Sandpaper Printed T-shirt



This is a super simple sandpaper printing technique that will keep your kids busy and make one cute shirt! The best part about this fun little craft is that the supplies were bought at the Dollar Store, even the T-shirt! We used crayons we already had so we only spent $2.00 on our new T-shirt.


Supplies for Sandpaper Prints

good quality crayons, a t-shirt, iron and fine sand paper. Our package of sandpaper had a selection and we used the finest. The more coarse sandpaper will provide more texture. Give them all a try!

Color a fun design on the sandpaper. Remind children that the image will be reversed. Once the design is colored go back over the design giving the sandpaper an extra thick layer of crayon.

Place a piece of cardboard inside the t-shirt to keep the design from bleeding through to the back of the shirt. Position the sandpaper right side down on the t-shirt.

Place a piece of parchment paper or paper towel on top of the sandpaper to protect the iron. Iron, on cotton setting, the sandpaper for about 30 second. Gently lift one edge and make sure you have a good print before totally removing the sandpaper. Iron a bit more if you need to transfer more of the crayon.

Remove the sandpaper. You’ll have a print with loads of cool texture–not to mention a new darling t-shirt. To set the color, place a couple of paper towels on top of the design and iron. This will remove some of the extra wax. Toss t-shirt in the dryer for about 20 minutes to set the color. Launder by itself the first time.

About the author
Cindy Hopper was fortunate to be raised in a family who appreciated the arts. This background led to a Bachelor's Degree in Art Education. With a keen eye for design and color, Cindy has continued her love of art and is now passing her creative skills on to her three children. Cindy's family and friends are the beneficiaries of her passion for fun and meaningful creative projects.

Cindy's personal blog, Skip to My Lou, has taken her love of a project to new levels. Postings keep the family busy -– from testing new recipes for holiday treats to designing and building floats for a neighborhood parade to making fabric rolls to hold crayons to creating themed parties. Cindy seems to have an unending supply of ideas for gifts, parties and rainy days.

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112 Responses to “Sandpaper Printed T-shirt”

  1. Every now and then I come across a post worth sharing… THIS IS THE ONE. Such a cool idea!

    • Dionne Jun 05 at 9:52 pm Reply Reply

      Yes, I must agree….this project was simple, effortless and instant. Perfect!

  2. Emily Jul 14 at 1:17 pm Reply Reply

    bookmarked for the future and emailed to my sister – this is a great craft!

  3. Araceli Jul 20 at 1:46 am Reply Reply

    I loved this! It’s so cool, so many ideas to do! I can’t wait to do this with my kids!

    • araceli Dec 20 at 10:17 pm Reply Reply

      hey i have the same name as you

  4. mima Jul 20 at 9:10 am Reply Reply

    great idea i want to try! is there another way to set the color if i don’t have a dryer?

    • patti maasjo May 15 at 8:38 pm Reply Reply

      Perhaps a blow dryer set on the highest setting, do for about 20 min.

  5. Randi Jul 23 at 8:11 am Reply Reply

    What a neat idea!  I’ll definitely try that with my kids.

  6. Andrea Jul 24 at 11:39 am Reply Reply

    Great project. I just tried it today to make some Alice in Wonderland themed t-shirts for my daughter’s birthday coming up, and they turned out nice!
    The only problem I had was once I threw the Mad Hatter t-shirt in the dryer to set, the colors ran and ruined the rest of the shirt, so I’ll be skipping that step for the rest of them.

    • Jeanine May 25 at 11:31 am Reply Reply

      Do you think placing cardboard in the shirt then put the shirts on cookie sheets in a NOT TOO HOT oven would be a good substitute for the tumbling dryer?

  7. Holly Jul 27 at 1:19 pm Reply Reply

    LOVE this project! We are so doing this!

  8. Katie Jul 29 at 2:31 pm Reply Reply

    Super adorable.  And it looks so easy and fun!

  9. Michelle Cummings Aug 03 at 7:26 pm Reply Reply

    what a super idea! thanks!

  10. Lu Raposo Jan 23 at 4:52 pm Reply Reply

    Maravilhosa essa idéia de pintar usando giz de cera, parabéns pelo passo a passo, sou brasileira, moro em Brasília capital do Brasil, abraços Lu Raposo

  11. Jill Feb 09 at 12:29 am Reply Reply

    Just did this with my kids and friends staying overnight. They have had so much fun and so creative. Andrea I had the same thing the first one I put in the dryer bled onto the back of the shirt. I put my drying rack in my dryer and put the other shirts on it for the 20 min drying. Turned out great. Thanks for sharing this great idea!!

    • ReeCee Apr 02 at 12:28 pm Reply Reply

      Instead of the clothes dryer, I used my hair dryer on low setting. I simply put a piece of cardboard between the front and back of the shirt, lay it on the ironing board and blow the image with the dryer (not directly on it) and it works great!!!  

  12. Brandi Feb 12 at 10:11 pm Reply Reply

    Do you think maybe blow drying the shirt to let the color set will work? I do not have a dryer rack.

    • E Feb 27 at 9:46 am Reply Reply

      Brandi, did anyone respond about the blow drying idea? Placing a drying rack into a dryer isn’t an option for me… would love some feedback asap. Planning on doing this in a couple of weeks! :)

  13. stilettos2slippers Mar 19 at 11:30 am Reply Reply

    Found your link on Pinterest and LOVE it! Thank you for inspiring our homemade St. Paddy’s Day shirts. : )

  14. Beatriz musikgarten Apr 06 at 7:07 pm Reply Reply

    I will try this! Thanks! Beatriz musikgarten (

  15. Jessica Apr 24 at 3:33 pm Reply Reply

    i was about to take a nap, but dang stumble upon brought me to this page, and i had to do it. love my new personalized tank top. super easy fun project, thanks!

  16. lori k May 07 at 10:31 pm Reply Reply

    I am going to make this for the color run….thanks for the great tip

  17. ankiiee May 10 at 4:00 am Reply Reply

    i found this idea really cool… but i doubt that colors will spoil when washed… what say??

  18. Rebecca at thisfineday May 18 at 2:10 am Reply Reply

    How cool!! Thanks for the post. Who ever would have known?How does the image stick though through future washes?

  19. April May 20 at 1:37 pm Reply Reply

    Once you “set” the color, can you wash/dry with other loathes without ruining the other clothes or leaving marks in the dryer?

  20. Leslie May 27 at 5:43 pm Reply Reply

    This makes sense as far as printing goes. My son left a red crayon in one of his shorts new dress was ruined and I have forever learned my lesson.

  21. terri May 30 at 4:57 am Reply Reply

    Hey! I am going to try this ,but since my dryer gets very hot I think I will keep a piece of cardboard between the front of the shirt and back and just blow dry it. That way it cannot bleed through. What do you think?

  22. Kristina Jun 12 at 12:46 am Reply Reply

    Did this today with my kiddos as a time filler. They LOVED it!!! I ironed all thier pictures on one shirt and now I have another shirt for work!!! 

  23. Lolabuddha Jun 16 at 12:31 pm Reply Reply

    I see a lot of comments about preserving the shirt after it is finished but no response. I will be making this today and would love some feedback. Some do’s & dont’s would be a great addition to this blog post.

  24. Flavia Nov 17 at 5:50 pm Reply Reply

    Great Idea. Does the printing last?

  25. Millie Jan 16 at 8:07 pm Reply Reply

    Awesome can’t wait to make t shirts with my grandchildren!

  26. JM Jan 30 at 9:48 pm Reply Reply

    There’s a ‘pastel/crayon’ that can stay on your shirt forever.  It’s not an ordinary crayon.  But this is such a great idea!  I use to have trouble drawing directly on shirts using that special crayon, but now, I think I’ll draw first on paper/sandpaper, then iron it.  Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

  27. Alixandra Mixon Mar 22 at 11:32 am Reply Reply

    This would be a really cute “gift” to give from an older sibling to a new baby, on onsies.

  28. Carmen Apr 24 at 4:08 am Reply Reply

    Awesome idea! But if I dont have sandpaper, What paper or material can I use instead?

  29. Alizah Ali Jul 09 at 10:05 am Reply Reply

    Thank you so much for this craft idea. We just made Ramadan themed pillowcase using sandpaper.

  30. Rach Jul 26 at 11:06 am Reply Reply

    Great idea! My daughter loves designing her own shirts!! Just a quick question does it have to be put in the dryer for 20 mins or will air drying it overnight work the same??

  31. Ruwani Perera Oct 09 at 8:02 am Reply Reply

    This works same way on denims too. Didn’t know about Tshirts.
    Thanks a lot.

  32. Greg Oct 31 at 3:18 pm Reply Reply

    do you think it would work on a black fabric / white crayon?

  33. Sally Jan 31 at 5:21 pm Reply Reply

    How do you dry them if you don’t have a dryer?

  34. Carmen Mar 20 at 7:35 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t understand why it is not working for me. I been on the same shirt for 45 min, and you cant even make out what it is.

  35. Laurie Jun 16 at 6:36 pm Reply Reply

    Do you need to wash the shirt before you put the design on?


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