There is one thing better than receiving a hand made gift for Christmas and that is receiving a hand made gift made by a special child in your life. Creating this cute DIY reindeer handprint sweater is sure to create a lasting memory for your child making the sweater and the special person in their life they are gifting it to.

What You Need

  • Light-colored sweatshirt
  • 1 (18″ x 24″) piece of lightweight cardboard
  • Masking tape
  • Contact paper stencil (8″ x 11″ or larger, depending on shirt size)
  • Fabric paint (light brown, dark brown, red, white, black, and green)
  • Paintbrushes
  • 5 sponges (face, ears, nose, cheeks, and eyes) Permanent black marker (mouth and eyebrows)
  • White distilled vinegar (in a spray bottle) 1/2yard (2″ wide) plaid ribbon
  • Small bell
  • Small safety pin
  • This is a “hands-on” project, so wear painted clothes. Allow each layer of paint to dry before applying the next.

Place a piece of cardboard inside the body of the sweatshirt to keep the paint from bleeding through to the back. Tape the arms to the back, pulling the front of the shirt smooth.

Cut an oval out of the center of the contact paper to make a stencil for the reindeer’s face. Remove the backing and place it on the front of the shirt, leaving enough room above the oval for hand­ print antlers. Smooth the contact paper flat on the shirt. With a sponge, completely paint the oval light brown, brushing from the stencil edge to the shirt. Carefully remove the stencil.

Squeeze dark-brown paint on your hands and rub them together until the paint totally covers your fingers and palms. With fingers apart, place your hands at the top of the oval and press firmly to make antlers. Use alcohol to remove the paint from your hands.

To make the face, cut a sponge into an almond shape and stamp light-brown ears onto the shirt below the antlers and to the sides of the oval face. For the nose, cut a 1-1/2″ round sponge and stamp a red nose in the middle of the face. For cheeks, cut a quarter-sized sponge circle. Mix a small amount of red and white paint to make pink, and stamp cheeks onto the shirt at the sides of the nose.

Cut small ovals from a sponge and stamp white eyes onto the shirt. Make smaller green circles inside the white eyes. Dip the end of a brush in black paint and dot a pupil in the center of the eye. Make highlights for the cheeks, eyes, and nose with the end of a brush dipped in white paint. Draw a mouth and eyebrows with a black marker.

When completely dry, set the paint by spraying the painted area with vinegar, then place a brown paper bag over the painted area and iron with a hot iron. Thread the bell in the center of the plaid ribbon and tie it into a bow. Pin or hand stitch the bow at the reindeer’s neck.

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