Holiday Handmade: Watercolor Tee Shirt from Just Paint It

Watercolor Tee with Markers

Hi! I’m so happy to be at Sweet Rose Studio today for Katie’s Handmade Holiday! I’m Colleen and I blog at Just Paint It. Today I’m going to show you how to do a really cute and simple project using just water and fabric markers!

{Keep reading to get the full tutorial!}


Supply List

  • White cotton tee shirt (you could also use an apron or totebag)
  • Tulip Fabric Markers
  • Freezer paper
  • Pattern
  • paint brush
  • Water
  • Iron

These fabric markers are so fun and easy. I used them on a wildflower totebag last summer, but when I saw how they were used to create a watercolor effect, I knew I had to give it a try.

So simple! I do recommend trying this method on a piece of test fabric first though so you can get used to the markers + wet paintbrush.


I drew this quick ‘tree’ but you could use anything you wanted as a pattern.


After pressing the tee shirt, I cut around the pattern and placed it on the shiny side of the freezer paper. Then insert the pattern and freezer paper underneath the shirt, with the shiny side up.


Set your iron on “cotton” with no steam and press all around the freezer paper. This will give your fabric stability and prevent it from moving.


Next, I inserted a piece of cardboard to prevent the markers from bleeding to the back side of the shirt.


Now, all you do is trace the outline of your pattern.

I worked in small sections, one color at a time.


After marking a section, take a wet paintbrush and moisten the markings. Depending on how damp the brush is will determine how watercolor-y the effect will be.


Then I moved on to the tree. Just a couple of swirls . . .


. . . and a damp paintbrush.


You can make the markers flow more by adding more water. If you want more color, just add a little more marking.


I drew different colored circles for ornaments and just dabbed a bit of water on each.

If you wanted, you could go back over your design with markers and add a bit more definition. I kind of like the loose feel so I left it as is.


When I pulled the pattern out from inside the shirt it had some fun watercolor splotches too! I don’t know why the green didn’t show up, but I’m glad I had the cardboard inside the shirt!


So simple and it’s a really quick project!


So quick, in fact, I think I just might make one for myself too!

If any of you would like to watch this watercolor marker technique, you can join me next Tuesday, November 20 at 6 p.m. PST. It’ll be a live Google+ Hangout. To watch, just hop over to my blog, Just Paint It! If you can’t make that time, you can watch any time on my YouTube Channel.

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Thanks so much, Katie, for letting me share this Holiday Handmade tee shirt!


 Thank YOU so much Colleen for being here! I know of quite a few lovely ladies on my Christmas list that would love one of your amazing Watercolor Tee Shirts!
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