DIY Birthday Shirt

Last year I spent WAY too much money on a first birthday t-shirt from Etsy for Little Brother. I justified this expense by telling myself that he would wear it more than just once. I was wrong. He wore it once.

So this year, I spent all of about $5 on a number 2 shirt for his second birthday. It was SUPER easy and took me less than 30 minutes from start to finish! And I didn’t even know what I was doing!

Here’s what you’ll need:  a shirt, some scrap fabric, pinking shears, some iron-on webbing, and a threaded sewing machine (or you could hand-sew).

Here’s the kind of iron-on webbing I used. I had it leftover from the Car Mat Backpack.


And here are the step-by-step directions.

1. Follow the directions on your iron-on webbing and iron it onto the back of your scrap fabric.

2. Print out the number you want and cut it out to use as a stencil.

3. Turn it upside down and trace it onto the back of the fabric (with the webbing already sewn on).

4. Cut the number out of the fabric using pinking shears. This will keep the ends from fraying. Remove the backing on the webbing. I forgot to do this and attempted to iron it on with the backing still on. Needless to say, this didn’t work.

5. Center the number on your shirt and get ready to iron!

6. Follow the directions on your iron-on webbing to secure the number to the shirt. The type I used called for us to use a damp cloth between the iron and the shirt.

7. Sew the number onto the shirt by making a stitch that goes around the perimeter.

And that’s it!

And here’s Little Brother sporting his #2 shirt on his second birthday…


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  1. I just got a sewing machine as an early Christmas gift so I am looking for super easy projects to do. That shirt is way cute and way better than spending 25 dollars for one that is already made! Maybe I’ll do this for my little guy’s first birthday in March!

  2. I made one for my daughter when she turned 3 and I thought she would wear it once. I let her pick out the fabric and she wore it a ton. She is now 5 and still tries to jam it on over her head. Hope your little one likes his as much! It is really cute!

  3. Thanks so much! I actually had the same idea, bought the fabric, but still needed directions :) Perfect for my two December birthday boys!

  4. I did this similiar thing for my 3 year old this past year and loved it. I felt so creative, except I didn’t sew the number nor did I use the special scissors that you did–I have washed it at least 5 times if not more and still looks great! Thanks for such cute ideas!

  5. Wow!! Thank you!! I was just going to order my son one for 29 dollars, but you saved me 20. Thank you Pinterest that I found you!!

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