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DIY: Decorate A Tie For Dad

Several neckties DIY decorated for Father's Day

Neckties and Father's Day go hand in hand. Instead of picking up another paisley, plaid or striped tie this year, help the kids make a one-of-the-kind necktie for dad. You don't have to be crafty for this simple project and the kids will have a blast. Dad may only flaunt his custom tie on Father's Day or the day after, but this keepsake is guaranteed to be his most memorable tie.

There are a number of ways to go about decorating dad's tie, and we've listed those below. For each method, you have to start with your canvas: the necktie. We recommend a white solid tie. Choose a synthetic material like polyester over silk. Polyester ties are cheaper, but most importantly they're a more durable material for kids to work with and hold color better than silk. You want the designs to be permanent, after all. For our designs we used a standard 3.5-inch tie. If dad prefers slim 2.5-inch, skinny 2-inch or extra long ties, those are suitable, too.

Fabric Crayons

DIY Crayon Decorated Tie

Pros: Great for toddlers, Not messy, Easy, Fast, Fun

Cons: Requires an iron, Not the brightest colors when using paper

Materials: Necktie, Fabric crayons, Non-glossy paper (like computer paper)

Fabric crayons are the least messy design option, which is great for toddlers. Using the crayons, the child simply draws their design on the paper. You may want to outline or cut the paper to the size of the tie, but it can be left as is if everyone's ok with some of the design not fitting on the tie. Then, set the paper face down on the necktie in the desired position. Have an adult iron the back of the paper per the crayon instructions, making sure the paper does not move or it could smear. The colors become brighter as they set. Important! Since you're transferring the image, what appears on the tie will be a mirror of the original paper drawing. Any words (like dad) need to be written as such. You can skip the paper and draw directly on the fabric instead, still ironing the tie to set the colors after. Younger children may find it difficult to keep the tie in place and press hard enough for the colors to appear, but overall you will be left with bolder colors when coloring directly onto the tie. (We colored directly on the tie in our example pictured.)

Fabric Markers

DIY Marker Decorated Tie

Pros: Easy, Fast, More fun

Cons: Requires an iron or dryer, Colors bleed if markers pressed too hard

Materials: Necktie, Fabric markers

Fabric markers are one of the fastest options because the child draws his or her design directly onto the tie. The real con to fabric markers is that the child needs to press lightly on the tie when coloring or the marker can bleed. Toddlers and young children may have a hard time controlling how hard they press, so you may want to skip the markers if your kids are young. When finished, the necktie does need to be heat set by an adult. Per the marker instructions, use an iron or go the easy route and toss the tie in your dryer.

Fabric Paint

DIY Paint Decorated Tie

Pros: Great for baby handprints and footprints, Even more fun

Cons: Messy, Must let dry

Materials: Necktie, Fabric paint or fabric paint pens, Paint brush, Stencils, Painters tape, etc.

You have a lot of options for designing a tie with fabric paint. For a first Father's Day, we love baby handprint or footprint art. For toddlers, finger painting is always fun. Let school agers get more creative with a brush or paint pen. You can always mix things up using stencils to create a fun pattern or painters tape for a handmade striped tie. Just remember, paint needs to dry. If you start painting the night before Father's Day, make sure the necktie is completely dry before gift wrapping.

Fabric Photo Paper And More

DIY Photo Paper Decorated Tie

Pros: Most fun, unique, creative and personalized

Cons: Time consuming, Parent intensive, Lots of materials

Materials: Necktie, Fabric paint, Photo paper, Inkjet printer, Needle and thread or sewing machine or iron, Fabric glue, Feathers, Pom poms, Foam shapes, Plastic jewels, Scrap fabric, etc.

If you really want to go all in for Father's Day, this option is for you. Let your little one pick out some of his or her favorite photos family photos and print them on fabric photo paper. Cut out the photos then iron or sew them to the tie. The child can decorate around the photos before and after they're attached, too. Beforehand, paint the tie. Or give it a quilt-like look and glue or sew scraps of fabric to it. Outgrown baby clothes are great for this, but leftover material from other crafts work, too. Afterwards, let the child decorate around the photos with feathers, foam shapes, jewels, etc. The possibilities are endless and the result is awesome.

New Canvas: Socks

DIY Decorated Socks

Pros: Easy, fun, unique

Cons: Special care required when washing

Materials: White socks, fabric markers

Men's dress socks are no longer limited to black, navy and tan. Bold colors and patterns are quite the hit. If dad likes his socks fun and colorful, socks can be decorated just like a tie. In the picture to the right, we used a pair of white dress socks and fabric markers. For young children, we recommend slightly stretching the sock and holding it in place at the cuff and toe while the child colors. Unlike a necktie, bleeding from the markers did not occur. Whether you decorate socks with fabric markers, crayons or fabric paint, pay careful attention to washing instructions. While most materials are washable, special care may be required. Most fabric markers, for example, recommend washing separately the first few washes so colors don't bleed.

Craft Ties

Here's are some quick links to all of our favorite ties and accessories for your DIY crafting.

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About TieMart

TieMart is an online retailer of men’s neckties, bow ties and other accessories. A wide selection of pattern ties are available at TieMart, including popular paisley ties for weddings, traditional plaid ties for the office and collegiate two-color striped ties for graduation or school uniforms. And, yes, if you really want to put your face on a tie, it’s possible with a custom photo tie. TieMart ties are affordable and ship quickly from their Midwest location.


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We are a family-run tie company based in Illinois. We've been in the biz since the late 90s, so by now we know a thing or two about men's fashion and accessories. Tiepedia is our lil spot on the web to share that knowledge with you.