Mother’s Day Project

Remember how we make twig and paper bag egg nests a few weeks ago? I must now admit that I omitted telling everyone about the main project that day, because I wanted it to be a surprise. That day, we also got ready for Mother’s Day, a few weeks in advance, because the project that the young artists created needed some additional work by me before sending it home. With Easter holidays and a PD day taking up two of our class days in April, it means that the project was done in mid-April so the gifts could go home in time for Mother’s Day.

The three to five year old artists created beautiful painted scarves for their Mothers. Here is how they did it.


  • silky white fabric (100% polyester)
  • acrylic craft paints
  • water
  • wax paper
  • paint brush
  • cups (some for different paints and some for water)
  • drop cloths
  • water mister or spray bottle
  • salt (optional)
  • permanent marker
  • masking tape (optional)
  • scissors and tape for wrapping (the second session)
  • for preparation and finishing: washing machine, serger or sewing machine, glue

Preparation (by instructor or parent)

Please note that this project has quite a bit of preparation involved for the instructor.

Wash and dry the fabric.

Rip the fabric into 11″ by width of fabric pieces. My wax paper is 12″ wide and the scarf should be narrower than the wax paper. If you have wider wax paper or you use more that one sheet of wax paper, you can make wider scarves.

Finish the edges of each scarf. I serged the long ripped edges to finish them, but left the selvedge edges (this gives a perfect spot for writing names and date). After finishing the edges of 19 1/2 of the 20 scarves I made, I ran out of thread on one of my loopers. Don’t forget this step. Clearly, it is very important as it is one step that I invariably include just inches before the end of any project. So the substeps include: turn off serger, drive to store, purchase thread, drive home, rethread, cuss, try rethreading again, turn the serger back on, continue sewing.

Seal the corners of the sewing with a dab of glue and let dry.

Print the artist’s name and the year on each scarf with a permanent marker (if the artists are old enough to write their own names, they can do this step).

Rip wax paper strips just a bit longer than the width of the fabric.

Wet and wring out the scarves just before working with the young artists.

Optional, you can staple the scarves onto the waxed paper to secure them. After drying, remove carefully with a staple remover.

Prepare the paints by diluting the craft paint approximtely 1:1 with water in painting cups.

Put out drop cloths on the painting surface. I did this project on the floor with my group so that there would be enough room.

Steps (with the young artists)

Lay out drop cloths.

Centre each scarf onto a piece of wax paper.

Paint the scarves with the watered down paint. For very young artists, I limit the colour palette to two colours. Where these colours meet, a third colour is created. More than two colours can create muddy effects which seem inappropriate for spring time. If you use the paint straight out of the bottle, it will be too thick and you will not get the lovely blending of colours that makes this project so marvelous. Make sure to cover the whole scarf right to the edges so that no white is showing. Spray water to dampen the cloth if it begins to dry out. You want the cloth to be quite damp, but not so much that it would drip if turned sideways.

You will notice that the paint colours run into one another. The wetness may warp the wax paper and cause it to create more patterns and interesting effects. This is all good.

Optional: Sprinkle salt over the scarf to create more interesting effects. I did not do it with this group as we had space and time restrictions and there were two crafts going on at the same time with this group.

Try to let the scarves dry before stacking the scarves (with the wax paper still on them) and set aside. It is best to let them dry flat as hanging them may cause the colours on the scarves may run and drip into other areas of the scarf.

I stacked the scarves, rolled them and placed them into a kitty litter tray (unused of course) to took them home with me. If the scarves are wet and you stack them, some of the colours may bleed through the wax paper. Unfortunately, I know this from experience.

Finishing (by the instructor)

Dry the scarves thoroughly. I unrolled mine at home and spread them out on the grass. Alternatively, you could hang them on a clothes line with the waxed paper still attached.

When the scarves are completely dry, label the wax paper with the artist’s name. Peal the scarves away from the waxed paper (set it aside). Heat set the scarves in the dryer at the highest heat setting that is appropriate for your fabric. Then, wash and dry with a bit of detergent and fabric softener. I use the hand wash cycle. Some of the colour will fade, but most of the colour will stay. I recommend to parents to hand wash the scarves in the future.

Bring the dried wax paper back to class along with the scarves and use the wax paper as wrapping paper for the scarves.

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