Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monstrance T-shirts

I don't know about yours, but my kids love to make their own t-shirts. They wear them over and over and over. So we try to make at least one a year. And, I find a shirt not too much bigger so that it fits nice, knowing we'll make more in the near future. Now of course I need to have a plan for what to do with all these shirts in the future. I was thinking of having them made into quilts (maybe a baby quilt for a floor throw?).

This time around I knew I wanted to make a shirt during one of our Summer with the Saints gathering but was not sure if that was possible - until we came to our St. Clare of Assisi week. One of her well-known symbols, the monstrance, seemed the perfect thing to do something with. But what? If I can, I like to have crafts that are useable in some way. Paper crafts are ok at times but if I can turn it into something that will not be thrown out or lost in a pile of papers, why not? And that is where the t-shirt idea meshed with the monstrance craft idea. Best of all, the kids loved it (though some did want to turn the host green and the monstrance purple!).

To make the shirt, print off the stencil template two times (this worked perfectly for approximately size 8 on down to 2T). Cut out the monstrance shape from one page. From the other, cut out the host.

For a few shirts, cardboard will work (recycle a cereal box). For more shirts, use something hardier like the scrap foam I used. Trace the monstrance shape on the foam. Cut out the square surrounding the monstrance and then cut out the monstrance shape itself. From that scrap, trace and cut out the circle. On another piece of foam, trace the circle. Cut out the square surrounding the circle before cutting out the circle shape.

Gather up some paint. We used gold fabric paint - a glittery texture kind as well as flat kind of gold - plus assorted fabric paint colors for the letters, jewels, etc. Of course simple acrylic paints will work just as well if you have that on hand. Now you are ready to paint!

Place a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to protect the back of the shirt from leaking paint. Place the square circle on the shirt and paint in the host in white by squeezing paint directly on the shirt and spreading with a brush. Do this even if you have a white shirt - you can tell the difference! Take off the stencil and center the monstrance stencil around the host. Cover the painted circle with the cut-out circle. Paint in the monstrance just as you did the host. Add details (moms had to help with this): cross on the host (or letters IHS); "I believe!"; jewels; rays; etc. Leave out to dry. It took around 40 minutes for me to supervise 11 shirts. Make more stencils if needed for larger groups and make sure to have enough brushes to go with it!

This would make a fun shirt to adapt for older kids, especially girls, using all the fancy beads, jewels, sparkles, etc. you can find now. Have fun!

Using the sparkly gold paint.

Using the flat gold paint and dots for jewels.

Turned a mistake into rays!


  1. Oh, I love these ideas on your blog. I haven't done too many liturgical year celebrations/crafts/meals and such, but I would really like to. Absolutely DO read the Little Way of Homeschooling - you'll be so glad you did!! I'm about to re-read it, I liked it that much. It has lots of little bits of St. Therese in there too.

  2. Thanks Elisa! We only recently started doing more liturgical stuff this past year (outside of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter). The kids seem to enjoy it. I've really enjoyed the summer, getting together with a few other families of my parish and coming to know them better.

    And, I do have that book on my wish list! :)

  3. Very cool! I wonder if I could pull off doing these with my first communion class this year? Thanks so much for sharing! :-)

  4. Definitely Lacy! The moms mostly had to help the little ones but the girls, 2nd grade and up, did very well on their own (except with having patience!). :) The squeeze tubes of fabric paint for writing can be a pain but you can change that by using fabric markers.


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