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Save a Sweatshirt, Make a Tetris Hoodie

3 December 2010 7,968 views 17 Comments

by heather

Everyone and their mother (ESPECIALLY their mother) knows that white clothing and toddlers don't mix! This sweatshirt was hopelessly stained and unwearable, so I made a little crafty magic and turned it into something even cuter than it was before! The process is simple enough for anyone to do, so read on to find out how to transform a ruined sweatshirt into a favorite new one with just a couple simple steps.

Project Estimate:

  • Stained piece of clothing, on hand
  • Geometric foam stickers, $1
  • Simply Spray fabric spray paint, about $3 a can (number of cans depends on size of garment and paint coverage)
  • Dropcloth, on hand

Total: $4-7

This poor white sweatshirt has been stained to death. Oh, the momguilt when you let a poor garment get ruined like that! I'm even embarrassed to show you this photo because it looks so bad. I never know what to do with stained clothing because I feel guilty donating it to a thrift store, and I don't want to throw it away. Then I think, hey, I'm crafty, I can do something with this (and then it sits in a box for years... but that's another story!)  This technique is such an easy way to save stained clothing. When my son wore the revamped hoodie, even my mom didn't realize I had gotten crafty with it -- she thought I got it at a store.

To Make:

1. Stick foam stickers on garment in any pattern desired. I used Tetris-style shapes on the body of the sweatshirt, and random rectangles on the pockets and waistband (I ran out of squares). The non-Tetris parts remind me of Tron, which makes this sweatshirt twice as cool and geeky!

DO NOT stick stickers over any stain. Anything you put a sticker over will show through in the final garment.

2. Lay the garment out on your dropcloth and spray according to paint package instructions. I used a pretty heavy application of paint to hide the stains. Allow to dry, then turn garment over and paint the back.

NOTE: You might want to cover the zipper before you paint, as the painted zipper is slightly tough to zip up. Use a piece of masking tape.

3. When sweatshirt is dry, remove the stickers.

NOTE: I waited a couple weeks before I removed the stickers because I got distracted with life, so the stickers bled onto the sweatshirt a bit (see the pinkish tinge on some of the squares). I recommend removing the stickers as soon as the paint is dry.

Yes, this sweatshirt has ears - ha ha! I added them a couple years ago when I had a Panda Party for my son, who was turning one. The same son who is in this picture here, and is almost three now!

Simply Spray - Brite Orange
Simply Spray - Brite Orange
Price: $3.49


  • Use stickers in any shape for this project.
  • Cut out freezer paper shapes and iron them on instead of stickers.
  • Use letter stickers to personalize a garment.
  • Buy a new garment and use this process to make a cool custom sweatshirt as a gift.
  • Use same technique on any stained garment or fabric.
  • Make one for an adult!
  • Substitute spray paint for fabric spray paint. The final effect is a little different, but it also works.

Disclosure: Sample; Affiliate Link

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  • Erin Pena said:

    This project looks like so much fun, but I have a question. Are there special cleaning instructions or can it just be tossed into the washer? Thanks!

  • Vone said:

    great idea. I love that you sound like me, put in a box and forget about it. I have huge rubbermaid bin of clothes to refashion – one day.
    I hate white clothes, I’m usally too afraid to have my kids wear them. I was just in my daughters drawer and found a new white shirt that has never been worn. I hope it still fits next summer :)

  • Starlite Morrison said:

    Oh I love it… I understand what you are saying about feeling guilty donating it to a thrift store

  • Cindy said:

    I love this idea. I would not have thought to use foam shapes (or that they bleed) I have done something similar using white kids glue put on in a pattern, let it dry then spray on watered down acrylic paint (we used multiple colors for a tie dyed effect) We have salvaged several stained shirts this summer this way.
    Love the ears on the hoodie.

  • diy-day.com said:

    You got to be careful: introduce a kid to the Tetris concept early, and he will be hooked for life like the rest of us…

  • Care said:

    YAY for Tetris! I love this refashion!!

  • Kelly H said:

    That’s so clever. I love and might just make one on purpose!

  • Michelle L. said:

    Outrageously cute and smart!

  • Aureila said:

    After the transform it is much cutter than it was before!!
    Very creative idea!

  • Mary Meldrum said:

    You can use plastic-backed Reynolds freezer paper for this – it actually irons on and peels off. Cut to any shape at all – use as regular stencil or reverse like you’ve done with your Tetris hoodie. And it’s about $3.00 for a roll that will last a lifetime.

  • Sophia said:

    Very, very cool! My daughter is the staining machine in our household, so I may have to give this a try sometime. You mentioned that spray paint gives a different effect. I’m curious how it’s different. :)

  • Amanda said:

    That’s so cute! And how fun, I have some of this spray paint too :)

  • Jenn Erickson/Rook No. 17 said:

    What a brilliant project! I love it. I never knew they made a fabric spray paint! Too cool! And I’m a big fan of tetris!

  • heather (author) said:

    @Erin, there are laundering instructions on the paint can. I’m pretty sure you can just wash & dry as normal.

  • Amy said:

    Too cool! I love the Tetris designs. There are so many fun foam shapes at craft stores, and for cheap! I have some foam Halloween shapes still up at my desk (can’t bear to take ’em down!) – you could totally make a rockin skull hoodie!

    Also, would it help to bleach the sweatshirt first to make it easier to cover the stains?

  • Angelica said:

    Fantastic idea! I also <3 Tetris. Looks like funa nd sounds so easy too!

  • Karen said:

    thats cute – very innovative with stained clothing