READ + CREATE: DIY Superhero Capes

READ + CREATE: DIY Superhero Capes

We made these DIY superhero capes weeks ago in my READ + CREATE school holiday classes.
Just this morning, one of my regular little reader/creators rocked up for class in his DIY superhero cape.
Like a boss.
A creative boss who really likes good books.
Below is the little caped legend.
It was such a fun class and simple project that I thought it needed to be shared with the Interworld.

Every year here in Australia, Book Week carries a theme set by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.
This year’s Book Week theme was “Reading is My Secret Power.” To tap into this awesome sauce theme, we read two books about superpowers and created our one-of-a-kind capes.

READ: Doodle Cat Wears A Cape by Kat Patrick and Lauren Farrell
All the Ways to Be Smart by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys
(Or any book to do with superheroes or the theme of embracing your own unique superpowers.)

CREATE: Personalised DIY superhero capes using permanent markers and watercolour paints

You will need:

A length of cotton fabric- an old pillow case or sheet should do!
Chenille sticks
Permanent markers
Watercolour palette and paintbrushes
Liquid watercolour paints or food dye
Spray bottles

How to make your own superhero capes:

Our DIY capes were approximately 45cm wide across the bottom, 20cm wide across the top and 50cm long.
I folded lengths of fabric in half and then cut out the capes to ensure they were symmetrical.

I cut two little slits on either side at the top of the cape and threaded a chenille stick through each of these slits.
Chenille sticks are easy for little hands to manipulate and save Mums from repeatedly hearing “Can you tie up myyyyyyy caaaaape?”

After reading “Doodle Cat Wears A Cape,” we chatted about our own superpowers.
Using permanent makers we drew visual representations of our superpowers onto our capes.
The permanent marker bleeds through the fabric, so prepare your surface accordingly.

Once you have a design in black marker on your cape, start painting with the watercolour palettes.
When using watercolour palettes, I always try and instruct children to “load up their brush with colour.” To do this, we swish our brush around in the colour and count to 5. (Sometimes I even say to 10.) This leads to brighter colours.
I didn’t give many instructions at this stage- children applied colour as they so desired.

Then we took our capes outside.
Awaiting us were spray bottles filled with liquid watercolour paint.
These paints can be expensive but are a fab investment.
If you’re not keen to invest, then watered-down food dye also works.

The instruction at this stage was to cover the cape with colour.
I advised that the children spray from a height to disperse the colour more easily.
If you spray at close range, the colour coverage is not so great and the paint bounces back towards you.
But this stage is also a fun one for experimenting- so let the children play around with their technique and take risks.

I also suggested that the cape shouldn’t end up soaking in paint. When you hang the cape up to dry, all that excess liquid will run and drip off. It could lead to a cool effect. Or it could leave everything brown. Creating comes with so many unknowns!

The other trick is to make sure that the colours in the spray bottles are complementary. We used blue, purple, red, pink and orange. Too many colours and you could end up with khaki green capes. (Look, no disrespect to khaki green, but…)

Once your DIY superhero cape is dried, go forth and unleash your awesome onto the world.