So you’re all set for a total solar eclipse or some solar eclipse for kids lessons and activities, right?
Well, you’re in for a treat because we have a SUPER FUN astronomy for kids craft that is perfect to pair up with your solar eclipse lesson plans:
A DIY Solar Eclipse for Kids Glow-in-the-Dark T shirt!
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And, as a bonus, it GLOWS in the DARK!
(Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through all the steps including the bonus glowing part!)
And, the great thing about this DIY project is that it’s good for an individual project or for a group project like homeschool co-op!
How to Make Your Own DIY Solar Eclipse T Shirt That Glows in the Dark!
During our homeschooling solar eclipse studies, we found this awesome tee design on the KCParent site and we knew immediately that we had to try it!
However, we decided to take it up a notch and make our solar eclipse t shirt a glow-in-the dark eclipse tee!
Check out the directions below:
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Solar Eclipse Tee Directions
- Plain black t-shirts (in the sizes you need)
- Glow-in-Dark Fabric Paint in orange, white, and yellow
- Regular Fabric Paint in dark red, orange, white, yellow, and black
- Foam Paint Brushes
- Fabric marker (color of choice to show up on a black tshirt)
- Stiff paint brush or a stiff bristled tooth brush
- Small (dessert size) paper plates
- Packing tape
- Piece of cardboard (for each tee)
BEFORE YOU START, READ THIS:
• SUMMARY •
You are taping a paper plate to a shirt and then brushing layers out from the paper plate like a sunburst. The first layer, red, will be brushed the furthest out into the t shirt. Then, orange will be brushed on top of the red, outward, but stopping before you get to the edge of the red. Lastly, a yellow layer will be brushed on top of the orange, but will not go all the way to the edge of the other layers. You want to leave some of each layer showing around the edge. (The red layer will be the farthest out, the orange layer to the middle, and the yellow layer the smallest (inner-most) layer.
BE SURE TO READ THROUGH ALL OF THE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE YOU BEGIN!
This is a semi-messy project, so be sure to cover the area or do this outside.
1. Prep your shirt.
Place a piece of cardboard inside of each shirt to prevent the paint bleeding through onto the back of the shirt. Lay shirt out in front of you.
2. Make your solar circle.
Roll a piece of packing tape and place it in the center on the front of a dessert sized paper plate (the side you eat off of).
Flip the paper plate over and place it in the middle portion of the front of your tee.
(Be sure to give yourself plenty of room to paint around the plate.)
Press down so that the plate sticks to the tee.
3. MAKE BACKGROUND STARS IN YELLOW. Dip the stiff paintbrush or stiff toothbrush into glow-in-the dark yellow paint and, using your thumbnail, flick the paint in small dots around the paper plate and on the front of the tee.
This will serve as the starry sky behind your eclipse.
You may want to practice this on a piece of paper first. It took us a few tries to get the “flicking” right so that it made small dots and not stringy paint messes.
4. MAKE BACKGROUND STARS IN WHITE. Repeat #2, except this time using the glow-in-the-dark white paint.
Allow your “stars” to dry for few minutes.
NOTE: Don’t skip the stars steps (#3-4). It makes the shirt really cool. Trust me on this.
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5. PAINT THE RED SOLAR LAYER. Using the foam brush, paint red (regular red, not glow-in-dark) outward from the paper plate to about 2-3 inches from the plate.
To do this, start with your foam brush tip at the edge of the paper plate and brush out.
Be sure to hold the plate down while you are painting so that the paint does not leak under the plate.
Repeat this all the away around the plate, brushing the red out from the plate all the way around.
If you use a darker red, it will soak in and may seem hard to see. (Don’t worry about this! You’ll be able to see it better when it dries.)
Don’t be afraid to use a lot of paint and don’t worry about making the edges of the red paint even as you are brushing out.
The red may be hard to see, but don’t worry. You can always add more later (but it is actually more visible than you think).
Allow to dry briefly.
We used drying times to complete some stuff in the solar eclipse study units and watch videos.
6. PAINT THE ORANGE SOLAR LAYER. Now, using a different foam brush, repeat the process in Step 5 using regular orange paint, only brushing out about 1-1 1/2 inches from the paper plate.
Do not brush all the way to the end of the red.
(At this point, you will have a red layer on the bottom and then a shorter orange layer on top).
When you brush the orange layer on top of the red, be sure to leave some red showing on the edges!
Allow to dry briefly.
7. PAINT THE YELLOW SOLAR LAYER. Now, repeat the process for a third time using a different foam brush, only this time using the yellow paint.
Just like in the previous steps, paint out from the paper plate with the yellow paint until about 1/2 inch, but do not go all the way to the orange edge.
At this point you have three visible layers: the large red circle, the orange circle on top, and then the top yellow layer.
Allow to dry.
(Rinse and dry your foam brushes while your t-shirt paint dries!)
8. LET’S MAKE IT GLOW! Now for the glow in the dark paint!
The glow in the dark paint gives this tee a fun twist!
It’s actually cooler in person (it was hard to capture in a photo).
Once the red, orange, and yellow layers are dry, paint on top of them with the glow-in-the-dark paints.
Paint the orange layer portion that is visible with orange glow-in-the-dark paint and the yellow layer portion that is visible with yellow glow-in-the-dark paint.
(You don’t need to worry about painting the red layer with glow in the dark paint because so little of it shows on the edge.)
Let dry completely.
(We actually let ours dry overnight.)
You have to “charge” the glow-in-the-dark paint by exposing the shirt to sunlight for a few minutes after you paint it with glow-in-dark paints. If your shirt starts to lose its glow, just recharge it again!
10. Personalize your tee with the name and date if you want!
After shirt is dry, write “Solar Eclipse [YEAR]” with a fabric marker (optional). We made our solar eclipse for kids t-shirt during a solar eclipse event, so we put the year of that eclipse on our t-shirt.
11. Do touch-ups!
If you need to do any touch-ups, use the black fabric paint to correct any mistakes.
Enjoy your shirt!
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