If you have children who want to help you quilt, here is a fun way to incorporate their little helping hands – literally.
Pour some fabric paint onto the plate and smear around. Have the child rub his hand in the paint. Use the brush to cover areas that don’t get completely covered. Use the child’s hand as a stamp to make personalized art on your quilt blocks.
You could leave it just as the hand print. Or, you can let the child be creative and turn those hand prints into other objects. Two hand prints side by side (with thumbs touching) would make great butterflies.
Position the left and right hands with fingers together, thumbs and fingers facing the bottom of the block to create a heart motif. Of course turkeys are popular hand creations, too. You can use hand prints to make animals of all sorts, just let the child be creative.
Accessories like seed beads, ribbons, popcorn beads, etc. usually add just the features you need to make the creative design a little more obvious. In the case of hearts, it usually helps to quilt a heart shape around the hand painted design.
Another variation of this is fingerprint designs. Your children can have loads of fun making people, pets, wild animals, paw prints, and zillions of bugs by using finger prints! Again, adding beads, ribbons and other embellishments will add the finishing touches.
If you decide to try this project, remember that you will need to use paints made especially for fabrics. You can buy a textile medium to add to any acrylic paints you may have on hand. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
It is usually best to paint your quilt blocks on a piece of cardboard (or on a table) with a piece of waxed paper between your solid surface and the fabric. Once the fabric dries enough to move it easily, lay it somewhere else to dry.
To make sure your child’s hand painted quilt designs last for a long time, you need to heat set the paint. Do this by ironing the back side of the fabric. Do not iron on top of the paint and be sure that the design is completely dry first.
If the design is not completely dry, there will be quite a mess to clean up along with a very disappointed child.
Use a fabric pen to have your child add his or her signature to the quilt. When you do this step, explain just how important it is for an artist to sign his or her work. Chances are that your children have seen you doing this and have wondered about its purpose.
For an added surprise, snap a photo of the child or children working on their quilt art. Print the photo on fabric and include it in one of the back corners of the quilt.
Depending on the ages of the children, maybe they can even help piece the blocks together or quilt the project. After the entire quilt is complete, hang it to show or stage a quilt presentation.
This is the perfect sort of project to pass around for oohs and awes at a family gathering. Your children will feel extra proud of their work when they see others appreciating it.
©2009, Penny Halgren
Penny is a quilter of more than 27 years who seeks to interest new quilters and provide them with the resources necessary to create beautiful quilts.
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