Introduction: DIY Custom Lettering From Old T-Shirts

Use old T-Shirts plastered with sponsors to create some really cool signs and personalized clothing!

If you liked this instructable, please vote for it in the T-Shirt Transformation Contest, and Beyond the Comfort Zone. (I am an engineer who works with robotics, computers and coding)

If you have a lot of old T-Shirts lying around and no real use for them, here is a cool way to use their lettering to create custom fabric signs or customize articles of clothing. The tools needed for this project are as follows:

  • An old T-Shirt with a bunch of sponsors on it
  • A sharp pair of scissors (preferably fabric scissors)
  • A hot glue gun, other adhesive or a sewing needle and some thread
  • (Optional) Another article of clothing to personalize

This instructable is designed to be accomplish-able by everyone and takes relatively little time, effort, skill and materials for a really awesome product, so on with the instructable.

Step 1: Find Viable T-Shirts

The first step to create custom fabric signs and labels is to find T-Shirts to take the letters from. One really good source of letters is old T-Shirts that are littered with sponsors. The sponsor lettering makes for a diverse set of fonts while maintaining a constant background color. Another option is to make a rainbow sign or patterned color sign once you have harvested the letters from enough shirts. In this case, I am using my old 5K shirts.

(On a side note, the front of the 5K shirt or other long distance run shirts can also be used to make a quilt of all your races you have participated in.)

Step 2: Make Your Alphabet

For the next step, I hope you passed kindergarten as we will have to do a lot of cutting. When cutting out the letters, I recommend a pair of fabric or sharp scissors. Personally, I would also focus on cutting out the brand/company or large letters as small letters can be hard to distinguish.

Step 3: Attach You Letters

The next step has some variability. To attach your letters, you can either use and adhesive or sewing. Hot glue, what I used, works okay but you have to be careful with the borders of the letters and the hot glue strings/strands as they can ruin the look. Sewing also is an option and probably would work better for fabric to fabric creations like custom socks, hats or even other T-Shirts. If you just would like to make a sign or label, the bottom of a T-Shirt that is hemmed is a good backing as it is more robust than just a cut square of fabric.

Step 4: Enjoy

I hoped you enjoyed this instructable and will use it to make some really cool personalized article of clothing or custom sign from your old T-Shirts. If you liked this instructable, please remember to vote for it in the T-Shirt Transformation contest and Beyond the Comfort Zone, it means a lot. (I am an nerd. Fabric and fashion is a first for me). Thank you very much for reading this instructable as well.

T-Shirt Transformations Challenge

Runner Up in the
T-Shirt Transformations Challenge

Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest

Participated in the
Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest