Monday 18 November 2013

Making Wrapping Paper ~ New Art Smocks...

The kids have been using our old t-shirts to protect their clothes while painting. The adult t-shirts do the job, but they're not a good fit, even though I adjusted them. The t-shirt sleeves are loose and drape across the paint, which doesn't worry the kids in the slightest, but I thought it was time to make some that fit properly.

Earlier this year I saw a fabulous art smock, over at Solomon Sewing. Carmel had used a free pattern, which requires an A3 printer. I don't have an A3 printer and I didn't want to pay to have it printed, but I have made lots of peasant dresses and Carmel's art smock looked very similar to a peasant dress with long sleeves.

When making previous peasant dresses, I've used the Marilyn's Slim Fit Peasant Dress (Create Kids Couture), available as a free download from It's a very quick and easy sew, just what I wanted for art smocks... no fuss or bother.

I extended the sleeves to just below elbow length and shirred close to the hem. The shirring makes a softer finish than elastic in a casing. Both kids had long sleeved tees underneath and their long sleeves stayed hidden underneath the art smocks. Perhaps if they were wearing thicker clothes, it may have been a problem.

The kids love to paint when they come to visit!!! Usually I give them each sheets of A3 paper. This time I thought I'd try something different. Quite a while ago, I bought a roll of art paper from IKEA, thinking I could use it for tracing sewing patterns, but it was too thick. The roll of paper is designed to go on an easel, but it works perfectly on the table. Actually, it's two IKEA tables butted up together. I think they were $10 each. Can't get cheaper than that!

The kids helped me put out the paint, then I gave them a few objects to paint with... brushes of different thicknesses, cotton reels and overlocker (serger) thread spools. Sometimes I can be quite structured when painting with kids, but this time I just asked them to make me some wrapping paper, that we could use for Christmas. I sat back and watched.

Little Miss said she needed some green paint, as I had only provided the three primary colours. Once she was shown how, she was most excited that she could make her own shades of green by mixing different quantities of blue and yellow. Little Mister enjoyed stamping repetitive patterns... his own idea. All up, they created three sheets of wrapping paper. 

I'm a big fan of using reusable fabric bags in place of wrapping paper, when it's possible and practical. However, some presents are just too large or bulky, and for kids, part of the joy is ripping open the paper. The kids are going to use paper when painting, anyway, so we might as well put it to good use. They both had lots of fun!!!

Next time I'll add a little extra width to the body of the art smocks as they were a tad hard to take off, over their clothes. As the name implies, the Marilyn's Slim Fit Peasant Dress is a slim fit. Or, I could just go up a size and take up the hem.

I suppose I should have taken the last two photos before the art smocks were used, but hey, they're meant to have paint on them.

Do you paint with your kids at home, or do you leave the mess for their teachers at Pre-School, Kindergarten or School? And trust me, they do make a mess!!! It's amazing where we find paint... LOL!!!

... Pam


  1. Looks like they had a great time and you ended up with unique wrapping paper - win-win all round :)

  2. Aaaaww... Aren't they cute?! Give those kiddos a hug from me! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    Thanks for the pattern! Downloading now!

  3. The smocks are lovely and the wonderful thing is that the patterns are so busy you hardly notice the pain spots. Anyway, that's the whole point of them, isn't it.

  4. These look like the perfect art smocks! The kids sometimes paint at home but more often than not, we save that fun and messy activity for Grandma's house.;)

  5. We break out the paint with wild abandon around here :) I wish I could get them to wear their aprons/art smocks!

  6. Love the art smocks! When my siblings and I were younger we always wore T-shirts for painting too. Something like this would've been perfect!

  7. I love the idea of making wrapping paper. You're right - if they are going to paint and you don't want a million pictures on your wall it is a great way to get use out of them. I bet it makes them extra proud too. Perfect!


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