It’s officially summer, the season of the red, white and blue accessories, snacks and all things DIY! I love this time of year, and I normally celebrate by making sure the kids have matching patriotic outfits. Last year I ran out of time and in a crunch decided to make these handprint flag shirts. They have worn them all year, and the colors are still bright and not flaking off at all. We ALWAYS get compliments when we are out in public in these shirts – totally mommy-approved. Best of all, the project is quick and inexpensive!
Preparation – The final countdown:
- Wash and dry the t-shirt (do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets). I got these plain white ones at the local craft store where I also picked up the fabric paint.
- Pour fabric paint on separate paper plates, enough to cover a child’s palm.
- Put a magazine or cardboard inside the t-shirt, this is to prevent the paint from bleeding onto the back of the shirt.
Time for project blast off:
- Gather the child(ren), which may actually be the hardest part of this project – if they are anything like my little guys.
- Before you start placing paint on the shirt, get a feel for where the handprint and where the stripes will go. I used the child’s left hand and placed the handprint on the right chest.
- Hold the child’s wrist and dip the entire palm and fingers in the blue paint.
- Then use a scrap piece of paper for a few trial handprints. The test prints ensure that you and the child coordinate your movements and it removes any excess dripping paint.
- When you are both ready, instruct your child to let you control the hand, spread the fingers and hold them straight. Touch the hand down and gently press on top of the hand and fingers to make sure it produces a uniform print.
- Wash your child’s hand immediately afterwards.
- I let Jacob (7) paint his own stripes with his fingers, but I painted the ones on Jordan’s (5) shirt with a paint brush.
- The stripes are red (obviously). The shorter stripes next to the handprint measured approximately 4” across, with about an inch in between each stripe (4-5 stripes). Some areas may need more than one coat. You want the paint fairly thick for full coverage and durability.
- The bottom stripes go the entire length of the handprint and the shorter stripes combined. Depending on the size of the child’s hand, I did 2-3 long stripes.
Finishing touches – prepare for landing:
- Allow the shirt lay flat to dry for 4 hours.
- Fill iron with water and turn on steam setting. Hold the steaming iron 1/2” above the shirt (still with the cardboard inside). Move the iron back and forth (without touching the shirt) until the paint looks textured/ fuzzy, do not over-steam the paint.
- Allow the shirt to fully set and cure for 72 hours, after which time it can be washed inside out.
- No further special care is necessary, it can be washed with all your normal laundry going forward!
ENJOY celebrating your Red, White & Blue patriotic pride!