DIY: Penguin at the North Pole T-shirt


I got quite inspired by all the the North Pole madness on the blog these days! So much so, todays DIY is a 2 for 1! A little Dip Dye and little stenciling with some freezer paper. You'll make a white T-shirt go from basic to graphic! This might all sound complicated, but really they are fancy words with really basic and easy techniques...

So are you ready to make a white snowy scenery for a cute penguin to live on? 

STEP 1-  Grab your plain white T-Shirt. Grab some tape, any kind really we only need for a guideline. Now place your tape in a triangular shape, a mountain sort of. Next, wet and soak the top part of the t-shirt up until you hit the tape.
STEP 2- Grab a container or pot, large enough so that your t-shirt lies nice and flat in it. Fill it with about 10cm of boiling water. Mix in your dye. I used some Dylon in Bahama Blue. Don't forget to add the salt to your mixture, this will help set the color.
STEP 3- Turn your t-shirt upside down and dip it into your pot. Make sure the t-shirt is lying flat and that it's not all crumbled up. You'll get a smoother and uniform color this way. If you are worried the t-shirt will fall in, clip it to your pot with some clothes pin or use your tape to keep it in place. Leave it for 10 minutes.
STEP 4- Bring more of your t-shirt into the dye mix all the way up to the tip of your triangle ( now you see why you needed the tape!). You can remove the tape now, if it hasn't already fallen. Make sure Your T-shirt is still nice and flat. Use a spoon or mixing tool to press down any of the t-shirt that might be trying to sneak it's way up to the surface. Leave in the mixture for 5 minutes.
TIP*** If you would like a subtle ombre effect and continuous uniform gradient, I suggest dipping your t-shirt a little more in than what you need, just a few centimeters and pulling it back up to were you want your darker blue to be. You can see in photos 3 and 4 that there is some blue on the t-shirt that isn't dipped into the water.
STEP 5- I wanted to create a mountain like scenery- so here you will need to dip the sides of your t-shirt into your mixture, one side at a time. Just push the t-shirt in on a slant and with the help of your spoon  push some of the mixture onto the t-shirt. Once you've done that bring your t-shirt back into the position it was at Step 5 and let your tee sit in the mix for another 5-10 minutes. Or until you are satisfied with the color.
NOTE*** The color on the t-shirt will be a LOT LIGHTER once you rinse and dry it.
STEP 6- This is the trickiest part... Remove your t-shirt from your pot and rinse. Be CAREFUL and try not to have the blue part of the t-shirt touch the white, it will stain. The best way I found was to take my t-shirt and lay it flat into my sink with the white part hanging over the sink. I rinsed out as much as I could just the blue portion of my t-shirt, specially around the neckline. Rinse until your water becomes CLEAR. Add salt if you'd like or some vinegar straight onto the t-shirt, this will set the color into your t-shirt. --- Let it DRY.

Now we are ready for part 2: STENCILING with Freezer Paper. So easy, so much fun! If you don't have freezer paper, you could just use a sheet of acetate, that's how I used to stencil before I found some freezer paper.

STEP 1- Print out the PDF I've provided here.

STEP 2- Place your freezer Paper, with the shiny side down, over the penguin print out and trace the ouline.

STEP 3- With an exacto knife and preferably a cutting board under, cut out all the elements of the penguin. You need the small pieces too.

STEP 4- Place your penguin at the bottom of your t-shirt ( or where ever you might like him to be!).
TIP*** I put all of my cut out piece back together, like a puzzle and then remove the ones I didn
STEP 5- Iron your freezer paper in place, this take a few seconds to adhear.

STEP 6- Paint in your little penguin. I used black fabric paint by Pebeo and a stencil brush.

STEP 7- Let the paint dry, remove your freezer paper by peeling it of and don't forget to IRON your little penguin, this will help heat-set the paint.

*** you don't have freezer paper or fabric paint, no worries. Put the penguin under your t-shirt and trace him out with a black fabric pen or worse case a black sharpie. Now who doesn't have a black sharpie!

STEP 8- Wear proudly!

Let me know how yours turn out!!! More importantly, have fun!



  1. Celina, i really really love this! love the "ice berg" dip dye especially. i was planning on making my little ones some pajama pants for Christmas and these would be perfect on top! thanks for the tutorial!

  2. @Kristin, thanks! I think that would be such a cute pj set. ummm I might just do that too! By the way, I told my husband I made an iceberg t-shirt and he said he didn't see it, so left the word iceberg out of the post. But that is excatly what I was trying to do... next time I'll ask you instead of him!!!

  3. I love this so much, such a gorgeous effect. I've got to try this although it's not likely to happen until after Christmas. That polar bear head us amazing and the perfect prop!

  4. Unbelievably awesome. You're always making simple techniques into really great products. I'm all over this one!

  5. @Laura, thank you :) And that head is from H&M. We love it!

  6. @Miranda, thanks so much! Wow that means a lot to me... the simpler the better in my opinion!lol Seriously who has time for complicated DIY's, i usually start those complicated ones and never finish them. Also, this way anyone can be a little creative!

  7. @anu*miki, thanks! An expert like you will be able to this with your eyes closed ;)

  8. This whole concept is delightful! You are truly an inspiration! :) I linked your tutorial for the freezer paper stenciling on my blog that used your method for a back to school refashion. You can find it here:

  9. Thank you for sharing this great idea and tutorial! You can find my shirts here:

    Greeings from Germany


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