If I can take a guess, you’ll probably be wearing red, white or blue to your next fourth of July party.
Sure you can buy something new to look your best. Or you can just make your own custom t-shirt with materials you already have laying around the house!
This 4th of July Shirt is unique, thrifty, and a great conversation starter.
It has all the elements you’d be looking for in a fourth of July Shirt. Stars, stripes and a red, white and blue color palette.
Wear them with your favorite pair of cut off jeans and a loose cardigan for when the temperatures start to go down in the evening so you can gaze up to that firework.
Obviously I’m not in my teens anymore, so I also paired this 4th of July shirt with some wide legged pants (similar) for a more sophisticated look.
With the right tweaks I think this fourth of July t-shirt looks great on kids, teens and adults!
You can wear a short sleeved, fitted t-shirt underneath to feel a little bit more covered up, or wear a light colored kimono over it.
This easy customizable shirt works for pretty much any age. You can make these with your daughter and each wear your design in your own unique way!
The best part about this DIY 4th of July Shirt? It’s entirely made with stuff I already had at home.
Recycle & Upcycle a 4th of July Shirt with Materials You Have at Home
As a crafter/hoarder there’s a good chance that when I you need something for a DIY tutorial I probably have it on hand somewhere. But in this case you really can create this 4th of July Shirt with stuff you already have at home.
You know why? Because you’re in charge of the design.
There are a couple of basic things you’ll need.
What you’ll Need to Make this 4th of July Shirt:
- Basic white, blue or red t-shirt
- Fabric scraps or old clothes in red, white or blue shades
- Needle and thread
- Fabric paint or acrylic paint (optional)
First we’ll need an even colored shirt without a busy pattern or design on it. If you only have a t-shirt with a logo or small design printed on it, make sure that it can be covered up when you customize it.
Since we’re going for a red, white and blue theme here, I would say look for a plain white shirt or a shirt in a blue or red shade.
Don’t worry about the fit too much, we’ll get to that later. If you can only find an over sized men’s shirt, don’t worry about it! We’ll make it work.
I dug deep into my closet and found this simple white loose fitted tank top that I once started a DIY makeover on but never finished.
Step 1: Decide the fit of the top
I decided to make the low scoop neckline of my t-shirt the back of the shirt and the higher back the front of the shirt. It made the shirt instantly look a little bit more sophisticated and this way I also made sure I had enough room for my design.
If you’re working with a t-shirt that has sleeves and want your design to look a little bit more like mine, you can cut off the sleeves.
Just take a pair of scissors and cut about half an inch from the sleeve. You can take a tank top you like and place it over the t-shirt as a template for your cuts.
If you’re using a plain cotton t-shirt like I am, the edges shouldn’t fray much. You can slightly pull on the straps as well to make the edges curl up. This gives your t-shirt a more polished, finished look.
Because my t-shirt was a little big I decided to take in the sides. I left any fancy sewing for what it was and went took the easier approach of tying knots.
Here’s how I made the sides:
- Cut off the side seam. The front and back of your shirt is now only attached at the shoulders.
- Hold the front and back fabric together and cut 2 inches into the sides. Repeat this about 4 times, leaving at least and inch between each cut.
- Tug on each strap to stretch the fabric a little.
- Tie each front and back piece together with a knot. Secure with another knot if necessary.
- Repeat on the other side.
When you tie the knots together it does create some space between each knot.
If you don’t like this look but still want to take your shirt in, you can cut off any excess along with the side seams and sew each side together again by hand using a simple stitch. Make sure the seam allowance on each side is on the inside of the shirt.
Now that our shirt fits all comfortable and snug, it’s time to create our design.
Step 2: Create Your Design
This is the step where anything goes. Now you can really let your imagination run wild. Anything that makes stars or stripes is a safe option, but you might choose to surprise your guests with your own abstract version of a 4th of July Shirt!
Gather as many materials you think you could use to create your own unique design. Anything white, red or blue that could be added to a shirt, goes.
Fabric scraps, sequins, fabric paint, trim, ribbon, patches, buttons … all work to create your masterpiece.
Just to be sure, you can also draw a sketch of what you’d want your finished 4th of July shirt to look like on a scrap piece of paper here.
Step 3: Get Creative
As soon as you’ve decided on your design you can start assembling.
Place the different elements of your design on top the shirt to see what it would look like.
Jeans Scrap Fabric Stars
Whenever a pair of jeans doesn’t fit the way it’s supposed to anymore, I turn them into cut off jeans short. That means I have a ton of jeans fabric scraps left over (did I say I was a hoarder yet?)
These were of course the perfect material to create some cut little stars. I randomly cut out smaller and larger stars from different scraps of jeans fabric. Any type of fabric scraps will of course work for this.
I sewed them onto the shirt with a contrasting thread. For those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I’ve really gotten into embroidery lately!
Something like a fabric glue will also work to hold the stars in place. In my experience this doesn’t last as long as stitching though. But if you’re not looking to wear this shirt that often fabric glue should work just fine.
Alternative ideas for DIY Stars:
- Draw stars with fabric or permanent markers
- Cut out stars from the shirt and glue the fabric on the inside, so it looks like it’s peeking through.
- Use trim or sequins and glue to create stars
- Hand stitch stars on the shirt with thick embroidery thread
- Insert Your Idea Here!
Red Fabric Paint Stripes
To create the red stripes on the other side of the shirt I used red fabric paint left over from my DIY Lips Shirt Tutorial.
Fabric paint will obviously work best on a shirt, but if you’re not looking for a paint that can withstand multiple washings you can also use acrylic paint.
If you’re only planning on wearing this shirt once (which would be a shame, because hello custom designer piece!) you can also use different kinds of paint you have at home.
Just keep in mind that the paint will not behave the same as on paper. You can use a piece of fabric that you cut off from your shirt to test the paint first.
Use painter’s tape or stickers to mark where you’re stripes will be. I used a cut off piece of sponge from another project (I believe it was my Pineapple Shirt Tutorial) to create a vintage faded look.
Other DIY Ideas for Stripes:
- Trim or Sequins
- Draw with fabric or permanent markers
- Make slits in the shirt and pull fabric through to create a weave inspired pattern
- Insert Your Idea Here!
- Plain White, Red or Blue (Cotton) Shirt
- Fabric scraps or ribbon, sequins, trim ...
- Fabric paint or acrylic paint
- Needle and Thread
- Painter's tape
- Customize your shirt to make it fit your style. Cut off the sleeves and/or take in the sides. I cut slits in the sides and tied them in knots (see photos above).
- Draw stars on the wrong side of the fabric. Cut them out with a pair of scissors.
- Sew the stars onto the shirt using needle and thread or use fabric glue.
- Use tape to mark where the stripes will go.
- Apply a thin layer of paint onto a sponge with a painter's brush for example.
- Dab the sponge between the tape making sure to fill in all the corners and edges.
- Remove the tape and wait for the paint to dry (follow instructions from the brand).
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Once everything has dried that needed drying you can show off your custom 4th of July Shirt at your next party (whether it’s July or October, who cares?).
Happy Fourth of July my beautiful American friends!
I hope you have a lovely time spend with the people you love,
PS: If you like this easy DIY tutorial than don’t forget to put a pin on it!