Kids’ art is awesome. Bob Ross’ happy little trees had nothing on the silly people, wacky scenes, and candy colored skies that your kids create. But if you’re like me, those enthusiastically crayoned pieces of joy get lost in a basket somewhere under a bed, never to be seen or displayed.
While there are great ways you can create places in your home to display your childrens’ artwork, here’s a fun, easy method for letting your kids wear their artwork. Embroider your kids’ art on t-shirts!
You don’t need a fancy embroidery machine to embroider your kids’ art on t-shirts. This project can easily be completed on a regular sewing machine without the need of a hoop.
Embroider your kids’ art
- A piece of your child’s art
- Soil separator cloth* or tissue paper
- T-shirt front cut from your favorite t-shirt pattern (I’m using Blank Slate Patterns Tee X 3)or a purchased tee**
- masking tape or blue painter’s tape
- sewing machine
- lint roller
*Soil separator cloth is a sheer non woven fabric used for landscaping. It can be bought at many home improvement stores inexpensively and it comes in super wide 36″ rolls at least 150′ long. It is a great material for tracing patterns, but as you’ll see, it can be sewn through with ease. It stabilizes the fabric as you sew, but can be torn away easily after sewing, making it great for embroidery applications. Tissue paper can also be used for this project, but you’ll have to work a little harder to pull away all of the paper.
**If you’re making t-shirts from scratch, it’ll be easier to maneuver the fabric. If you do choose to use purchased t-shirts, you’ll have better luck opening the side seams with a seam ripper.
- Find a piece of your child’s art and trace it with a piece of soil separator cloth.
- Lay the soil separator cloth over the front of your t-shirt and secure edges with tape.
- Using contrasting thread, stitch around the areas of your child’s design with a straight stitch along the traced lines. When you get to the end of a line, stop stitching, lift the presser foot, then turn the fabric so that you can stitch next to the same line. Go over straight lines a 2-4 times so that the stitches stand out. Alternatively, use a triple straight stitch as you follow the lines.
Overlap your stitching on each shape so that stitches do not pull out in the wearing process.
- After you’ve overlapped stitches on a shape, lift the presser foot and move the tee so that the needle is centered over the next line to be stitched. Lower the presser foot and continue stitching.
- To fill in solid areas like circles, first outline the area, then stitch as you want on the interior of the design. You can stitch back and forth, or in patterns like rectangles, triangles, spirals etc. If you keep your thumb close to the reverse button, you can stitch forward and backwards without stopping stitching, allowing you to fill in areas quickly.
- As you finish, tear away the soil separator cloth from the stitching. It should tear away easily, but you might have to pick at it in a few areas. Slide a pair of embroidery scissors between the stabilizer and the fabric to help pull out the stabilizer. Remove stray bits of remaining cloth with a lint roller.
- Cut any loose threads on the front and the back. Reassemble the tee or continue sewing up the t-shirt. Now your kids can wear their own art!