Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Memory Tees

Happy Summer everyone!  Let me start off by saying I cannot take full credit for this idea, it is something I've adopted as I came to my new school just two years ago. They have done these shirts for quite some time and they have it down to a science. They are so cute and fun, I just had to share!  It's a great time to think about these kinds of activities as you get ready for the fall.

At the beginning of the year, we ask for 3 white shirts.  Hanes or Fruit of the Loom work just great as there are no pockets and the sizes are relatively the same.  When they get shirts from a brand name store, sometimes there are pockets or they are more of a fitted, gender-specific looking style.  You can determine the size your grade level would use and put them on your supply list.  You could also collect a few dollars from each student and buy them yourself so you are sure to get a more unified look.

**Very important: use a piece of construction paper or cardboard in between each shirt so the paint doesn't go through to the back.

We keep them in a waterproof container in our closet until we need them.  Unless the parents put their names on them, we just grab the shirts randomly.


Around the end of October, one of us gets fabric dye and stains the shirts over the weekend.  They are then handed over to the art teacher and she uses fabric paint and sponge stamps to decorate t-shirts for our Thanksgiving program and dinner. This is what they look like after being dyed and painted.
It's hard to tell in this picture but there is an orange tint to the shirt.
We then cut slits in the sleeves and bottom front of the shirt.  You may want to use a quilting rotary cutter for quick and clean cuts.  We send home the following to the parents:
*Zip-top bag of pony beads (colored plastic beads)
*Partially bent paper clip (pictured below)-to help in putting the beads on
The parents are responsible for putting the beads on the shirts and tying a not below each one.  You know your families, if you know a shirt won't return, ask a few parents to come in and help you or see if they will work on them at home.  I can always find someone that is dying to help me. Here are what the beads will look like when done:

That is the most complicated of the three and of course you can make adjustments to fit your needs.


Usually before Thanksgiving break (the last couple of days when we aren't doing very much), we begin our Christmas shirts.  When you get a good system down it really doesn't take much time.  I have the students take off one shoe and sock off and I get out the following:
*Package of baby wipes
*Tray of red paint w/brush
*Tray of brown paint w/brush
Once I paint their foot (brown) and stamp it down (make sure the shirt is facing the correct way), I wipe it quickly with a baby wipe and follow with both hands (red).  I send them with a baby wipe to do the rest. Anything left they can wash off in the sink. When dry, we glue on eyes and a pom-pom nose. The colors below are backwards, but you get the idea.  You may of course choose different colors.

End of the Year

The last is done at the end of the year. The students each pick a color of fabric paint and put their handprint on each shirt. We line them up around the room and they just move from shirt to shirt. They then use a permanent marker to write their names.  Each student will go home for summer with a memory of their friends.

I hope this may give you some fun memory ideas to do throughout the year. Here are some other ideas you could use the shirts for:

  • Apple day
  • Halloween
  • Valentine's day
  • Field Trips
  • 100th day
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Mothers/Father's Day
  • Presentations
  • Field Day
I've also included the link for my Memory book that will take you through an entire year of memories to send home at the end. Best of all, it's FREE! It is simple and doesn't take much time but the results are very special.


Stay cool and enjoy the sunshine!


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