Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gran'dad is this many...

A few years ago, I ran across a gift idea in a Family Fun magazine and made it for my dad's 67th birthday. The original idea was to use kids' handprints to make a "Gran'dad is this many..." shirt, with the kids' fingers representing the number of years. I thought something along the lines of this formula:

(fabric paint + bathroom sink + not enough scrubbing + bathroom towels) x 3 kids = huge mess for Mom

so I modified the idea a bit. I decided to trace each child's hand and use fabric paint to outline the handprints on the t-shirt.

On Saturday, we celebrated Dad's 70th birthday (as well as some of the other May birthdays in the family, like my son Robert, who will be 13 in just a few more days). I decided to make this t-shirt for his birthday again.

Step 1: Trace each child's hand. I traced the patterns onto cardstock to make them sturdier. (Plus, I can write the date on these and keep them in case I ever want to know exactly when Robert's hands grew larger than my own...April 2010.)

Step 2: Wash and dry the t-shirt before beginning your work. This might be a good time to make enough "handprints" of the appropriate sizes so you can lay them all out on the shirt to know the exact placement.

Step 3: Let each child choose the color of paint for his or her handprints.

Step 4: Convince your daughter that purple would be a lovely color for her handprints. We had 14 handprints that needed to go on a medium t-shirt, so I knew I would use a lot of Grace's handprints; I figured my dad wouldn't really want that much pink on his t-shirt. ;)

Step 5: Place a large piece of cardboard, layers of newspaper, or anything else that works inside the t-shirt, just to make sure nothing bleeds through. (I also place the whole t-shirt on top of a large piece of cardboard just in case it needs to be moved before the paint is dry.)

Step 6: Write "Gran'dad is this many..." across the top of the t-shirt with a Sharpie. I knew I needed the space above the words for handprints, so I already had those placed before writing the words. Use a piece of paper, ruler, etc., to be a guide as you write.

Step 7: Figure out the placement of the handprints

and get started tracing the handprints. I traced the cardstock handprints and then replaced the (less exact) other handprints with the cardstock patterns before tracing. I lightly traced with a ball point pen during this step.

Step 8: Trace the handprints with the fabric paint. I am right handed, so I started at the top left corner and worked left to right and then down from there, kinda like a haphazard typewriter. Be careful to avoid where you have already painted.

These are the fabric paint pens I found at Michaels. They have lasted through both t-shirt projects, and were just as fresh this time as they were three years ago.

Step 9: Admire the finished product while the paint dries for 4+ hours:

Happy birthday, Dad/Gran'dad!


What are the grandparents known as in your family, either yours or your children's?
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