DIY Galaxy Shirts!

MeSince starting out on our homeschooling adventures, we have been studying Astronomy with Apologia curriculum. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far. The curriculum set has a textbook and a journal for your kids to work through. There are two versions of the journal, one for older kids and one for younger (so I can teach this to BOTH of the kids at the same time).

When I made the decision to learn Astronomy I immediately began planning our hands on crafts and activities. The Apologia books already offer up project ideas in each chapter, but I wanted to do some exploring online and see what else we might be able to do.

I remember seeing in a fashion magazine a shirt that looked like it was a glimpse into our galaxy. While I thought it was cool, I never once thought I would find a reason to wear such a garment let alone try to make one! But I did. This was our first project for our Astronomy science unit.

The kids and I had so much fun making these. It was an easy and fairly non-messy project to complete. It just takes a little bit of time.


To begin, you will need the following:

  • A black, dark purple or dark blue cotton shirt
  • Fabric Paint (not puffy paint) in Purple, Blue, Red, Yellow, Orange and White
  • Sponges (I bought a bag or natural sponges at Michaels in the fine arts section for about $5)
  • An old toothbrush
  • A cardboard shirt form from a craft store or a piece of cardboard cut large enough to fit snugly inside the shirt
  • A spray bottle
  • Bleach
lightly sprayed

This is how the shirt looks just minutes after being sprayed. The spots will lighten up greatly the longer it sets.

Before doing anything, you will want to wash and dry your cotton shirt to remove any chemicals that may remain on it from the manufacturer.

Next, insert a piece of cardboard into the shirt. This will keep any bleach from bleeding through to the other side. Then, put some bleach in a spray bottle and spray in areas around your shirt. The bleached areas will end up being the center of your galaxies. I sprayed in concentrated areas by holding the spray bottle close to the fabric, then held the bottle further away giving it a different effect. This all makes sense as you begin painting.

NOTE: A little Bleach goes a LOOOOOONG way. My kids sprayed, sprayed and sprayed some more which led to many bleached spots. This made it difficult for them to blend and left very little black.

15 min

After 15 minutes the shirts looked like this.

Leave the shirts to completely dry! They will get brighter as they dry. Once dry, rewash your shirts to remove any residual bleach. Then you will be ready to paint!

Step 1

I was so excited about the painting part that I forgot to take step-by-step pics of each color. So, hopefully this makes sense. 🙂

When painting, it is important to water down your fabric paints. This makes the blending process much, much easier to accomplish. If they are used right out of the bottle, then the colors are more bold and vibrant and it makes blending difficult. You want to blend successfully so that you achieve the mystical galaxy look.

Begin by putting purple on a plate and water it down with some water. I didn’t do any precise measuring, just a little bit of water. Give it a good stir, then dab a sponge into the paint. Begin dabbing the purple around the outside of the white/bleached area. Then slightly blend out into the black.

Next, water down some blue. Dab the blue outside the purple (into the black area) and work your way out.

Now, water down some red. Dab some on a clean sponge and begin dabbing on the inside of the purple (working in toward the bleached area). It is ok to dab over part of the purple because you are trying to blend the colors a bit.

Step 2

Next, water down some orange. Dab this on the inside of the red (again, working your way in toward the bleached area).

Step 3

Next, water down some yellow and dab on the inside area of the orange (working your way in toward the bleached area). Then, water down white and dab in the very center of your galaxy.

Step 4

Now, you’re ready to make some stars! Get some white paint onto an old toothbrush (not water it down). Using a toothpick (or your finger), hold the toothbrush upside-down (bristles down toward the shirt) and drag the toothpick along the bristles. This will flick little dots of paint all over the shirt. This takes a bit of practice.

If you want, you can dip the end of a paint brush or toothpick into white paint and dab all over to make bigger stars.


Here is the back side of my shirt! I absolutely LOVED how these turned out. They were a completely fun project and we can’t wait to experiment with other pieces of clothing for different looks! I can see maybe a scarf or purse in the near crafting future!

If you make your own then please share any tips, tricks or pics with me!


2 thoughts on “DIY Galaxy Shirts!

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