Skip to content

Decorated t-shirt

Learning paths

Path Target Duration Skills
Curiosity Kids 8 to 18 4 h Digital Design, Vinyl cutter

Audio recording 2021-10-01 12-05-11.wav

Introduction and context


The activity introduces the participants to softwares for vectorial drawing and the use of a vinyl cutter. It shows the process of rapid prototyping: modeling, parameterizing and functioning a machine. Participants have the opportunity to be creatives and create personalised t-shirts.


The duration of the workshop is about 4 hours and it is addressed to children from 10 years old. Children choose the font and the elements they prefer from a pre-made selection and they combine them to decorate a t-shirt. They learn how to transfer a vectorial drawing to a machine and cut the pieces going through all the steps of rapid prototyping : from a drawing to an object. Kids work preferably alone but they can also work in pairs if an adequate number of computers is not available.

We recommend having no more than 10 participants to reduce the waiting time for the use of the machine. Two instructors are needed to help the children with the machine and the ironing.


  • Be introduced to softwares for vectorial drawing
  • Learn how to select the material and the correct parameters for the vinyl cutter
  • Learn how to use a vinyl cutter
  • Iron the cut elements on a t-shirt
  • Be creative

Target audience and context of use

Children from 10 years old. The activity can be organized in a makerspace, during a festival and also at school.

Preparation and materials

Equipment, Tools and Materials

  • Room, tables and chairs *Vinyl cutter
  • 2 irons or an ironing press
  • 1 computer for participant
  • Pointy tools, cutters and scissors to remove the extra parts of the vinyl cut pieces
  • Rulers and a metre for sewing
  • Pencils
  • USB sticks
  • Tshirt (preferably white or light color)
  • Flocked Heat Transfer fabric (or other type of heat transfer fabric for textile)


Time Activity
14:00 Welcome & introduction
14:15 - 15:30 Drawing
15:30 - 16:30 Vinyl cutting
16:30 - 17:30 Ironing
17:30 - 18:00 Evaluation and conclusion

Step by Step Instructions

STEP BY STEP overview

  • Participants choose a font, write their name, choose the size based of the text
  • They choose an icon or two (depending on the time and the material you have) and modify the size
  • They prepare the vectorial drawings and instructors check them
  • They transfer the drawings on a USB stick
  • Participants transfer the drawings to the machine
  • They mirror the drawing that will be glued to the t-shirt
  • They choose the color of the fabric
  • They set up the machine and the parameters
  • Participants remove the extra cut parts with a pointy tool or a cutter
  • They place the shapes where they want to attach them making sure they are well aligned
  • Participants attach the shapes on the t-shirt by ironing them or by using a heat press

Safety rules & Tips

Ironing or using a heat press can be a dangerous activity for children if done improperly. - Make sure that an adult supervise the process

Flyer for participants

This browser does not support PDFs.

Estimated cost

BOM of materials (for 10 participants) - Always consider to find local providers.

Item Quantity Cost (€) Link to vendor
Cotton white or fair color t-shirt 10 10 Local Store
Flocked Heat Transfer fabric rolls 5 100

Evaluation Criteria

The participants were evaluated by observation and by answering a short survey at the end of the activity.

Tips to facilitate the activity in context (to-do / not do)

To do:

  • Follow children step by step when using the computer (how to save a file, how to transfer it on a USB key, etc…)
  • Make sure that children don’t fight over the color of the fabric : either use only one color or choose a criteria (e.g. the first
  • who finishes is the first to choose and so on).

Not to do:

  • Ask participants to bring their laptops unless they come 1 hour before the workshop to check everything is correctly installed
  • Leave to much freedom in the choice of elements to be cut


Links to photos and recorded materials

[Youtube tutorial page] (

Licence and credits

Attribution — ShareAlike CC BY-SA This activity has been designed by Cristina Olivotto from Onl’fait for for a programme dedicated to Zombies and makers.

Related and supporting activities/modules
It can be combined with the other topics of Topic/skills, part of ...

Last update: October 21, 2022