Maybe Matilda: Painted Doily Tee

Monday, July 25, 2011

Painted Doily Tee

In case you missed this one when it was posted on Lolly Jane last month, here's a fun tee shirt refashion for you--a painted doily tee! (And, as an update for anyone who's maybe been hesitant about using paint with fabric medium on clothing, never fear: I've worn and washed this shirt many times since writing this post, and it's held up fine and dandy.)

I think we're all a little smitten by doilies at the moment, and as a hardcore crocheter, I couldn't be happier about it. I love the delicate, ladylike look of a doily and wanted to work it into something wearable that wouldn't feel too prim and proper . . . because, really, I don't throw garden parties with tea and crumpets very often, do you? So I picked up a package of little paper doilies and created this:

I used blue and black paint mixed with fabric paint medium to create a row of doilies working their way up the side of a $2 Walmart tee. I love that it works sweet feminine doilies into a unique design with fresh, modern colors. And $2 for a cute summer top? Yes, please!
Here's how I made my painted doily tee!
 You'll need:
- a tank or tee
- a package of paper doilies (you could use multiple sizes if you'd like; I just used one size)
- one or more acrylic paints
- fabric painting medium (I bought mine at Joann, and it has lasted forever!)
- foam brush or sponge
 - a piece of cardboard to place inside the top to prevent the paint from bleeding through

Place your cardboard inside your top so the paint doesn't soak through to the back. Mix your paint and fabric medium according to the directions on the bottle (mine says to use a 2 to 1 mix of paint to medium). I wanted my top to include a range of colors and each doily stencil to have a bit of a color mix, so I swirled the blue and black together without mixing them completely; that way, when I wanted a lighter doily, I dipped my brush in a lighter section on my paint plate, and when I wanted a darker one, I picked a darker paint section, so none of my doilies came out exactly the same. I like a little variety, and the imperfections are what make it fun!
 You can arrange your doilies however you want on your top--I wanted mine to wind up one side of the tee, and I worked from the bottom to the top, so I placed my first doily down near the hem of the shirt and lightly sponged my paint over it.
You don't need to get too aggressive with your paint--a little goes a long way! Just lightly sponge it around the patterned part of the doily. I thought it looked best to paint a little past the outer edge of the doily as well, but you don't need to go very far. Just let your brush go a tad over the outside edge. What you see along the bottom of the doily in the picture above is a bit too much!

Peel up the paper and admire that lovely paint job . . . oooh, isn't it pretty?
Now just keep arranging the doilies and painting over them. I liked to vary between lighter and darker shades on each doily and overlap the edges.
Work your way up the side of the top (or however you want your pattern!) and admire your colorful stencil work!
I worked all the way up one side of the top and placed one doily on the opposite side of the shirt as well, for a little variety (although you can't even see it in any of my pictures . . . it's there, I promise!).

Make sure to read the directions on your fabric medium--you'll probably have to to let your shirt air dry for 24 hours or more and iron it to set the paint. Don't you hate waiting to wear your new creations? I just about went crazy waiting an entire day. But I think this top is worth the wait!

 (I'll be linking up to some of these parties!)


  1. that is totally adorable! great idea!

    1. exactly, Its an amazing unique idea. Your generosity in posting this and taking the time to write about it so coherently and in such detail is really amazing. And I appreciate it so much. | Enigmas Hair Studio

  2. Love it!

    And you rock that pixie cut...kind jealous! Mainly because I'm lazy and hate drying my hair...

  3. It looks great! I love how it turned out:)

  4. Super cute! The doilies could also make a great border for a skirt. (You know it's a great idea when it inspires other projects, lol!)

  5. What a fun way to dress up a t shirt. Love it!

  6. that looks great. i really like the different paint shades you used.

  7. This is adorable! I love how is isn't on the super tidy side of painting. I can totally manage that! I'm your newest follower.

  8. it looks so good! I'm going to make one this weekend!

  9. you're just the cutest!! love the idea! Your projects make me feel like I can actually work with clothing without having to be a pro sewer (as in "one who sews," not a place where potty goes :)

  10. You have the best ideas! Can't wait to try this one.

  11. That is pretty cool! I think i am going to go paint some old tshirts i have!


    Come link this up at my woot woot wednesdays!

  12. great way to dress up a t-shirt. I'll have to try this!

  13. Oh I am so excited! I need to do this very very soon.

  14. just went to jo anns on my lunch so i can copy cat lady you tonight! but i think i will just make a doily shirt for my husband instead. because he is just the best thing in this world. hahahahaha.

  15. I've been trying to figure out how to do something like this for a while. THANKS SO MUCH:) I'm off to buy a cheap shirt now!

  16. I LOVE this project! Thank you for sharing it with us. :)

  17. That turned out great! Just like you said- not to tea-party-esque, but just enough frill to make it fresh! Love it!

  18. What a great shirt redo!! Would love to share it with my readers with a link back to you if that is ok-

  19. Hello!

    I absolutely love this idea! I found you on Pinterest : ) I posted about this neat tutorial of yours and linked to your page if you'd like to view it : ) Thanks for being an awesome resource. As soon as I get some time I can't wait to try it!


  20. I'm planning to do this craft with my MOPS group in September! Did you have to wait between each dolly application? It didn't smudge?

    LOVE this blog! I always go away inspired!

  21. Rachel, I love your blog! I recently tried out this shirt and I love how it turned out! You have so many great ideas! I posted about it on my blog today, and let my readers know where this awesome tutorial is!

  22. That is terrific! I live in Florida and we are usually still wearing t-shirts at Christmas, but we try to be festive anyway:)...wonder if this would work with cut out paper snowflakes?

  23. What an ca-ute idea! I've pinned it to try later! :)

  24. Nice idea! I popped over from Passionately Artistic.

    Kelly @

  25. I have a favorite white shirt that I got some green paint on it, and I still <3 the shirt, but feel the paint stain isn't, er, classy. So, I'm going to do this and hopefully mask the original paint boo boo. I will send a photo after! thanks for the inspiration! xo aimee

  26. Cute! I made a doily bag, but LOVE this t-shirt idea! Thanks for sharing! Smiles, Jill

  27. Love this tutorial. I shared it today on my blog. I hope that's okay. You can check it out by following this link.
    Have a great day and happy crafting!

  28. Seriously looks amazing...cute, cute, cute : )

    Irene (Kildonan)


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