My kiddo is less familiar with the 1960s than with pretzels, so it wasn't really too surprising when he pronounced the glittery, neon pink "peace sign" shirt a "pretzel shirt" and said he wanted to wear one. I thought something like that might make a nice project for one of the blank t-shirts we've picked up recently, so we headed home to make our own pretzel shirt.
Really, though, this would make a nice project for whatever image your kid wants. And the best part is that it's a great project for even little kids to help with, which means you're not trying to work on it by yourself while your kiddo is pulling at your sleeves.
You can take a peek at one of my previous freezer paper stencil projects (1 and 2) for the basics if you're not familiar with the freezer paper stencil process. Basically, cut a stencil from freezer paper and iron it on. For this project, we also used Crayola's fabric markers (previous freezer paper stencil projects here used acrylic paints and Tee Juice pens).
Because I planned on the kiddo doing most of the coloring, I covered as much of the t-shirt as possible with freezer paper to prevent color from ending up in unintended places. You'll also want to put a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to keep color from seeping through to the back if (like me) you have an enthusiastic marker-wielder.
I let the kiddo pick the colors and tried to encourage him to make sure a lot of color made it onto the shirt rather than the paper . . . but yeah, that's pretty much a losing battle, so I surrendered early. After removing the stencil and heat-setting the design, we were done.
And here it is, finished! We were both pretty happy with the way it came out, although I think if I were to repeat this project, I'd outline the shape completely first so that any areas with lighter coverage wouldn't blend into the background quite so much. But I think that even without that step, this was a nice collaborative project. He got to color on a shirt, and I got to help make sure it looks like a pretzel.
Thanks for reading! What projects have you been doing with your toddlers lately? We're always looking for fun projects that keep well (read: don't have to be tossed out after a week).
p.s. you can make these photos larger by clicking on them; but you already knew that, clever you.