Friday, February 12, 2010

Wearing His Heart on His Sleeve

Years ago...

My brain: "Look how cute those baby onesies are with the Mom tattoo on them...I should make some of those...Oh, it would be even cuter if they were actually on the sleeve...Hey, that would be a great Valentine gift...Too bad I don't know anyone with a baby...Hang on, who needs a baby?...I should make one for the hubster!"

And so, the heart tattoo sleeve t-shirt was born. I drew the tattoo, scanned it, added my name, reversed the image, printed it on inkjet iron-on paper (you can find it at office supply stores or online) and ironed it on. I thought it turned out pretty cool.  And the best part of all-- he wore it without embarrassment. Success!

So, now that it's been tested, I'm sharing it with all my chickadees!  I drew two heart tattoos especially for you:  one with a crown for the king of the castle and one with roses for the romantic dude.  I also included "Mom" tattoos that would be super cute for little muscle men!  The artwork has already been reversed, but you may have to resize it to fit on little shirts. Sure, you can use any plain ol' piece of tattoo clipart, but don't you want a Silly Bee original?  Rock on!

The How To:

First of all, you will need a color printer, iron-on transfer paper, scissors, a t-shirt, a handkerchief and an iron. 

Once you've chosen your favorite design at the bottom of this post, click on the artwork to enlarge it, then right-click and save to your computer.  Now you're ready to personalize it.  You can do that one of three ways:

1. Open the design in a graphics program like Photoshop or Illustrator.  Then, add your name to the ribbon, rotate it a bit and reverse the entire image (including the name) before you print it onto the iron-on paper.  Don't forget to flip it.  Remember you are printing on the back of the transfer paper, so the tattoo needs to be reversed or you'll have to include a mirror in the gift box so he can read it! OR...

2. Print the design onto plain paper (I actually suggest a photo paper so the colors are still vibrant.)  Write a name on the ribbon with a black marker.  Include the kids:  have his little ones write their own names on the ribbon!  Then, scan it, flip it and print it. OR...

3. Print the design onto iron-on paper.  Iron it on the shirt, let it cool, then add the name with fabric paint.

Now that you have your tattoo printed out, trim around the design and follow the instructions on the iron-on package. Don't do it on top your ironing board. I use the kitchen counter so I don't ruin any furniture.  Iron it for a good while before you start peeking.  Lift it just the tiniest bit to make sure that it's stuck, but remember, once you have lifted the design off of your t-shirt, It's really hard to repair it without goofing up the image.

Iron-ons aren't just for t-shirts!  You can make heart tattoo pillow cases, baby bibs, tote bags and aprons!  Tell me about your tattoo project and most of all have fun!

By the way, if you like the font I used, it's called Bleeding Cowboys and you can download it from


This tutorial is linked up with:

Tip Junkie's Tip Me Tuesday
Momnivore's Dilemma's Creative Juice Thursday
The Girl Creative's Just Something I Whipped Up Valentine Party


  1. This looks so fun...I was wanting an appliqued XO on a red sleeved baseball jersey shirt. Here is a way to create it without the darn sewing machine.

  2. This is why I need Illustrator! Great project...

    If you have a moment, please link up to Creative Juice Thursday!