In Design inspiration, DIY and Make-Do tutorials

You may have seen the beautiful Swatch Portraits posted on the Purl Bee from last year. So pretty, Liberty fabrics framed in embroidery hoops and displayed on the wall. I bought some wooden hoops on eBay recently with the intention to frame some of my favorite fabrics to decorate my studio, much like many others have done, inspired by the purl bee’s example.

But like so often, one idea leads to another and my project got derailed…but in a good way! I was thinking that the hoops would be a quick and easy way to decorate the bedroom my two boys share…but how? So many crafty ideas are too girlie to translate to boys. When I was going through a bunch of old T-shirts that they had outgrown, the idea hit me: Hoop the T’s! Often when my parents travel abroad, they bring back T-shirts to the boys. I always have a hard time parting with the shirts, as they are meaningful. (The frog T is from Costa Rica and the red T with embroidery is from Africa. The tie-dye is from an old romper I couldn’t bear to part with. Boys wear so few patterns, and I always love them in tie-dye.)

Finally! A way to decorate for BOYS with images they already love…their favorite T-shirts! And best of all, super cinchy for mom with no sewing involved. :) Check out the tutorial if you are not familiar with how to do it. (I spray painted these hoops blue first) I like this idea for babies, too, since they grow so fast and it’s so hard to part with their little outfits. A row of teeny tiny hoops would be adorable in a nursery.

*sigh*…if only I had stumbled upon this idea before parting ways with my Ramones and The Clash T-shirts. :)


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Showing 16 comments
  • Heather

    These are really cute – what a super idea! I have seen t-shirt quilts and thought they were cool, but too much like work for me.

    I thought of you yesterday – twice! First, I was in our Goodwill feeling all the sweaters, searching for colorful woolies to felt. I found 5!!! Three of them cashmere in delicious sherbet colours! A few moth holes, but all quite nice. I know now why cashmere is so expensive – it is indeed the loveliest feeling fabric I’ve ever come in contact with – and for $2!!! I’ve never felt cashmere before – I lead a very sheltered life!
    Later we were in a bookstore and I saw ‘Sweater Surgery’ – which made me think of your book, but of course, I like your book soooo much better!!! I can share ‘Warm Fuzzies’ with my 10 year old daughter without having to explain the lack of modest dressing that is currently so prevalent – even in crafting circles. Also, pictures can be wonderful inspiration, but I like that you have lots of examples for inspiration, and also the step by step for your example, just in case you want to make it and not have to try to figure it all out yourself!

  • Jennifer

    I love the Cub Scout display. What a great idea you shared. Thanks!

    If you Google Cub Scouts or Boy Scout fabric you can get some really wonderful prints, too.

  • Marcia

    That’s another great idea. Thanks for sharing. It isn’t girlie at all. In fact, most boys and others won’t even know what an embroidery hoop is.

  • Lisa Clarke

    Wow, you are just full of great ideas! The foam thing was such a hit at our house, and now this? I have two boys who share a room, and their poor, bare walls are sorely in need of some attention. Thanks for sharing!

  • SummerSadie

    This is a brillant idea! You come up with the greatest ideas. I will definitely use this one. Thank you for sharing.

  • Miaou

    What a fabulous idea Betz! They look really great. I’m always trying to think of ways to reuse favourite outgrown clothes and this is a great way of doing that. I’m off to rummage through the bag I set aside for the charity shop now …

  • Threeundertwo

    What a great idea! I hate throwing out old beloved tee-shirts too.

    I can see all kinds of possibilities for doing this for my girls as well.

  • KristenMary

    Wonderful idea Betz! I mean you can only make so many T-shirt quilts. We must have 2 full containers of T-shirts we can’t part with. My husband calls them the “T-Shirt Hall of Fame”.

  • Mendy at Modern Charm

    Super fun idea!

  • Wendy

    That is a GREAT idea! I have a bunch of hoops I picked up at the thrift. I might have to try this!

  • Susan

    super cute:)

  • Leti

    That’s a great idea! Thank you for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    Oh. My. God. I’m a total lurker, but just had to delurk to tell you what an amazingly extra super idea this is! It IS very hard to translate crafty ideas into boy friendly projects, but well done and thanks.

  • Alisa

    What a fantastic idea! My husband & I just went through all our vast t-shirt collection today & “weeded,” but we still have so many that we can’t part with. Some from travels, from college (even high school), ones that I collected from an old employer with many stores across the country & abroad, ones we designed (some for that employer). My husband’s sister did use a few of his favorites in a small quilt for him a few years ago, and it is beautiful, and quite complex, stitchery-wise. This is a much simpler idea. Now, if I can just find the wall-space for them all….
    Thanks so much!

  • Jill

    This is a super idea. Is your son a cub now? Mine just got his arrow of light and is now a boy scout. I’m going to be making a shadow box of all his cub things. But on this project…did you just cut the tee for this like the fabric?

  • Betz White

    Hi Jill,
    Now I have one Boy Scout and a Webelo! I like the shadow box idea. Yes, I just cut the T like the fabric in the tutorial.

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