Sponge Paint Shirt Making

Sponge Painted Onesies 21

It’s baby season again. I know at least five expectant mothers, and it inspired me to try a different type of fabric printing. As much as I love the effect of screen printing, it’s not a feasible method for one-off productions – you really need to be working in bulk for it to be worth it. But thanks to our Silhouette Cameo cutter, I’m able to create a detailed design for much smaller projects.

First, I began with the cutter and some adhesive vinyl, and I cut out my designs.

Sponge Painted Onesies 1

I am using the vinyl as a stencil, so the design itself becomes the negative space.

Sponge Painted Onesies 2

I repurposed a few letters from a rainbow baby design to decorate the raptor pen.

Sponge Painted Onesies 3

Next, I used transfer paper to cover the design, and a squeegee to make sure it was firmly attached.

Sponge Painted Onesies 4

Now I could remove the backing to the vinyl and stick it onto the pre-washed onesie. I used a fondant smoother as a squeegee here.

Sponge Painted Onesies 5

I very carefully peeled off the transfer paper and made sure all the vinyl was stuck down well. Because my designs were close together on the vinyl so as not to waste space, some of the designs came pretty close to the edge. I added some hockey tape as a protective border to ensure that I didn’t colour outside of the lines too much.

Sponge Painted Onesies 6

Remember of course that fabric is porous, so if you’re pushing ink onto it, you have to protect the back side of the shirt. I cut little rectangles out of a plastic bag and shoved one inside each onesie.

Sponge Painted Onesies 7

Now for the application! I am using regular cellulose kitchen sponges, which are very soft and have large holes in them. This will produce something of a vintage, faded effect on the onesie, because you’re not producing as much pressure as you would while screen printing. If you wanted something a little sharper, use a finer sponge, like a cosmetic sponge. They also make sponges specifically to apply paint and ink so you could use one of those as well.

Sponge Painted Onesies 8

I’m using my Speedball fabric screen printing ink, because that’s what I had on hand, but you could use any form of fabric ink or paint and you’d probably have a similar result.

Sponge Painted Onesies 9

Dabbing a little bit of ink on the sponge – don’t want too much all at once.

Sponge Painted Onesies 12

Deep breath – ready?

Sponge Painted Onesies 13

Here I gently dabbed the ink into the negative space on my stencil, dabbing a few times to ensure I got everything covered.

Sponge Painted Onesies 14

Sponge Painted Onesies 15

Then I started experimenting with blending colours.

Sponge Painted Onesies 16

It got a little tricky when all the cut-outs were so close together.

Sponge Painted Onesies 18

Now I had to force myself to wait overnight for these to dry properly before I could see what they looked like.

Sponge Painted Onesies 17

Okay I cheated: I pulled them off about four hours later. So this is the dried ink just after removal of the stencil. Everything is pretty sharp, but you have to wash this AGAIN to get any loose ink off.

Sponge Painted Onesies 19

Here are my designs after another wash and run through the dryer. You can see that the ink is sort of faded in the corners, like a vintage t-shirt. TADA!

Sponge Painted Onesies 20

Sponge Painted Onesies 22

Baby Hack

So Ali Does It has never been a parenting/mommy blog, and it’s not my intention to become one. For one thing, I know nothing about parenting. I am totally winging it. But I do have a kid now, and sometimes things come up that are useful for me because I have a kid, so you’ll see them on the blog. But I’ll try not to overload you too much with that stuff.

For various reasons, we don’t have a change table in LongJohn’s room and we change him on the floor. This was our setup for a while, with a portable change pad overtop a mattress pad, with a burp cloth added for softness. Ghetto, I know, but it worked. Except that when LongJohn peed on me (he is a boy after all), the pee would run up his back and into his hair and I didn’t like that overly much.

Change Mat Hack 9

I have this dog bed left over from back when we were doing Gren’s rehab training – it never really suited our purposes so we didn’t use it, and it was just kicking around. It has a nonskid backing and is nice and cushy without being too soft. Plus it washes well in the machine. Perfect.

Change Mat Hack 1

I cut it in half.

Change Mat Hack 2

And used some of my grosgrain ribbon to finish the raw edge on both sides.

Change Mat Hack 3

Don’t judge my stitchery. I’m not even sorry to be bad at sewing.

Change Mat Hack 5

Then I grabbed some vinyl leftover from way back when I made lunchbags (yeah, that was a long time ago). LongJohn helped me cut it out (you can see how long this project took me by how much he grows in the photos in this post).

Change Mat Hack 8

I hemmed along two sides of it, because LongJohn is really kicky and I didn’t want him to cut himself on the sharp edge.

Change Mat Hack 11

And I attached snaps to all four corners of the vinyl and then the underside of the mat.

Change Mat Hack 10

Then I snapped it on and here we go! The vinyl ends where the baby’s shoulders go, preventing pee from getting into the hair, which is key. The vinyl itself is easily wipeable, and unsnaps so you can put the mat in the washing machine. Because the snaps are on the underside of the mat, there’s no chance that tiny fingers can find them to undo them. The other mat I finished the edge and I used it as a playmat for LongJohn until he outgrew it.

Change Mat Hack 13

There’s LongJohn in situ to give you an idea of what it looks like in action. This was taken so long ago that now his legs extend far past the mat – but it still works great!

Change Mat Hack 14

Fun with BLEACH

Bleach Tees 29

Well, that’s certainly a title that’ll get your attention, eh? This is a quick and easy way to personalize cotton t-shirts just the way you like them – it’s not screenprinting, but the results are just as satisfactory and the whole process is way faster. Plus it’s something that even kids can do (if you trust them to use bleach). And I’m going to show you two ways to do it.

Bleach Tees 2

First, you need some spray bottles that produce a fine mist (the squirty ones won’t do you any good here), and some bleach. Make a solution of about half bleach and half water (or maybe 3/4 bleach and 1/4 water if you trust yourself) and pour that in the bottle.

Bleach Tees 1

Now you need a cotton (or mostly cotton) t-shirt in a dark or bright, saturated colour (you can use pastel colours but the results won’t be as contrasty). Wash and dry the shirt to remove any sizing from the manufacturer that may interfere with the bleach.

Bleach Tees 18

Grab yourself some adhesive vinyl or Con-Tact paper.

Bleach Tees 5

Cut your vinyl into the desired shape you want. You can either use the shapes to mask off an area that you will bleach around, or the vinyl can act as a shield to the rest of the shirt and only your design will be bleachy – that’s up to you.

Make sure to press the vinyl firmly into the fabric of the shirt.

Bleach Tees 7

Slide some waxed paper or plastic inside the shirt to prevent the bleach from leaking through to the other side.

Bleach Tees 11

Spray your design lightly and evenly with bleach.

Bleach Tees 8

Just a light misting.

Bleach Tees 9

Use a rag to dab away any beads of bleach that might drip onto your shirt (unless you want them to drip).

Bleach Tees 10

Wait a few minutes and then carefully peel off your vinyl.

Bleach Tees 13

Watch as the design emerges. When you get the right level of bleachiness that you like, rinse the shirt under cold water to stop the bleach process. Then chuck the shirt in the wash and run it through a cycle with soap to get out all the bleach.

Bleach Tees 17

When your shirt is dry, you will be the coolest person out there.

Bleach Tees 19

Another method, if you don’t have adhesive vinyl on hand is to use paper stencils and a glue stick. So you just cut out your design and slather it with glue from the glue stick. Make sure to go right to the edge.

Bleach Tees 20

Flatten it firmly on your shirt.

Bleach Tees 21

Spritz on your bleach, dab, and remove the paper before it gets too saturated with liquid (because that will soak through). Don’t worry if there’s a bit of paper left – that will come off in the wash. On this design (Serenity!), we added a few extra drops of bleach here and there to make it look like the ship was traveling through a nebula in space.

Bleach Tees 22

Tada.

Bleach Tees 24

On this shirt we did a similar negative image with a Rebel Alliance symbol from Star Wars, and then on the back we did the Galactic Empire symbol, so good on the front and evil on the back!

Bleach Tees 25

Bleach Tees 26

Here we did a positive image, where the paper served as a shield for the rest of the shirt. You may recognize the Autobots symbol from Transformers.

Bleach Tees 27

Another positive image, this one of a stylized Joker’s face from the Dark Knight film series.

More Bleach Tees 2

Because the pupils were hard to glue in place I used a fabric marker to add them back in. The shininess will go away the first time the shirt is washed.

More Bleach Tees 1

On this design the stencil I used was too thin and the bleach soaked around the edges. Not to worry!

More Bleach Tees 5

I simply used some more fabric markers to trace the proper outline and I really like the finished result.

More Bleach Tees 6

Fast Fix Friday: Weatherstripping

Happy New Year!

Weatherstripping 11

If you haven’t already, why don’t you add frugality and environmental responsibility to your list of New Year’s resolutions? I actually did this back in November, but didn’t have a chance to post it until today – and that’s crazy because the whole project took me a whopping ten minutes to complete. And it’s going to save me some serious money on my heating bills. You see that white line in the picture below? That’s daylight showing in from under my front door. Yup. There’s a gap there of about half an inch, right next to a heating vent in my entryway. YIKES.

Weatherstripping 1

So I bought me some weatherstripping. The nice man at Home Depot told me that this stuff worked well for wooden and metal doors (mine is aluminum), and that it was quick to install. And folks, he wasn’t lying.

Weatherstripping 3

All you need for this quick job are a measuring tape, a Phillips head screwdriver (the weatherstripping comes with its own screws), a drill and small bit for pre-drilling holes, and a pair of scissors. That’s it. Nothing fancy, save perhaps for the drill. But you could probably improvise holes with a hammer and nail if necessary.

Weatherstripping 7

Step one: measure the width of your door.

Weatherstripping 2

Step two: cut the vinyl weatherstripping down to size with your scissors. It wasn’t even hard.

Weatherstripping 4

Step three: open your door and slide the strip onto the bottom, with the holes facing the inside. This is when I discovered that my door came with pre-drilled holes … on the OUTSIDE. They didn’t match up anyway.

Weatherstripping 5

Step four: close the door to make sure it actually closes. Adjust the vinyl so it fits where you want it.

Weatherstripping 6

Step five: use the small bit to pre-drill holes in appropriate places, starting in the middle of the vinyl. Screw in your included screw. Keep going outward until you’re all done. Don’t you love the hideous printed fake marble tiles I have? Lovely. I cover them with mats.

Weatherstripping 8

This is it all done.

Weatherstripping 9

And from the outside. I will not be singing Auld Lang Syne to those drafts, let me tell you!

Weatherstripping 10

Vinyl Lunch Bags

This is an idea I got from Martha Stewart and modified, because I couldn’t find any oil cloth.

Using two contrasting pieces of vinyl, I cut out the main panel (29 1/2″ x 8″) and the two side panels (12 1/4″ x 5″).

It is a simple matter to blanket stitch them all together (because vinyl doesn’t fray).

Then I used pinking shears along the top edge to make them look like the paper lunch bags.It’s a great gift to give to anyone who brown-bags it to work or school, and makes a handy gift bag as well should you want to stuff it with goodies.

Waterproof Picnic Blanket

Here’s a great gift idea for avid picnic-ers that you know.  This was a Christmas gift for Doodle and her man.

I found a brand-new Scouts Canada campfire blanket at Value Village in the fall, and I immediately thought of Doodle, who, although she has lived in the United States for several years now, is a staunch Canadian, and, like my brother Ando, who is also an ex-pat Canuck, likes to surround herself with various items of Canadiana.

Normally the little Scouts cut holes in the centres of the blankets to wear them like ponchos, and often sew badges and other things onto the blanket itself. Then they sit around the campfire and tell dirty stories.

I’m not sure exactly what the blanket is made of, but I hope it’s flame-retardant.

Anyway, I purchased a measure of bright red vinyl to match the red thread on the blanket itself, and cut it to fit.  Because the blanket wasn’t an exact rectangle, I made a little mark on the vinyl to indicate where the Scouts Canada logo should go.

I used pinking shears to finish the edges of the vinyl.  Then I cut buttonholes at all the corners and along the sides.  I reinforced the buttonholes with red thread in a blanket stitch.

I then sewed on all the buttons, making sure that none of them matched each other.  I saved the big silver button to go under the Scouts Canada patch.

And there you have it, a simple picnic blanket.  Just unbutton it to wash it and you’re set!