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DIY 4th of July Shirts to Make For the Family


Fourth of July is coming up so fast! It’s one of our favorite holidays and we like to dress extra festive.

Each year, we make our own t-shirts. We use red, white and blue to create patriotic shirts for the whole family.

These DIY 4th of July Shirts are quick and easy to make, let you be creative and are pretty inexpensive. They’re a great way to celebrate the USA in style! kid in blue and white tie dyed tshirt that says USA on it.

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, I earn from qualifying purchases by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

I also participate in affiliate programs for other retailers. Originally posted July 1, 2014, updated May 13, 2020.

DIY 4th of July Shirts are Awesome!

We make cute 4th of July shirts every year and each kid gets to make a different one.

We don’t spend a bunch of time or money on them, it’s just a really fun way to be patriotic and celebrate in a spirited way.

I wouldn’t say I’m the craftiest person in the world so my DIYs are generally really simple and not made to last for a long time.

We just want to wear something to celebrate the day and be done. Although, my kids typically wear these shirts all summer long.

This post is mostly about the ideas and less about the technique. If you have a better way of making a shirt, leave it in the comments!

I love it when my community can help each other!

Kid with red tshirt on with an ironed on patriotic flag made of words for fourth of july.

Both of these 4th of July shirt ideas were made with whoever was wearing it in mind. I love that both kids have their own style and I love to encourage them to be who they want.

Of course, the shirts are a mix of red, white and blue (and some black) since those are THE colors of Independence Day.

The boys love this t-shirt tradition so much that I was able to get them to help me make them. These don’t take long to make so it was a perfect summer activity to work on together.

Blank kid's t shirts on a table for decorating for fourth of July

Start with a plain tshirt

I always head to Target first to pick up some inexpensive blank T-shirts. These were both on sale for $5 each. At that price, it’s not that big of a deal if they only wear it once.

But if you hate the idea of a one and done, just keep the shirt around for when they are helping to wash the car or do yard work.

And really, it always feels good to celebrate the USA. It doesn’t need to only be worn on the fourth of July!

I LOVED the blue and white tie-dye Target had when we made this shirt and thought it was such a great base for a DIY design. It’s no longer available but you can make your own with this kit!

Buy blank T-shirts from Target

How to Spray Paint a Shirt with a Stencil

blue and white tie dye shirt on a table next to a can of spraypaint and a "usa" stencil.So, I’m lazy. I like to look for the easiest way to get something done. Do I sacrifice quality sometimes? Yes. And I’m ok with that.

Using spray paint to create a fun custom kids DIY 4th of July shirt makes things totally easy.

I think making them this way makes them come out messy and cool. That’s just my style. Thank goodness my skill and style go hand in hand. :)

Spray Paint 4th of July Shirt Supplies

  • Tie-Dye Tshirt (follow the instructions on the tie-dye to create the base shirt.
  • Black spray paint
  • Stencil
  • Drop cloth
  • Plastic bag
  • Piece of cardboard
  • Tape
  • Credit Card

I made my own stencil since I couldn’t find one that I wanted. There are a handful of 4th of July Stencils you could by instead of making your own.

To make your own stencil

To make my own stencil, I just printed out “USA” from the computer in a nice thick font and then used an Xacto knife to create my own stencil with craft plastic.

I laid the printout under the see-through plastic and traced the shapes. I used just a bit of tape to hold the plastic to the paper below it.

Spray painting a t shirt to say "usa" for 4th of july.


Put a magazine or piece of cardboard inside of the shirt to keep the paint from seeping through.

Use spray adhesive to stick the stencil to the shirt (don’t overdo it with the spray or you end up with some glue on the shirt when you peel it off!)

Use the side of a credit card or gift card and rub the edges of the stencil near the inside pieces of the letters. (You want to make sure it is stuck to the shirt well so the paint doesn’t get underneath the stencil.)

Use a plastic grocery bag and tape to make sure the rest of the shirt is covered and out-of-the-way of the overspray.

Then I did one pretty heavy spray of the black spray paint over the stencil. (I could have done another coat but I wasn’t too worried about the shirt showing through the letters.)

I let it dry and then removed the tape, bag and stencil. kid wearing a diy fourth of july tshirt.

I think it turned out really cute! You can see that in some areas the spray paint did seep a little bit but it doesn’t bother me at all. It kind of works with the tie-dye effect. It would stand out way more on a blank t-shirt though.

To get a cleaner look, you can always just use store-bought stencils and special fabric paint to carefully put on your design.

But spray paint is SO easy. If your kids have a short attention span, like mine do, this is really quick.

How to Create a Custom 4th of July Design with an Iron-On

kid red tshirt on a table with an iron on transfer design next to it.

For my older son’s DIY 4th of July shirt, we used iron-on paper. It’s one of my go-to methods for making our shirts.

My son and I first created the flag-inspired design on the computer and then printed it out on t-shirt transfer paper that is specifically made for dark color fabrics.


  • Blank tshirt
  • Iron-on transfer paper
  • Design program
  • Printer
  • Scissors

We got our paper at Target but I don’t see it online so here’s a link to a version on Amazon instead.

kid wearing a red t shirt with the words free and brave on it with a small iron on of the United States outline.


To create our design we used Illustrator but you can even use Word or an online design site like Canva! Canva even has all kinds of cool text and symbols, drawings, clip art and photos.

We printed out the image onto the transfer paper then cut it out based on the shape of the design.

We followed the directions on the package for ironing on the design.

It was SO easy!

I love how this one came out and so did my son. They love wearing unique 4th of July t-shirt designs that no one else has!

More unique kid’s activity ideas:

  • Kid’s Stencil Artwork so they can decorate their walls.
  • Make Fabric Bugs even though it’s not Halloween.
  • Kid’s Artwork Pillows are a fun way to preserve their art and make a great gift idea for family members.
  • A lemonade stand is great way to get kids involved in an activity that gives to others! Check out this lemonade stand recipe!

Pin These DIY Shirt Ideas for Later

kids diy tshirts for 4th of july featured image

Whether you are making a spray paint tshirt design or using an iron on, these easy DIY Fourth of July shirt ideas are perfect for you and your kids to make together!

It’s a fun way to make memories year after year and get them excited for the upcoming holiday by planning out their design.

Click to share!

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