Aug 8, 2010

Getting paint and markers ON clothing

Remember this post from last month where I wrote at the end about the portrait the kids had drawn and painted of me? Remember the glorious colourful flowered skirt and how I really wished it was real?

Well, I'd planned on letting the kids draw and paint their own skirts for a while but hadn't got around to it. Seeing that awesome explosion of colour gave me the push to sort it out for them. I know I wanted one for myself, but that'd be a lot of material to paint and I'm sure they would be much more excited about making one they could wear themselves.

Another post some of you old timers around here might remember is way back when we made the dollar store dish towel skirts? Those are still being worn and loved, so I figured we might as well make use of the plain white cotton "flour sack" tea towels/dish towels they are selling at the Dollar Tree at the moment.

I washed one to get any factory chemicals out and get any shrinkage that was going to happen over with, then cut it in half and sewed the two parts together into a long strip.

Then I taped it to the kitchen table with duct tape (If your table is nice and untrashed then you might want to protect it with something first). I left the bottom hemmed part untaped, so they could get the colouring and painting all the way to what was going to be the bottom hem of the skirt. The dollar tree has also got sets of coloured permanent markers (non sharpie brand) in their back to school supplies, so I got a couple of packets of those for the kids to start drawing with.

They drew a few flowers and coloured them in with the sharpies and while they were doing that I got out some of my acrylic craft paint and watered it down. A good couple of years back we did some glue batik using watered down acrylic paint as the dye, here's that post. Of course you could totally do the glue batik for this project too, but I wanted something that they could do in one sitting, rather than having to wait for glue to dry and then come back to it. I gave them five colours of watered down acrylic paint in cups with brushes to have at the cloth with.

They got very creative with it! I have to warn you though that if you get this watered down acrylic paint on anything that you don't want it on, then wash it off right away because the stuff will not wash out when it's dried (that's the point of using it as cloth dye) My two managed to spill FIVE pots of the stuff! Seriously! Five pots!

Anyway, cack-handedness aside, they did a fabulous job and covered the whole thing. Here it is hung up at the kitchen window to dry.

I let it dry very thoroughly before giving it a bloody hot ironing, to set the pen and paint as much as I could. Then laundered it and sewed up a hem all along the top. The colours stayed a lot more saturated than I thought they would, which was a pleasant surprise. I threaded elastic in the waist just like I did with the original tea towel skirts and it was all done.


Here's my four year old modelling it. She's the most girly of the two. My older daughter is likely to request tea towel shorts rather than a skirt.

Here's one of her rocking out, because you can see the gathered waist quite well.

We'll be doing this again, and I'll probably be doing a few all on my own too, because it looked like a lot of fun! I'd love to make one covered in giant green leaves with watery looking sun flowers all over it! I also fancy one where only the bottom half is painted like a border, because the paint is watered down enough that it would bleed upward in a really cool way, but leave the very top white.


I really like the way the watered down acrylics work, because you get more control than just painting with dye and you don't get that gross stiff fabric feeling that most fabric paints give you. I was wondering how well the colours would set from painting on concentrated kool aid rather than the acrylic paint too. You could easily do other clothing like tshirts if you want to go for the full on Haight Ashbury look.

Sorry, no ladybug roadkill yet ;) I was going to start on it last night and then realised that if I took photos for you in progress they would be all dark and dingy at night time and also I am not OK with making my daughter a replica of the Pillow Pet version because it's a ladybug with only four legs! Pulling legs off insects is not cool people!

63 comments:

Eva said...

wow those are great :) they look so colourful and fun! I'm going to try this out thanks!

rainbowmummy said...

Seriously, you should open an etsy store! I LOVE what your kids made, the skirt is wonderful.

And only four legs, well that's plain lazy.

Cricket said...

I'm not sure I've ever posted a comment, but I am a very big fan of your blog. Every once in a while I get to thinking the kids ought to do things a certain way, and you always bring me back to reality.

We tried tie dying with concentrated kool-aid a couple years ago, and every single speck of color washed out. I later found out the kool-aid only works as a dye on animal based fibers.

I was thinking, as I saw your skirts hanging to dry, that I might let my kids make us some new curtains for the kitchen. The colors coming through the fabric are great.

Tina said...

I have been on a crafting hiatus for some odd reason, but this might get me back into the swing of things. Your girls are so creative, I love their art work!

TheMoncurs said...

I don't think I've commented before but I've been reading for a while.

I LOVE this. I think I'm going to make a skirt for ME.

I can't wait until my kids are a little older and I can do some of your fun projects with them!

Kirsten said...

Your daughter has the same shoes my daughter was wearing last summer, and hers were all white in front too. I found a glossy orange-red nail polish in my stash of unused cosmetics, and painted them every couple of weeks. Looked almost good as new.

RUKxo said...

i love this idea nd will def be making some with my littles... may have to make some shorts for Mr6 though, not sure he'd love a flowery skirt LOL

Lindsey said...

OOh, thanks for the tip Kirsten! She's wearing them all the time because of the wizard of oz fettish. I don't have any nail polish, but I'm sure going to get some from the Dollar Store for this. She'll be very happy to have them nice and red in the front again!

Thanks for the heads up on the Kool Aid only working with animal fibres too Cricket. I have no idea about that stuff because we never had Kool Aid in the UK when I was growing up. I've heard of people using it to dye wool though, so that makes sense.

Glad to see people wanting to give this one a whirl. it was dead simple and the kids loved having free reign to decorate it however.

Sarah Slaven said...

What a brilliant idea and the skirt ended up looking so beutiful too. I think i'm going to have to copy you aswell.

Jo in NZ said...

these look gorgeous.
A tip for you, cut you brushes shorter, and they will be less likely to tip the pot over...or use a muffin tray as a stand for the paint pots.
Love your blog.

Heather - Dollarstorecrafts.com said...

Oh thank you so much for doing a brilliant dollar store craft for me to post about later this week! This one is really fabulous.

I heard blogher is going to be in San Diego next August (2011)... going?

Sewing-Chick said...

So cute! Too bad my son doesn't wear skirts :( I was going to tell you though that when I was a teen at church camp, we did something similar on t-shirts. We used sharpies I think, and then dipped the shirts in finger nail polish remover (I think) to create a tie-dyed effect. It was pretty fun, and the coloring was permanent :)

shar said...

O.M.G!!! Fantastic! Please tell your girls that one of your readers (me) LOVES their work!!! I am going to show this to my little girl - I hope she will be as inspired to do this as I am. THANK YOU! :)

abbie said...

Those are adorable. Well done ladies.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

That is one beautiful skirt. I think I'd like to try it but I don't sew.

lilla a said...

Beautiful!

child central station said...

I love how this turned out! Brilliant idea!

Teacher Tom said...

But when are YOU going to get your dress! =)

Candy said...

Gorgeous! We made one for my daughter today (tall 6 year old, so we still needed two dish towels, but only so we could have the length and width we needed). I can't believe how beautiful the colors turn out for this project. Her drawing/painting just pops! Just have to iron it and hope, hope, hope it doesn't wash out. We took pics just in case, ha ha. Thanks for a great blog and the inspiration to let kids out of their box.

pink and green mama MaryLea said...

Genius!! I love it : )

Gina said...

I'm so happy someone besides me thinks insect toys, cartoons, books, etc... have GOT to show all six legs ;)

The skirt is gorgeous. My kids have been making marker and paint pictures on paper similar to this, and I'm sure they'd adore switching to fabric. Wonder if I can get some paint to turn out masculine and not too pastel for the boy?

Thanks for sharing!

~april said...

really pretty! it is amazing how well the color stayed. i love how it turned out!

dongdong said...

This is a great idea! Your girls has done a fabulous job. How neat it is for them to wear their creations.

Aiming4Simple said...

Gorgeous! My daughters would absolutely love to make these!

Jen said...

Love it! I'd like to wear that happy skirt!

rosesmama said...

Hi, I'm here via crafty crow. My girl, 8, was right on the fabric design idea and has already detailed instructions for the shorts she wants me to make her. I'm just waiting for the dish towels that were left over from a teacher present project to be washed and dried.

On looking through old posts, I happened on the land of oz with the batman lion-person. LMAO, can I be your friend? Better yet, can I just come live at your house? The girl and I have lots of ideas, and lots of art and craft supplies, so we wouldn't be too much trouble . . .

Anonymous said...

Perfect timing for a great project! I was wanting to make a skirt for my girly's 6th birthday party (a rainbow theme) next week. Love love love the way your girls' creations turned out <3

Laryssa Herbert said...

My daughter would really like to do this! Great idea. Thanks

von Hand zu Hand said...

great idea. i totally love this. i'm sure my daughter want to try this immediately...

i'm linking...

thanks for this very creative tutorial.

doro

von Hand zu Hand said...

great idea. i totally love this. i'm sure my daughter want to try this immediately...

i'm linking...

thanks for this very creative tutorial.

doro

xo, Joan said...

I LOVE this! EVERY project you do is such an inspiration and I thank you for that! So many projects, I look forward to making time to do them! I always have acrylic paint on hand and I'll pick up a couple of these flour sack towels from the Dollar Tree that just opened where our old Michael's Craft store was (moved to a new shopping center) and have what I need ready for that perfect after school project with my granddaughter! Her school is very structured academics and I am her creative place to land after a long day :) She loves our arts and crafts afternoons, and you make my job of being the fun & creative Grammie a very pleasant one indeed! Thank you much!!! xoxo

Jen said...

I bought some of those flour sack towels today, and they seem REALLY thin. You didn't double them up to make the skirt? Does the paint make it a bit more opaque?

Eden said...

I tried it today with a slight variation. I helped my daughter paint one of her stained princess dresses. I think some of the paint wasn't watery enough because it's still a bit stiff, but the colors are gorgeous. She loves it. Thanks so much for the inspiration. Here's hoping it doesn't wash out of the satin! It looks amazing right now, but I haven't laundered it yet. :)

LadyJ said...

I love love this. We made a skirt and shorts yesterday and I posted about it at my blog :)
http://aplaceforladyj.blogspot.com/2010/08/fun-with-paint-and-some-sewing-too.html

Kimara@weefolkart said...

These are absolutely beautiful. Your daughters' creativity is inspiring. The pride they must feel when wearing their skirts. I'll be linking on Facebook.

Anonymous said...

I wish the tutorial on the other page made more sense to me :(
I am a beginner sewer and I think I could make this, if the instructions were more clear. Am I the only one, that doesn't really understand how to sew the top for elastic? Can anyone offer advice?
Michelle

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

Just beautiful, I love their designs and the lovely painted effect. With all of your great ideas, you make me impatient for my toddler to grow up :)

The Sitting Tree said...

LOVE this!! What a great idea for homemade holiday gifts for this year too:) I'll definitely be making one of these for myself this fall too!

polwig said...

Awesome idea. I bet it is her favorite clothing item

Kelly land said...

What a fantastic Idea!! I am really enjoy your blog, but SO wish you had a email subscriber!! Can you add one PRETTY PLEASE!! God bless
Kelly

Emily said...

Fun! Love the colors!

Wendy said...

Love it! I'm going to make some of these with my boys- I think my oldest (4) would really like a pair of colorful lounge pants. Thanks for the inspiration!

Mae Belle Creations and Musings said...

Thank you for this great idea!!! In fact, I read this yesterday and decided to run out and get the stuff to make some with the kids...I have a post with photos of our results over at www.maebellecreations.blogspot.com
Thanks again!!!

Lisa said...

Wow! I just love this!!!!! I'm going to try it with my daughter this week. What a great idea! After seeing your post we are now thinking a fashion designer birthday party might be in order!

rocknrolla said...

Once again, awesome idea! I shared your post on my blog, she's crafty-

http://crafty.littlerockmamas.com/index.php/2010/08/20/zuckertute-update-and-some-weekend-projects/

Laura said...

i've read a lot of craft/sewing/art blogs and this is so unique and whimsical- haven't seen anyone else doing this- wonderful! i'm a new follower

Laura said...

wow- i just found your blog and this is by far the most beautiful, whimsical, wonderful project i have seen in a longggg time- great work, i'm your new follower

Seriously... said...

so i just found your blog and LOVE LOVE LOVE your ideas!!! thank you! i live in the bay area too....if you haven't already, you need to check out the Adventure Playground in Berkeley....it's right up your alley!!!

Martianne said...

Very creative.

Also, I wanted to let you know there is an award for you at http://traininghappyhearts.blogspot.com/2010/08/award-and-giveaway.html :)

Rhonda said...

I have had this idea simmering since you posted it and today is the day! Can't wait to see what my 3 and 5 year old girls create. When I post tomorrow I will link back to you. Thanks for the great ideas!

Debbie said...

How have these washed? We did this with cotton t-shirts and sharpies early in the summer and most of it washed out. I'm perplexed.

Ash said...

These are great ideas just in time for back to school outfits. My 9 year old daughter and here friends are having a back to school party and I think will be a great activity.
Thanks for the fabulous creativity!

PuppyLovePrincess said...

Fantastic project. Thanks so much for sharing!

CraftyTweetie said...

OMGoodness! What a wonderful craft project...for both the itty-bitties and us grown-ups. I wish more parents would take the time to do creative stuff like this with their kids. You've proven time and time again that it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, can be loads of fun for everyone invvolved, and can also be educational in some way (just don't tell the kids.) :) Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful ideas with us.

Rachael said...

Thank you for such inspiration!

My 4yo and 2yo have tried this on some calico today, and my plan is to sew some Christmas presents with the finished product.

Awesome!

bioluminescence said...

My 3 yo and I have made 2 skirts now using old and useless Gerber flat diapers. The 1st, we only had 1 color of paint that hadn't dried out, and we painted all around the hem, plus splattered it. It looked very boutique-y. The 2nd I drew some famous works of art and she painted them. First we masked off some things with tape and painted the cool colors. Blew it dry, and then masked some things, and then did the warm colors. Finished off by some strategic dumping of paint in various areas when she lost interest. They are fabulously not muddy and a big hit.

naoko said...

Watered down acrylic paint! What fantastic idea! My son and I have done fabric paint(is that really just acrylic), but never thought of watering it down. I would like the effect much better.
Thanks for the idea!

Kelly said...

This is absolutely fabulous! I love it so much..... I just wish I had a sewing machine...

Lynde said...

I love this! I've got a baby on the way and this looks like crazy amounts of fun, not just for kids either! I'm thinking I need to this for myself as well!

JoAnn said...

I'm doing a craft shirt right now trying for the "batik" look and haven't been pleased, after reading this I realized it's because I haven't watered down the shirt enough!

I'm going to try this with my 5 yr old it'll be a fun paint & sew project for her!

Lisa Paints said...

I found this on pinterest. I love this. I am a long time painter and grandma and intend to have my grandchild and nieces and nephews over this summer to do this. I also love the idea of making summer curtains like this. Wonderful, pretty, and very expensive looking too! You have inspired me! Thank you!

Molly said...

Hi, I love this idea but was wondering if it would work out as well on plain old white cotton fabric from the fabric store, or does it have to be a kitchen towel more absorbant type of fabric? Also, has this held up well with multiple washes? Thanks a bunch!

queenmarcia said...

thank you for sharing. i just want to say your children are so cute..what a nice family...Marcia from Modesto.