An Earth Day craft is a great way to bring your children outdoors and talk about the importance of caring for our environment as you create these personalized keepsake T-shirts.
What you need to create tree shirts
Before you crack open any paint, make sure you’ve lined up your supplies and have everything you need outside and ready to go. Once your little ones have their hands covered in paint, you won’t want to leave them alone because you forgot a paintbrush inside the house. Yes, I learned this the hard way!
To get started, you’ll need:
- a prewashed T-shirt, preferably a white one
- fabric paint in brown and green
- these aren't necessary to complete the craft, but you might also want to have gold glitter paint or alternate shades of green available, if you prefer some contrast in the color
- sponge paintbrushes
- baby wipes
- a piece of cardboard or a cutting board
Paint your tree shirt trunk
Set your shirt front-side up and place a piece of cardboard or a cutting board in between the two layers so you have a smooth surface to paint on. To create the tree trunk, you can either paint your child’s forearm and let him press his arm against the T-shirt, or use a sponge paintbrush and paint the trunk on the shirt.
Tip: I prefer helping my kids paint the trunk because the sponge creates an uneven texture with the paint as you drag it across the T-shirt and I love how that looks.
The fun part: Handprint leaves!
My kids are thrilled any time I actually encourage them to stick their hands in paint, so the handprint leaves were definitely their favorite part of this craft! First, I helped them paint the palms of their hands with green paint. Then, I let them make their little handprint marks right above the tree trunk to create lots of bright green handprint leaves.
Tip: Keep the baby wipes nearby and help them rub the paint off their hands as soon as they're done. You can do that while you watch the paint dry and look over your little masterpiece!
Embellishing your Earth Day shirts
The great thing about fabric paint is that it dries relatively fast and you can typically layer as you go. After my boys cleaned up, we added a few quick lines of glitter paint down the trunks of the trees to add a little dimension and sparkle. You can also use fabric markers or puffy paint to mark the shirts with your child’s name, the year, or even add a cute little saying about loving Mother Earth to top off your tree shirt project!
More on Earth Day
Earth Day crafts for kids
Celebrating Earth Day with kids
9 Earth Day traditions kids will love