Sunday, August 28, 2011

Inspired by Children...Again: a T-shirt tutorial

What could be more inspiring that a child's drawing?
A few weeks ago I wrote a posting about being inspired by children. This past week, I was so inspired again, I decided to share it with you. And the bonus? You, too, can do this with the Magic Baby in your life!

This past week, my oldest grandchild started first grade. Oh, the memories, and oh my, how quickly time flies!

My favorite First Grader...

My grandson loves to draw, an activity that I encourage. On a recent visit I had shown him a drawing his own father had made as a child with fabric crayons. We decided to try it on his next visit, and voted to make a drawing that he could wear on a t-shirt. If you want to try this at your house, here's what you will need:
White drawing paper
Light to medium colored cotton knit t-shirt fabric (or actual t-shirt) a bit bigger than your paper
An old towel, a hot iron, and some scrap paper

First of all, you should know that Pentel Dye Sticks can also be used, but they work differently than fabric crayons. Printing with fabric crayons is a two-step process: draw on the paper, then transfer to the fabric. The dye sticks, which look similar to fabric crayons, use a one-step process: direct application onto the fabric, followed by heat setting.

Step one: Make your drawing!
Drawing is easy, especially for children. Here is my grandson's drawing. So that his lettering would not be backwards on the final print, I showed him this trick:
1) Write the letters on the back of the paper.
2) Tape your paper to grandma's sliding glass door with the letters toward the glass and the drawing facing you
3) Trace your letters on the front of the drawing, then color them with the fabric crayons. Yes, they will be backwards...for now.

Above, you see the fabric crayon drawing on the left, and the transferred drawing on the right. To transfer the drawing onto fabric, place an old towel on your ironing board (this will protect the surface from the crayons.) Place the t-shirt or piece of t-shirt fabric (we cut off the back of an old t-shirt) onto the towel, the fabric crayon drawing face down on top of that, and a piece of scrap paper on top of that.
With a hot iron (no steam), iron until the design has transferred. I let my grandson carefully help me, being careful to keep him away from the hot tip of the iron. His back and forth movement shifted the drawing a bit, so I gave him some fabric markers to outline the shapes for a crisp look on the t-shirt fabric.

Grandma is going to sew his drawing into a special t-shirt for him. You can, of course, transfer the drawing right onto a t-shirt and be finished. Save the precious drawing, however, as it can be used over and over. Just color it in with more fabric crayons to brighten the colors up, then transfer it again. Think of the possibilities : )

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