I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I’m all about dressing June in matching or coordinating outfits as long as she’ll let me! And while she’s still tiny and incapable of dressing herself (though she’s pretty good at taking off her clothes on her own) I’m here for the mommy and me outfits. This holiday season I thought it would be fun to take the mommy and me matching up a notch and make us matching holiday sweaters. But not those “ugly” ones that you only wear to ugly sweater parties, but make ones that are actually pretty, subtly festive and oh so cute. A sweater that you’d actually want to wear more than once!
I’ve partnered with Martha Stewart Crafts this month to make very doable DIY mommy and me holiday sweaters. And since comfort is key for me these days, I’ve chosen cozy sweatshirts as the base for this project. Just pick your favorite festive stencils and grab some multi-surface paint and you can create coordinating family sweatshirts in no time.
Keep reading for the full tutorial + video!
I had my heart set on blush pink sweatshirts and just couldn’t find the color I wanted in both adult and children’s sizes. After searching nearly every store I could think of, I opted to purchase white sweatshirts and dye them. You could go a much simpler route and likely find navy, dark green or very gray sweatshirts ready to go. But if you’re also looking for the same pink color (or another hard to find color), I recommend giving garment dying a try. I picked up the synthetic fabric dye at Michaels and got dyeing!
I ended up using 1 tablespoon super pink and 1 1/4 tablespoon apricot orange to get the color you see in the photos. And if your sweatshirts have any type of synthetic fiber in them (like polyester or spandex) you must use a dye made for synthetic fabrics.
DIY Mommy and Me Holiday Sweaters
Martha Stewart Adhesive Silkscreen, Winter Greens
Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint in Wedding Cake
Martha Stewart Fabric Medium
Adult and child sweatshirts
scrap piece of cardboard
paint brush for mixing paint
Wash and dry your sweatshirts before starting! If you’re planning on dyeing them too, now is the time to do it. Once you’re ready to start stenciling, place a scrap piece of cardboard inside each sweatshirt to avoid having the paint bleed through the fabric.
Mix 2 parts paint with 1 part fabric medium on a paint palette. Fabric medium isn’t required with the multi-surface paint but it does make the paint a lot softer to the touch. And since we’re going for for coziness, I opted to use it for this project.
Following the lines on the stencil, use scissors to cut the stencil into 4 separate pieces. Remove the paper backing and arrange them on the sweatshirt however you like. Be sure that each stencil is firmly adhered to the fabric.
Use a foam pouncer to apply the paint to the stencil. Use an up and down motion to fill in the stencil. Carefully remove the stencil when you’re done and then wash it off with mild soap and warm water to reuse it.
Allow the paint to dry completely and continue stenciling until you’ve filled up the sweatshirts with your desired number of evergreen branches. Once dry, place the sweatshirts in the dryer for one cycle to heat set the paint. This ensures the paint will hold up wash after wash.
You can add a subtle sparkle to your sweatshirts using a metallic paint and a tiny foam pouncer. Use the Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint in Champagne or another favorite metallic color and the smallest foam pouncer to add small dots of shimmer among the evergreen branches. You could also use a contrasting color like a bright red for a tiny pop of color. Or choose to add polka dots in the negative space around the stencils too.
If you are looking to DIY your own holiday sweaters, you can find Martha Stewart craft paints, tools and lots of holiday stencils exclusively at Michaels.
more ways to use the stencils
If you’re wondering what else these evergreen stencils would work on, I’ve got a few project ideas for you! I used them on toddler-size knit acrylic mittens to create a one-of-a-kind look. This would be a fun, kid-friendly DIY gift that kids could make for their siblings and friends. You could also dress up a knit scarf or hat using the same technique.
Wait there’s more!
Since the stencils are reusable (just wash them with mild soap and water after using), I also used them to decorate a pink reusable grocery bag. Not only is it super handy when you’re out shopping, it also makes a great way to tote around all those Christmas gifts!
Just be sure to place a scrap piece of cardboard or thick paper inside the bag before applying the paint to prevent it from bleeding on the other side of the fabric.
I used the Martha Stewart Crafts multi-surface paint in Wedding Cake, Seaweed (the dark green) and Scottish Highlands (bright green) to decorate the reusable bag and the mittens.