I use an iron for 30 seconds on the back of the fabric.

Heart Shirt

9. Wear and admire your heart shirt!

Heart Shirt

10. Repeat for all the special sweethearts in your life. And maybe make a heart shirt for yourself, too.

UPDATE: Make sure to read about our NEW heart doily t-shirts and revised method!

P.S. I should note that the metallic fabric paint that I used on the brown shirt (Pearlescent Magenta) is problematic for this project. For some reason it made the doily stick to the shirt and it was crazy hard to pull it off. It took a good fifteen minutes and the doily came off in lots of little pieces. The regular red fabric paint, however, was very easy to use and the doily pulled off easily in one piece. Just FYI.

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  1. says

    These are so cute! But I don’t think I’m ready for Valentine’s Day yet. I was planning to make felted heart boxes this year but I haven’t even thought about starting yet.
    BTW, we made a frozen cranberry wreath the other day, thanks to your blog. It turned out beautiful, and we hung it on the front door (which turned out to be a bit shortsighted because it dripped red cranberry drips down the door). Next time we’ll hang it on the fence, and I’d like to use some greenery too. Maybe I can get a heart cake pan and make a frozen Valentine!

  2. Catherine says

    These are wonderful! How do they do in the laundry? Do you just use a cold gentle cycle? Great idea and so sweet!!

  3. says

    these are adorable! that last picture is too, too cute. makes you want to eat them, doesn’t it? ;)
    happy snow day……again. where do we live again?

  4. julie says

    I just needed to pop in and say that I am endlessly inspired by you! I run a infant/toddler program, have 2 boys and will use your crafts, which my little ones truly enjoy. So many thanks for your ultra creative mind and your beautiful blog!!!

  5. says

    If you just titled this “Pictures of My Cute Baby” I would have read it. Seriously, she is super-cute. The over-sized heart on her shirt is cute too!

  6. Kate says

    So perfect… Again! Love this craft. Did you use Ruby Red or True Red?
    Love your blog, by the way. And look forward to your book – congratulations on the decision!

  7. Two Chicks and a Hen says

    What an adorable idea. This post brought back so many memories. I had forgotten about this, but when I was young my mom bought heart-shaped doilies and red cardstock, and we made valentines together for my class :).

  8. says

    THE CUTEST photo of your girls ever! Darling!!! And the t-shirts are the supercutest too. Thanks for the inspiration, as always.

  9. says

    A frozen valentine! I love that idea! Sorry your cranberry wreath dripped red down your door. Hanging it on the fence will probably be better, you’re right, and will also keep it colder.

  10. Jenny says

    I love this idea and I just have to do it with my 5yo girl!! Any ideas for a 2yo boy? I’d love to make a Valentine shirt for him too but I don’t think we could do the same.

  11. says

    Hi Jean –
    My daughter and I just tried this project this afternoon — couldn’t resist its cuteness! Anyway, we found that our doilies sort of stuck to our t-shirts , and we had to peel them off in pieces. I couldn’t get all of it off, in fact, so I am waiting for the paint to dry now and hoping it comes off easier once the paint is set. Did you have that problem? Just wondering if we did something wrong….. or maybe we just have defective / subpar doilies?!?! Otherwise, the results are great – totally cute! Thanks for sharing such a cute idea!
    Congrats on your upcoming book! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, and have used many of your ideas / projects with my own kids. I can’t wait to see what you have in store with your book; I’m sure it will be super!

  12. [email protected] says

    me too Christy!
    we have one drying and hoping that the doilie will come off. I got better at it the more we did. actually we did a whole bunch of hearts on a white crib sheet for my daughter’s bed and those turned out great because i didn’t use a roller just pressed with my fist on the paper. i found the red paint to be the trickiest. i love this project though. i think i just need more practice :-)

  13. [email protected] says

    Our red metallic paint was problematic too. After the doilie stuck, we decided to leave it on until the next day. Then, I ran the shirt under warm water and the doilie rubbed right off without removing the paint from the shirt. It turned out to be the best one we did and the most clear. We also did a white crib sheet for my daughter’s bed that turned out great! thanks for the ideas!

  14. Erin K Miller says

    I had the same problem as Christy and vuillaume80. Still can’t figure out how to put the doily on the shirt without the paper being stuck to the paint/shirt. Is the paper doily I’m using maybe too thin? Too much paint? I tried water soaking,but it is still stuck… I used silver metallic fabric paint.

  15. Lisa says

    Great project! I tried it just now but found that the doily barely left any paint on the shirt. It seemed like the doily absorbed too much of the paint. I thought I worked quickly enough but perhaps I need a thicker layer of paint?

  16. Lisa says

    I mixed Scarlet Red with White (both Jacquard) to tone down the red a bit. First we tried a roller and when that didn’t worked tried a foam brush.
    I’ll be trying again! :)

  17. says

    Yeah, the metallic fabric paint sticks for some reason. Not sure why. I did one with metallic fabric paint and it was really hard to get off. The regular, non-metallic fabric paint worked for me just fine though.

  18. says

    Yeah, maybe try it with a thicker layer of paint. Also, what color/kind of paint did you use? When I used a metallic color, it barely left any color on the shirt.

  19. says

    I got mine at Kmart since there’s one close to me. I’ve seen them at Target too. And I imagine they have them at art supply places like AC Moore and Michaels.

  20. says

    Hmm. My heart doilies have a shiny surface but I know some have a matte surface. I imagine that might make a difference. Also, is your white extra thick and gunky? I don’t know if it’s just mine, but my white fabric paint is extra thick and has a different texture than my other colors. Maybe it was the addition of the white paint.

  21. says

    I love your blog! I am an art teacher and really try to incorporate art into my daughters life as well. I cannot wait to try this project with her! Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Lisa says

    I think it’s the shiny surface that makes the difference. Mine seem like regular paper with no coating. I tried with just red and got the same results (the white paint was very thick). I’ll be on the hunt for better doilies. :)

  23. jenny says

    Thanks… I have all these stores around me. I’ll have to go on a search :)
    Love this idea and cannot wait to do this with my girls!

  24. Brittany says

    I’m going to try this today for my daughter and a friend’s daughter who I do art lessons with. I hope they turn out o.k. :) did you practice on anything first before you did the shirt? Im nervous because you only get 1 chance…well I only bought them each 1 shirt.

  25. says

    Just made ours this morning and thank goodness we did a practice run on an old pillow case. It stuck and I couldn’t get it off, the doily was too wet. So I tried it again but I used a little less paint and just my hand to press it on and it came off fine. Another thing we tried was stacking more than one doily to help make it thicker and easier to pull off. Thanks for the cute idea and great directions. We made them for all my nieces that we are going to visit this weekend. I’m so excited to see all the little girls in their Valentine shirts.

  26. heather says

    Found you via The Crafty Crow. I will for sure be adding your blog to my reader! I also have a 5 year old girl & 20 month old daughter & have been wanting to incorporate my youngest in projects. :) LOVE this!

  27. nancy says

    FYI:All my doilies stuck….I let them dry overnite and the next day I ran the shirt with doilie pieces under cold water and with using an old tooth brush…paper pieces came right off and I think the cold water also helps set the paints! Fun!

  28. Kim says

    I think you need THICK or foil doilies. We used regular paper ones and ended up with a huge mess. Out of 4 tees only one is slightly wearable. :(

  29. says

    This is such a cute idea – thank you! I guess you could also use the doilies the same way with tempera or craft paint, on a big sheet of paper – you could layer several hearts of different colours, and make a pretty Valentine’s decoration.

  30. says

    Your girls are just too cute for words! I bought long sleeved t-shirts (on clearance!) at Target this morning and planned to make these this weekend with my own girls. I want one for myself too!
    : )

  31. says

    This is great! My wee girl is going to love this! Might even have to make matching family Valentine’s Day T-Shirts, which will have her over the moon! Thanks for sharing this fantastic idea!

  32. says

    I had the thin doilies and also it was a complete mess. What really worked was placing a clean doily on the shirt, holding it down, then applying the fabric paint on top of the doily (and about 1/4-1/2″ around it).
    When you peel away the doily, you have a great NEGATIVE print of the heart, and no little tiny pieces to deal with. Just take care to hold it still while rolling the paint, and go slowly so the doily doesn’t roll up onto the brayer.
    We also tried making the prints onto blank greeting cards. We loaded the doily on one card, then printed it onto another, using a third card as the insulating layer when running the brayer. You get three cards at once this way, which means by the time your preschooler is bored with the project, you already have enough cards to send to family.

  33. says

    Also I practiced on flour sack tea towels, which either will be a gift on their own, or gift wrap for something else. I suppose you could practice on cotton grocery totes?
    I’m hoping a quick wash after the heat-set will clear away the doily bits that stuck.
    I bought my doilies last year on super-sale after V-day and saved them to do the project this year!

  34. says

    U have such great ideas.I have a 4year old and a 10 year old.You give me the inspiration for new crafts.I myself am into paper crafts.I have tried many of your crafts with kids.Have also gone thru your book.