baby clothes

Baby Prep: DIY Graphic Onesies

I found the sweetest little shorts and onesies at the 99 cent store a few weeks ago when I was picking up luau decorations for Grandma’s Birthday Bash! Actually, I found lots of great things there including white tissue paper with aqua polka dots: perfect for making pom-poms to hang over baby’s crib. I also found out that a trip to the 99 cent store can add up quickly with all of these great finds! Still, it’s less than I would’ve spent, getting the same things at Target or the craft store so we should chalk it up as a success. 

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I bought these newborn shorts for my DIY graphic project but also to use as a reference so I can make my own pattern and make more! I really want to make cute little knit leggings but I’m afraid it’ll be too hot for leggings when he gets here. Maybe I’ll just have to make a few pairs in the 3-6 mo. size instead.

My original plan was to paint a black anchor on the side of these shorts. I drew out the type of anchor I wanted with sharpie on wax paper and then used a swivel craft knife to cut out the stencil. I couldn’t have done this project without that tool. The knife swivels 360 degrees letting you trace your design as if you were using a pen. They’re relatively inexpensive from Michael’s, saves you a giant headache and lets you create great details on your design.

 

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Then I used this sprayable fabric paint over the stencil and that’s where everything went downhill. I had researched different types of fabric paints before I went to buy some and apparently this brand’s formula was most similar to a screen print. What I was trying to avoid was something like puffy fabric paint. I wanted my image to be soft to the touch so I could use it on clothes and plain fabric for other projects.

Well, it turns out that the paint is wonderful – I love the way it dries and sets on the cotton onesie – but the applicator was terrible! Instead of spraying in a fine, contained mist, it sprayed out huge globs of black paint that pretty much drowned my stencil and left behind a giant unrecognizable blob. There was no redeeming the shorts. The fabric washes off of your skin but not fabric (which I guess is a good thing). At least I can still use the shorts for making my own pattern!

Alright back to the drawing board. I had to completely start over but this time I was prepared. I sprayed adhesive on to the back of my wax paper, lined my stencil up on my onesie, stepped very far away from anything else and sprayed the fabric paint onto a paper plate. Also, be sure to insert a folded piece of wax paper inside your onesie to keep your paint from bleeding through. I used a plastic knife to lightly spread the paint over the stencil. Crisis averted.

 
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This plastic knife technique actually turned out better than I had planned, giving it kind of an old, texturized look. This method was a lot more forgiving than if I would’ve been going for the clean lines look. It made the stencil look unique and made any imperfections a lot less noticeable.

I peeled off my wax paper stencil right away at a 45 degree angle, making sure it didn’t touch any other part of the fabric and then let it dry overnight. The best practice is to let the fabric set for 72 hours before you wash it. There you have it! As long as you don’t ruin a pair of shorts and have to start over, this is a pretty quick project!
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I was so excited about the anchor onesie that I thought I’d make another one. I told my husband it would only take me 10 minutes but all of the detail in the mane took forever to cut out. I also, for whatever reason, made this stencil on craft paper instead of wax paper. I think the idea was that the paint would dry on the paper and then I could save the stencil to make more for the other babies in my life but as soon as I saw how quickly the paper soaked up the paint it made me nervous that it might bleed through so I peeled it off as soon as I was done.

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I’m so excited about  how it turned out and I want to make more but now I need to make another stencil on a different material that will survive the painting and peeling processes. One of my friends suggested using contact paper so I’ll have to try that next time. Actually, I have a few sheets of scrapbooking vellum paper that I should use. I also had some ideas using white fabric paint and stencils but I think I’m going to have to switch up my brand since this one was a mess!

 

Any suggestions in the fabric paint/stenciling department are greatly appreciated! If you’re going to try this at home, learn from my mistakes and buy a few sheets of vellum in the scrapbook department of Michael’s to make your stencil and choose a different fabric paint. I really liked the reviews I read on this paint and it comes in a whole slew of different finishes, textures and colors for less than $2/bottle.

Have fun stenciling!

 

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