A couple of weeks ago I wrote a Babble post about graphic tees. As I was searching around the web for some awesome picks, I came across this one from Nordstrom. When I first saw the thumbnail, I didn’t get it. Then I clicked to enlarge it and still didn’t get it. Then I saw the name — “Sequin Spray,” and suddenly it was the best graphic tee I’d ever seen. I mean, sequin spray?? I need to get me some of that. 
For a week after I saw it, I kept thinking about it. But of course with an $185 price tag, I wasn’t about to go out and buy it. So I did what I always do when I can’t afford something that I love — I duplicate it. 
tee: made by me // jeans: c/o lulu*s // flats: target // bag: c/o persunmall // watch: burberry
  • Solid color tee (mine is this one from Target, and I sized up so it would be loose)
  • 3/4 yard sequin trim (mine was this one from Jo-Anns — it was much cheaper in the store & I used a coupon) 
  • matching thread
  • fabric glue
  • black paint pen
Step 1. Try on your shirt and determine where you want the spray bottle positioned. Make a mark with a pencil or washable pen/marker. Then take off the shirt and sketch out the entire bottle. 
Step 2. Using your paint pen, carefully draw the spray bottle. Go slowly and make short strokes and small dots. 
When you’re done, your shirt should look something like this. Use your iron or the dryer to heat seal the paint. 

Step 3. Next, determine how long of strips you need to make the spray. Wrap the trim in tape where you want to cut, then cut through the middle of the tape.

Lay your strips where you want them and determine their positioning. I ended up curving and angling mine to make the spray curves, rather than cutting through the sequins. In the parts I did have to cut, I used a lighter and burned the edges to seal them and prevent fraying.

Step 4. Pin your sequin strips to your fabric in your desired position…

 …then carefully lift up sections of your pinned trim and glue into place.

Once your sequins are glued into place, carefully sew around the entire spray with your sewing machine on a wide stitch.

And you’re done! A $185 tee for about $15. 
Care Instructions: hand wash only. the paint pen should withstand the washer & dryer, the sequins will not. 


  1. Bri says:

    This is AMAZING! I have a tutorial for this weekend that I'm so excited to do now!! I wish I had your sewing expertise, but this is something I can actually do myself! Love love love it!!

  2. Mable Burt says:

    This is so cute, I am so much in love. I am surely going to make one like it very soon. Such a clever idea..

  3. Elise says:

    Seriously, every time I read your blog I keep telling myself that I need to learn how to sew… Great tutorial!!

  4. very cute!

    very much what I should wear, being a 'sequins' is in the name of my blog, huh?

    (ya know what?, sequins are cutting when your arms rub against them)

    have you ever noticed that about sequins?

    shhhhh, you didn't hear it from me.

  5. LOVESTRONG says:

    Love this!! I have a feeling mine wouldn't turn out nearly as cute, but I still want to try!

  6. IJ says:

    This tutorial is AWESOME!! Just have a question: Is this "washing machine-safe"? This Tee is so pretty that I would like to wear it over and over again.

    • Mindy says:

      i'm curious too about how the paint pen holds up to being washed. not too interested in the sequin part, but this could open a whole new world of possibilities.

    • No, I wouldn't wash it in the washer. The paint pen should hold up fine (as long as you've heat sealed it properly), but sequins are not machine washing friendly. I'd hand wash only.

  7. pieknidelko says:

    świetna:)pozdrowienia z Polski

  8. Caitlyn says:

    Wow, one of the best recreations I've seen! Great job!

  9. Marjukka says:

    Ihana=wonderful! I love this.

  10. Carole says:

    Anytime you can duplicate a $185 t-shirt for under $20 (possibly less), it's a GREAT day! Very cute.

  11. If only we could all just free-hand sketch a spray paint bottle. 🙂

  12. Kelsi says:

    Hi Merrick! Gorgeous shirt. Question: I just recently made my own graphic tee and love it, but I didn't heat-seal the design because the fabric marker didn't really say to (or come with any instructions for that matter). Do you heat-seal as a precaution, or is it a must depending on the kind of paint you use? Is there a kind of paint you should NOT heat-seal? Thanks!

  13. So cute! Your spray can looks AWESOME.

  14. Mindy says:

    I clicked the link to look at the original, and I think yours is better! Good job.

  15. Toyosi says:

    LOVE THIS. It's so fun and unique!

  16. Laura says:

    That is so AMAZING!! I have fallen in love with it! Yours is much, much nicer then the one you copied!

  17. Stephanie X says:

    such a cute idea.
    xx Stephanie (

  18. Van Nguyen says:

    You're such a great artist. I love your drawing of the spray can. Great tutorial.

  19. Marianne T says:

    Genius! I must try this!!!

  20. Madeline says:

    Ok, you are like a freakin artist ! That looks amazing !

  21. Kate says:

    This is awesome! Although, mine would not look that good if I did that!

  22. Becky says:

    Do you have a link to the spray can you used?

  23. Lindsay says:

    This shirt is SO cute! I loved it when I saw it on Instagram. You are incredibly talented.

  24. Leanne says:

    This is seriously unreal. It looks exactly like the original!!! So cute!

  25. Leanne says:

    This is seriously unreal. It looks exactly like the original!!! So cute!

  26. Aria says:

    i don't usually go for sequins, but this is adorable! love the idea, love the look- awesome idea merrick!

  27. I saw a similar t-shirt on Pinterest that I would love to try to make, I put a link to it below. The sequin balloon looks like it could be tricky, I'm afraid if I cut the sequin material into the shape of a balloon it will fray, any suggestions? I think it would be so cute if I could pull it off without it being blatantly obvious that I made it myself. This is a great post, thank you!

    • So cute!! I should have mentioned that I burned the raw edges when I cut the sequin trim. That sealed the ends so they wouldn't fray. Maybe try that? Also, with this particular DIY, I'd use sequin fabric rather than sequin trim. I think it will be easier to cut into a shape since the trim has elastic on the back. Good luck!

    • Cay C says:

      Just discovered Merrick’s Art last month and love all of your tutorials.
      Really thought this one was cute, but I also stumbled across another blog with a very very similar tutorial (see above link).
      What bothers me is that a lot of her instructions are word-for-word like Merrick’s, but there was no credit given to Merrick. I know this tutorial was posted two years ago, but content scraping really annoys me.

  28. NA says:

    How did you draw the spray can? Did you have anything to trace for it, or any tips??

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