fabric paint _ DIY american usa flag for july 4th Independence day_red white and blue Psst, yeah you! Ready for the weekend celebration of Independence Day? Check out how I created a USA flag tank top – made with no sewing, and upcycled from a t-shirt –  in 8 steps using 8 items. First thing to do is go shopping … in your home closets or dresser. I went to the men’s dept in my home – also known as – hubby’s dresser, to steal up-cycle one of his old white t-shirts (psst, this isn’t the first time I stole one of his t-shirts, see what I made here). . . . 

I wanted to create a casual tank top fit out of the large t-shirt so I also needed to recruit my scissors to help me with the design, as well as other items that I already had within my home (ie: pen, scissors, etc.).

List of Ingredients:
1. old white t-shirt (preferably one that has stains to avoid guilt for stealing)
2. fabric paint red and blue (approx $2.50 each)
3. pen (for the brave ones) or pencil
4. scissors (to snip, trim, create)
5. painters tape (for flag lines + to hold stars)
6. paper / manila folder(for making stars)
7. sponge / brush (for applying paint)
8. baking sheets / something to protect surfaces from paint

Step 1: outline (create) the tank top design with a pen(cil). I wanted a low round neck line with wide arm area. I didn’t have a choice on the wide arm since I was converting a LARGE t-shirt (already with wide arms) into a medium size tank top, but I embraced the look finding it to be a perfect loose-design-tank-top style. Psst, wide arms are perfect for showing off a lil bit of your bathing suit.

Step 2: cut the neckline and arms.  This could be an intimidating (“crap, I cut too much) step. Tip: simply cut an inch before your drawn line to see how the tank top fits first.

Step 3: add tape to make the flag stripes. I used 1.5″ thick painters tape. Fun tip: USA flag has a total of 13 combined (red + white) stripes representing the 13 colonies that declared independence from the British and became the first states of the Union | You can be precise and space the tape wider to create 13 lines/stripes. I didn’t. I prefer the thin lines look.  Plus, I still had to paint and create stars! Also, make sure you protect the shirt and working area from the paint … with baking sheets, aluminum foil, cardboard, stack of paper etc.

Step 4: sponge red paint onto the white lines of the shirt. Tip: I added water to the red fabric paint to speed up the process and gave it a casual blurred look to the lines. Warning: unless you use tight gloves, you will end up with red manicured nails and hands.

Extra tip: Use nail polish remover to get the paint off your nails/hands.

Step 5: draw a star template while you let the red paint (stripes) dry.  My star was 2″ long from tip to tip. Tip: The larger the stars, the more visible they are and the less painting to do. I used manila folder (thick stock paper for sturdiness).

Step 6: prep the stars area. Remove the tape from the red stripes, position the stars,  then tape around it to create a border. Tip: add tape underneath the stars to help keep it in place.

Step 7. dab blue paint onto the shirt. A little dab here, a lil dab there, ok … bad that blue paint every where!!!

Step 8. Get some coffee (relax) / let paint dry & smile at your creation.

Step 9. Show off your patriotic creation.

Apart from turning shirts patriotic, the technique can also be used to american-ize:

* seat cushions,
* table clothes,
* blankets,
* etc fabric etc

Are you already scheming which t-shirt to steal (even from your very own closet) to get your patriotism on? I would LOVE to see photos if you make your own 4th of July tank top (for yourself or as a gift), email me your photos at info@adasdesigninc.com, even if they turn out not as you planned it so I can join you in laughter (funny fails) and personally give you extra tips. Remember, it is a casual shirt design, so there is no need to be perfect; just indulged in the happiness of being able to create something in this country your way (then show it off, wink!). Happy 4th of July to all my American friends!

490_Ada Gonzalez_graphics_DIY american usa flag for july 4th Independence day_red white and blue

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  1. Pat Zaffo says:

    Great t-shirt. You are so creative. Wish I had time to do these things they look like such fun. Happy 4 th

    • Ada says:

      Aaaw, thanks Pat. So lovely to hear (read) from you. Funny, doing DIY projects never feels time consuming to me, HOWEVER, it’s the CLEANING UP afterwards that I wish I could eliminate from the equation haha – wink ; ) Happy 4th of July too, Hope its sparkly!!!

  2. Antonio says:

    What a great idea!! Happy July 4th

  3. Julie Jamison says:

    Love, love, love Ada!

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