Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade!

My son, Rowan, is starting pre-school next week, and I CANNOT BELIEVE IT.  Ok, it’s not really pre-school since he’s only two-years-old….it’s actually a Mother’s Morning Out program at a church that is only two days a week for half a day.  But still!  He needs a backpack and lunch box and other school supplies, so for all intents and purposes, Mommy here is considering it to be his very first day of school….waaaaa! :*(

Y’all know me and how I love my keepsakes, especially for my little man (my Project Gallery is filled with them), so I of course just had to create a keepsake for Rowan’s back-to-school days!

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

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Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade!

I’ve seen pins floating around Pinterest showing kiddos in an over-sized shirt that has their high school graduation year on the front that they wear for a picture at the beginning of each school year, and I thought that would be a fun and easy tradition for our family to start.

Well, I wanted to take that idea one step further though and put my own spin on it.  Instead of just taking Rowan’s picture while wearing the shirt, I thought it would also be fun to get his handprint on the back each year as well.  That way we’ll not only be able to document his growth each year based on how he starts to fill out the shirt, but we’ll also have his growing handprints on the back.  I know….so sweet and sentimental!  For me, at least. ;)

 

Supplies

**NOTE: If you don’t have a Silhouette or a fancy cutting machine, no worries!  You can buy iron-on letters from just about any craft store!

I bought a plain white men’s t-shirt from Target in size large to accommodate future high school teenage Rowan.  I also decided to add all the wording using black HTV instead of stenciling it on with fabric paint.

This was not only because I’m obsessed with my Silhouette Cameo, but also because I can easily remove/reapply the HTV in the highly unlikely event of Rowan skipping a grade or (lawd help me) him getting held back.  I can just sizzle the HTV away with the tip of my hot iron and make any adjustments as necessary.

 

My Design

I first did the math and figured out when Rowan should be graduating from high school in order to add his class year to the front.  I also had my husband double-check me, so if it’s wrong, blame him!

I then created all my elements in Silhouette Studio and flipped them horizontally since I’d be cutting them out in HTV, which gets cut on the back.

Next, I finalized my Silhouette‘s cut settings.  I used the default Heat Transfer Material: Smooth settings, except I bumped the speed down a bit since I had a lot of small, intricate cuts:

  • Blade: 2
  • Speed: 5
  • Thickness: 4

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Cutting The HTV

Next up, I pulled out my handy dandy vinyl storage organizer and found a sheet of black HTV.  I then placed it shiny side down onto my 12″ x 24″ cutting mat and loaded it into my Silhouette Cameo, then hit ‘Cut’ in Silhouette Studio….a few minutes later I had all my pieces!

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

I trimmed up all the pieces then weeded (or removed) all the excess vinyl….and placed the tiny pieces on my laptop for easy maneuverability.

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Applying the HTV

I don’t have a fancy shmancy heat press yet, so I’d be applying the HTV with my regular household iron.  I’m also lazy and hate dragging out our ironing board, so this project would be completed on our dining room/craft room table….this is why you’ll notice the cardboard under the shirt.

I first pre-heated my iron to the Cotton setting, then ran it over the shirt to remove all wrinkles and any moisture.  Then I eye-balled the HTV’s placement….ain’t nobody got time for measuring!

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

For previous HTV projects, I’ve used a spare cloth (usually a pillow case or old t-shirt of my husband’s), and it’s worked just fine, but it does seem to take several minutes and passes with my iron to get good adhesion.

However, this time I decided to test out some multi use paper from Siser that is specifically designed for applying HTV…I think it’s really for doing multiple layers of HTV, but I was going to give it a go with just a single layer here because why not.

So, I laid the freezer paper-esque sheet shiny side down over top the HTV then started pressing it with my hot iron.  Just a couple seconds at a time was all it took for the HTV to become applied to the shirt…..now I swear by this multi use paper!  Super fast and easy to apply HTV….right up my alley.

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

I then repeated the process for all the pieces on the back.  Same thing here too….no measuring was done.  All the placements were eye-balled because good enough is good enough for me.  I also placed a small flattened cardboard box inside the top of the shirt to protect the HTV I had just applied to the front from the iron’s heat.

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

The multi use paper worked like a charm on this side too!

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Getting Rowan’s Handprint

The next morning after breakfast, I kept the small cardboard box inside the shirt (to make sure no paint bled through to the front) then got to applying the blue craft paint onto Rowan’s cute little hand.  I just smeared on a small amount with a foam brush then (with Daddy’s assistance) pushed the blue print underneath the Pre-K (2 Year) spot (Rowan’s in the two-year-old class this year….fifteen two-year-olds together….bless his teachers!).

I was a little nervous that Rowan would be temperamental and toddlery during this step since he HATES getting his hands dirty (which made our recent second-birthday art canvas a little….interesting), but he was actually totally cool with it.  Maybe he enjoyed looking a little like his buddy Cookie Monster for a bit.

Dad did a good job talking him through it by saying things like “This isn’t for you, son.  This is for your neurotic mother, so just do what she wants and everyone will be happy.”  Happy Wife (and Mom), Happy Life. :)

And sorry for no good pics of this step!  Like I mentioned, wrangling a tot for a keepsake art project is a two-person job.

 

Rowan’s Finished Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints!

And here’s Rowan’s back-to-school keepsake shirt!  Seeing that 2031 sure makes me feel old, but it will be fun to pull this shirt out of Rowan’s closet each year and add his handprint to the back before taking his annual pic.

I love documenting his growth (just like I did with his monthly baby photos), so this is just one more special keepsake to cherish….and maybe also shed a few tears over at how fast he’s growing. *sniffle*

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

And oh, that little handprint!  I plan on doing each year in a different color (which is why I stuck with a white shirt and black wording), and I’m sure it’ll be a tight fit getting all his teenage handprints on there.  But, we’ll just have to squeeze them in.

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

How adorable is he in this super baggy man’s shirt showcasing his graduation year?!?  I mean, seriously.  He was a good sport for our photoshoot too, although he was a little confused….“Ummm Mom, this doesn’t fit.”

I’m sure he won’t be very enthusiastic come middle and especially high school….“God Mom, this is so stupid!  I’m not a little kid anymore! *Grumble Grumble Grumble*”  I’ll just respond with something like “You’re still my baby….so put on the damn shirt!  And SMILE!!” ;)

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been
Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

This little keepsake shirt will be so fun to display at Rowan’s graduation party….and I’m sure his future wife will appreciate it too. :)

 

***Year 2 Update!***

Well, it’s now almost time for Rowan to start his next school year (this time in the big 3-year-old class), so we of course had to update his shirt with his older handprint….and snap lots of adorable pictures.  You can check out our Year 2 Update here!

Learn how to create this cute keepsake for your child that you can update each school year! Back-to-School Shirt with Yearly Handprints: Year 2! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Other Back-To-School Goodies

Also, don’t forget to check out the chalkboard sign I made for Rowan’s first day of school photos!

DIY First Day of School Chalkboard Sign Photo Prop | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

And I also personalized an art smock for him too!

Personalized Art Smock: Back to School in Style! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

And here are some simple yet effective tips to make your kiddo’s back-to-school bedtime routine a breeze!

Back-to-School Bedtime Routine Tips (To Keep Your Family Sane) | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

More Silhouette Fun!

I’ve also shared a bunch of FREE Silhouette cut files….maybe you’ll find something to help get your craft on!

FREE Silhouette Cut Files at WhereTheSmilesHaveBeen.com!

 

How To Use the Text Tool in Silhouette Studio | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

How To Add a Monogram or Word to Any Shape in Silhouette Studio

 

How To Layer Vinyl

 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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About Christine

I'm Christine, a SAHM to a spunky blonde, blue-eyed two-year-old boy and married to the best guy you'll ever meet. We live our lives in the Deep South, and I spend my son's nap times getting my craft on. I blog at Where The Smiles Have Been about my adventures in craftiness, DIY decor, Silhouette projects, and life as a new mommy.

Comments

  1. Hi! I saw you say you might start selling the shirts customized- Have you hopefully decided to do so yet? :) please lmk if u ever do I would so buy it from you! I’m not creative or talented enough to do this!

  2. Lourdes says:

    LOVE IT!
    I am heading tomorrow to the crafty stores to buy the supply’s.
    My son starting school in August and can’t wait to see if my Teacher come out as neat as yours… Great job!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Tracy Torchon says:

    Hi Christine:

    I absolutely LOVE this idea. What were the measurements for the class of… , the grade levels and rowan’s name?

  4. OMG Christine! This looks AMAZING!! My daughter is 2 years old also but I’m not putting her in school yet but I want to make this for her! Thank you so much for your detailed tutorial!!!!!!

  5. This is so super duper cute! Amazing idea ever!

  6. I love this! What a great tradition to do year after year!

  7. Do you remember the size of the font for the grade level texts for the back?

    • Sorry Jen, I don’t. I just eyeballed a general measurement on the shirt then resized the text boxes without looking at the specific size.

  8. I really wish I could buy this from you. I don’t have a printer so I wouldn’t be able to do it. You could actually sell a bunch of these. Do a little side business. If you do start selling them let me know please

    • Thanks Rachel! You could always buy some pre-cut letters/numbers from a craft store and iron them on.

      I’ve had a great response to this post, especially on Facebook, and TONS of people have asked me if I can make them a shirt. I know there’s a huge demand, I just don’t have the time to make any right now. Maybe next year. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I always enjoy reading your projects. You have such good ideas!

  10. This is an awesome idea. My sons name is also Rowan and you are only the third person I’ve met who has used the name. I love it!!

  11. Another adorable tutorial! I hope you’ll link more up to our #EBTKS link up!

  12. What a cute idea for a keepsake. I wish I did something like this when my kids were younger. They’re all in middle school and older now :-( Time went by too fast.

    • Thanks Erlene! I’m glad I had my son after the age of Pinterest so I could be Pinspired and come up with ideas like this! :) I love keepsakes and am trying to capture all the special moments while he’s young.

  13. Oh my word this is so stinkin’ adorable!! Seeing 2031 definitely made me feel old…my niece will be class of ’32 (whyyy). You must have a super power because I can never get my HTV to go on straight no matter what I do. Mine will probably end up crooked. Thanks for sharing this great idea!

  14. Amanda Crespo says:

    Love this idea!! Can you share the font please?

  15. Love this idea! Oldest grandson will start kindergarten next week and I would love to make this for him and his mom. Are you able to share what font you used? I am pretty new to using my Cameo and have looked through the fonts in the online store and have not found anything similar for the numbers. I think they are baseball/athletic style? Thanks!

    • Hey Cheryl! The font for the class year and my son’s name is called All Star, and the other font is American Typewriter. I downloaded both of them for free online. Have fun making a shirt for your grandson! :)

  16. I love this idea! I’d like to rewind time, just so I could go back and get my kids’ pre-k handprints ;)

    I am co-hosting the #HomeMattersParty link party this month and would love to have you stop by for a visit and share. The door is open through Monday.

  17. Is this cut file available for download? LOVE the shirt!

  18. This is such a cute idea! It would also be fun to do this with footprints, My sons now wear size 12 and 13 shoes! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Holy big feet, Vickie! Footprints would be a cute idea too! I used my son’s on his newborn stats canvas and again for some Christmas ornaments…they’re so cute when they’re little. :)

  19. Can you Oder these

  20. This is going to be such an awesome keepsake Christine! I am going to have to check out that multi use paper. My kids went to a similar “parent’s day out” program. My daughter only went one day a week but my son went two days a week. They loved it and it was a nice break for me. You will be taking the blogging world by storm because you will have nap time and school time too! :)

    • Oh, you are feeling my vibe, Kelly! I am SO excited to get a little “me” time while he’s at school….more crafting and blogging for sure! And I guess I should probably add some cleaning time in there too….at least that’s what my husband says. ;)

  21. Christine, this is such a sweet idea! I bet even when he’s a high-schooler, he’ll secretly love this annual back-to-school tradition ;)

    • Thanks so much, Emily! Yeah, I hope he ends up enjoying this. I’m most worried about Freshman/Sophomore year….I think that’s when the major teenage angst will show up. Hopefully he’ll see that this means a lot to Mommy here, so he won’t grumble….too much. ;)

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  2. […] Make a graduation shirt with space for hand prints on the back from Where the Smiles Have Been […]

  3. […] Yearly Back to School shirt with handprints– I have done one of these for my daughter and we add a handprint every year. It’s […]

  4. […] was created by Christine at Where the Smiles Have Been. So please visit her site and check out her Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade post and tutorial. She gives you step-by-step instructions on how to create your own […]

  5. […] Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! @Where The Smiles Have Been (PIN IT) […]

  6. […] was created by Christine at Where the Smiles Have Been. So please visit her site and check out her Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade post and tutorial. She gives you step-by-step instructions on how to create your own […]

  7. […] Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! @Where The Smiles Have Been (PIN IT) […]

  8. […] Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! @Where The Smiles Have Been (PIN IT) […]

  9. […] Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! from Where The Smiles Have Been […]

  10. […] adorable is this Yearly Back to School Shirt from Where the Smiles Have Been?  I’d love to see him in it when he’s about […]

  11. […] saw this the other day from Where the Smiles Have Been and fell in love with it. Two friends did the adult large shirt with the graduation year imprinted […]