Superhero T-shirt tutorial.


If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, then it will come as know surprise to hear that my boys love superheroes right now.  I showed you Luke’s new Spiderman shirt, knowing full well that I would have to make one for Levi too, but Ironman for him.  So here it is!  I’m glad I took the photo when I did, because it is already stained on the white background.  The result of boyish play.  Let me take you through the steps that I took to make these, including a freezer paper stencil tutorial.

Materials needed:
  • t-shirt
  • scrap of white knit fabric, about 9″x 8″ square
  • fabric paints
  • fabric paint brush
  • freezer paper
  • sheet of plain old paper
  • cutting mat and exacto knife
  • hot iron (no steam)
  • your sewing machine
  • a stretch needle or ballpoint needle is very helpful when sewing with knits!
  • an image of a superhero that will fit into your scrap square (I find them online and print them out)

Step One:  Take the image that you have printed out and trace it onto the dull side of a piece of freezer paper.  Doesn’t have to be perfect, as you can see.  I actually traced this image right from my computer screen onto a piece of paper.  I could have traced it right onto the freezer paper, but I wanted to keep an original of the image to use again. UPDATE: Guess what I have learned?  You can reuse your freezer paper stencil if you are careful not to tear it when you peel it off at the end of the process!  This will be a huge time saver!

Step Two: On a cutting mat, use your exacto knife to cut out the parts of the image that you want to be painted on the shirt.  Make sure to keep the smaller pieces that you will need to complete the picture, as shown in the bottom photo. I apologize for the bad lighting in these photos, it was a rainy day when I cut  it out.

Step Three:  Place the stencil where you want it on the shirt.  For the Superhero shirt you will place it in the middle of your white knit fabric square.  With your iron on medium or high setting (no steam) iron the stencil, shiny side down, onto your fabric.

Step Four: Time to paint!  Slip a sheet of paper under your fabric because the paint may bleed through.  Fill in the stencil with the fabric paint color of your choice.

Here is where I made a HUGE mistake.  I used black instead of red, and Iron Man had to be red.  The first layer of paint always tends to soak into the fabric, so a second coat is always needed, which saved me this time.  Allow adequate drying time in between coats.  I did the second coat using red paint, and then added a third coat, in red again.  I think it actually turned out looking really cool!


*One tip on the painting: The second and third coat will not require nearly as much paint as the first coat did.

Step Five: Carefully peel the freezer paper from the material.  Turn the painted material over and iron the back side of it.  This kind of seals the paint and helps it stay looking great wash after wash.

Step Six: Pin the picture to the front of your t-shirt, making sure to center it well.  Sew all the way around the edges of the square with a zig zag stitch.


Now take some photos and don’t forget to add them to 

The Southern Institute flickr pool!


DIY Superhero Cape Tutorial.

Creating for boys can be so easy and so much fun!  Let’s face it, most little boys aren’t too picky about their apparel are they?  You may think that you’re little guy needs the best of the best of everything,  but really, sometimes, the most unlikely objects hold the most fuel for his big imagination.  I learned this last year when I found myself in a bit of a pinch and found myself making…  

The Superhero Cape Tutorial!



Luke is a little man of many interests, one of them being superheros (at least at the moment).  I had been wanting to make him a little cape, but hadn’t been able to get any fabric to make him one at the time.  That didn’t keep him from requesting one though.  So, like any good mom of a superhero would do, I decided to look around the house and see what I could find.  Then…

It hit me!  I realized that I had the perfect thing for making a quick and easy cape… enormous t-shirts!  I have a stack of them from the Goodwill that I use to make upcycled shirts for the boys.  Here’s my superhero cape tutorial (technically, you don’t even need a sewing machine!):  You can view the video version that I did for Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts Creativity Made Simple Campaign or scroll down past it for the pictorial tutorial.  (Hint: the video tutorial has a little shortcut that I started using after I had made the pictorial)…

Disclaimer: Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts supplied me with a gift card which I used to buy supplies for the cape in the tutorial.

What you’ll need: One large t-shirt, one piece of interfacing (2″ x 7 1/2″), velcro, sewing machine(I have a Singer Curvy and I really love it), or hot glue gun.

1. Lay out one large t-shirt.


2. Cut off the sleeves.


3. Cut up the sides and lay the shirt open.


4. Cut out the shape of a cape, being careful to keep the neck hole in tact.
I cut some off of the bottom too, so he wouldn’t trip.


5. The neck hole will be too big for your little guy…
cut out a section.
Even if it fits, for safety’s sake, make sure you make this cape detachable by adding the velcro closure.
Without the velcro closure this cape could be a choking hazard! 

Here you have two options:

#1 Sew velcro on as a neck closure or,
#2 Use a hot glue gun to attach velcro for the neck closure

You have 1/2 of your little guy’s power outfit.

Now for the Superhero Power Cuff.
(Being a superhero doesn’t mean you can’t accessorize.)

1. Take your discarded sleeves and cut out
two 2.5″ x 8″ strips.

2. Attach interfacing to one of the strips, centering it on the fabric.

3. Right sides together, sew around the edges, 1/4″ in,
leaving one short side open.  Clip the sewn corners.
4. Turn the cuff right side out and press.

5. Tuck in the open edge, press.

6. Sew all the way around the cuff.

7. Attach velcro pieces, one one the inside of one end, 
one on the outside of the other end.

Your Power Cuff is done!  You now have a complete outfit!

You can totally be creative when it comes to decorating your cape and cuff.  I used a freezer paper stencil to decorate both of these (I have a tutorial here).  Here are a couple other capes that I have used fusible and machine stitched appliques on:
Simple but fun, I promise your little super heros will be fighting evil all day long in their capes and cuffs, and you will feel like…

(And don’t forget to post your capes in 

Thanks so much for coming by!  Have a super day!

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