The shirt off your back

Do you have a favorite t-shirt that you love that is torn, tattered or just too small to wear?  Here's an easy project to turn it into wall art.

First, get a t-shirt with a great graphic design.  This can be either a tee you have or one that you find.  Goodwill (and even better Goodwill Outlet if there is one in your area) is a great source for inexpensive tees.  I like using t-shirts since the fabric has stretch to it but this could work just as well with woven material.  I have some vintage embroidered linens that are stained but have a sweet motif - it would be easy to frame them with this same technique.

Second, gather up a few embroidery hoops.  The metal ones have a wonderful worn patina which I love for the rich texture they add.  Wooden hoops are easily found at thrift stores or yard sales.  I painted the wooden hoops with a "metal texture" spray paint by Valspar which is available at Lowes.  You only need to paint the top (or larger) hoop since the bottom (smaller) hoop will be hidden by the fabric.


An aside....Ok- I work part-time at the local Lowes, in the paint department.  I love it - I get to play with paint, help people with projects, problem-solve, and get a good workout without going to the gym.  And I don't need any fancy clothes - its perfect for me at this point in my life!

Now, cut the t-shirt open and place the hoops to frame out the image you want to highlight.  Pull the fabric taut and tighten the turnscrew at the top of the outside wooden hoop to secure the fabric in place.  Once you are happy with the composition, trim the fabric from the backside to be flush with the hoop frame. 
I've added a bead of Elmer's glue around the edge between the two hoops to help hold the fabric in place and ensure that it does not loosen.  If you wanted, you could also add a paper or cardboard backing to finish off the back side. 
Any number of additional embellishments are possible - you could sew on buttons or beads for adornment, tie on a ribbon for hanging or add a layer of additional fabrics.

There you have it - easy art for mere pennies and minimal effort. 


  1. what a great idea thanks so much

  2. I LOVE this idea! I have so many cool old t-shirts that I'll never wear again. I'm not handy enough with a sewing machine to make one of those wonderful quilts - this is perfect!


  3. great idea ... love the look with the embroidery hoops as a frame!

    I have some quilting hoops too that will work for larger tops ... now I need to look through my hubby's closet too!


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