Hi! I’m Kathleen, former art teacher turned at-home parent of two young boys and blogger at Katydid and Kid. I’m always in search of creative ways to fill my days, and holidays, like upcoming St. Patrick’s Day, are no exception. Today I wanted to share with you a favorite art project of mine that I’ve been doing with kids for years–printing with sandpaper.
You probably already have all the materials on hand, like crayons, sandpaper, and an iron, so it’s an easy and inexpensive craft to do with kids. It’s a simple way to make a wearable item for St. Patrick’s Day without spending much money. I guarantee your child will be amazed at the “magic” of seeing their drawing transferred onto a t-shirt.
sandpaper (fine grit is best, but coarse works too, but it just leaves a different kind of spotty texture)
good quality crayons, like Crayola
parchment paper or cardstock
Sharpie markers or fabric paint for embellishment (optional)
Heat your iron to medium-high (make sure it’s out of reach from little hands). On a piece of sandpaper (either full sized or cut in half or quartered), encourage your child to make a drawing. I had my son make a practice sketch on a piece of paper first.
It shouldn’t contain too much detail, as the small lines will be lost/not seen in the transfer process. Alternatively, you could draw an image on the sandpaper with a Sharpie marker, and then have the child color it in. The marker won’t transfer.
Color the image heavily, so that there will be plenty of wax to transfer to the t-shirt.
Place a piece of parchment paper (or cardstock or cardboard) inside the shirt under the area to be printed. This will keep the image from bleeding through onto the back of the shirt.
Place the shirt on your ironing board with the sandpaper image face down on the shirt. Place another piece of parchment or card stock on top of the sandpaper, to protect your iron from any wax that might bleed through.
Iron the sandpaper for about 30 seconds, without moving the iron.
Set the iron aside and take a peek to see if it has transferred. If not, iron a little longer.
If it’s not dark enough, you can carefully re-color the image and try to match it up again on the shirt.
If you’d like, embellish your shamrock or picture with fabric paint or Sharpie markers. I outlined the shamrock so it would stand out more.
Wash your shirt in cold or warm water, and air dry or put on a low setting in the dryer so the crayon doesn’t melt onto your other clothes.
Wear and enjoy! My son is quite proud of his creations.
These would be a great activity for a birthday party, sporting event or family reunion (be sure to write any names or words BACKWARDS so it prints correctly). Have fun!