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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Maternity Countdown Shirt {& fabric paint tutorial!}


Being pregnant is an AMAZING experience.  One I never want to forget.  Thankfully, my sister has been willing to take fun mini photo sessions to document my pregnancy.  One of my faves was at 18 weeks.  I made a Maternity Countdown Shirt to show which week of pregnancy I was at.  This was a FUN project to make, but I was nervous.  This was my first time making my own fabric paint.  Turns out, it's a lot cheaper than buying premade fabric paint.  And, it's really easy!!

***Not up for making your own shirt? You can visit my online shop and BUY a countdown maternity shirt! Click the link below:

What You'll Need:
  • Tintable Fabric Medium {I love Martha Stewart products}
  • Acrylic Paint in color(s) of your choice
  • Empty bottle {Perfect for mixing and saving fabric paint}
  • Foam brush x2
  • Vinyl stencil for numbers
  • Shirt {get one that fits now but has some stretch to fit the full 40 weeks}
First, you'll want to mix your fabric paint.  It's 1 part fabric medium to 2 parts paint.  This is where the mini bottle comes in handy.  I found mine near the foam brushes at Michaels.  I filled the empty bottle 1/3 full with fabric medium, then filled it the rest of the way with craft paint.  You can do more or less, depending on how much you want.  Just add the fabric medium, then draw a line on the bottle where you stopped, and add twice the paint.  Easy, right?  Shake it up to mix them together.  That's it!  I label mine Fabric Paint, so I know for the future.  I've used this gray fabric paint for other projects, too, which is why I love mixing mine in a bottle, to save for future use!  You'll need to do this step twice -- once for your numbers color and again for the paint color you want to "cross off" the numbers.

Now, place your stencil on your shirt.  I used my Silhouette SD to cut out the stencil using Silhouette premium vinyl.  It is SO easy, and I'm guaranteed straight lines...I wouldn't trust myself otherwise.  I had to cut 2 stencils, 1-20 on one and 21-40 on the other.  Remember to leave enough empty space around the cut out on the stencil to allow you to paint and not get paint on the shirt!  I recommend putting something inside your shirt, to protect the paint from leaking onto the back of the shirt.  I've used an old piece of cardboard or a couple layers of newspaper ads works great, too.

Once you have the stencil in place, simply paint over the stencil, using a foam brush, with your fabric paint.  I painted over the whole thing once, then went back and put a second coat {lighter} just to make sure it was all covered.  This needs to dry for a while.  I usually do mine in the evening and let it dry overnight. Tip: After several minutes of drying time, put your hand under the stencil and 'lift' up a little to make sure the paint isn't adhering to the cardboard/ads you put underneath.


Once it is dry, peel away the stencil, and CONGRATS!  You've made a shirt covered in numbers!  Now, to give it meaning, use the 2nd color of fabric paint to CROSS OFF the weeks.  You could cut out more stencils, if you want a perfect line.  I just grabbed a foam brush and applied the paint without a stencil.  Let this dry again.  This part doesn't take as long to dry.  Once it's dry, you are FINISHED!  Hold on to that fabric paint, since you'll need to cross off more weeks as your pregnancy goes on.  Super fun way to document your growing belly, huh?!

Got a maternity countdown shirt or a fabric paint project you love?  Share the link in the comments.  I'd love to see it!!

***Not up for making your own shirt? You can visit my online shop and BUY a countdown maternity shirt! Click the link below:


Here are updated pictures of this fantastic maternity shirt!  It is SO easy to dab a little more fabric paint to cross off one more week in the countdown.  Love it!!

***Not up for making your own shirt? You can visit my online shop and BUY a countdown maternity shirt! Click the link below:

Be sure to click "Join this Site" on the right side toolbar to stay up to date on all things Put A Bird On It. That way, you'll be notified the next time I give away a maternity countdown shirt! Which I've been known to do. :)


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  1. This is the cutest stinkin' shirt.

  2. Love this shirt!! I may do one like it, thanks for the great idea!! :)

  3. Thanks ladies! If you make your own, link it here, so I can see it! :)

  4. my sister in law is expecting, what a cute gift idea for the holidays! i think ill make one

  5. another option, print out on the iron on sheets.

  6. Thanks for the tip! I've never used the printable iron-on sheets before, but I am sure you could use that route. I like fabric paint, because it is less expensive and goes a lot farther. :)

  7. I would totally buy this shirt. You should start a store on Etsy. So creative

  8. I seek these in my shop!

    I like the paint route, I use the transfer but am looking into other modes currently to get rid of the shininess around the numbers that the transfers cause

  9. This is so so cute - brilliant idea!!!


  10. Where did you find the stencil?

  11. Where did you get your shirt!? This is such a fun idea. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Q: "Where did you find the stencil?"

    A: I made the stencil using the Silhouette Cameo and their premium vinyl. I created the numbers in their computer program, Silhouette Studio, then cut out the vinyl using the Cameo. It was SUPER easy! I love it, because it aligns all the numbers, so I don't have to worry about straight lines. Not to mention, it is super fast.

    For more on the Silhouette Cameo and their stencil vinyl, you can go here:

    As for the person that asked where I got the shirt, you can see in the post that I made my own! I used a plain maternity shirt from Target, so it would fit throughout my pregnancy. It's getting quite snug now. :D

  13. Good to see this post! after reading this blog i came to know about fabric paint tutorial.
    Fabric structures

  14. This shirt is amazing! Do you make these for people? If so, I'm super interested!

  15. You should to sell the stencil,!

  16. I made my shirt tonight. It came out great! I love it. Thanks so much for the idea!! How do I post a link to show you a picture of it?

  17. Ah, I figured it out. Here's a link to my shirt on Pinterest.

  18. Great job you people are doing with this website. Maternity tights

  19. Super-cute! So maybe this is a silly question - but how did you get the numbers with circles in them to turn out? Like 8, 9, 0, etc. I could see myself trying this and then the circles in the middle sliding everywhere.

  20. @RED526:

    The circles weren't too difficult! You put the vinyl on the shirt using transfer tape, which keeps the circles in place. Once on the shirt, I just press them onto the shirt, to make sure they stay on. Dabbing the fabric paint over the circles helps to make sure they stay in place.

    If you try it, link up your project here! :)

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. This is so random (first of all I looooove the shirt you made) but do you happen to remember where you got the black "polka-dotted" shirt/dress that you wore under it in the last two photos? You look adorable!

  23. @Lemon:

    Thank you for the compliment!! I wish I could remember where I got the dress (it's supposed to be a dress, but it is short, so I always wear leggings with it!), but I don't remember at all. I've had it for a couple years now. I will say that most of my wardrobe comes from Forever 21, H&M or Macys, so there is a good chance it was one of those.

    Good luck! :)

  24. If Hell ever freezes over and I get married {and then I get pregnant}, will you make me this shirt in honor of the miracle that some man FINALLY proposed to me?

  25. @Mindy -- I would hand deliver it, too!!!!! :)

  26. What a fun idea! You are so creative.....!!



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    PS This
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