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Like tiny, blank canvases

by Nanc filed under crafts on December 20, 2008 11:26 PM

Matt and I have been to a few baby stores lately (go figure) and have looked at our fair share of clothes. There's some awfully cute stuff out there, but mostly if you know the sex of your baby. We don't.

Not satisfied to accept only the pale green and washed-out yellow pallet, we decided to take this matter into our own hands.

First, we purchased a few packages of the common white onsie in three different sizes (0-3 mo, 3-6 mo, and 6-9 mo). We didn't want to do all this work, only to have our child grow out of the kewl clothes so soon.

We set up four buckets of Rit dye, and got to soaking these duds. (Note: the onsies were washed first, but not dried, so they were damp when they go into the dye bath.) We went with gold, scarlet, purple, and black as our colors. (One package of tan was divided in thirds and added to all but the black dye, which toned down these to a less Crayola-esque color pallet.)

Two comments for future dying: (1) use two packets of dye for richer colors, and (2) use the washing machine method, instead of buckets there'll be a lot less mess to deal with and the dye will take more evenly to the clothes.

We didn't stop once we had some color on them! Our friends Stina and Jesse came over and helped us kick it up to the next level of awesome. Following Make's instructions on bleach stenciling, we rounded up a random assortment of items and a spray bottle of 50/50 bleach and water mixture.

This was so fun and easy to do. Like many a craft project, it's tricky to brainstorm the first idea or two, but once you get started you're spurred on by the possibilities.

Tools (wrenches), card-board cutouts, leaves, fridge letter magnets, a "wings" pin from an airline, and all sorts of household items were used to make our stencils. The selected item blocks the bleach (although there's some bleed), and you watch it until the dye fades to the desired lightness.

Some colors, like black, don't fade to gray, but to an orange color instead. Also, you want to be careful on how light you let it get, as the bleach can start to "eat" the cloth. Which is why this craft is great for babies/kids: they grow out of their clothes so quickly that you can (hopefully) retire the shirts before they wear holes in it.

We are very pleased with the results of our craft. Although not an official Crafturday, we had fun making and doing, and our child is gonna rawk in these duds.

And if this don't beat all - at my last shower (baby, not washing), Rachel and Chris pulled out a couple packs of white bibs and onsies and a pack of fabric markers. The knit grrls each drew or wrote on an item for the babe. I'll heat set the ink with a few minutes under an iron, and we should be golden!

I can't wait until I can stuff my lil' pumpkin into some of these outfits. Very clever, very fun, very awesome!

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Hi, this blog has been upgraded, but I'm leaving the old pages online until the search engines catch up. If you want to join the discussion, this may be the page you're looking for on the new site.

Posted by: P-la on December 21, 2008 07:24 AM

Cheerio is going to be decked out!!!

Posted by: aubyn on December 21, 2008 10:54 AM

And we have just begun to spoil our little honey nut

Posted by: Kathy on December 21, 2008 03:03 PM

That's extremely crafty - and smart - of you to do something so fun for your bebe.

Posted by: Jen da Purse Ho on December 21, 2008 11:38 PM

i love the onesies. you guys are so clever!

Posted by: Petra on December 23, 2008 10:03 PM

So fun! You guys are so clever and fun! Cheerio is gonna be one stylin' bebe!

Posted by: mk on December 25, 2008 12:18 AM

What a great idea...and everything came out so cute!

Posted by: Liz G. on December 31, 2008 10:40 AM

This is most awesome!! You are so creative - and love Love LOVE the bibs and onesies from the shower. What a great idea!! (Especially with known crafty people in attendance!)

Posted by: Betty on January 6, 2009 10:40 AM


I (the seriously less crafty) just bought tye-dyed onesies at a craft show two days before my daughter was born.

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