Easy Reindeer Shirt (And great Deer gift ideas for Grandparents!)


sugarplumreindeershirt 084One thing can definitely be said for kids: They keep you on your toes! I haven’t had a speck of dust settle on me since I became a mother ten and a half years ago (wow, has it really been that long?). Last night was no different, of course. As Brady and Daddy were getting ready for boy scouts, Katy was a bit restless. She kept walking into her room and coming back and looking around with this lost expression. “Katy, what are you looking for?”.

“Mama, I can’t find my Christmas shirt”.sugarplumreindeershirt 095

Well, there was a good reason for that, Katy didn’t have a Christmas shirt. Apparently, I missed the memo on that being a requirement this year. I did take her to look for a Christmas dress about a month and a half ago but my ideal of gingerbread appliqued corduroy jumpers (by the way, corduroy is harder to spell than you’d think) were shunned as Miss Katy Rose chose her sparkly, flowy purple number. I guess she had a change of heart this past weekend at our cupcake decorating party where all of the other little girls showed up sporting…you guessed it: Christmas shirts

So as soon as the boys were off to the scouts meeting, Katy and I headed to that shopping mecca that is Wal Mart, to look for her a shirt. They usually have tons of them this time of year but to my surprise, not a single one was to be found. I asked a few associates and kept getting sent back to look at the areas I’d already canvassed. At last, we accepted our fate. Rather than buy a shirt pre-made, we were gonna get to have some fun with it!

~GRINS~ Now, I was getting excited.

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You’ll need: Heat N Bond iron on adhesive, safety pins (If you want to put a bow on it, leave these out if you’re making this for a boy), buttons for eyes, button for nose, thread to sew buttons on with, hand sewing needles, scissors, fabric paint, and ribbon for a bow if this is for a girl.

Of course, you’re also gonna need a shirt and some brown fabric for the reindeer. I buy the cheap, cheap brown fabric from the craft department that is kind of thin and cost about two dollars a yard. One yard will make you a whole herd of reindeer!

**Wash and dry your fabric and shirt before beginning. Don’t use fabric softener when you wash them as that will interfere with the bonding.

All of these supplies can be found in the Wal Mart craft department or at Hobby Lobby. I LOVE Hobby Lobby.

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This is the most important part. Heat N Bond has come a long way lately and if you get this type, your shirt will be completely machine washable with a bond you won’t ever have to worry about. Look for “No Sew” and “Washable”, or just look for this exact package and don’t worry about the rest.

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Trace your wee one’s hand.

In my house, I can find a dozen crayons at any given time but LAWD help us if I should need to find a pen…

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Trace their foot, too.

Katy has fun with her nail polish. ~squints her eyes~ I think that is supposed to be a flower on her big toe…

I’m all for self expression as long as it doesn’t involve permanent tattoos or unusual body piercings.

She has to wait til she’s thirty for all of that. Umm…maybe forty.

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Place your heat bond sticky side down onto your fabric.

I am using fabric that doesn’t have a front or back side but if yours does, you want to iron this to the back side of it.

Your iron should be on medium setting with no steam. Just press each section for about two seconds.

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Cut out foot and hand pieces and trace them onto the paper that is now bonded to your fabric.

When you trace the hand the first time, flip it so that the thumbs face each other and this will make your final antlers look more realistic.

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Cut out pieces.

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Peel off paper backing. The side will now be shiny.

Place this shiny side down on your shirt and arrange it like you want.

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Iron each piece until it is fully bonded.

You need to spend about eight seconds on each part but be careful to do a little at a time so as not to scorch the shirt.

Just remember, you can always go back and iron it again, so go lighter the first round or two. It will all be bonded in the end.

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Sew eyes and nose on by hand. I used blue thread to sew the eyes on so the reindeer ends up with blue irises, and red thread for the nose.

Back when I made Brady’s, I found buttons that were wiggly eye buttons and those were really precious on this.

I didn’t see those last night, though, so we made do.

I am a firm believer that “making do” is the best way. It causes you to be more creative!

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Place some waxed paper inside your shirt so our paint in the next step won’t bleed through.

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Go around the edges with machine washable fabric paint. I am using gold glitter paint but you might want to use green, red, or even brown.

Whether or not it is glittery is up to your and your little “deer”.

Okay…now that was cute. Get it? You’re little “deer”? You see we’re making a deer and your child is dear to you and…

~sighs~ Okay, I’ll get back to the shirt.

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This has to dry for about four hours.

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I then made a matching hairbow for Katy Rose and her Reindeer and I put this on the shirt with a safety pin so I can take it off to wash the shirt.

Of course, Rudolph technically wouldn’t have worn a hairbow but we don’t get hung up on technicalities here.

My hairbow tutorial can be found here.

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Katy Rose posing all sassy with her Reindeer shirt.

There are TONS of uses for this deer pattern! Here are some other things I’ve done with it:


This is a reindeer ornament which I make using craft foam, googly eyes, and a hot glue gun.

Super easy and makes a great keepsake, especially when you do one each year and see how much bigger they get!

If you have a baby or small children, these are VERY well received as gifts for Grandparents!


This is a tree skirt I made.

You can buy a store bought tree skirt and put the reindeer on it exactly like you do the shirt.

The reindeer pictured here are from Brady’s first, second, and third Christmas.

Wishing you a merry Christmas to you and your Dears!

“Christmas gift suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.

To an opponent, tolerance.

To a friend, your heart.

To a customer, service.

To all, charity.

To every child, a good example.

To yourself, respect.”

~ Oren Arnold

Submitted by Melissa Hand on our Facebook Family Page. To submit your quote, click here.


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  1. Melissa Hand says

    I don’t have “little” ones anymore, but I’m thinking of making that Christmas skirt if I can get everyone to trace their hands. I want hands from ALL of my immediate family members on the skirt…what a wonderful Christmas keepsake to use through the years! Fantastic idea; but, then again, you have a gazillion fantastic ideas…however will I find the time to do them all? Kudos, Christy…I don’t know how you do all that you do and do it so well!

  2. Tonia says

    I can’t wait to go get the supplies to make this adorable shirt for both of my kids to wear to their Christmas parties next week! What a great idea. We will also do the ornaments for the grandparents. They always say, “do not buy us anything for Christmas,” so we always try to do something homemade that will mean more than anything store bought can. This year it’s going to be deer ornaments and holly jollies :-)

  3. Joan says

    Whenever I use heat and bond, I buy the kind that can also be sewn as well as bonded. I don’t have real good luck with the bonding, but when I have used it, it has been for things that are going to used all year instead of just seasonal. When I do this I iron on the heat and bond, then zig-zag around the edges to reinforce it. I also use the decorative paint around the edges. However, I have a tendency to use just the paints and some jewels, and do free hand work of squiggles, etc. For the painting I fold up a newspaper to the right size annd put in between the layers, and most of my designs are painted on with craft paint brushes. The first shirt I ever did was when my youngest daughter was in middle school and we were at a craft fair where a lady was selling sweat shirts with the school logo on them for like $40.00. My daughter desperately wanted one, but being a newly single mother who was basically living off child support and my daughter’s SSI I wasn’t about to spend $40.00, so we headed to KMart, at that time there was no WalMart in SD. I bought a black sweat shirt and the two colors of fabric I would need for the mascot/logo(which is a really cute ear of corn). The team was the Kernels, we were in the town of the World’s Only Corn Palace. Everything connected with the schools is the Kernels, there is even a radio station that is KORN. We got the shirt made and she wore it for several years, until we found commericaly printed ones that weren’t as fancy in the $20.00 price range.

  4. Cara says

    This is soooo precious! I was a little concerned that the reindeer’s face seemed a bit too long and narrow, but the final product looks absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think either of my children will hold still long enough for me to trace their hands and feet, though!

    Katy looks beautiful with her Christmas shirt and matching hair tie! It really does look BETTER than anything you can buy in the store.

  5. NLong says

    We do these in my Pre-K class each year, except we dip their foot and hands in paint! Chaos…I’m sure you can imagine. This year will be the last time. Next year we will incorporate your fabric idea…much less stinky.:)

  6. lindsay mizer says

    I had the same problem with wal-mart (and target too) this year! This week is “red week” at the preschool, so I went looking for some red holiday shirts, and NOTHING!

    This is such a cute idea, I’m going to have to try it. And make hair bows to match, of course!

  7. Debbie says

    Geez, I wish this site was around when my sons were younger! I’m not creative but I’m a great copier! My oldest son is 26 and my youngest (of four) is 15. They wouldn’t wear the shirts now but would’ve loved them when they were younger!! I’ll have to remember this when I have grandchildren.

  8. April says

    Christy, what a fantastic idea! I love the thought of using their hands & feet to make a reindeer. I think we’ll have our daycare kids make the ornament it is so cute!! Thanks for the awesome post!

  9. Karena says

    I LOVE YOU!!! Okay technically I don’t know you but I have to admit I am addicted to your site!! I am so excited to see the bow tutorial. I have admired your daughter’s bows for weeks now. We have become “financially challenged” around our home this year and with 3 kids under 6 it’s been really tough. Thank you for sharing all of these inexpensive fun ideas. I’m so excited to be able to share them with my children. Thank you so much!!!

  10. Dianna says

    My son’s preschool class made these last year, but they used fabric paint and just put the kids’ hands right onto a white shirt. They turned out adorable. They also glued on googlie eyes and a pompom nose. Around the neck they did a large X design and put green dots between each open space and then painted the shirt in a gold glitter. Been through several washings and is still holding strong. Very creative ideas.

  11. jan says

    My daughters preschool did these shirts when she was 3. I couldn’t bear to get rid of it, so I stuffed, sewed up the arms, neck and bottom holes and now it is my favorite Christmas pillow. She is thirteen this year and thinks it is crazy that I have hung on to it all theses years, but I still LOVE it!!!!

  12. Linda Shupe says

    When I first saw the shirt I thought, how am I going to trace that pattern. I would never have thought of using the little ones hands and feet. That is the most wonderful thing, thank you for your great ideas. Your website has made the holidays come alive for me once again. Thank you and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! I understand that capital letters mean you are shouting and it is right I AM SHOUTING WITH HAPPINESS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.

  13. Donna says

    Much appreciated, Christy!…..grandparent here..also love the Mommy and Me dresses! You are so resourceful and you sure have many uses for those fancy bows you make! Thanks for branching out from the recipes to share these great ideas!

  14. says

    Oh for cute!

    I did a cooking theme for my daughter and daughter in law this year. Among the things I put together were sheet pans, a homemade cookbook (your idea – with family favorites), your cookbook and a store bought apron for each…thinking now that daughter in law is going to get a homemade apron with our a little Bubba (our grandson’s) reindeer on it! Might just make one for his Mimi too (me!).

    Great idea! Thank you!

  15. littleb says

    Me & GabyBaby are going to walmart (I’m not a walmart fan) tomorrow to get all these supplies to make this beautiful reindeer shirt…I wish I knew how to make one for Thanksgiving. My little 4 year old (GabyBaby) is so excited. I just think they are adorable. Thanks Christy for sharing this….and next we are going to make hair bows…love all your post and I especially love the ones when my little precious granddaughter is able to assist me.

  16. Belva says

    Love the shirt! I got caught in the same boat last year looking for a Christmas shirt for a child. I could not believe that Walmart didn’t have any. I wonder why they are not carrying these any more? I had to make a shirt too. I wish I had seen this last year!

  17. Pamela Moss says

    Katy Rose knows how to strike the pose…I think I adore her more everytime I see her pic…I will be making the tree skirt…might not be able to do it for this year…but for sure next year…


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