Kids Easter craft: Home decorations

Mar 31, 2010 at 11:30 a.m. ET

When decorating the house for spring and Easter, we think about adding color and adding decor items. Always adding! But there's a great way to add to your holiday decor without adding anything. In fact, this is all about taking away...color that is. Totally incongruous, right?

Easter Bleach

Well, kinda. How many of us acquire brightly colored and brightly decorated fabric items as part of our seasonal decor? From table linens to bed linens and clothing, brightly colored fabric items are a great way to accent existing decor or create a whole new feel. Now, using some common and/or easily acquired products, you can take those brightly colored fabric items one step further by selectively removing color in a controlled manner. Using bleach pens meant for spot cleaning in the laundry room and more specific craft items like discharge paste, you can create designs on fabric by taking away color (as opposed to adding it with paint).

Inexpensive source items

The first thing you need is inexpensive, colorful source items in natural fabrics. Discount stores are great for this! Solid colored bright purple and blue and pink napkins and placemats and dishtowels and just about anything you can think of. Try colored tshirts and sweatshirts - even boxer shorts for your sweetie. Just to be sure, wash everything first to remove any sizing, but don't use fabric softener when drying them.

Plan your design

Now, using a pencil, draw out a simple Easter or spring design on your fabric items. Maybe it's a striped egg or a bunny or a flower...or just waves or some other design. Whatever it is, plan it out - but allow for possible variations. Be open to how it might look, how it might change. This is not necessarily the craft project for absolute precision!

Bleach pens

After spreading out some newspaper, and making sure some newspaper directly backs your item, use a laundry bleach pen to draw over your design, and watch it appear before your eyes. Yes, really, it's that simple!

Once you have completed your design, let your fabric item completely dry - then toss it in the laundry again to remove any bleach residue before using it. And this time, fabric softener in the dryer is completely fine.

Discharge paste

Another substance you can use to remove color from fabric is called "discharge paste." It is literally discharges color from fabric, but is not bleach. While the bleach pen will leave white behind (and weaken fibers a bit), the discharge paste leaves a slightly yellowish color. Discharge paste is available from craft supply companies.

To use discharge paste, you paint it on with a paintbrush anywhere you want to remove color. Paint it on fairly thickly to get good color removal. After letting the paste dry completely, steam iron the painted area to remove the color. But be warned! The ironing process is pretty smelly! Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and away from the kids when you do the ironing part of things. After discharging the color, wash your fabric item as usual.

Color removal is a different and fun way to embellish your home decor. Whether you do it for Easter - or any reason or season - it's simple and easy (and easy on the budget) and your family and friends will be thoroughly impressed! ?


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