DIY Painted Color Block Top (Tutorial)

A few weeks ago, I saw Molly, from Urban Nester, wear a neon color-block top from Gap and I instantly loved it. I’ve been itching to pull out my fabric paints for a while, so this was a good opportunity.

I used a long sleeved plain white t-shirt that I almost never wore, and altered the sleeves (using this tutorial) to 3/4 length. Then here’s what I did:


  • light plain colored t-shirt
  • fabric paint
  • tape
  • sponge brush

Step 1: mark the location where your fabric paint will end (mine was about 8 inches from the shoulder seam), and tape it off. I made the mistake of not taping on both the inside and outside of my shirt, so my paint bled a little bit, so make sure you tape off the front and the back, on the inside and outside.

**if it was summer and I was able to hang dry my shirt outside, I would have used RIT dye and dip dyed the shirt. I think this would have worked a little bit better. I’ll definitely be trying this again when it warms up a bit more…

Step 2: Lay your shirt out on a board (or something that can get stained), and using watered down fabric paint, sponge your paint lightly on to the lower half of your shirt.

Sponge the entire front of the shirt, then flip the shirt and sponge the back.

Step 3: Hang dry for several hours.

Step 4: (optional) because mine bled a little bit, I painted a white stripe across the top to camouflage the mistake, and I love how it turned out. 

Wait at least three days to wash, and then wash inside out. 

the green is much more vibrant and neon than it appears in this photo. The actual color is much more similar to the hang-dry photo above.

Next time I think I’m going to style it with my new leopard belt, just like Molly did.

Happy painting!



  1. Annie says:

    SO cute Merrick! Love the bright color, and it looks great with those blue pants ๐Ÿ™‚

    The Other Side of Gray

  2. TheTinyHeart says:

    Your top turned out so cute! I might actually have to try this one because no sewing is involved ๐Ÿ™‚

    The Tiny Heart

  3. .Chrissy says:

    This is really cute!

  4. girl, you are so crafty i can't even handle it! impressive, as always. looks great with thos eblue jeans ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. heidikins says:

    I actually am kind of loving the silvery stripe in the middle…you know, if it was something other than duct tape. ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. Kayla says:

    Yay you did this, I love it! I think yours is cuter than the gap one.

  7. How fun, Merrick! I love the bright neon color. Adorable!

  8. Teaka says:

    I love this! Super cool idea and so easy!

  9. kaila sue says:

    Cute, I would never think to do this, but it's so fun! I love the new header too!

  10. Loren says:

    I love this! The white stripe across the top is kind of my favorite part. You did a great job. I'd love to see what you put together with some rit dye.

  11. Janssen says:

    This is awesome. I think it looks much better with the white stripe than it would look without it.

  12. Elisabeth says:

    Very cute, Merrick! You're so talented. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Cynd says:

    I can't wait to try this out!

  14. Darling! I've never tried fabric paints before. Just might have to!

  15. ahhh i LOVE this! you are soo great at the DIY!

  16. Becky says:

    How does this wash up? I love the color blocking!!


  17. This is awesome! Another PIN for me! xoxo A-

  18. Carisa says:

    wow that is an awesome idea!! I hope i didn't donate my white tee ๐Ÿ™ Just found your blog back after following it awhile ago I am so excited!!

  19. Lee says:

    Really nice! All your refashioning stuff is sooo cool!

  20. Mindy says:

    Thanks for this tutorial! I'm gonna try this on a short sleeve white tee but colorblock with black at the bottom.

  21. Mindy says:

    Is it possible to use this technique to change the color that's already on a shirt? I have a short sleeve stripe tee from Old Navy with a peach-ish brown color stripes, but what I like is to try changing them black stripes.

  22. gayu says:

    I am a novice in crafts. So please guide me as to how to paint the lower half of the t-shirt using a sponge. I use a sponge brush (like in your pic) to paint canvas panel. should I do this also in the same way?

  23. Genius idea. How did you think of this way? Awesome T-shirt dress DIY project you did.

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