Making a human body t-shirt

Mar 26

Making a human body t-shirt

My son and his friend absolutely love a computer game that allows them to place organs in the right spot on the human body.  So when I was walking through a craft store the other day and saw this:

small intestines fabric 600x8001 225x300 Making a human body t shirt

I'm sure the manufacturer would be thrilled

It made me think of small intestines.  After that, it was a matter of finding some iron-on Velcro, grabbing a dozen different pieces of felt and grabbing a package of small t-shirts before heading home to make this birthday present for his friend.  The whole project, including the store trip, was probably about an hour.

 

organ shirt 1 600x8003 225x300 Making a human body t shirt

For kids obsessed with the human body, this is a hit.

organ shirt 2 600x8001 225x300 Making a human body t shirt

I know, the skeleton should be OVER the organs, but I couldn't figure out how to pull it off.

As you can see below, the organs are all removable, so the little scientists can paste them back into the right spot.  I made the blank slate more interesting by drawing some ribs onto it.  I remembered that I had some x-rays that were about the right size, so simply traced the ribs onto the t-shirt using a fabric pen.  I had a light box, so put the x-ray down, then the t-shirt, with a translucent cutting board from the kitchen inside the shirt to make sure the marker didn’t bleed through.  It only took about 5 minutes to trace the ribs onto the shirt (yes, I wish I had thought of this in time to use this idea when making the skeleton outfit).  Since the pelvis was too low, I simply freehanded the top of the pelvis onto the bottom of the shirt to give the lower organs a place to line up.

 

organ shirt skeleton 600x800 225x300 Making a human body t shirt

This shirt is cool before the organs even went on them.

Then I cut out the organs.  I wanted them all to be roughly the right scale, so drew some rough patterns onto paper first by looking up the shapes and relative size on webMD.  This can be a fun activity to do together, if you don’t mind an art critic judging your work.   Here are the organs I made out of felt:

Heart

Lungs

Kidneys

Liver

Stomach

Pancreas

Large Intestines

Small Intestines

Bladder

I thought about adding a gall bladder and spleen, but each organ should be visible on the shirt, and still have a Velcro patch on the shirt, so too much layering would be complicated.  With the few I ended up including, and the fact that I used pink for two organs, I only used 8 pieces of felt.  Next time, I might just glue a little gall bladder to the back of the liver for fun.

Using the paper guidelines as a rough guide, I cut out the organs, then trimmed them until I was happy with the look.   I took some leftover dark red from the kidneys and cut them into veins to go in and out of the heart.

Then I laid them all out and used the Velcro sticky patches to adjust all of the Velcro until I was sure none of the Velcro was locking a piece into place by accident.  I put the soft Velcro pieces on the shirt so they wouldn’t catch on anything if the organs were removed.  When I was sure it was all lined up, I followed the directions on the Velcro packaging: I put a thin cloth over the organs and ironed the whole thing for 90 seconds, then flipped over the shirt and ironed it from the back.

This gift was a huge hit, so I plan to make another for my son soon.  Hope you enjoy making this with your kids.

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One comment

  1. Ekitzel /

    I LOVE this!! I have two nephews who LOVE learning about the human body, would it be possible to buy shirts like this from you?

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