For Halloween, I made some fun little shirts for the kiddos, using freezer paper stencils, fabric paint, and regular and glow-in-the-dark puffy paint:
It was so much fun, I thought we’d make fun shirts for every holiday! Then Christmas and New Years came and went (time flies, doesn’t it?)…but lo and behold, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!
Since we have two boys, I had to think up something more boyish for such a girly-clad holiday. I searched the net and found this:
Who doesn’t love a robot — especially one as cute as this? The tutorial for this robot onesie shirt uses an applique and a sewing machine, and considering I jam my sewing machine every time I attempt to use it, I didn’t want to go down that road. However, she includes the template for the robot in a printable format. Score!
If you are lucky enough to have one, Cricut has a cool Robotz cartridge. But here’s how to do this without a fancy cutting machine OR a sewing machine.
T-shirt or onesie
Fabric paint – I used Tulip Soft
Cardboard – use as a backing in between layers
Ruler or other straight edge
Exacto knife or fine point small scissors
Sponge paint brush
Double-sided tape (not necessary but helpful)
Embroidery floss in black and red, and a needle (or see my other suggestions below)
First: pre-wash and iron your shirts!
1. Cut your freezer paper to an 8×11 sheet. Print the robot onto the non-slick side. Try not to bend or fold your paper as that will make step 4 more difficult.
2. Using your straight edge and an exacto, carefully cut out the squares.
3. Put some double-sided tape onto the back of the robot. Place it as close as possible to the square openings. This step isn’t necessary but makes it more foolproof.
4. Put something in between your shirt layers – you could use another piece of freezer paper or a piece of cardboard. Place your new stencil onto your shirt exactly where you want it. Sponge on your paint a little at a time until your area is coated. Be careful to sponge directly onto it, not sideways — you don’t want any of your paint to slip underneath the stencil.
5. Let it dry for a day — or if you’re impatient like me, 15 minutes — then peel away the stencil.
*Bonus Step* Apparently this Tulip Soft brand can be activated so that the paint becomes truly soft — a “velveteen finish”. See the how-to here. However, I tried that step with my Halloween shirts and they didn’t do anything. I must not have a strong steam setting on my $10 iron.
6. For real now, let it dry for a day.
7. Take out your embroidery floss and needle. I was reminded of an elementary school art teacher who showed us different embroidery techniques on burlap with yarn… I thought, hey I can do this! I’ve known how to embroider since the 5th grade! It turned out to be more difficult than I thought, so you should probably be smarter than me and a do a test run on different fabric first. But seriously, if this part scares you, you can buy some puffy paint (there’s some pretty sparkly red stuff) and draw a heart. Or you could buy a heart applique and hand-sew it on (I’m not sure how ironing on top of the paint would work if you bought the iron-on kind…so try that at your own risk!). Or go without the heart, if you don’t want this to be a Valentine’s Day-themed shirt!
8. The face was the easy part. Then I sewed the outline of the heart.
9. Fill in the heart by sewing across it. This was more difficult than I realized, as I didn’t make the two top humps of my heart very pretty. Oh well.
Final product! They are adorable.
I need to get my “models” together to take a photo of the cuties in their shirts, and I’ll also post a blog about how to do the heart applique shirt.
Aren’t the robots too cute?
My son wouldn’t cooperate for a dual photo of the robot shirts:
So I had to take two separate ones:
The fabric paint says that you should wash inside-out. I have washed these shirts twice now and they still look perfect!