Try This Clever First-Day-of-School Photo Idea You Can Use Year After Year

This easy-to-make future graduate shirt is a clever back-to-school photo op you can use year after year until your child graduates high school.

First Day of School Photos
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Materials Needed

  • L or XL adult t-shirt
  • iron
  • heat-resistant surface
  • yardstick
  • scissors
  • 4"-tall iron-on letters
  • 8-10"-tall iron-on numbers

Choose T-Shirt

You'll want to get the t-shirt several sizes larger than what your child currently wears, as he or she will be wearing this year after year until graduation. Example: We chose an XL-sized shirt for a 9-year-old.

Iron T-Shirt

Gather all your materials, and lay the shirt out flat on a work surface. We placed a piece of scrap cardboard on a table to create our heat-resistant work surface. Using a hot, dry iron, press the shirt thoroughly before starting the iron-on process.

You’ll want to get the shirt several sizes larger than what your child currently wears. We went with a XL sized shirt for a 9-year old. Gather all your materials and lay the shirt out flat on your work surface. We placed a piece of cardboard on the dining room table (under a scrap of fabric) to create our heat resistant work surface. Using a hot DRY iron, press the shirt thoroughly before starting the iron-on process.

Step 1- Iron T-shirt

You’ll want to get the shirt several sizes larger than what your child currently wears. We went with a XL sized shirt for a 9-year old. Gather all your materials and lay the shirt out flat on your work surface. We placed a piece of cardboard on the dining room table (under a scrap of fabric) to create our heat resistant work surface. Using a hot DRY iron, press the shirt thoroughly before starting the iron-on process.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Cut Out Letters

Using scissors, cut out all the letters needed to spell the top line. We chose 3-inch-tall letters for scale. Make sure to leave about 1/8-inch of the transfer paper around the actual letter so you have an edge to peel in later steps.

Using your scissors, cut out all the letters needed to spell the top line. We went with 3-inch tall letters for eye pleasing scale. Make sure to leave about an 1/8 of an inch of the transfer paper around the actual letter so you have an edge to peel up in later steps.

Step 2- Cut Out Letters

Using your scissors, cut out all the letters needed to spell the top line. We went with 3-inch tall letters for eye pleasing scale. Make sure to leave about an 1/8 of an inch of the transfer paper around the actual letter so you have an edge to peel up in later steps.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Lay Out Letters

Place the yardstick across the t-shirt to find its center, then use that mark as your guideline to center up the top line. In our case, it was about 17 inches. Space the letters so they're level, equal distance apart and centered on the t-shirt.

Place the yardstick across the shirt to find its center. Then use that mark as your guideline to center up the top line. In our case, it was about 17 inches.  Space the letters so that they’re level, equal distance apart and centered on the t-shirt.

Step 3- Lay Out Letters

Place the yardstick across the shirt to find its center. Then use that mark as your guideline to center up the top line. In our case, it was about 17 inches. Space the letters so that they’re level, equal distance apart and centered on the t-shirt.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Cut Out Numbers 

Next, using the same method from Step Two, cut out your numbers. We chose 10-inch-tall numbers.

Next, using the same method as in Step 2, cut out your numbers. We went with 10-inch tall numbers.

Step 4- Cut Out Numbers

Next, using the same method as in Step 2, cut out your numbers. We went with 10-inch tall numbers.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Lay Out Numbers

Keeping the yardstick across the t-shirt, use the center as your guide to lay out the numbers.

Keeping the yardstick across the shirt, use the center of the shirt as your guide to lay out the numbers.

Step 5- Lay Out Numbers

Keeping the yardstick across the shirt, use the center of the shirt as your guide to lay out the numbers.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Iron Each Letter

Next, using a hot, dry iron, press the iron-on letters onto the t-shirt, keeping the iron moving with steady, even pressure for about 60 seconds (or the time indicated in your transfer kit's directions). Note: Make sure the steam setting is turned off.

Next, using a hot DRY iron, press the iron-on letters onto the t-shirt, by keeping the iron moving with steady, even pressure for about 60 seconds (or time indicated in your transfer kit’s directions). IMPORTANT: Make sure the steam setting is turned OFF.

Step 6- Iron Each Letter

Next, using a hot DRY iron, press the iron-on letters onto the t-shirt, by keeping the iron moving with steady, even pressure for about 60 seconds (or time indicated in your transfer kit’s directions). IMPORTANT: Make sure the steam setting is turned OFF.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Peel Backing Off Letters

While the iron-on is still a bit warm, gently peel the paper off each letter, being careful to start from the top, slowly working your way down.

With the iron-on completed but still warm, gently peel the transfer paper off, starting from the top corner working your way slowly down.

Step 7- Peel Backing Off Each Letter

With the iron-on completed but still warm, gently peel the transfer paper off, starting from the top corner working your way slowly down.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Iron Each Number 

Repeat the ironing process again using a hot, dry iron on the numbers one at a time with even heat for the time indicated by the directions. Note: Make sure the steam setting is turned off.

Repeat the ironing process again using a hot DRY iron on the numbers, one at a time with even heat for the time indicated by the directions.
IMPORTANT: Make sure the steam setting is turned OFF.

Step 8- Iron Each Number

Repeat the ironing process again using a hot DRY iron on the numbers, one at a time with even heat for the time indicated by the directions. IMPORTANT: Make sure the steam setting is turned OFF.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Peel Backing Off Numbers

While the iron-on is still a bit warm, gently peel the paper off each number, again, being careful to start from the top, slowly working your way down. Let the t-shirt cool before wearing, and wait at least 24 hours before washing it or you could damage the lettering. Note: Wash it inside-out to prolong the life of the iron-on design.

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