Fabric Printing for Kids: Unleashing Their Inner Creative
May 13th, 2019 by Lally Hale
There’s something magical about sitting down with your child and preparing to create together for the afternoon. Both my son and daughter have always been fans of fabric printing as it lets them express themselves, and they are also able to wear what they make once it is done. If you’re looking to start this fun activity with your little ones, it couldn’t be easier. Below, I have listed the things you will need as well as the simple steps towards endless family fun.
What You Will Need
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have everything you need to make the perfect printing session. Here’s a quick list of the things you will need:
- – A plain shirt or fabric, depending on what you want to print on
- – Fabric paint of your choice
- – Paint brushes
- – Water for washing brushes
- – Objects for printing
A Few Notes on the Materials
Before I dive into the steps to create your own fabric art, it’s important to talk about the materials in a little more detail.
The shirts and fabrics are quite easy to find, and it doesn’t really matter what kind of material you are using. Sewing fabrics tend to be good if you want to create customised clothing or your kids to design and wear after your printing session. There are quite a few websites to choose from like CottonBee and their Fabric Printing materials.
As for what you will be using to do the actual printing, that’s up to you. Many people like to use fabric paints, as these can be a lot of fun to print with and create lasting images. It’s certainly my top choice! The only downside is that things can get a little messy, but as long as you protect the area you should be fine.
Fabric crayons and markers can also be a top choice, and these are the cleaner versions of paint. They are still really fun to use, and there are stamps available if you want to print patterns and designs on the fabric. Most of these crayons and markers are also non-toxic, which is fantastic if you have much younger children and want peace of mind while crafting.
Printing objects come in all shapes and sizes. As a child, my favourite was potatoes, and now my kids have the same love for potato printing as I do. However, you can use practically everything to print onto fabric; including LEGO bricks and yoghurt pots. The possibilities are endless, and the only limitation is your imagination.
Creating Your First Design
Now it’s time to get into the good stuff, the part where you and your little ones get creative together. All it takes it a few easy steps and you will have created something amazing.
#1 Take the shirt, or fabric, and iron a piece of freezer paper onto the inside. Make sure that it is shiny side up when you do this. The reason this step is so important is because it stabilises the fabric for the printing process, and also prevents any of the paint from soaking through to the back of the shirt. For regular fabric, it can also stop it from getting onto the table; reducing mess.
#2 Line the table with newspaper to keep it protected, and place the fabric paints in a large tub. That way, if they spill you can still use them, and mess is reduced. You should also place a large bowl of water on the table for washing brushes. Make sure you have a separate paintbrush for each colour.
#3 Take your printing tools and colour them with the paint of your choice. It’s usually best to have a separate tool for each colour. So, if you have five colours and a load of potato stamps, make each stamp one colour. This prevents mixing, and it also makes things easier for the kids.
#4 Once you have them all coloured, go wild and start printing. Top up the paint when needed on the tools, and have fun creating new patterns and designs. It’s good to have a few shirts or fabric strips available as this means that you can make multiple pieces of clothing, or you have spares if something goes wrong.
#5 When you have finished printing, leave the shirts to dry and then admire your creations. You can wear them or display them, whichever feels right. If you get really large pieces of fabric, you could even use them as decorative throws for the couch or blankets. It always feels better when you have created it together.
Other Activities to Try
When you have finished with fabric printing, why not try some of these other activities with your little ones to get those create juices flowing? There are so many to choose from, and they make for great family bonding experiences:
- – Finger painting
- – Art transfers onto shirts
- – Fabric sewing
- – Egg painting and decorating
- – Clay and playdough modelling
I hope that this has given you a few fun ideas for getting creative with your family. The creative possibilities are limitless with this activity, and everyone involved is sure to enjoy themselves. Since the printing tools can be anything as well, who knows what you will find to make stamps with? I would love to know if any of you tried out fabric printing with your kids, and what the results were like. Please feel free to leave a message in the comments to share your stories, or even to make suggestions for this piece.