Make Fabric Art to Soothe a Child

What do you do with a sick child? After the visit to the pediatrician, the diagnosis of strep throat, the journey home via the pharmacy and supermarket (Popsicles), and before plopping in front of the television (“Toy Story”), we made some fabric art.

making artist trading cards
My son Christopher, creating
artist trading cards.

That’s how my son Christopher, 10, became an artist trading card pro last fall. Christopher was totally inspired by an article about ATCs we saw (while waiting for the doctor) in September 2011’s Family Fun magazine.  

My boy is a doodler and inventor of mythical creatures, so the thought of making his own fiber art cards to trade with friends was quite appealing.

Using fabric scraps, markers, and fibers, we made 12 cards that afternoon, including the ones you see here.

I really scored big in his eyes when I pulled a copy of 1000 Artist Trading Cards off the shelf and turned to page 250 and showed him where his mom’s ATCs are featured.


maps artist trading card
“Maps” ATC.

You did that??? Why didn’t you tell me?

And the best compliment of all: Will you make some for me?

So I did, and we traded.

Unless I’m on the most stringent deadline, my kids are always welcome in my studio. Making art has a way of taking you away from your troubles and relieving stress, and I like to encourage that kind of healthy activity. Plus, it’s fun way to spend time with them.

monster duck artist trading card
“Monster Duck” ATC.

The Summer 2012 issue of Studios features many creative spaces where kids have a prominent presence. The adult and child artists offer tips for setting up a space for young artists and how to work together.

Order your copy of Studios today, and invite a child to create with you. Fiber collage is a great place to start.

P.S. Do you like to make art with kids? Tell me about your favorite projects and experiences below.

Other topics you may enjoy:


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16 thoughts on “Make Fabric Art to Soothe a Child

  1. Group quilts are a fun way for kids who have limited verbal ability to come together. I work with children with cognitive disabilities and we created special quilts that include a contribution message and flower from each child.

  2. I have a 7 y/o grand-daughter who spends all her time with me in my art studio! We create art quilts, canvas art, paper art… you name it. lol We sell some to one day pay for her art schooling and the rest are usually gifts she enjoys giving to special people. She is the apple of my eye. She learned how to hand sew a quilt binding last winter and no Nana could be more proud! The tradition carries on. 😀 You can see one of many of my blog posts about us playing in the Studio here

  3. When my grandchildren come to visit, they know I have a spot in my office/workshop where they can gather supplies, get comfortable and creat! I usually recieve a picture drawn for birthday and holiday gifts. My favorite. Judith, Texas

  4. I did a quilt show & tell to a German preschool. We talked about colors, pattern names, identified shapes… Then I had them collage fabric shapes onto 12×12 solid fabric (glue stick for fabric). I took them home and appliqued them all * turned it into a quilt. It was gorgeous and was auctioned off at their St Niklaus Day fundraiser.

    I’ve also done the same trunk show / craft time with Mixed Media Postcards in elementary schools for Mother’s day & Valentine’s…

    Monika Kinner-Whalen
    Saskatoon Canada

  5. ATC is a great idea. When my kids were young I cut animal and other shapes from felt and while I worked on the upper part of my design wall they would create fanciful stories on the lower half – fun time making art while being together!

  6. My grandchildren usually want to do whatever I am doing. So I have taught them to pin weave, nature print, make paper, crochet, and many other things. One of my favorite things is finding their handprints throughout my sketchbooks, dated and with the child’s name.

  7. Great project for kids! I have used crayons and made fabric transfers from colored pictures. A great addition for a special quilt.

    Mary Lachman

  8. My grandchildren, ages 3 and 5, spent an afternoon in my studio making prayer flags. Though I manned the sewing maching and iron, they chose the fabrics from my stash, picked out their favorite embelishments, decided on the layout and created the prayer. We all had so much fun.

  9. last week I tried my first ever hand drawn rubber stamp. then I showed it to my Grandson and asked him to draw one, too. Mine is so blah next to his! He drew a very complex 2 headed monster with horns and fangs… I just drew a few daisies!
    I have so much to learn from him!

  10. The last project I did with my 4 and 3-year-old grandsons was a painting of a tree or a flower. We used painters tape or freezer paper to make a resist and then they colored in the backgrounds with water colors. They were so happy with the results. I scan their work and use it in my quilts or quilted items such as purses. They wanted to do the same, so we scanned the pictures, printed them on fabric and sewed them into some drawstring backpacks. They were so proud! It was a lot of fun.

  11. My granddaughter has a special place in my studio. She learned skills on the sewing machine at age 4. Her favorite are the “Modes” ( all the fancy stitches). She has her own table and access to a wide variety of supplies, i.e. glue, papers, fabric, fibers, markers, paints, stamps, etc.
    In September, I began volunteering in her 1st grade classroom. We made quilt blocks with crayon and fabric markers on batik squares. I put them together with sashing
    and it sold at the PTA Auction for $100. They were very proud. They had made practice squares on cotton, so I fused those onto T shirts with “heat and bond lite”,
    and stitched around the edges. The students are fascinated with the sewing machine.
    They are very respectful and grateful for various art projects. Since the school budget has been trimmed, regular art and music programs are no longer part of the curriculum. I am so happy to have the time and resources to share with these budding artists. Kathryn Oftedal, Camas WA

  12. Hi hi-
    I too like to have the kids in the studio. We do all kinds of things. I begin when they are about five with pancake dolls and animals. Even now when a gift is called for the 8 year old use ally designs and sews a pillow of some sort. His last one was a big round red pillow with a big M appliqued on it for his 13 year old brother.- who loves M&M’s. What fun.

  13. For my paying job I am an occupational therapist with second and third graders. This year I had my students sewing their letters on black card stock with white thread. They even attempted french knots to dot the i. I also cut up white erasers and used them to stamp people in action as featured in a Quilting Art article. My daughter also now sews, knits and embroiders. We ice dyed our christmas t shirts and shabori dyed her t shirt for her violin concert. This summer we hope to make dolls together.
    such fun! Meg