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Decorating Onesies with Fabric Paint and Markers

Looking for baby shower activities that won’t embarrass anyone or gross you out? Isn’t it about time to retire the fake-poo-in-the-diaper game and replace it with something a little more civilized? And really, guessing how big the mom-to-be is? Is that necessary? Hasn’t she been through enough? Next baby shower, try a fun craft that requires no skills at all and really gets the conversations and laughter going: Decorate onesies!

It’s simple; all you need are a few supplies to get this party started. And don’t worry about whether or not you’re creative; if you can draw a heart or paint a smiley face, you’re golden.

What’s fun about this activity is everyone gets to personalize a gift for the mom-to-be. Create cute designs with shapes and swirls, try a funny face or little butterflies and lady bugs, or paint your favorite sports team logo on the front and baby’s name on the back.

If you’re really struggling for ideas, just go with a simple message. Try something like “Got milk?” or enjoy a little rivalry with another party guest with a statement like “Aunt Amy is Cooler than Aunt Becky.” Just have fun with it!


  • Choose onesies that are 100% cotton – tightly woven fabric is the best surface for your masterpiece. Make sure you get a variety of sizes, so baby can enjoy the custom fashions for a long time.
  • Prewash onesies prior to decorating. This removes the sizing from the fabric and makes the surface easier to work with. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid softener, which could prevent paint from adhering.
  • Make sure everyone has a firm surface to work on in order to prevent bleed through – cardboard or wax paper works well.
  • Tape edges to hold fabric in place.
  • Do a quick sketch prior to painting or drawing.
  • Test markers on scrap fabric to get a feel for them, especially if you have different widths available.
  • With fabric markers, try not to pause mid drawing or the color could bleed.


  • Allow paint and markers to dry before washing. Markers should dry overnight; paint may take a couple days.
  • If paint was used, heat set it prior to washing – turn garment inside out and run a warm iron over fabric for a couple minutes. Wait 24 hours before washing.
  • Hand wash in cold water with mild detergent or, if using a washing machine, turn garment inside out and wash on a gentle cycle with mild detergent.
  • Air dry your onesies. (Photo op: Line them up on a clothes line and take a picture of your baby’s unique wardrobe)

1 comment

  • This is a great idea for a BABY SHOWER, & it also gives the mom-2-be some very cute, sentimental onesies, made with lobe by close family & friends. It would be a neat idea if after the baby arrived, for the people that made each onesie, to have their photo made w/the newborn.

    Julie Eckert

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