How to make a Maternity Calendar shirt, with Miranda of One Little Minute

Hi there! I’m Miranda, and I blog regularly over at One Little Minute, where I post about some crafty projects, creative pursuits, delicious recipes, and a family moment or two:) I am excited to share this tutorial for a fun count-down shirt here at DIY Maternity!

Sometime very early in this (my second) pregnancy, I came up with this idea to document the passing of those long 40 weeks as well my ever-expanding baby bump. I call it my Maternity Calendar Shirt. Rather than set out like a traditional calendar, it is numbered through 1-40, so as the weeks of expectation fly by, they can be crossed off, counting down to the BIG SHOW!

It’s also perfect for taking a regular belly shot, like I have during this pregnancy in Project Baby. The numbers on the shirt are painted on using a freezer paper stencil. It takes a little (okay, maybe a lot of) time, but is so awesome it’s well worth it. Not to mention you’ll be using it every week of your pregnancy! Already half-way through? Don’t worry about it…you’ll have a lot to cross off in the beginning, and believe me, you still have a lot of growing to do!! So, want to make one? Great, let’s get started!

What you’ll need:
  • a long stretchy tee shirt that will fit you until the end of your pregnancy (I used this one from American Apparel)
  • a computer with printer (or you could free-hand your numbers)
  • Freezer paper, found at most grocery stores near the plastic wrap and tin foil
  • scissors
  • a sharpie
  • an exacto knife
  • two different colors of fabric paint, found at most craft stores
  • a sponge paint brush
  • an iron

What to do:

1. Set up a word document with the numbers 1-40 in a simple font, like Ariel Black. You’ll want each number to be about an inch high when printed, so I found using about 110 point font worked well. Print out your numbers.
2. Lay your shirt out flat and get an idea of where you want the numbers to be. I started about the bust line, and ended a few inches
from the hem.

3. Cut the freezer paper to size. This will be your stencil!
4. To ensure evenly spaced numbers, you need to fold the freezer paper into 40 even squares. 5 across and 8 down. So, fold the paper in half width-wise.
5. Fold it in half again, width wise.
6. Now one more time in half, to create 8 even columns down.
7. Now, folding into even 5’s is a little tricky…so I measured. The width of my stencil is 12 inches so divided by 5 is about 2.4 inches.
8. So, after measuring, I sort of eyeballed it around 2.5-ish inches once, then folded it 3 more times to match that length.
9. It should be now folded into 8ths one direction and 5ths the other.
10. Now, flatten it all out and mark the corners with a sharpie on the papery side of the freezer paper.
11. When you lay it down on the shirt, you can now see where each number will lie. Perfect. Now, let’s make the numbers!
12. Lay the number 1 of your computer print out under the top corner box, and trace around it. Make sure you are on the papery side of the paper, because the waxy side will be what is ironed onto the shirt.
13. Continue the same process for each of the numbers, making sure they are evenly spaced in the box.
14. It takes a little time, but so does growing a baby:) Keep it up all the way through 40.
15. Now comes time to cut out each number with your exacts knife. Again, takes some time, but you will love the end result!
16. Once all of your numbers are cut out, position the stencil on the shirt and iron it down.
17. Make sure all of the corners of the numbers are well sealed down, so when you add your paint, it will stay within the cut-out area.
18. Good job! You’ve come so far! Now, squirt a little fabric paint into each number. I went about two rows at a time, to make sure I spread it out before it dried too much.
19. Use your sponge brush to spread the paint evenly within the stenciled numbers. Continue the process all the way through number 40.
20. Wait a couple minutes for the paint to be mostly dry (to where you can run your finger gently across it), then carefully peel back the freezer paper to reveal your calendar!
21. VERY IMPORTANT STEP!! To set the paint so it doesn’t wash out in the laundry, you have to iron over it again! The instructions say to wait 24 hours. I waited about 1 before ironing mine, and haven’t had a problem.
22. Now the really fun part, crossing off the weeks!
23. Just barely dip the edge of your sponge brush into your second paint color. In fact, I just dip mine into the cap, and get that nice thin line.
24. Paint across your number with a single slash. I like mine slightly messy, and like I was crossing off a day on a real calendar. This could also be cool with a check-mark stencil, or with an X across the date. Be creative and make it your own!
You will love seeing the way you change and grow as those weeks go by.

I hope you love the chance to keep track of all of your progress like I have. Being pregnant is an extraordinary experience.

Thank you sooooo much to Miranda for showing us how to make this super adorable maternity shirt. Gosh I want one so bad it’s so cute!!! Please don’t forget to head over to Miranda’s blog One Little Minute, you will LOVE it!

** This tutorial is free for personal use only, and is not to be republished without written consent or used for any commercial resale of the shirts. For a limited use license of the design, please contact Miranda. If you would like to purchase a Project Baby shirt, you can find them HERE in Miranda’s shop. ** 

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  1. Pam says

    What a clever idea! I think that’s the best way i’ve sen to document the 40 weeks. I love it!!!

  2. says

    I loved looking at her Project Baby photos when I found her link a week ago on your blog. I may not make a calendar shirt, but this process is so mind-blowingly easy I might pick up some fabric paint and freezer paper and just put my own art on some clothes, since I’m making many of them myself anyways. thanks so much for hosting her!

  3. Miquela says

    If I get pregnant again, I am definitely making this shirt! So cute. Thanks for the tute.

  4. says

    After you did each red check did you iron back over it like you did with the numbers? Thanks… LOVE the Idea!!!

    • says

      Since I only wore this shirt for the photo shoots, I only washed it once or twice and I did make sure to iron the red down before washing, but I didn’t do it every time I painted it. And I think the paint sticks pretty dang well without-just need to be safe!

      xo Miranda

  5. Nik says

    You are Fabulous, we are planning for a baby and I get so many ideas which are going to help me out for my MDs.

    Can you please help me with some more ideas of MDs for office?

  6. says

    Hello! I lOVE THIS! and totally going to make it. (I’ll probably make number stencil using my cricut machine :)

    quick question, I’m going to buy this exact shirt, but since I’m still very very early in my pregnancy, I don’t know which size i should get? Curious on what size the model is wearing? I’m about her size..

  7. Kacie says

    If you put the numbers into a 5×8 table in Word, and center the alignment of the cells you can print directly to the freezer paper. Just make sure to choose “Distribute Rows/Columns Evenly” so that the boxes in the table are all the same. Saves you the steps of centering all the numbers and tracing everything on to the freezer paper. Also, if you print the grid lines of the table you can line it up correctly when it prints on multiple pages.

  8. Nicole says

    Did you then use your shirt to make the little onesie your baby is in? Or did you paint the numbers on a onesie?

    • says

      Hi Nicole! Meg here – Miranda cut up the shirt and made a onesie for her baby out of it one it was born :) Cut hey?? I think she’s actually offering that as a service now for people with calendar shirts

  9. says

    I like this idea but way too much work for me! I just designed one and had it printed on Spreadshirt… I think it turns out a bit cheaper too.

    • says

      The link in my name is to my shirt shop where I have several inexpensive pregnancy countdown shirts available for sale if you’re interested! :)

  10. Mary says

    I’m making this shirt now, I’m currently cutting out the numbers out and I’m wondering how to cut the numbers with wholes out? I’m curious for when I start to paint do I put the wholes back down so that they aren’t solid numbers? Ex. For the number 4.

  11. Tash says

    I am planning on getting pregnant within the month with baby #2 (though I may already be pregnant, taking the test Christmas morning). This is a great way to countdown. I plan to wear it as my way of announcing it to everyone. Also, how do you do the numbers with holes in them? I see that someone already asked but there is no answer. (ie 4, 6, 8, 9, 0)

  12. says

    oh my gosh Miranda, I’ve never seen the actual post for this before. But I found through the Disney maternity roundup from today. haha. I was laughing that the entire roundup is people we know :). Anyway…these photos are too die for! I looked at the other post where you combined them all together and they’re SO cool! Very creative

  13. Opie says

    An absolutely fabulous idea! I’m prewashing the t-shirt now, then will start stenciling (sp?). I’m 63 and (very happily) NOT pg, but here’s the story of my intended recipient: 13 years ago, our then-13 yo son Daniel died suddenly and unexpectedly while participating in a middle school retreat. (The cause was a COMPLETELY flukey asthma attack that acted acutely, like an anaphylactic attack someone with allergies to nuts or bee stings might experience.) Fortunately, even before the first ambulance arrived, the people on site began CPR. Eventually, Daniel was airlifted to the Mayo Clinic, the closest medical facility open at night. By then, he must have been brain-dead (later tests confirmed this). HOWEVER, largely bec of the aggressive efforts of the “first responders” to resuscitate him, Daniel was able to donate 4 organs (both kidneys, pancreas, liver) and some tissues.
    But here’s the happy next chapter: a few months after Daniel’s death (and the transplants of the organs into the lucky recipients), we heard from Brian, then 28, living in Milwaukee. He had received Daniel’s liver, as he was suffering from an acute liver disease. He quickly recovered. Brian wrote a beautiful letter, telling us about himself and expressing his gratitude for Daniel’s “gift of life”. We began corresponding (anonymously – per the protocol). It wasn’t long before he met Lisa and I was a very honored guest at their wedding, 3 years later! Now fast forward 10 years: Brian and Lisa will be celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary in 10 days. 2 years ago, Brian required a second liver transplant (the physicians aren’t sure exactly what destroyed the liver from Daniel, after years of doing just fine) – he was critically ill and (literally) almost died, but fortunately was re-transplanted in the nick of time, recovered and looks so healthy today you’d never guess he’d ever been so ill.
    Now, despite the fact that Brian’s original liver had failed years ago, obviously one of his organs (I’ll leave to you to figure out which one) was working just fine! Brian and Lisa now have 4 beautiful happy and healthy daughters, ages 1 1/2 to 9 years AND Lisa is expecting their 5th baby AND FIRST SON!!!! in 2 months! Lisa has already told me that the little boy’s middle name will be Daniel.
    We couldn’t have asked for more wonderful people and we understandably are very close to them all. Our now-28-yo daughter Julia, who lives in Brooklyn NY, is the girls’ favorite Aunt Julia and I am their Grandma Opie (my husband Jeff doesn’t have a title!). For now, only the eldest daughter understands our real relationship, the others will be told as they get older. Julia and I will be visiting the family later this week, so that’s why I have to get going on that t-shirt!
    Organ donation saves lives. As one of my t-shirts reminds us, “don’t take your organs to heaven when you did – heaven knows we need them here!”

  14. says

    I’m hoping to be pregnant soon and would love to make one of these to document my progress. What size would you recommend in the American apparel shirt you linked to? Since have never been pregnant before I’m not sure how much to allow for growth and even though they’re longing didn’t know how much width to allow for. Is regularly buy a small but didn’t know if a medium or a large would be better. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  15. Lynn says

    Hi! I’m cutting out the numbers but not sure what to do with numbers like 4, 6, 8, 9, 0 with whole in them like the girls asked above. I couldn’t find an answer though. Thanks!

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  1. […] Project Baby, une vidéo sur l’évolution de la deuxième grossesse de Miranda déjà maman d’un petit garçon. Semaine après semaine jusqu’à la semaine 40 + 3 jours, cette maman partage sa grossesse. Créatrice, Miranda a crée pour l’occasion un T-shirt avec toutes les semaines de grossesse, sur lequel elle rayait les semaines de grossesse. Miranda propose un tutoriel pour réaliser son t-shirt de grossesse sur son blog. […]