Shannon Berrey

How to make a t-shirt bowl

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I love creating and giving personal graduation gifts. If your kids are like mine, they have drawers full of t-shirts--school, sports, camps, you name it. Many are now too small or too soiled. But, even so, I can never get myself to throw them away. I've always known that one day I will use them for something and now I have come up with a project that can finally upcycle some of those shirts--t-shirt bowls. 

     This is Jack's {stained} shirt that I started with. The logo size was perfect for a 8-9" bowl. There was also a smaller logo on the back that I used to make a smaller bowl. 

You need to find a bowl to use as your mold. I thought I would use a bowl I already had. But, when I started searching my cabinets, I decided everything I had was a little too deep. The more shallow and flat the bowl, the less folds in the fabric and the clearer your logo looks. So, I went to Wal-Mart and found this 8 1/2" bowl. 


Here is the info in case you want to buy one.


I cut a big circle and then placed it inside the bowl to see how it would look.

I wrapped the bottom of the bowl in tin foil.  

And just in case you want to see the other side...

I used fabric Mod-Podge and coated the front side of the fabric with a layer.


I laid the coated side down to cover the bottom of the bowl, over the tin foil. Then I coated the backside with the Mod-Podge, smoothing it down as flat as possible. takes days for this to dry.

It's hard to see from this angle, but this cakeplate turned upside down, makes a great place to prop the bowl on to dry because it keeps the bowl suspended about an inch off the plate. 

Now, here's where we detoured a bit. When this was dry {days later} I pried it off of the bowl and found it to be super flimsy. Too flimsy. So, I decided to bulk it up by adding a layer of paper mache on the bottom.  

{I didn't do this, but I should have: After the t-shirt dries, paint it with primer before applying the newspaper. It will avoid the gray color of the newsprint from coming through on the 'right' side)   

I used 2 layers of newspaper with the Mod-Podge. When it was dry, I used scissors to cut a clean edge. Before I added the newspaper, the inside of the bowl was really smooth. When I added the paper mache, I think that it caused the fabric to become a little wrinkly. I wonder if you were to add the newspaper at the same time you mod podged the bottom of the t-shirt, if it wouldn't be smoother...} 

See how yellow the small bowl looks? This is the newsprint color coming through. Learn from my mistakes, peeps.


To give the bottom a finished look, I used gold paint applied with a foam brush. 

It takes a couple of layers of gold paint to fully cover the newsprint.

I decided to paint a thin line of gold with a small brush on the inside of the rim for a finished look. {a gold paint pen would also work}



It's still a little flimsy, but it doesn't bother me. The Fabric Mod Podge has a shiny protective finish but obviously, this is a 'catch-all' bowl, not an 'eat out of' bowl. This would also be a fun Father's Day or a great Teacher's gift {not to mention that is costs almost nothing to make!}     

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Shannon Berrey Bio
I'm an artist, interior designer, wife and mom. Join me here as I share projects, ramblings, and inspirations.
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