Whenever someone asks me for my No. 1 must-have item for a new baby, my answer is always the same: muslin swaddling blankets. They’re brilliant for wrapping newborns all snug and tight for sleep, but they’re also great as nursing covers, floor blankets, stroller blankets, and burp cloths. When the baby is no longer a baby, they become perfect for all his or her caped-superhero and blanket-fort-building needs.
These days you can order muslin swaddling blankets in a million different colors and patterns, but it’s way more fun to order plain white ones and customize them yourself, especially if you’re giving them as gifts. You may not win all the baby shower games, but you’ll probably have the best gift if you make one of these stamped swaddlers. Buy a pack of several blankets so you’ll always have some on hand when you need to whip up a q
uick afternoon baby present. It’s so easy to do; honestly, deciding on a stamp is the hardest part.
What you’ll need:
–cotton muslin swaddling blanket (I like the Aden+Anias brand, but it’s not the only one; you can also buy raw muslin and cut and hem your own blankets)
–scrap paper or newspaper to protect your work surface
–scrap paper for testing and/or blotting your stamp
–fabric ink (I used VersaCraft brand)
–fabric paint (I like Tulip and DecoArt SoSoft brands), a foam craft brush, wet paper towels, and dry paper towels
–fabric dye (optional)
First things first: Wash and tumble dry your muslin blanket, but DON’T USE FABRIC SOFTENER OR DRYER SHEETS, as that can affect the application of your ink/paint. Don’t worry about using baby detergent, since the mother-to-be will surely pre-wash everything again anyway.
Now you just have to decide whether you’re going to stamp your blanket with fabric ink or fabric paint. For me, the ink method was much quicker and easier and cleaner, as all I had to do was press the stamp onto the ink pad, then press it onto the blanket. I did some blotting and cleaning of the stamp but not much. With the fabric paint, on the other hand, I had to apply the paint to the stamp with a foam brush, being careful not to put too much on (which happened almost every time) and then blot the stamp a few times on scrap paper until I had juuuust the right amount of paint so the detail in my stamp was visible. Between each application of the fabric paint, I had to clean the stamp with a wet paper towel and dry it with a dry one to prevent paint buildup that would turn my stamp design into a goopy blob. If you’re using the paint method, try to choose a stamp that doesn’t have a lot of tiny details. The fabric paint worked, and it looks as nice as the fabric ink, but it’s not the quickest or easiest method of the two, that’s for sure. (I only took one photo of the process because my hands were so messy.)
I spaced the feathers father apart on one side and closer together on the other so it looked like they were falling from the sky.
For that blanket, I used a combination of DecoArt SoSoft fabric paint in Navy Blue and FolkArt fabric paint in Metallic Taupe with a feather stamp from BrownPigeon on Etsy. For the other blanket, I used VersaCraft fabric ink in Brick with a typewriter stamp (also from BrownPigeon).
When I was done, I let the blankets air dry overnight and then I heat-set the ink/paint with an iron (using a pressing cloth between the iron and the blanket). Simple as can be. I made these two for a writer friend who had her first baby last fall, and I loved being able to give her something that was not only practical but handcrafted with love especially for her.
As always, if you try this yourself, I’d love to see the results. Bonus points if your photo includes a baby!
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