As Disney’s new live-action adventure Dumbo flies into cinemas in time for the Easter school holidays, and 2019 is the 30thanniversary year of beloved children’s character Elmer, we’re celebrating our love for elephants by wearing them close to our heart!

Kitchen sponge cloths are great to print with. They are easy to cut into simple shapes and give your printed design a nice texture.

You will need

Tracing paper
A pencil
Small scissors
A kitchen sponge cloth
A felt-tipped pen
Fabric paint and a paintbrush
A piece of card
A plain white cotton T-shirt

1 Trace the elephant template and transfer it onto a piece of paper. Carefully cut out the paper template around the outside of the shape, then cut out the blanket decoration in one piece and the eye.

2 Next, cut out the oval shapes from the blanket decoration. Fold the paper in half across the ovals to make it easier to cut them out. Cut carefully around the shape, keeping the paper ovals whole.

3 Lay the paper templates down on the sponge cloth, putting the elephant back together with all the pieces in the same place as the template. Draw around all the shapes with a felt-tipped pen, including the eye and the separate pieces of the decoration on the blanket, together with the windows in the oval.

4 Cut out the sponge pieces: first cut around the elephant’s body, then cut away the blanket decoration, and cut out the oval shapes. You can cut the “window” in the centre, too, if you wish. Fold each cut-out oval in half, draw a half-oval shape on the fold, then cut it out. You will now have a large oval with an oval “window” in the middle. Throw away the cut-out middles.

5 Now you can start to print. Begin with the main piece of the elephant. Brush one side of the sponge shape all over with fabric paint.

6 Insert a piece of card inside the T-shirt, to stop the paint from soaking through to the back. Lay the elephant shape paint side down, in position on the front of the white T-shirt. Press down firmly, making sure that all the different parts make contact with the fabric so that the paint transfers evenly. Peel the cloth back carefully.


7 Use different colours to print the blanket section and then print the ovals into the space on the blanket in a contrasting colour and colour in the eye. Let the paint dry, then fix the paint following the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually involves ironing, so please make sure you ask an adult to help you.

Craft idea from My First Painting and Collage Book by Clare Youngs, published by CICO Books (£9.99). Photography by Caroline Arber © CICO Books.

Download your template here

Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan


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