Tutorial: Framing T-Shirts

August 16, 2011 § 2 Comments

As part of our upstairs hallway makeover, I framed a set of t-shirts that have seen better days but that Mr. E wanted to keep. Here is how to turn five ratty, worn-out t-shirts into graphic wall art. You’ll need photo frames and scissors, plus cardboard and tape (or something similar).

1. Select your t-shirts and frames. Make sure the shirts are clean and in reasonably good shape. I bought Ikea Ribba frames since we didn’t have anything large enough.


A selection of t-shirts for framing.

2. Prepare backing pieces for t-shirts. Use a sturdy material like cardboard. Mark and cut according to either the mat or the back of your frame. If your shirts are made of a thick fabric, you may need to cut smaller backing pieces to allow the fabric to wrap around them and still fit inside a frame.

Making back pieces

Making backing pieces for t-shirt framing.

3. Cut t-shirts down, leaving about 2 inches / 5 cm on all sides (or as much as you can). Attach shirt pieces to backing pieces. I used masking tape; your needs may vary depending on your t-shirt and/or backing piece materials.

Be sure to pull the fabric taut to avoid wrinkles. Start from the middle of one side and attach the fabric with a piece of tape in the middle, then move to the opposite side and attach fabric in the middle of that side. Attach more tape to the first side, moving from the center towards the corners. Treat the two remaining sides the same way. I found a flat-head screwdriver useful to fold the corners neatly; you probably could also use a ruler or any other flat, thin implement.

Attaching shirt pieces to backing

Attaching shirt pieces to backing pieces.

4. Put the frames together as usual and hang them. I like to play around with the layout on the floor; I also use paper mockups to position the frames on the wall before I put a single nail in. Your mileage may vary; do whatever makes sense to you.

Laying out frames

Playing around with the picture layout on the floor.

Aligning frames on wall

Determining where to hang frames.

5. Admire your handiwork. I’m stunned at how good-looking the ratty t-shirts turned out!

Frames on Wall

Hallway Windows After

Hallway from Bedrm After

We still need to get one more Ribba frame for the collage in the middle; the brown frame in these pictures is just a placeholder. The collage contains photos from each of the plays Mr. E appeared in during his years in the high school drama group.

(Note: I do not not publish sponsored content, or accept gifts or discounts to write about products. Blog posts are based on my personal opinion.)


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§ 2 Responses to Tutorial: Framing T-Shirts

  • Bizzy says:

    I like this idea- I dont need to stuff the whole t-shirt behind the frame as many other people do- just want the front of the shirt to be displayed. I have a box of lovely tshirts my Mother ( who has passed) gave me from her travels. I dont want to wear them- they are too special- but have been stumped as to how to keep them without it being a major expense and a lot of work. I am NOT crafty but i think i can swing this. Thank you!

    • ekoti says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Bizzy – and you’re welcome! I have to admit, cutting up the t-shirts to frame them made me feel a little guilty at first. Then again, they were getting so ratty that we would’ve had to toss them soon, so I thought I’d better frame them fast if we want anything left to be displayed. 🙂

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