Baby Shower Fun: Painted Onesies

This fun baby shower activity will keep guests entertained and help mom-to-be build her babe's wardrobe

By Donna Erickson

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New mom Christie Fitch holds 9-week-old Hazel Mae, who wears painted clothing created by her mom’s friends.

Hosting a baby shower? There’s a great deal to think about, from the guest list to the food and fun. Traditionally, the “fun” part includes baby-themed guessing games, but when Ruthie Beahrs threw a shower for her sister this past fall, she knew a DIY craft activity would trump the games and score high on the entertainment factor. And it did.

Ruthie picked up 100 percent cotton one-piece style outfits (onesies) with snaps—one for each guest to decorate—in sizes newborn to 2 years, and some paint supplies. She also cut stencils for those who preferred pre-made designs. When the guests gathered, each dipped and dabbled in colourful paints, adding their creative touches to the clothing.
Now, neat stacks of adorable outfits fill the dresser of 9-week-old Hazel Mae. “I think of my friends whenever I pull one out of the drawer, and since they are in ascending sizes, she will be dressed in the wearable art for a long time,” says new mom Christie Fitch.

Whether you are throwing a baby shower or putting together a group gift, following is how to decorate inexpensive cotton outfits or T-shirts.

What you’ll need:

  • Prewashed white 100 percent cotton baby onesies with snaps or newborn- and toddler-size cotton T-shirts
  • Cardboard sheet
  • Cookie cutters or pre-made stencils
  • Fabric paints in squeeze bottles
  • Paper plate
  • Small foam paintbrushes or sponges clipped to clothespins

Here’s the fun:
1. Lay the one-piece outfit on a work surface. Place cardboard between the two layers of fabric to protect the reverse side from any paint that may soak through. Choose a cookie cutter or a pre-made stencil—a star, moon, heart, duckling, anything goes! Place it anywhere on the fabric.

2. Pour a little permanent fabric paint onto a paper plate. Dip in the small foam paintbrush. Tape a stencil on the fabric, or hold the cookie cutter firmly in place and start dab-dab-dabbing inside it, making sure to reach all the edges. You don’t have to put equal density of paint all over the shape. A little variation actually adds interest. When you’re through, lift the stencil or cookie cutter to see the lovely design.

3. Once the paint is dry, remove the cardboard and if the paint bottles say to do so, now is the time to iron on the reverse side to set the colour. Resource: Ruthie downloaded free templates from the blog www.needleandspatula.com and made plastic-coated freezer-paper stencils. (You’ll find directions for that here.)


Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com. © 2012 Donna Erickson Distributed by King Features Syndicate.

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