DIY for a special little guy

Phew…it’s been a busy week over here, which explains my absence! I’m so excited to share this cute project with you, though, and I hope it will make up for things being so quiet here lately.

I had the pleasure of spending last Sunday afternoon celebrating the impending mommyhood of my friend Emily. She and I met through blogging when we were both sharing our wedding planning experiences on Weddingbee, and we have become great friends over the last few years. I thought it only appropriate that part of my baby shower gift to Emily call attention to her blogger status, so I made some (pretty stinkin’ cute, if I do say so myself) custom onesies for little baby boy O’.

You know I’m a big fan of my Gocco, but for this project I knew that I didn’t want to work with the limitations of screen-printing, especially since I was only producing one final product with each design. Instead, I wanted something with full color (knowing that I planned for at least one of the pieces to include Emily’s Tiramisu icon from Weddingbee), so I turned to iron-on transfers. I never used iron-on t-shirt transfers before so I was a tad hesitant that they’d look cheap, but I was pleasantly surprised with the final result.

First, I bought my supplies: PrintWorks Dark T-Shirt Transfers (about $10 for five sheets) and Circo onesies in blue and gray ($2 each), all from Target (but — go figure — none are currently available on Target’s website). I didn’t buy the less expensive white t-shirt transfers because it sounded like they wouldn’t look so good on colored fabric, even though the onesies I got were very light colored. I read the instructions for the dark t-shirt transfer and step two helped to guide me in terms of what kind of design I should create:

2. Cut out design: Trim your image as close to the edge of your printed design as possible. Any border will be white on your fabric. (via PrintWorks Dark T-Shirt Transfer instructions)

Since I didn’t want it to LOOK like a cheesy iron-on, I decided that working with circular designs would be my best bet, and as long as I trimmed the designs carefully there wouldn’t be any trace of a white edge. In Adobe Illustrator I created one design with a Tiramisu theme, and another one paying homage to Emily’s current blog, Oh! Apostrophe, named for her last name. I also made some small tags in coordinating colors that I planned to use on the back of the onesie — they read “brought to you by Emily & Liam.” I was able to fit everything onto one 8.5″ x 11″ layout (including duplicates of each item in case I made cutting mistakes) so I only needed to print one transfer sheet for the whole project. My trusty HP Photosmart printer worked great — I had printed test prints on regular white copy paper first to make sure the colors and sizes were perfect before printing the final designs on the transfer sheet.

Once the designs were carefully cut out — I went very, very slowly with scissors to make them look as smooth on the edges as possible — I laid one of the pre-washed onesies on top of a pillowcase, which sat on top of a non-porous surface, per the directions. Since an ironing board wouldn’t cut it, I used a marble tabletop in our living room as the base. Once my set-up was ready to go, I peeled away the backing paper from my design, and carefully placed it where I wanted it on the front of the onesie. When I was happy with the placement, I covered the design with the overlay paper that was included and then ironed over the design for just over one minute. I kept the iron moving at all times to prevent scorching and making sure to go over all of the edges. Once I finished ironing, I gave the fabric a few minutes to cool, peeled up the overlay paper, and voila — baby O’s custom adorable onesie was complete.

I did the same with the gray onesie, and then repeated the process for the little tags on the back (which required much less ironing time since they were so small). Cute, non?

Emily loved them, and I can’t wait to see baby O’ wearing them once he arrives!

Since I had such fun with this project and loved the final result, I have a feeling that there are many more iron-on t-shirt projects in my future :) Anyone else like to play with this stuff?


  1. i friggin love it! so cute! :) this is mrs.Cherryblossom.

  2. What a fantastic idea, those are so cute and you did a great job! I love seeing your designs, and now I really want to use iron-on transfers :)

  3. Too stinkin’ cute! I love them! Baby O’ is going to be one well-dressed little fella. :o)

  4. This is seriously adorable.

    You are a great graphic designer. I always love seeing your work.

    I’m thinking I might have to take a stab at making some of these for my bestie and her soon to be little bebe girl!

  5. I almost died when I opened these…they are beyond adorable. I cannot wait to put my little guy in them! Thank you, Brooke!!!!

    Ps. These really need to be an addition to your etsy shop!

  6. Oh my goodness these are adorable. Such good work- you are truly a gorgeous designer :)

  7. Thanks, everyone!

    @Sarah, definitely! I really didn’t know what to expect, but thought I’d give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised that the finished product wasn’t shiny at all, and not even super stiff. It has a fairly soft texture to it. The big test will be how it looks once it’s washed… I won’t hold my breath, but hopefully Baby O’ will get at least one good wear out of each!

  8. Love these! I also agree that these should be an addition to your Etsy shop!

  9. I’ve been surfing on-line more than 3 hours nowadays, but I never found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It’s pretty worth sufficient for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made excellent content as you did, the internet shall be a lot more helpful than ever before.

Comments are closed.