Puffy Paint Technique: Try This Trick for Nearly Perfect Pictures!

Give your old clothes new life with this puffy paint technique!

Looking for an easy way to customize a t-shirt, tote bag, or even a pair of jeans?  Have you been burned in the past with attempting to free-hand a design with puffy paint? Never fear, we’ve got the solution! With this puffy paint technique, you have a chance to refine your design and keep yourself from suffering the agony of using puffy paint with a shaky hand.

Materials you will need:

  • A t-shirt, tote bag, jeans, or another garment you want to add your design to
  • Fabric puffy paint (look for the kind with a thin nozzle, especially if your image has a lot of detail)
  • A pencil
  • A piece of paper large enough for your design
Pencil, paper, t-shirt, and puffy paint needed for puffy paint technique

Directions:

Step 1:

Sketch or print out the design you want on a sheet of paper.

This puffy paint technique will mirror the image, so draw the image flipped from how you want it to appear on the shirt. 

use a pencil to sketch out the design you want to try puffy paint technique

Step 2: 

Prepare your garment. Make sure the area for the design is flat and protect your garment by sliding a piece of cardboard inside your garment where you want your design to go so the paint doesn't bleed through.

Step 3: 

Next, trace over the design in puffy paint. You want to work pretty fast so the paint doesn’t try before you finish your design.

Use the puffy paint technique to trace your design in puffy paint

Step 4:

Pick up the paper and place it paint side down on your shirt in the spot you want your design. Press down all over the back of the paper to push the paint into the fabric, but try not to move the paper around. Peel off the paper and you have your design!

 

If any of the paint dried too much and didn't transfer, you can go over them with the paint directly on the shirt and press down with a clean sheet of paper. Alternatively, retrace your original design, carefully line it up, and repeat the process. Enjoy!

The result of using puffy paint technique on a t-shirt

Expand on the activity!

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5 T-Shirt Yarn Crafts to Try to Master New Maker Skills

Turn tired T-shirts into treasured projects with T-shirt yarn!

Got an old T-shirt in your house? Good news! You’ve got everything you need to start crafting. We’re rounding up some awesome skills that you can learn using T-shirt yarn as your medium.

 

Not only are these projects fun and fabulous, but they'll help you hone your maker skills and you can apply what you've learned using T-shirt yarn to other fiber arts projects. 

First, round up your materials... those T-shirts that are a bit tired or have seen better days are PERFECT for these projects.

 

Now, let's literally round up the T-shirts into yarn! Watch this video to learn how to convert your fabrics to a usable yarn. 

Five crafts you can Do with T-shirt yarn 

Finger Knitting

Finger knitting is an easy way to get started with fiber crafts. Once you get the hang of it, it’s quite relaxing. Knit a long line and turn it into a necklace for an easy starter craft! 

Macrame

Macra-make some amazing things for your home! This video shows you the basic knots you’ll need to get started. T-shirt yarn is great for practicing before you commit to a project.  

Fabric Coiling

You can create a bowl out of fabric! T-shirt yarn is perfect for this since it’s chunkier and sturdier than most yarn. This bowl will be perfect to hold your crafting supplies! 

Pom Pom Making

They look easy, but there’s actually a pattern to creating pom poms! Use this template to learn to make t-shirt yarn pom poms, and then scale it down for smaller yarn – or if you prefer, you can purchase small pom pom makers at a craft store.

Crochet

Learn basic stitches and their abbreviations so that you can conquer a simple pattern! Note: you will need a crochet hook. Carving your own is a tutorial for another time…

Mother and daughter using T-shirt yarn to practice finger knitting

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Build a Birdhouse Upcycled Activity: A Maker Project Worth Tweeting About

Build a birdhouse to attract your fine-feathered friends!

Do you have a quart carton in your recycling bin? Why not turn it into a home for your local birds? Birds are some of the best tenants. They're not picky about their homes and are pretty grateful to have them. They may even thank you with a sweet song. 
 
Here are some tips so you can build a birdhouse you will be proud of!
 

Materials:

  • An empty quart carton

  • A pair of scissors

  • A ruler or measuring tape

  • Decorating supplies (optional)

  • String or ribbon

 

Note: Have your grownup help you with the cutting and poking holes steps! These can be tricky.

Directions:

  • Rinse out your carton. Give those birds a fresh start!

  • About halfway up your carton, cut a hole about an inch wide. Quart cartons are about the right size for a wren – they like to have a small entryway so that bigger birds can’t invade their house.

cut-quart-carton-for-wren-birdhouse-diy
  • Poke some holes in the bottom of the carton to drain out rain.

  • Start decorating! Birds have color vision, so they can enjoy the same colors that you can!

decorate-your-upcycled-birdhouse
  • When you’re finished decorating, poke a hole in the top part of the carton.

  • Thread a piece of string, ribbon, or fabric scrap through the hole.

how-to-hang-your-diy-birdhouse
  • If you want to create a little perch for the birds, you can find a narrow twig, poke a hole through the sides of your birdhouse, and thread it through!

  • Hang your birdhouse up on a tree! The birdhouse should hang at least four feet off the ground.

build-birdhouse-to-hang-outside-with-orlando-science-center-activity

What will attract birds to the birdhouse you built?

 

Wrens eat insects, so it’s no big deal if you don’t have a bird feeder. You can help attract birds by putting some water out for them in a birdbath! You can use any shallow container, like a plastic food container, for this – it only needs to be a few inches deep.

 

If you want to get creative, wrens have been known to enjoy peanut butter! Try putting a dot on the tree near your birdhouse.

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10 Ways to Get Creative with Cardboard

If you have been doing a lot of online ordering lately, you might have an abundance of cardboard boxes just waiting to be recycled.

While we definitely want you to dispose of them properly, we encourage you to hone your maker skills by repurposing this common packaging before you recycle them! If you look at it with the right eye, you might find a wealth of possibility in this humble packing material. Cardboard and creativity go hand in hand. Read on for 10 of our favorite cardboard DIY projects.

 

Creative Cardboard Activities You Should Try

  1. How To Work With Cardboard – This page gives a good overview of the types of cardboard you might encounter and ways to create using it.
  2. Magic Transforming Girl from Cardboard – This Instructable demonstrates how you can make a cool transforming image box trick using just cardboard, chopsticks, and a few other household materials!
  3. Make a Playable Cardboard Harp – Create a toy instrument you can play using our favorite packaging material and some rubber bands!
  1. Create Cardboard Chess/Checkers Board – Don’t have these classic board games at your disposal? Check out this tutorial to make a 2-in-1 chess and checkers set at home!
  2. Cardboard Astromech Droid – For the advanced cardboard connoisseur, try your hand at droid-building!
  3. Cardboard Coin-Eating Robot Monster – If you have a spare 9V DC motor lying around, this robot looks to be a cinch!
  4. Cardboard Hex Stool – OSC staff tested and approved! This stool is shockingly sturdy and pretty good looking! Learn about the power of triangles with this cool DIY.
  5. Cardboard Iron Throne for Cats – Sometimes it feels like our pets run our lives. If you want to make that metaphor more literal, you can try to make this iron throne sized for a cat!
  6. Create a Cardboard House with Pool and Garden – Use your cardboard to make a tiny house! You can size it up or down depending on if you want it to fit a particular scale.
  7. Cook with a Cardboard Solar Oven – Use some simple materials to create a surprisingly effective solar oven! You can use this kitchen tool to make solar s’mores, re-molded crayons, and more!

 

This is just the beginning of what you can do if you’re creative with cardboard! There are infinite quantities of infinitely cool things you can do with cardboard if you use your imagination and maybe a little internet searching. Check out artist Pamela Sullivan’s cardboard favelas or Todd Oldham’s Kid Made Modern for more inspiration!

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