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Picture of Toy Print Dish Towels
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Handmade gifts are especially fantastic but when children make them they seem that much more special and precious.

My boys really love to make gifts for birthdays and other holidays. After they make something they are so excited to give the gift and so proud when the recipient opens it. They get to tell their story of the process and what exactly they made.

I have done nature printing (using leaves, sticks, rocks, etc.) with my boys before that they enjoyed but since the weather was miserably hot this time around I had to come up with an indoor craft. As I searched around the house and through toy bins the boys watched with much interest. I didn't tell them what the project was but they already wanted to do it since I was collecting toys and they saw I had out paint!

I came up with the idea of printing dish towels with toys for their Grandma's approaching birthday. I know she will love them as much as the boys loved making them.

This is a simple and easy project for kids of all ages.
 
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Step 1: Gather Supplies

Picture of Gather Supplies
Gather supplies and toys. Pick toys that will stamp with clean lines and basic shapes.

You will need the following items:
- New, unused dish towels
- Fabric paint
- Paint brushes
- Paper plates
- Toys - I gathered trucks with bulky tires, play-doh cans, plastic screws and nails, dice, legos (large and small) car wheels, tinker toys, etc.

Step 2: Iron Towels and Prepare Work Surface

Picture of Iron Towels and Prepare Work Surface
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When you unfold the dish towels you will see they are very wrinkled so you will want to iron them flat.

Once towels are ironed tape them (I used packing tape) to a large work surface so they don't slip around when the kids are making their prints. The kitchen table will work best.

Step 3: Thin Paint and Start Stamping

Squeeze a small amount of fabric paint onto a paper plate. Using a paint brush spread the paint out into a thin layer. When doing this project with small children I suggest using just one color. If you want to use more than one color try doing a first round and letting it dry and then add the second color after it dries so colors don't smear.

Let the child pick a toy and dip it in the paint and start stamping on the dish cloth. Reapply and thin paint on the paper plate as necessary.

A painting smock or an old shirt is a good idea so clothing does not get ruined.

Let the kids do as little or as much stamping/printing as they want. Do not suggest or guide the children as to what patterns or designs to make. They are creating a one-of-a-kind gift. They will have fun and be very proud of themselves. This helps build their self esteem and what could be better than that?!

Let the paint dry before moving the towels from the table. Follow instructions on the paint bottle as to when you can wash the fabric.

Soak the toys in a bowl of soap and water and let them sit for a few minutes before you wash them. This fabric paint was easy to get off of the less detailed toys but harder to get off of the detailed toys like the car wheels and legos.

Step 4: The Finished Patterns

Picture of The Finished Patterns
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Here are the completed patterned and stamped towels ready to be given as a gift.

My five year old made the red print. He said it is a praying mantis! My three year old made the random pattern black print.
artfulann2 years ago
Nice! What a cool activity for you and your boys!
wold630 (author)  artfulann2 years ago
Thank you. Can you tell my older son's favorite toy is Legos?!
Very cool, I was just thinking of what to do with a white linen dish towel that was ripped. I am now going to turn it into art work and frame it for A's room. L & O did a fantastic job
wold630 (author)  straycatmeow2 years ago
If you have any dye it would be fun to dye the towel a color first and then print it. O already told his grandma she couldn't use it and she has to hang it up!!! Send me a pic when A finishes hers!
sunshiine2 years ago
this is totally awesome! what a clever idea!
sunshiine
wold630 (author)  sunshiine2 years ago
Thank you.
scoochmaroo2 years ago
I am so in love with this. Can I come live in your attic, please???
wold630 (author)  scoochmaroo2 years ago
Since I was thinking the same thing when I saw you make your own homemade sunscreen I think we should make it happen! :P

Thank you btw, it means a lot coming from you.
Aww! That is such a cute idea. I would love to do it :)
wold630 (author)  Penolopy Bulnick2 years ago
Thanks! While they were making theirs I wished I had one more towel to make my own. I'm going to have to get more!
That is just too neat - such a good idea. The finished towels look awesome. Especially love the praying mantis. :D
wold630 (author)  jessyratfink2 years ago
Thank you! I really love the praying mantis too - he is such a boy!