A $2 Item Is This Crafty 5-Year-Old’s Answer to Sustainable Holiday Gift Wrap
Just add paint and water.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:20 AM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
If there’s one thing the pandemic has brought out in Joyce Lee, head of design at Madewell, it’s a serious commitment to getting crafty. Along with her 5-year-old daughter, Poppy, Lee bedazzled Teva sandals this summer (mini- and mom-size) with superglue and sparkly gemstones; she helped Poppy string together countless mask lanyards to sell on Instagram (demand for the colorful camp bead creations quickly overtook bandwidth, but not before 50 were sold, with all proceeds going to Poppy’s kindergarten); and the multitasking mom just launched a whole other side gig with Quiltey, a line of wearable repurposed quilts that she whips up herself. (Lee’s son, 2-year-old Kai, also serves as a fit model for testing out prototypes when his big sis is busy.)
“Poppy has always loved hands-on projects, especially when it involves color and sparkle,” says Lee of tackling most arts and crafts activities together. “The one thing we don’t agree on is her love of slime. We’ve made different types together a few times, and let’s just say it’s not always pretty!”
But on a recent trip to upstate New York, they kept their prolific craft streak going strong with hand-painted tie-dye-effect bandanas. In an added twist, the finished product will not only be for wearing but also for wrapping gifts furoshiki style, adding an extra personal touch to the mom-and-daughter duo’s holiday presents this season. We asked Lee and Poppy to walk us through the steps for making your very own.
- White bandana
- Watercolor paints and brush
- Fabric medium
- Wash and dry the bandanas. You can start with dry or damp fabric, depending on the effect you want (wetting the bandana beforehand helps the colors blend).
- Paint the bandana any way you like! Poppy’s technique involves starting with less water and painting her colors darker (usually red and pink; her favorite hues of the moment), then adding more water over time to blend.
- Paint over the entire bandana (it doesn’t need to be completely dry) with a mixture of fabric medium and water (Lee uses 2 parts water to 1 part fabric medium).
- Let the bandana air-dry. Then iron to heat-set the color. (After that, you can wash as needed without the colors bleeding.)
- Wear it, wrap a gift, make a flag, and get creative!
Our Fall Style issue has arrived! Subscribe now to get an exclusive first look at Ayesha Curry’s Bay Area home—and discover how design can shape our world.