Sandpaper and Crayon Transfer Designs

I don’t let my kids use the computer.  I know, I know, I’m so mean.  I rarely let them watch TV at home too.  Poor, poor kids.  To me, there is just too much fun to be had in these fleeting years of childhood.  When they’re older they can zone out and kill brain cells, just not on my watch.

My niece is here from Palestine this summer and I had a list of things I wanted to involve her in.  Not on the list was having the girls crowd around the computer at my parents house playing mind-numbing computer games.  My goal was not to be the boring aunt that doesn’t let anyone use the computer or the embarrassing mom that never lets them do anything.  No, instead I wanted to be the one to introduce hands on fun.  Something interesting and cool that they wouldn’t even notice that I unplugged the computer.

We started with a field trip.  “Who wants to go to the dollar store?”  They snapped out of their unblinking haze and slipped their shoes on quickly.  We piled into the car and they were none the wiser that I had already succeeded in my plot.

We rounded up our supplies and headed home.


  • Sandpaper
  • Crayons
  • t-shirts, blank canvas totes, or a pillowcase

All the supplies were from the dollar store.



  1. Using the crayons, have the child(ren) draw out their design onto the sand paper. Be sure to have them color firmly to really get the crayon on the sandpaper.  This is a great time to use old crayons as drawing on the sandpaper will sand those abandoned little stubs right down.  Remind the child that the image will be reversed, so avoid words or numbers.
  2. Place a sheet of cardboard inside of the t-shirt or tote to protect the back of the shirt or tote.  Place the sandpaper, image side down, in the location you want the transfer to occur.
  3. With a light cloth over the sandpaper, use an iron set on the highest setting and iron over the sheet of sandpaper. Slowly move the iron around to distribute the heat and melt the crayon down onto the fabric.
  4. Slowly lift up the sandpaper and make sure your image has been set.  If not, hold down the iron a little longer over the sandpaper and protective cloth.  Remove the sandpaper sheet.  Lift up the shirt for the kids to “ooh” and “aah” about.
  5. According to the original post: To set the color, place a couple of paper towels on top of the design and iron. This will remove some of the extra wax. Toss t-shirt in the dryer for about 20 minutes to set the color. Launder by itself the first time.

Cute. But I can't see your shirts!

I guess "smile" was too basic of a request.

Computer? What computer?

What do you do to distract your children from screen time?

For the record:  I don’t have anything against anyone that gives their children free reign over the computer or tv.  I’m known to soak up 30 minutes to myself while they catch an episode of Curious George.  Either way, it’s all good.


  • Big Sis says:

    HA! I love that M is totally taking after her Auntie ;p

  • Anisa says:

    Wow! That is awesome. I’m going to try this with my girls. Thanks for the idea!

  • Alejandra says:

    Yikes! My daughter watches way too much TV. This is such a cute craft. Thank you for sharing.

  • hira says:

    I have an almost 3 year old boy and we have no screen time at all. At first I found it hard but Alhumdulillah as time went on he kind of forgot about youtube and my iphone. We keep busy by going outdoors. Generally it is for 2 hours every day- but with Ramadan thats not possible as much. Going outside makes him sleep well and eat well too- and all that energy has a place a to go! We also do a lot of painting and he also imitates me a lot. So If I am in the kitchen I let him wash things in the sink etc. For the other times he just does independent play that consist of singing, reading and playing with imaginary friends. I also put him near our windows and he just observes people, cars, birds the clouds and all that good stuff. Going screen free for our family was Alhumdulillah very good for him. I see that his imagination has no bounds 😉

    • Amnah says:

      That’s wonderful Hira! Everything you say is true. My girls know that I’m a screen free mama. They know not to touch my phone, the computer, or ask about TV. They play whatever strikes their fancy. Sometimes I guide them into a certain activity, other times I just let their imagination decide. Unfortunately, my husband is much more lenient. He’s convinced that it can’t be that bad since he had tons of screen time growing up. It’s become a game of good cop/bad cop. My goal really is to rid our home of the TV. One day…

  • Ghadah says:

    Hey, I’m going to try this with my kids. We have all become computer/iphone/TV junkies it’s not even funny. So what if they’re 15, 14 and 11? They’re going to do it because their mommy says so by golly! I’ll keep you posted 🙂


    I’m off Instagram by the way. Suffering withdrawal and missing a few of my Instagram buddies but I’ll be OK.

    • Amnah says:

      I would LOVE to see what you do with this! Maybe onto a canvas?? Your kids seem as talented and artistic as you, I’m sure they’ll enjoy it.

      Yeah, all that technology has crept into our lives and it never even took it’s shoes off at the door. Drives me nuts.

      I’ve noticed that my instagram feed has become dull. Now I know why. I’ll miss seeing your pics. And Nabooli.

      • Patrice says:

        I tried this technique on a canvas board. I had colored a heart shaped piece of sandpaper. The canvas board was slicker than a T-shirt, so the melted wax pooled and bled past the edge. It was pretty, but not crisp. It’s more like encaustic techniques.

  • Sana says:


    So I just recently discovered your blog and can’t get enough! Wonderful ideas, quick question: does the crayon wash off the shirts?

    • Amnah says:

      So glad to hear that you’re enjoying my blog!

      I washed my daughter’s shirt and it was just fine. To be on the safe side, wash and dry it separately the first time.

  • Jane says:

    I love this idea! I just found your blog and I think it’s great! Thank-you for the ideas!

  • Cheri says:

    I’m a t-shirt freak always looking for cool ideas.this is absolutely all works.thank you,thank you from a adult kid

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