Friday, December 6, 2013

DIY Onesies (Tutorial Sort of)

All onesies created as of November 20
I delayed in posting this to see how all the different types of paint washed.
 We used Tulip Soft Matte fabric paint or Sharpies for the onesies created in CA.

In PA, we used Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint and Sargent Art fabric markers. The onesies created with the markers needed to be ironed for 4 minutes to be set. That was quite annoying and I cut a lot of them short.  The puffy paint seemed easier to use than the fabric paint since you had a tip to write with. But there were air bubbles so they were also challenging.  With the markers it said to wash them separately the first few washings. I did not do that and none of the markers bled on anything. I did do a sample onesie first before just washing everything.

I have washed everything and the puffy paint didn't hold up as well. Long lines are broken apart.
The iron on transfer that I used for the fabric, didn't work by itself. I needed to sew around the edges. Once I did that, everything stayed on fine. I've watched some of them twice since I sewed and they do fray a little but not past the stitching. You can see the star above the one on the left was just ironed on and then on the right I stitched around the fabric.
I'm not sure the best way to have a onesie work with the sewing machine. The first one I sewed I accidentally had 2 stitches grab the back of the onesie. As you can see above, I just had it bunched up but kept the portion I was sewing on flat. That worked fine.

There were numerous ways onesies were created

  1. Cut out fabric, iron it on, stitch around
  2. Paint onesie with tulip paint (Freehand or with a stencil)
  3. Paint onesie with puffy paint
  4. Use a Sharpie to write words
  5. Use fabric markers to create designs
  6. Make a stencil with Freezer paper then paint on the fabric
  7. Paint onto a rubber stamp and stamp directly onto the onesie
 At the baby shower, we had a table set up outside and hung a string for onesies to be placed to dry.
The computer and the butterfly are stamped. The 2 with only text had a piece of paper with the text printed out inside the onesie so the letters were sort of traced. I love math used letter stencils with a freehand heart drawn.
A few people at the shower used stencils. I had trouble finding letter stencils small enough and got these at Walmart. Someone wished we had numbers and I've since tried to find numbers but failed.  One thing I noticed is that if you were spelling a word, you could easily smear the letters to your left. I hear guests put a piece of paper down over the letters so that they would not smear. I didn't hear this tip and smeared my I love math a bit. Since I was doing mine at home I just did a letter and did something else and did another letter so there wouldn't be more smearing.   We used sponges to paint on the stencils. 

In PA, some things were freehand painted and others used stencils. We also used stencils for a few of the fabric ones.
There were 7 of us and we made onesies for less than 2 hours and we got this many! I feel like stencils and puffy paint went quicker than the other paint. Or maybe having flower and animal stencils just helped with ideas.
To attach fabric to onesies, I used EZ-Steam II. I would not recommend this since it didn't work so well but it was the only choice my local craft store had. Once I sewed, it seemed to work but I think as long as something had a temporary hold before sewing it would be good enough.  After it didn't stay through the wash, I did a lot of googling and found out that most people stitched around the fabric and the blog posts that didn't mention stitching didn't actually describe anything after anything was initially washed.
 As you can see above you can see through the onesie to the paper underneath. I used a paint brush and tried to trace around the letters. It looks like you can distinctly see the logo but it was a lot harder without a camera flash. Once I did the outline, I had trouble seeing anything from inside. I could still tell a little here or there.  Words were a little easier. I used a sharpie each time I had words.
Paint to the stamps faded a bit after 1 time through the wash.
If I had more stamps that would be useful, I might like rubber stamps the best because they were the quickest. I was done with a onesie in about a minute including cleaning the stamp pad. The stamps were a little more challenging to clean than when I stamp with regular ink onto paper which is why it took a full minute to make a onesie. The butterfly took a little longer because I mixed colors of paint.
Freezer paper is by far my favorite. I didn't have it until after we had quite a few onesie making sessions so there haven't been as many things created with it as there could be.  You can buy freezer paper in the grocery store but not all of them have it.  I ended up using Google Shopping Express to get mine since they did not have it at Target when I was out. The next day I saw it at Safeway.  I've heard of freezer paper over the years when dealing with crafts. I've never actually heard anyone talk about using it in the freezer.

  1. Print images from your computer that you wanted on the shirt.  Print them the size you will need. Or if you are brave you can draw what you want directly on the dull side of the freezer paper.
  2. Trace the image onto the freezer paper. Keep in mind that freezer paper has one shiny side and one dull side. You want to trace the image on the dull side. I traced using a sharpie pen because a ball point pen just didn't work. 
  3. Get your exacto knife and cut out the image(s). ( have a little craft board that I can cut with my exacto knife on and not ruin anything. If you don't have something like that, I think cardboard will work just fine. The sharper the curves the harder it is to cut out. Granted my exacto knife is about 10 years old and I got it at the dollar store and I use it a lot. It came with 5 blades and I'm still using my first or second one so it's probably a bit dull. When I traced "Future Nerd" I changed the font slightly so that the lines were straighter and easier to cut out. Note how I cut out the inside of the glasses and the inside of letters with separate pieces.
  4. Iron on the freezer paper shiny side down to your onesie. I ironed the main piece first then placed the inside of the glasses and the inside of the letters one at a time and put the iron down on them without having them move.  Iron for a few seconds until you can tell the paper is fused to the fabric.
  5. Paint!  I used a sponge.  (Note: don't use a wet sponge that you just cleaned or it will cause the paint to be extra liquidy and you will ruin your shirt (see white Future Nerd onsie below.))  After dabbing on the entire image, I took my sponge and wiped across the image. It gave it a smoother look.
  6. Let dry. It doesn't have to dry the full 4 hours that the bottle says. I let mine dry about a half hour. 
  7. Apply second coat if desired (I have done a second coat half the time). You can kind of see if onesie fabric is showing through and if it is, I tended to put a second coat.
  8. Let dry again just 30 minutes or so.
  9. Peel off the freezer paper. It should come right up. It's a little more challenging on the inside like the inside of the d or the glasses. I used a paper piercing tool to get under the paper to find a spot to start pulling it up.
  10. Let dry the full 4 hours. 
  11. Some paints say to heat set them but mine did not have this step.
  12. Wash onesie but not for 3 full days!

If you plan to make a million of these they have specific cutters that will cut out freezer paper and you don't have to trace or use your own exacto knife.
The face you make when you realize the corner wasn't ironed down enough so the paint is now under it.
I only tested last night if you can iron freezer paper over what you have already painted and you can. I was testing it out thinking about making superman 2 colors but I decided not to do that because the little pieces in the logo don't line up perfectly.
I used the superman freezer paper cutout twice and a rebel alliance one twice. It was slightly trickier to iron it on the 2nd time because of the paint. I got paint on my iron initially. I immediately wiped that off. Then I put down a scrap piece of my EZ Steam backing and ironed with that as a buffer. Then I stopped getting ink on my iron and the freezer paper still ironed perfectly to the onesie.  I seem to have a problem with whatever I'm painting ending up crooked. I think because the cheap onesies are crooked at the next. All of the newest 18 month onesies have a higher left shoulder than a right shoulder. Now I have crooked designs. They really bug me but I'm hoping others don't notice.
 I was making a Future Nerd onesie for my friend and I made it shortly after making mine so the sponge was wet and had been cleaned. I didn't think about it. Well it sure ruined the glasses. Please be careful and try to dry the sponge if you are using it after washing it.  I tried to salvage the onesie by painting glasses on a piece of fabric. At first I was going to use yellow fabric but you could see through to the messed up glasses so I had to pick darker fabric.  I made the glasses smaller the 2nd time to have enough room for fabric on the edges.
The difference between freehand and freezer paper stencil
Starcraft fans might recognize these
A trick that Matt did that I wished I had thought of was that he found the Protoss silhouette on his nexus 7 and then put that under the shirt. He had a bright screen versus just paper and he had a much easier time seeing the outline than I did the same day with my purple superman. He did learn that you could accidentally zoom or switch to a new website through the shirt so then he took a screen shot since only having a picture had fewer choices.  I know there's a risk of ink going through the shirt to the nexus but he removed it right after painting and could have wiped any ink off. There was also cardboard inside the shirt so that when it dried, it didn't seem through to the back.

I've made at least 15 onesies myself. The only thing I didn't personally use was the puffy paint but I was there when 5 other people used them. If you have any questions let me know.

I created even more onesies and have a newer post on them. 


  1. Lots of good info here, I hope others see it. I love the one that says my mom is a nerd, and the star wars ones. I didn't see those last time. Awesome job on all these!

    1. My mom is a nerd might have been the first or 2nd one I did. I was a newbie. The star wars rebel was the last one I did. (and 3rd to last). I made it for Jen then Dave said we should have one.

    2. This is adorable! I love the little mrmaid that Megen made:) The "Future nerd" is also awesome. You gys did a great job!
      Love, Mee-Ma (I changed the spelling to my Grandma name, it's now spelled more phonetically to match the sound of the word. Can't wait to hear my little "Angel Girl' say "I love you Mee-Ma" for the first time!! Excited!

    3. Of course I'm way ahead of myself there!

    4. You've got a long time before the talking happens. I just can't wait to meet her!

  2. Hahaha - I love the "Noob" onesie. You are going to have so many onesies that you'll have to sew them together to make either different types of clothes or a quilt.

    Heck. A quilt of onesies would be hard. Not very square at all.

    1. The part with the designs is basically square. They do have some people on Etsy who just make quilts out of baby clothes because apparently clothes you don't even paint get sentimental. They are expensive. It's based on size but I was looking at a few she did and they were about $600. I think I could make squares and sew them together but I don't know how to properly do the batting 'n at.

    2. Maybe just make sure all the squares wind up the same size as the batting and sew the piss out of it. I think that kind of quilt would be easier than one that's a whole mosaic of like 2" squares or something. But I'm naive, and haven't used a sewing machine since middle school. What do you use for the underside of the quilt? Any old thing? I guess I could google this, but sometimes it's nice to wonder about something for a second before looking it up.