Introduction: Old T-Shirt New Use

Everybody's probably got a full drawer of t-shirts from events that they have gone to at one point in time. Some of these t-shirts hold sentimental value and nobody wants to get rid of them. Sometimes they don't even fit right but we just don't want to get rid of the shirt.

So here's a new way to free up some space in your dresser drawer and add some cool artwork to your walls.


Old t-shirts
Canvas Boards ( you can either get the ones that are stretched on a frame or the ones that are flat it is up to you.)
Spray adhesive
Scissors (In this Instructable I am using trauma shears because I'm a paramedic and I know that it will cut through the fabric as needed. You can also use a rotary cutter or regular sewing scissors)
Craft glue
Ribbon (for the more finished look)

Step 1: Cut Up the Shirt

First you need to make sure that the canvas you have will have enough space for the entire image on the shirt. This t-shirt that I am using today has two sides to it and both images are fitting on an 8 X 10 stretch canvas board.

Make sure when you initially cut the T-shirt out, you have enough space around all edges to have extra fabric to work with. You can clean up the excess fabric later after the t-shirt is stuck down to the board.

Step 2: Prepare the Canvas

In this step you will want to go outside. (Or in a well ventilated shop.)

Spray a coat of the spray adhesive over the entire front and sides of the canvas.

(NOTE: You will probably spray your hands, so be ready for that)

Take your sprayed canvas into your work area and put it on some kind of stand. I used three coffee pods on the back of the canvas to keep it off the dining room table.

At this point, you will want to wait for the canvas to dry to a tacky feeling for a few minutes. Go wash your hand to get the adhesive off of them while waiting.

Step 3: Apply the Shirt

One the surface of the canvas is tacky, start applying the t-shirt to the canvas. You may have to reposition it a couple of times to get it right. You want the design centered on the canvas. Make sure that you are not stretching or distorting the design by pulling it too tight. Also make sure that you press the shirt down on the sides of the canvas.

Step 4: Smooth Out the Shirt

You will want to smooth out the shirt once it is in position. I found the best way to do this is to flip the canvas over (Face down) onto your working surface and apply a smoothing to the canvas. This will help bond the adhesive between the T-Shirt and the Canvas.

Step 5: Finish the Edges

Trim the edges. When I trimmed the edges one final time, I left about an inch of fabric around the entire. (Remember that I am using a framed canvas, but if you are flat canvas you may not need as much.)

After you have trimmed the edges, apply some of the tack glue to the edge and gently pull the fabric to the edge and around to the back. I applied the glue using the tip of the bottle then smoothed it down with my finger to spread it out.

Step 6: Dress Up the Edges With Ribbon

Once the edges have dried, you can add a little extra to the finished product. I added some simple ribbon to the edge of the canvas. (This only applies if you are using a framed canvas.) I applied the first side using the craft glue, I started on the top, and did one side at a time. I used the same technique as I did with the t-shirt, applying the glue, and then spreading it out with my fingers. I smoothed out the ribbon, and over lapped by a few inches to finish it off.

NOTE: I forgot to get pictures of the ribbon application as it went on. Sorry. But I do have pictures of the finished product.

Step 7: Allow to Dry Over Night

Set it aside and allow it to dry overnight. This is the easy part. Now go through and wash all the glue off your hands, clean up the area, and get yourself a drink of choice.

Step 8: Ready for Presentation

This Instructable is being published during the COVID-19 Pandemic. So we are not able to present it right away. But when the kids are allowed to go back to school, these will be presented to the band director to hand in the music building.

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