If you head to Disney, you will see that almost everyone is dressed in Disney inspired clothes. Part of the magic is getting dressed up in your favorite Disney inspired clothes and fully immersing yourself in the experience. You can find Disney inspired clothes basically anywhere these days, but I was looking for something super cute and unique for our last few trips. I had several friends who purchased adorable shirts for the whole family on Etsy (search Disney shirts) but at $15 – $25 per shirt, times four family members, times four days, it just got to be too costly to purchase. For less than the cost of purchasing custom shirts on Etsy, I was able to purchase a Silhouette Cameo and the supplies I needed to make my own shirts.
I love matching outfits, so I made several matching Mommy and me outfits for my daughters and I, and coordinating shirts for my husband. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through how I made a Disney inspired Moana shirt for our recent trip.
Disclosure: I may earn money or products from any of the companies mentioned in this post. Purchasing through an affiliate link comes at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Electronic cutting tool (I have a Silhouette Cameo but you can also use a Circut)
Dishcloth or small towel
Shirt (or other article of clothing that you want to transfer image onto)
A note about the Silhouette Cameo…
The Silhouette Cameo is no joke. It is every crafters dream tool. Given that this article is all about how to make Disney inspired shirts, I’ll stick to that, but I do have to tell you that it’s a purchase I don’t regret one bit! I have made hand-painted wooden signs, custom stickers, silhouette art, and much more on my machine and I feel like I’ve barely touched the surface on what it can do. In full transparency, I don’t think the software that comes with the program is intuitive. It has taken me hours to understand and many trial and errors to get the results I wanted. My hopes in providing this tutorial is that it simplifies the process for you and allows you to walk through the experience of creating the shirts with me, with screen shots to help.
Where to Buy Your Shirts/Clothes
The beauty of making your own shirts is that you can choose what type of shirt you want to use. You can even repurpose clothes you may already have.
For my daughters, I purchased plain colored clothes from Old Navy. Everything I purchased was super cheap – most under $5.
For my husband and I, I purchased shirts on Amazon.
I purchased these shirts for him:
And these tank tops for me:
(Because this shirt has a racer back, I also purchased several of these sport bras, which fit perfectly under the tanks.)
I prefer to pre-wash my clothes before transferring on any images.
How to Make Disney Shirts with Silhouette Cameo
I’m going to show you how I made my Moana inspired shirt. (I was so excited with how this shirt came out and I was stopped so many times throughout the parks to ask where I bought it from!)
(For those who many not be a Moana fan, Tamatoa is a giant crab monster in Moana who sings a song “Shiny”. I thought this shirt would fit in perfectly with my daughter’s shirts – the spiral from the heart of Te Fiti – and my husband’s Maui inspired shirt – “You’re Welcome” with a fish hook.)
The first thing I did was set up my page within the Silhouette Studio software. The vinyl I purchased came in 12-inch by 12-inch sheets, so I updated my settings to reflect that size. (Note, for my tank top, I thought the best size would be 9 inches wide by 8 inches tall, so I kept that size in mind as I designed my shirt within the sheet.)
Then I found a background image of a crab. I found this image in the Silhouette image store for less than a dollar. You can also do a web search for images as well.
You can see that the crab is much smaller than my sheet, and ideal size for my shirt, so I resized it and rotated it a bit.
Depending on the type of image you use, you may need to do an extra step and tell the machine where your cut lines are. To do this, you will want to use the trace function. The image I choose above does not require this (as it came from the Silhouette Studio store and already has cut lines) but I’m going to show you just in case you are using an image that requires this step.
For the sake of this example, I grabbed an image from a Google search. (Note be very careful when doign this as you don’t want to steal images from others.)
If I were to send the image as it to be cut, the machine/software would not know where the cut lines are. (You can test this out by selecting “Send” to be to cut. The cut lines will be in red. You can see in the image below, there are no cut lines around the crab, so the machine would not cut around it.)
To tell the machine what to cut, you are going to want to use the Trace feature in your Silhouette Studio software. To start, click on the “Trace” menu. Click “Select Trace Area” and then hold down your mouse while selecting the image to highlight. Depending on your image, you may need to play around with the sliding scales under threshold and filters. Then hit “Trace”.
You will be able to “pull” the image apart and will see the original image, as well as the traced version behind it. If you were using this approach for your shirt, you could delete the colored image and just leave the traced image to work with.
Now back to making this shirt…
Now it’s time to add in your text. This shirt is pretty simple as it only has the words “Shiny”. Play around with your fonts and sizes until you find the one you like. (I also love to check out new fonts on dafont.com rather than using the standard fonts that came with my computer.)
Once the text is to your liking, right click on it and select the button “Weld”. This links the individual letters together so they can connect more uniformly in one piece rather than multiple lines.
We are close to being able to cut! Once you are happy with your image, you are going to want to flip the image to a “mirror view”. You will need to do this anytime you make an iron-on shirt (or use heat-transfer vinyl) so you ensure your image is right side up. To flip your image, highlight your design by holding down your mouse and selecting your image. Then select “Object”, “Mirror”, and “Flip Horizontally”.
You are ready to cut! Be sure to adjust your cut settings to fit your needs. For this shirt, I used glittery heat-transfer vinyl without a cutting mat. You will want to load your vinyl into your Silhouette machine shiny side down.
An inside look into the Disney World Budget Worksheet…
Access Your Disney World Budget Worksheet Now!
Use this Disney World budget worksheet for planning a magical trip! This workbook can be customized to your trip to find out how much your Disney vacation will cost.
Buy now for only $4.99!
To Transfer Your Image to Your Shirt
Once your image is cut, you will want to trim down any extra vinyl so you are working with a smaller piece. Then use your weeding tool (or hook) to weed away any of the extra vinyl. You plastic backing of the vinyl sheet should just be left with the image you want to transfer onto your shirt.
After you have weeded away any extra vinyl, place your image on your shirt with the shiny plastic side facing up. Your image should now appear in the right direction.
Next, heat your iron to the highest setting and turn off your steam. Take a small towel or dishcloth and place over your image on your shirt. Then place your hot iron on the shirt for 45 seconds or so. You will not need to move the iron around but be sure to apply pressure. Then, remove the iron and start peeling back the clear plastic. If your vinyl also starts to peel, you will need to put the towel back on and continue to use the iron to heat-transfer the image.
And that’s it! You now have your very own Disney inspired shirt!
Want to see more of the shirts we made?
Receive Weekly Life Hacks and Practical Advice!