Easy Wall Art with T-Shirt Paintings

T-Shirts painted on with acrylic and oil paint then stretched over used canvases

I recently read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo while looking for some inspiration. While I was both sorting through old clothes that spark joy and watching a free Coursera module put out by the MOMA I was struck with inspiration. I’ve always loved painting acrylics on canvas, nothing serious, just messing around and seeing where it turns out. There’s a section of this course on stretching canvas to paint on. I looked at the screen, then looked over at the clothes I was donating, then looked back at the screen, back at the clothes, and a light bulb went off. Why not stretch some old T-Shirts over canvases I already had, giving new life to the canvases, the clothes, and helping my creative block. It was a win-win-win!

I eventually worked out some of the kinks and have developed a super easy method of making these easy and cute wall art pieces. They’re great for kid’s rooms, college dorm rooms, or even if you have a favorite tee that may not fit you anymore, or may have a stain somewhere, but for whatever reason, you just can’t part with it. The other easy thing I love about this project is that a design is already there, so you can give new life to your clothes with some paint, and don’t need to have a stroke of genius to give it your flair.

What You’ll Need:

  • Canvas – can be used or brand new
  • An article of clothing that will be large enough to stretch over the canvas and around the edges
  • Staple Gun (preferred) or stapler
  • Paint ( I used both acrylic and oil)
  • Paintbrushes

Step 1: Find an old piece of clothing with a cool design that you like, but don’t really care to wear anymore.

For your canvases if using one that’s already been painted on, quickly cover it with a coat of any color solid paint

one coat of paint over an old painting is all you need for this project

Step 2: Figure out which part of the clothing (I’m using an old tee shirt) you want to keep on display. In this case, I’m using the back and the front for 2 different canvases

Step 3: Stretch the shirt over the canvas. Enough so that all 4 sides wrap around the back. See photo.

Step 4: Staple the shirt to the canvas and trim away excess fabric

Step 5: Add your own accents

Step 6: Display your artwork!

Here’s a time lapse of the Pac Man canvas!

Here are some more up close examples where I’ve used this method:

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