Make a Father's Day Handprint T-Shirt

Put hand prints on his heart!

He has a beautiful family (you!), a great home and a full complement of golf clubs sitting in the attic and gathering dust. So what do you give the man who already has everything? Try this fun hand print T-shirt project! Not only will it record the size of your children that year but it'll be a Father's Day present he'll remember. This gift is good for Grandpas as well as Dads. Even if they only wear the shirt to fish or mow the lawn, they'll know it was made with love and wear it proudly.

What You'll Need

Your project items will be easy to find and are generally inexpensive. You may even have most of them lying around the house already. Here's what you will need to make this gift:

  • A plain white or light colored pre-shrunk T-shirt in Dad's (or Grandpa's) size
  • Fabric paint (your choice of colors)
  • Permanent fabric glue (so add-ons won't come off in the wash)
  • Piece of cardboard big enough to insert inside the shirt

Getting Ready for Your Project

A day in advance of doing your project, machine wash the T-shirt, then machine dry to just barely damp. Don't use fabric softener. Though the shirt has been pre-shrunk, you can't go wrong with this precaution. Otherwise, fibers that shrink after the paint has been applied and dried will cause puckering in the area, or peeling of the paint -- two things you definitely don't want.

When the shirt is dried to just damp, place a large piece of cardboard inside and smooth the front area of the shirt so it will dry completely straight. Make sure the shirt is completely dry before starting your project (leaving it overnight is best). Don't hesitate to use the iron to flatten out any wrinkles.

Placing the Prints on the Shirt

When you're ready, pour the paint onto a small disposable plate. Have the child dip one hand into the paint. Place the hand firmly, straight down, onto the shirt and lift straight up again for a perfect print. Do the same with the other hand, lining the prints up. If you have a particularly squirmy child or one too young to dip, try painting the paint on the hand with a brush.

Special Touches

Men don't usually like sequins and wild colors on their clothing -- but there are ways you can dress this project up and please both Dad and his little gift-giver. Buttons are a fun addition for a Dad's shirt. Try these ideas:

Use a dad-appealing combination of paint colors (red and blue; green and gray; the colors of his favorite sports team; etc.) and have the child place a number of hand prints on the shirt. Wash the hand and dry well between colors.

Make a hand print heart. Have the child curl each hand and touch at the thumbs for the bottom of the heart, and at the tops of the other fingers for the top, rounded parts of the heart. Dip the sides of the hands down into paint and lift up. Now touch them down onto the shirt to form the heart shape.

For a dad of more than one child, place one print from each child on either the front or back of the shirt. Write "Happy Father's Day -- you're the greatest!" or another saying on the opposite side.

Delivering the Gift

Allow to dry completely before folding and wrapping the shirt for gift presentation. There are a number of great ways to package the T-shirt. You can get a large Chinese takeout box (or buy one at the craft store) and place it inside. Or, use an empty coffee can for an usual shape.

Don't forget the card! Browse our collection of awesome Father's Day card templates for your unique design. The best part is you can edit the words online and print it from home. It's so easy, you'll want to do one for every special man in your child's life. Consider teachers, boyscout leaders and other special guys for this very unique gift!

Written by: Melanie Henson