How to Make Painted Hand Prints on T-Shirts

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Hands can make for some fun designs.
Hands can make for some fun designs. (Image: Photo of Ryn's hand by Ryn Gargulinski)

Hands can make for some cool designs, especially when painted on a T-shirt. You can paint hand prints on T-shirts by simply recalling the days of finger paints and remember your willingness to get a little messy. By using your hands, fabric paint you can create your own unique shirt. Here’s how.

Things You'll Need

  • T-shirt
  • Fabric paint

Wash and dry the T-shirt to ensure it will not shrink once painted and ruin your artwork.

Stretch the T-shirt flat by pulling it over a board so the fabric is taut.

Place a moderate amount of fabric paint on a plate you don’t care about.

Firmly press your hand in the paint and practice a few prints on paper before applying to the shirt.

Stamp your hand print on the T-shirt, leaving it in place for several seconds and pressing down firm on every finger and the edges of your palm.

Remove hand, press firmly again in paint and repeat for however many handprints you wish.

Since your paint is going to be thick, allow to dry thoroughly before wearing. Some paints require you heat set them prior to washing and wearing, so check the paint's label.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are going to use more than one color, wait for each color to dry before applying the next.
  • Do the body of the T-shirt, allow to dry, then stretch the sleeves and neck area to add additional prints if desired.
  • Have fun. Overlap prints for weird effects or shift the fingers for variety, but make sure each print dries completely before you overlap.
  • Get the whole family involved and make a series of shirts with everyone’s hand prints. You can wear them when you go as a unit to the park.
  • Mix it up with footprints if hands start to bore you. Throw in a dog paw if you have one.
  • Wash your hands immediately when finished, even soaking in warm soapy water to remove the paint. Anything that doesn’t wash off will flake off in a few days.
  • Wash your hands between print colors.
  • Don’t be impatient. If you smear the paint by not waiting long enough for it to dry it will look stupid.
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