DIY heart doily shirt
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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.

This post contains affiliate links.

68 Comments

  • Reply
    Jessica
    January 12, 2011 at 8:31 am

    You are simply my hero. I leave your blog inspired once again.

  • Reply
    Jessie
    January 12, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I love this idea! We are absolutely making thus one!!

  • Reply
    Jo
    January 12, 2011 at 8:58 am

    A positively perfect tutorial in everyway.

  • Reply
    frivolitea
    January 12, 2011 at 9:06 am

    What a great project! And that is an Adorable photo of the girls!!!

  • Reply
    Pumpkinbear
    January 12, 2011 at 9:11 am

    That is very cute! I bet my kiddos could even do this one independently.

  • Reply
    Brandy
    January 12, 2011 at 9:39 am

    these shirts are so cute! And I bet the kids could even help make them!

  • Reply
    Ms. Maria
    January 12, 2011 at 9:49 am

    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!

  • Reply
    Rachel C
    January 12, 2011 at 9:50 am

    So adorable and easy! I can’t wait to do this with my toddler!

  • Reply
    Catherine
    January 12, 2011 at 9:59 am

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

  • Reply
    Katie
    January 12, 2011 at 10:22 am

    These are adorable. And so simple! Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  • Reply
    rae
    January 12, 2011 at 10:39 am

    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?

  • Reply
    Holly
    January 12, 2011 at 10:49 am

    As always…WoNdErFuL!!!!

  • Reply
    Ann
    January 12, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I was so set to make this pet t-shirts
    https://thelongthread.com/?p=6250
    but now I may have to switch gears! Great project. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Leena
    January 12, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Your girls are adorable. What a sweet sweet picture!

  • Reply
    August
    January 12, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I’m totally making these! Thanks for the endless supply of awesome ideas.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    January 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Another great idea!

  • Reply
    Etta
    January 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I HAVE to make these! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    julie
    January 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    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!!!

  • Reply
    evaharp
    January 12, 2011 at 9:56 am

    So cute and so easy !! wonderful idea.

  • Reply
    Light
    January 12, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    Kate
    January 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm

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

  • Reply
    Natasha
    January 12, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    So simple yet genius! I’m going to do these for my girls & will be linking, thanks!

  • Reply
    Two Chicks and a Hen
    January 12, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    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 :).

  • Reply
    Lia
    January 12, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I love this. It’s so great!

  • Reply
    Meg
    January 13, 2011 at 11:01 am

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

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 13, 2011 at 10:25 am

    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.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 13, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I put fabric-painted t-shirts in the hot wash just fine. They don’t need cold water or the gentle cycle.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 13, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I know! We live in Arctic North Carolina…

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 13, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Thank you!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 13, 2011 at 10:27 am

    :)

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 13, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Hm. Let me check… Ruby red! And thanks for the congrats!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 13, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Thanks for the sweet comments, everyone!!

  • Reply
    Jenny
    January 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Cary
    January 14, 2011 at 8:32 am

    This is such a wonderful idea!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Christy @ cat fur to make kitten britches
    January 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    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!
    ~Christy

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    January 15, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    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 :-)

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    January 16, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    jenny
    January 19, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Where is everyone getting the heart doilies??

  • Reply
    Erin K Miller
    January 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    January 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    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?

  • Reply
    Lisa
    January 20, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    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! :)

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 20, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 20, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    January 21, 2011 at 7:03 am

    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.

  • Reply
    Jen
    January 21, 2011 at 7:22 am

    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!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    January 21, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    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. :)

  • Reply
    jenny
    January 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    katy
    February 1, 2011 at 4:24 am

    BRILLIANT! How simple and yet wonderfully clever. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Brittany
    February 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Kaytee
    February 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    jennifer
    February 2, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Great idea. Thanks for the inspiration. Bleaching a shirt around a doily would also be cute… (https://jenniferhoel.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/go-team/)

  • Reply
    heather
    February 3, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    nancy
    February 8, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    Bunchland
    February 9, 2011 at 11:15 am

    We love, love, loved this idea.
    https://www.bunchfamily.ca/valentines-day-craft-heart-doily-tshirts

  • Reply
    Kim
    February 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    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. :(

  • Reply
    Katri
    February 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    What a brilliant idea! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • Reply
    Custom made dress shirts
    June 8, 2011 at 4:26 am

    This is so lovely. it looks like exactly what it is … a thoughtful gift. everything you make is wonderful.

  • Reply
    Kristen @ Titus 2 Work in Progress
    December 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    This is so cute! I’ve got to make one of these! Found you on interest.

  • Reply
    Laura Jeanne
    January 14, 2012 at 9:53 am

    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.

  • Reply
    Leah
    January 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    i love this! and i’m totally going to try it! thank you!

  • Reply
    Pink and Green Mama MaryLea
    January 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    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!
    So ADORABLE!!
    : )
    MaryLea

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    January 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    Mike
    October 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I gotta admit the heart t-shirt is really cute.

  • Reply
    Bug
    February 3, 2013 at 2:21 am

    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.

  • Reply
    Bug
    February 3, 2013 at 2:27 am

    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!

  • Reply
    MaryAnn F. Kohl, art book author
    January 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I just want to weep for the beauty of seeing your children grow. And how you connect them to their memories and experiences. Just beautiful. (sniff sniff!!)

  • Reply
    Smita
    January 21, 2014 at 9:25 am

    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.

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