I gave a preview of this project three weeks ago and said I’d be sharing it “soon.” Yikes! I guess three week’s isn’t too long? I’ve been trying to balance when I post ‘normal’ craft tutorials and ‘baby’ tutorials, but I also wanted to publish fall/Halloween posts with enough time that someone might actually be able to do the projects before Halloween. This DIY lotus blossom shirt isn’t only a baby project, though. I made templates for both a baby and an adult sized stencil! It’s just way easier to show the baby shirt version because it’s cute, small, and fits easily on my photography background. You could also use the same technique to decorate other projects like tote bags, pillow cases, and more.
This project was inspired by my frustration with commercially-available baby clothing. The selection of items available where we live is somewhat limited and usually expensive. I’m also very unimpressed with the quality of most locally-available brands. They don’t feel like things I would want to wear myself, so I certainly don’t want to put them on sensitive newborn skin! Additionally, I’ve had a very difficult time finding baby clothing that doesn’t seem obnoxious to me – most of it seems to be emblazoned with things like “Bows before bros” and “Boob man” that I just don’t find amusing. I guess I’m the baby clothes Grinch or something! Anyway, I discovered that Gerber makes a line of organic, plain white onesies and side snap shirts. The material is noticeably nicer and softer than their “conventional” products so I picked up a couple packs and got decorating! As noted above, you can use this technique to decorate on your textile object of choice, so please don’t feel limited to baby garments.
Materials needed for a DIY lotus blossom shirt
- Waterproof spray inks. Check out my tutorial on how to make your own right here!
- Hot glue & glue gun
- Lotus blossom pattern in baby and/or adult size (see below)
- A piece of parchment paper
- Something to protect your work surface
- Pre-washed and dried shirt or other item to decorate. As noted above, I used organic onesies and side snap shirts.
Both an infant-sized and an adult sized lotus blossom pattern are available in the printables for members section of the blog! If you’re not a member yet, just join using the box below this post. I’m currently sending a max of two emails a month and you get access to loads of great printables!
DIY lotus blossom shirt tutorial
Print out your pattern! Don’t worry about the other design you see in the photo below – it didn’t end up working well as a stencil so I didn’t upload it. Don’t let the fact that my piece of paper and your piece of paper look slightly different worry you. Tape a piece of parchment paper over your pattern and heat your glue gun.
“Trace” the pattern with a nice, thick bead of hot glue. It may take a little practice to get the hang of, but the most important thing to remember is to release the trigger then pull the glue gun straight up at the end of each glue segment. Once the glue has hardened, remove any pesky strings. It will easily lift off the parchment paper and is ready to use now!
Place your stencil wherever you’d like the design to appear on your project.
If you care about your work surface at all, protect it! If you only want to spray around the stencil, not on the entire garment, insert a piece of cardboard or plastic inside the shirt to keep ink from leaking through. Block off any other areas you don’t want sprayed with cardstock, plastic, or tape. I decided to spray all of each shirt so I didn’t worry about masking anything off.
It’s better to do a couple of light applications of spray to build up the color instead of dousing the shirt with ink. The more ink you apply at once, the more likely it is to wick under the stencil and obscure the design. After you’re happy with how the front of your shirt looks and the ink has dried, you can flip it and spray some more, if you’d like. Please note: the ink will fade a little in the wash, so you may want to over-saturate to begin with. Also, I recommend washing cold + gentle or, better yet, hand washing to preserve your design!
And that’s that! You can use the same technique with any cut out or stencil. I thought a pineapple shirt would be cute for a baby born in Hawaii so I used my Silhouette to cut one out and got spraying!
Unfortunately, I can’t provide the pineapple design since it’s one I purchased from the Silhouette store. I can, however, offer you the pictured “handmade with love” printable bands you can use to wrap and gift your handmade items! Just stop by this post to learn more.
And, in case you missed the link at the top, you can learn how to quickly and easily make your own spray inks right here.
Post-baby update: I am so glad I made these shirts! Only Gerber newborn sizes fit our Little Gnome to begin with, so one of these color splash shirts was her coming home outfit and she virtually lived in them for the first couple of weeks! If you’re expecting a smaller baby, I highly recommend going with Gerber products because they are noticeably smaller than other brand’s newborn sizes.
Do you ever make or decorate clothes for yourself and why do you choose to do so? I can’t be the only one!
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