When I suggested decorating baby onesies at my friends’ Ariel and Andreas’ baby shower, I wasn’t surprised that there was some trepidation in my group of co-hosts. One friend gently suggested that maybe A&A didn’t need 30 pieces of their guests’ handiwork — “if it were me, I wouldn’t want to feel obligated to dress my baby in puffy-paint shirts every day of the month.”
It’s true that not everyone is a natural artist. I’ve been to other onesie-decorating baby showers, and the results have often been disappointing. Even the process can be stressful if people don’t feel like they know what they’re doing. But as a long-time crafter, I have faith that anyone can make something adorable with the right tools and support.
As you can see from the pictures, our experience worked out beautifully. Guests had a great time and the onesies they created were cute as can be. Here’s what I learned about helping a group of people of all ages and talents craft awesome onesies:
- Provide a variety of onesie colors and sizes. Our party of about 40 people ended up decorating about 25 onesies and t-shirts in sizes from newborn to 18 months. You can spend as much or as little as you like on blank onesies. We really wanted to provide a lot of bright colors, because we know how much A&A love color, so we invested in a bulk order of colorful onesies. However, I also contributed a bunch of gently used onesies from my son’s babyhood. If you know a few mamas, you should be able to gather up plenty of onesies without spending a cent. Remember that the decorations can cover minor stains and even small embellishments.
- Make decorating easy with templates and prepared “stick-on” fabric. With a product like Peel ‘n Stick Fabric Fuse, you can peel off one side of backing from the sticky stuff and attach it to a variety of fabric rectangles. All people have to do is choose a prepared fabric, cut out a design, peel off the second side of backing, and stick it to the onesie.* Designs may be part of the fabric print (like the sock monkey pictured), traced templates (like those provided below or the many you can find with a quick internet search), or original creations.
- Get the ball rolling with a list of slogan and image ideas. Most people didn’t use them, but the list I provided of ideas like “Offbeat Baby™” and “Google Gaga” generated laughter, conversation, and brainstorming.
- Leave room for creativity. Keep decorating options open by providing a selection of inexpensive fabric markers, paints, and/or small iron-on letters. Pencils, pens, scrap fabric, and sketch paper are also useful so people can work out their ideas and get comfortable with the materials.
- Organize the space. Keep supplies and activities organized by dividing a big work area into smaller workstations. Post simple instructions in each area. We had areas for fabric applique, freehand art, iron-on lettering, and practice.
- Display the results. String up a clothesline and provide clothespins, so guests can show off their finished onesies.
Hope that was helpful! And now, as a special treat for the Offbeat Mama community, I give you FREE ONESIE DECORATING TEMPLATES:
Please note that I am not schilling for Peel ‘n Stick fabric fuse. It’s just something I found at the fabric store that worked for us. It’s not a perfect solution. The applique is somewhat stiff, and you’ll need to run the finished onesies through the dryer, according to product directions, to ensure the strongest bond. Over time, with washing and wearing, there will be some minor fraying and peeling around the edges of the appliques, but in my opinion this just increases the handmade appeal. There are plenty of other fabric fuse options available, such as Steam-A-Steam, which requires an iron, but which I find preferable for my own crafting. One other thing to note is that fabric appliques don’t work as well on very thin lower-quality onesies.