Friday, August 17, 2012

4-H Cloverbuds: Art to Wear

This week at Cloverbuds our activities were club business rather than a specific topic.  Our group decided to have the kid receive badges for the different activities we do and this week they received the badges for our activities so far (for more details on our previous activities, click on the 4-H Cloverbud tag to the left).  I had each kid come up and tell what their favorite activity was when the received their badges.   From now on, we will be handing out badges as a topic is completed.

There were two different activities for the kids to do at this meeting.  The first was decorating lanyards to hold the badges.  The kids used regular markers to decorate 1 1/2 inch wide elastic.  I have a 4-H stamp that worked great when colored with a green Crayola marker and pressed to the elastic.   When they were finished decorating, I joined the ends with prong fasteners from my stash of scrapbooking supplies.   Mine won’t have any badges but I did have my 4-H leader pin.


The main fun for this meeting was doing Sharpie tie-dye t-shirts.   I really wasn’t sure how this was going to work out with a group of kids ranging from very newly turned 5 years old, up to 9 years old.  I was even more worried when I realized the windows in the room we use at the library don’t open.  But everything went great.  The kids had fun, the shirts looked great and the smell wasn’t overwhelming (it didn’t even bother some of the more sensitive sensory kids). 

In order to keep things as neat as possible (after all, we were in a library conference room) I brought some tablecloths left over from our pool party to cover the tables (so no one would decide to decorate the nice tables with Sharpie markers), and used small dropper bottles for the alcohol. 

The method is pretty easy:  use a washed white t-shirt, pick where you want your design to be and stretch that part over the top of a cup securing it with a rubber band.  Make a design – dots, swirls, lines, evidently words work – with Sharpie markers.  Slowly drop alcohol (I used 91% at this meeting but I had used 70% for my practice shirt and it worked fine) into the center of the design and watch the colors spread.  I had the kids wait 30 seconds to let it dry a little bit before moving to the next area.   Watch your cups because for the kids who use a lot of alcohol it tends to accumulate in the bottom and could easily spill.   The shirts should be put in the dryer for 10 minutes to set the color before washing. 

Even the youngest kids were able to get some beautiful effects.

Georgie wrote ‘cool’ and it came out pretty cool!


Vicki had a little trouble with the idea of marker first THEN alcohol and really loved using the little squeeze bottles.

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Lots of fun and not too complicated.


  1. I love your badges, may I ask where you got them from? We are a newly formed Cloverbuds group and I think the badges would be a great way for the children to have a visual of all their accomplishments

  2. I order our badges from here: