Painting Clothes

posted Sep 17, 2014, 1:27 AM by Amie Ridley
It all started when Miss K began wearing Miss S's old painting pants.  A few people commented on how interesting they were, and it got me thinking about how you could probably paint onto some basic cotton clothes with acrylic paint.  These pants had been worn and washed many, many times and had a kind of fun, faded look to them while the paint never washed out.  Also geometric shapes seem pretty big at the moment so I was keen to try stamping with shapes.  Thus began the painting of baby clothes with the Shape-O.

 The set up: acrylic paints, plain white t-shirts, posting toy shapes, trays/old lids for spreading paint on, paper towels, and drop cloth to protect the table and floor.  Yes that is my daughter playing on a tablet in the background.  Despite all the craftiness, reading and other general ideas that I am fond of we still allow tablet time.  She's probably playing some Minecraft.

So we spread some paint onto the tray.  If you are wanting a certain "look" with kids art, I recommend limiting the colour selection.  A few well chosen colours can help a project to have an on trend look.

We put paper towels between the layers of shirt to protect the back from the paint.  Then dipped the shapes into the paint and stamped the T-shirts with shapes.  
The shirts where then set out to dry completely, before running through a short hot wash and then hot dry cycle.  And that's it!  Too easy really.  

Some more photos...

And of course "action shot" of Miss K wearing my favourite shirt.  

There was a bit of bleeding into the area with Miss S's prints (upper right photo - with all the shapes.)  She had a lot more paint on the shapes than I did, so I would recommend spreading the paint around more so that the shapes pick up less paint.  But I think it still looks pretty funky.

- a stash of old sheets (picked up from Op Shops) makes it easy to set up and pack down, and protect your floors and furniture.  We also keep some tarpaulins in the garage, but more about that on messier projects... 
- old formula lids, take away lids or similar make great paint palates and if you are really not wanting a lot of pack up, can be put into the recycle bin.
- we also tried stamping onto pale coloured shirts and black tights, but the white was definitely the most effective for this project.
- the paint can lightly stain the plastic, but I figure this gives our toys a well used look which represents their real life anyway.

And as it's all about the learning these days, a bit of encouragement to get into crafty messy projects:

What are we learning:
- colours & shapes: obvious this I know, but important as well. And some of the shapes in this are more complex (pentagon, trapezoid, cross).
- fine motor skills: It requires some steadiness to dip then print, particularly in an ordered pattern.
- planning & sequencing: Miss S (4 y/o) talked about her plan to print the same shape in three different colours in each row as she was printing it. 

And she also learnt that sometimes you have to choose to do the craft project now, while Miss K is napping.  So she had to choose to put the tablet away and do the project now as she would not get the chance later, once Miss K woke up.  Which introduces her very gently to the concept of time management as well.  Because I am a bit random and chaotic, but not so much as to attempt this with a curious 1 y/o in the room! 

Happy Printing