Decorating a Onesie With a Permanent Marker




About: I just finished a graduate program in Instructional Design and Educational Technology: creating online learning. I've been using this site to test out my hopefully improving abilities.

This instructable will teach you how to draw on a onesie with a permanent marker to personalize your gifts. This also works for tshirts.

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Step 1: Supplies

onesies (prewash all clothing)
permanent markers
source images (clip art is a good source)
freezer paper
cotton swabs

Additional but Not Needed
light box

Step 2: Preparing the Clothing

Start with an image you want to use and place it where you plan to draw it in. Get a larger piece of freezer paper and iron it to the inside to the onesie. This will stiffen it so you can easily draw and prevent the marker from bleeding through.

Turn the onesie inside out and iron the freezer paper onto the front.

Step 3: Trace Your Image

I used a light box for this one but some I did freehand. You can sketch the image out with a pencil and then go over in marker. If you don't have a light box remember the fabric is very thin and you should be able to get a good idea of the lines in your image just by seeing it underneath and then trace over with a pencil.

 I like to start with black outlines and then add color off the light box. In order for colors not to run together skip around the image so that recently colored parts have time to dry.

Step 4: Freehand

I wanted a baby tramp stamp and the images I made were fairly simple. I also wanted one that was more doodle freehand. The baby tramp stamp was sketched out in pencil (which didn't show up well in pictures) and the other was not. Be brave! This is a hand drawn gift and they will (better) like it.

Step 5: Problems!!

You've forgotten how to color in the lines, haven't you? It's a good thing you have bleach and cotton swabs handy. Clean up and overflow very carefully and let dry.

Step 6: All Done!

Iron over all of the images and leave them alone for a few hours then wash and dry everything.The first time I tried this I washed them right away and colors bled everywhere and faded. Learn from my mistakes!



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    9 Discussions

    Those are lovely! I've painted some onesies with acrylic paint (mixed with textile medium so it doesn't stiffen the fabric), but I've never tried permanent marker.  I don't have the attention span to trace anything, so I just paint free hand.

    Here are some I did:

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    These are wonderful! Thanks so much for creating an Instructable for these shirts! I really want the snail and mushroom shirt now... jealousy. :P


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    ooh, i'd love to see a tutorial on these! i keep meaning to buy textile medium and try it out. these photos may be what pushes me to actually doing it. how lovely!


    8 years ago on Step 6

    Is there a certain way to wash these to prevent damaging the shirt or the washing machine?


    8 years ago on Step 6

    ah, answered my question.


    8 years ago on Step 4

    these are awesome! do they bleed in the wash? do you heat set them? i'm going to have to try... :-D


    8 years ago on Introduction

    These are so cute! I went to a baby shower where they had everyone decorate onesies, shirts, socks, and bibs. I don't think other people liked doing it but it was such a cute idea. They had us all coloring as we waited for everything to get started. We just used stencils (or freehand) though, no light boxes. I like the freezer paper idea. very cute!!