Glowing Painted Elephant Skirt

The textile manipulation challenge at Project Run and Play was extremely intimidating for me.  I have never dyed fabric, and although I love the results others achieve, I am terrified of ruining fabric, or my cooking pots, or my bathtub or my clothes.  I had some fabric dye sticks, that I used to color on fabric here, but it wasn’t the “perfect” result I wanted.


In the process of googling and trying to come up with an inexpensive and beautiful plan for dying fabric, I discovered fabric acrylics.

I love to paint with acrylics, so these appealed to me.  However, I was rather turned off by the memory of some rather hideous sweatshirts from the early 90’s involving hand painted pictures taking up the whole chest.  That was a look I definitely wanted to avoid.

I had a half bedsheet laying around left over from another project in progress…


And I decided to paint some elephant silhouettes with a sunset, intending to leave the sun unpainted.  But then, I discovered glow paint in the fabric paint section.  I couldn’t resist.

I cut the fabric into the skirt shape I wanted, leaving the finished edge for the waistband, and the back of the skirt scooped, to give it an older looking shape for my tween daughter.

Before sewing, I painted the front/side.


Then I added a LOT of glow paint to the unpainted sun (it’s still wet in this photo) and brushed it lightly over the sky before adding the silhouettes.  Watch what happens when you take it into the dark.

Not the best photos (it is hard to photograph glow in the dark!)

I accidentally dropped the paintbrush on the top edge while I was working.  It nearly made me cry.


So I decided to fold the top end over to hide the stain.

Unintended side effect, however, was SUPER bulky waist!


Here you can see me pinning the top over (after gathering it to fit the lining).

I then stitched the lining together and the outside together into a circle with two separate layers, and added elastic inside .  One thing that was really neat was that the bedsheet had finished edges, so there are no exposed fabric edges inside the skirt.


The finished waistband was unfortunately, very messy looking.  So I ordered some black elastic to cover the stitching.  I figured it would coordinate nicely with the black trim I decided to add to the bottom hem.


Here is a close up of the painting, just because I LOVE IT!  I added a touch of silver acrylic paint to give it an amazing sparkle.  It was hard to photograph adequately.


Then I added the decorative black elastic (I couldn’t use trim, because then the waist wouldn’t stretch for her to put it on.)

And she loved it!!!!!

Surprisingly, the painted portion of the fabric, while a bit sturdier than the unpainted cotton, still drapes nicely.  So much so, in fact, that it was hard to get a picture where you could see the Momma and baby elephant clearly!

I’m a bit disappointed by the BULK of the waist band, but she loves it.  I also wish the elastic were tighter to hold it at her waist, but she likes the “lower rise” look… She also LOVES the lower hem in the back, as do I.

I had a bit of trouble photographing the skirt tonight, because she didn’t want to find a black shirt, so she just turned what she was wearing inside out.  She didn’t want to brush her hair.  And my husband was using the studio to photograph legos, so my workspace was a bit undersized.  I hope the photos give the skirt justice.

It is PHENOMENAL in person!  It is so much fun to see as she moves and you catch new details in the painting as the draping folds shift, when you get close and catch the silver sheen, and best of all, if the lights go out, the glowing sun.




2 thoughts on “Glowing Painted Elephant Skirt

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