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This Kitchen Craft for Kids Will Brighten the Work of Doing Dishes

Fun painting project for all ages yields fantastic gifts

by: Paula Roy
Kids can paint Swedish dishcloths for a much-appreciated gift

Washing dishes isn't too many people's idea of a good time, but there are tools to make the job a little easier. I'm here to tell you how your kids can channel their inner Picasso or Pollock to create the easiest, most useful gifts ever for their teachers, caregivers, grandparents, bus drivers...pretty much everyone they know has to wash dishes, right? 

First, a tiny backstory. I discovered the miracle that is Swedish Dish Cloths at a craft show this year, where I met a nice man selling painted cloths. His Kattinatt creations were recognized at the 2016 Toronto Gift Show as one of the top ten household items, which I thought was pretty impressive. Made from cellulose (aka wood fibres) and cotton, these amazing cloths are super absorbent, don't leave streaks or water marks on granite or wood surfaces and best of all, they don't harbour bacteria, so they won't get all smelly like conventional dishcloths. You can wash them on the top rack of your dishwasher, in the washing machine, or just boil them in a pot for a few minutes to clean them. I bought a whole bunch of these to give as gifts, but when I got home, I began to wonder if I could make some more myself. And where would I get the Swedish dishcloths to paint? The first place I looked was the world's biggest Swedish retailer, IKEA, and sure enough, there they were. IKEA sells a four-pack of their PLUSSIG dish cloths for a mere $1.99 and they are EXACTLY the same as the way more expensive craft show ones I bought, except they're not decorated yet.

So what do you need to create these fabulously useful gift? The aforementioned cloths, of course, plus some acrylic paints and brushes, which you can get from almost any dollar store. Throw an old t-shirt on your child, cover a work surface with newspaper, and use a paper plate as their paint pallette. In no time at all, they can paint up an array of masterpieces that will dry quickly and be ready for gifting. They're not only pretty, they're also super functional - I'll never go back to old-fashioned dishcloths again!


Here are a few helpful tips:

- paint on the matte (i.e. not shiny) side of the cloths

- because the cloths are so absorbent, you will need more paint than if you were applying it to canvas or paper

- younger children might enjoy spatter painting with a toothbrush or broad paintbrush

- let the cloths dry overnight, then cover with a sheet of paper towel and iron them with a very hot clothes iron to set the paint

- it's best not to put these cloths in the clothes dryer

- roll them into a cylinder and tie with ribbon for pretty little gifts that don't require wrapping paper

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