A sandy swimsuits is usually not a good thing, but in this case it is!
Show your style at the beach with a sand pattern swimsuit, a swimsuit with a stenciled sticky application on the fabric that reveals a custom pattern after lying in the sand. The sand can then be washed away simply by swimming in water. When you're ready to show off your pattern again just lie in the sand. The best part is that the pattern can be anything you want!
The secret is a thin film of silicone caulking applied through a stencil. The silicone is elastic and can flex with the movement of a swimsuit, staying durable and firmly in place. This project explores the concept of applying flexible silicone to a swimsuit. The results were a success, but took some trial and error.
Step 1: Supplies
- 100% clear silicone caulking
- card stock
- hobby knife
- Lycra swimsuit (or similar stretchy swimsuit fabric)
- binder clips
It's a good idea to wear protective gloves when applying the caulking, and to work in a well ventilated area.
Step 2: Make Stencil
sketch your pattern onto cardstock. You want to use thin cardstock so when you apply the caulking through the stencil you're left with a thin layer and not a goopy mess.
I recommend trying out your template on scrap fabric first, and to print out multiple copies of your stencil, as they are bound to get soiled while applying the caulking.
Here are some templates I made for my swimsuits, you can download and use them if you like.
Step 3: Cardboard Form in Swimsuit
Before applying the stencil the swimsuit needs to be secured to a flat surface in order to make a clean stencil transfer. A section of cardboard was cut and slipped inside the swimsuit, and gently stretched flat and smooth.
The swimsuit was then held to the cardboard with binder clips.
Step 4: Clip Stencil to Swimsuit Form
Next, clip the stencil over the swimsuit, using more binder cips to hold it in place.
Step 5: Add and Spread Caulking
Plan before applying caulking. Because the caulking begins curing immediately you'll need to be strategic about caulking placement. Depending on the stencil size and complexity you may have to work your stencil in sections to ensure it doesn't dry and stick the stencil to your swimsuit.
The polka-dot stencil I had to do in 4 row sections before removing the stencil, then repositioning the stencil below the stenciled caulking and applied another few rows. The swirled pattern was asymetrical so had to be applied quickly in one go.
Spread caulking into the stencil evenly, I used a thin flexible plastic piece to ensure complete coverage in all portions of the stencil.
Step 6: Apply Caulking in Small Quantities
Through trial and error I discovered that the best way to apply the caulking was in small quantities. For the polka dot array I did a few rows, then peeled off the stencil. Because the caulking is very goopy I couldn't reuse the stencil without the caulking accidentally touching areas I didn't want silicone to be applied. It took some time to clean or cut away the stencil, then realign it and apply more silicone on the next section.
Step 7: Larger Stencils
For larger stencils that can't be applied in sections you'll need to work quickly, as the caulking begins to cure and will start sticking to the stencil.
On this application I left a portion for too long and the silicone tore on one end of the design. Not a big deal, but in future I'd use a much smaller stencil and work in sections.
Step 8: Small Details
Here's a small stencil I cut out for the back of the swimsuit. After the attempts shown above I had the process dialed in and was able to get a really crisp stencil application.
Step 9: Let Cure
After the caulking has been applied the stencil needs to be removed and the caulking was left to cure overnight. If you are applying a few stencils in different locations you might want to let one application cure completely before moving onto the next.
Step 10: Hit the Beach
With your swimsuit stencil applied and cured you can hit the beach.
In the sunshine your swimsuit has a shimmer from the silicone application, but it's true secret won't be apparent until you lie in the sand.
Step 11: Relax in the Sand
Lie down in the sand and press your caulking into the sand. Dry, fine sand works best.
Step 12: Sandy You
Roll over and reveal the swimsuit's sandy secret.
Step 13: Brush to Remove
The sand can easily be removed by brushing the pattern with your hand and knocking the sand away.
Though, the easier (and more fun) way to remove the sand pattern is to...
Step 14: Hop in the Water
Step into any water and the sand will just fall away from the silicone application.
Step 15: Be a Beach Bum
The best part is that you can repeat the sandy pattern endlessly. So, jump in the water, then lie on the sand again to dry off and warm up, get sand stuck to your swimsuit, then jump in the water all over again. Long summer days are super fun with a sand pattern swimsuit.
I'd love to see your version of this. Post a picture if you experiment with this concept and get a free 3-month Pro Membership to Instructables.com!
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