Stars-and-stripes T's

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Stars-and-stripes T's
Total Time afternoon or evening Ages all-ages

Here's a fashionable project that suits summer to a tee -- a simple reverse-stencil clothes-decorating technique that lets kids sponge on stars and stripes or any other design they fancy. You can even create a pair of matching sneakers.

What you'll need

  • Newspaper
  • Plain T-shirt, washed and dried
  • Pair of plain canvas sneakers (optional)
  • Pencil and paper
  • Vinyl tape and sticker stars
  • Sponge
  • Scissors
  • Red and blue fabric paints
  • Plate

How to make it

  1. Before you begin, cover your work area (a picnic table is ideal) with newspaper and place a few flattened newspaper sheets inside the shirt as well (this will keep paint from bleeding through to the back).

  2. Encourage your child to sketch out some designs on paper. Once he's chosen a favorite, he can re-create it on the shirt or shoes by applying long strips of tape where the white stripes will go and stickers where the stars will be. He may also wish to apply a border of tape around the design to create distinct straight lines at the ends of the stripes and around the stars.

  3. Dampen the sponge and cut it in two (one piece for each color). Show your child how to sponge paint from the plate onto the design, red between the tape stripes and blue around the stars.

  4. When he's finished, allow the paint to dry completely. Now comes the fun part: peeling off the tape and stickers to reveal the finished design!

  5. Finally, heat-set the paint according to the manufacturer's directions, and you're in style.

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