DIY T-Shirt Swimsuit Cover-Ups as a fun Summer Craft
This is a wonderful craft for bored tweens. Take a long hot summer day and this will keep them busy and off their screens for hours. Then when they are done they can take their creations to the pool and show off their creativity!
Supplies to make these T-Shirt Swimsuit Cover-Ups:
- a pack of inexpensive white t-shirts (we chose men’s XL for price and the ability to turn into a swishy dress for tweens)
- fabric spray paint
- sharp fabric scissors
- pony beads
How to make these T-Shirt Swimsuit Cover-Ups:
We chose to paint our shirts first but you could cut them first instead. Pretty much anything goes!
Always make sure you are painting on a protected surface. Fabric paint can stain. So make sure you are painting somewhere protected and wearing clothes you don’t mind ruining. We spread out some butcher paper on our dining room table and went to town. There are so many fun ways to paint fabric!
Painting Technique #1: the swirl starburst method
To create the starburst look that you see above, all you need to do is swirl your t-shirt up into a tight spiral first before painting. A quick hack to make this easy is to use a fork, start in the center of the t-shirt and swirl it up like you would a bite of spaghetti. Then spray and un-swirl to see your fun starburst design. Repeat as until you have the look that you like!
Painting Technique #2: the stencil method
Another fun way to use spray fabric paint is to make stencils out of card stock. Cut out a fun shape and spray away, then remove. After your stencil takes in quite a bit of paint you can turn it over and use it as a stamp. The possibilities are endless! Try different colors to make a fun pattern.
Painting Technique #3: the washi tape method
Washi tape is also a fun way to create interesting negative space. Just apply, paint and remove!
Painting Technique #4: the folding method
You can also try folding up sections of your shirt and spraying to create interesting stripes with the over-spray.
Once you are done painting and the paint is dry (or before you paint if you choose to cut first and then paint) it’s time to cut up your shirt for an interesting style. Of course it’s perfectly okay to leave the shirt as is. An over-size t-shirt makes a great swimsuit cover-up. But if you want to let out your inner fashion designer get out some sharp scissors and snip snip!
You can cut off the sleeves to make a tank top. You can cut off the neckline to make a v-neck or a scoop neckline. You can shred the sleeves and bottom of the t-shirt to make a fun fringe. There are so many possibilities!
You can cut off the sleeves, save them and create two headbands! Or cut some strips off the sleeves and use them as ties to gather up your tank top and create shirred sleeves! Another fun thing is to cut a diagonal line at the bottom of your t-shirt and then tie that in a knot to create a gathered bottom as seen above.
If you are my kids you love the shredded/distressed look so you cut lots of skinny cuts so it look like you got in a fight with a wolverine.
That’s what is great about this project. You can really express yourself in so many ways. Though learn from our mistakes and stay away from long gaping cuts along the butt area. Be sure to try it on and see where your cuts are going to go before you cut them. Gravity will always pull the shirt down so wherever you cut is going to pull. But if you mess it up, no big deal. Men’s under shirts are relatively inexpensive and they often come ten in a pack. Just start over and save your mistake to use as a dust rag.
We almost forgot the best part… Embellishing with pony beads! To decorate with pony beads you’ll want to have some long strands and if you cut off the seam of the t-shirt first it does make for easier threading. You won’t need a needle for stringing the beads but you can use a skewer or a toothpick to push the fabric through the bead if it gives you any trouble. Once your bead is threaded onto the strand, tie a knot to keep it from falling off. Repeat until you get the look you like!
Once you have completed your swimsuit cover-up masterpiece, model it at the pool or beach!
You might even want to invite some friends over and host your own fashion show!
Published July 9, 2018. Last updated July 9, 2018.