How to Organize a Crafty Baby Shower: Homemade Onesie Decorating Station

When I learned that my best friend Marie was having a baby, I was so happy for her! Right away, I knew that I wanted to make something special for her first child. Marie and I met at a painting class when we were about 6 years old. We spent our childhood painting, crafting, making experiments in the kitchen and swimming! I moved away when I was about 18 years old, so we have lived in different cities for more than 10 years, but every time we see each other, it is like no time has passed! Whenever we get a chance to get together, we continue to giggle while crafting and cooking! I love spending time with her and I really wish we lived closer!!!

When her mom asked me if I could come to Québec for her baby shower, I immediately booked my plane ticket and started thinking about a fun and crafty activity that would get all the guests involved in creating amazing and personalized gifts for her daughter. The first thing that came to my mind was an activity that involved painting since this is how we met. I read about painting personalized onesies and thought: Wow, this could be really fun! However, after thinking about the logistics of this activity, I realized that this could get pretty messy, no one would enjoy staining their gorgeous summer dresses with paint, and also, some people might get intimidated by the idea of painting a blank onesie! After doing a bit of research, I read this great article which explains how to make onesies with iron-on appliques. I thought the idea was brilliant and this might just be what I could organize for Marie! All the guests, no matter what their crafting skill level is, would be able to create a unique keepsake for the future baby.

Below, I go through the various steps and materials needed to create this fun and creative baby shower activity.

Homemade Baby Shower - Personalized Onesies How to set up the best Onesie Decorating Station with Personnalized Iron-On Appliques:

1. Supplies – Here are the supplies that you will need:

– Onesies : Purchase enough onesies for all the guests, and a few more just in case! For Marie’s shower, I purchased about 20 onesies and we had just enough. You should get different sizes so the baby will always be able to wear different onesies as he/she grows. You can take white onesies, but for a more funky look, you can select various colours and small patterns (stripes, polka dots, etc). The onesies I got came in packs of 3 and each one was a different colour/pattern.

Heat’n Bond Ultrahold Iron-On Adhesive: This is what you need to make the iron-on appliques. You can purchase this on Amazon and at most fabric stores or superstore. I got a 5 yard roll of this strong iron-on adhesive and that was more than enough to make 20 onesies.  A roll costs less than $20, which is a pretty good deal if you think that you can make hundreds of iron-on appliques with only 5 yards of adhesive! We only used about half of the roll for this shower.

– Fabric: You will need about 1/2 meter of 7-8 different types of fabric (preferably cotton). It is nice to have a few plain colours and a few fabrics with patterns. I have a huge bin of fabric that I keep for my food photography, so I found all the fabric in my bin, but you can also buy some at your local fabric store.

– Iron-On Appliques (optional): If you want, you can get a few store-bought appliques. I got a small bag of animal iron-on appliques to add variety to the fabric appliques. You can see them on the pictures, the monkey, lion, owl, elephant, etc. They are super cute and everyone loved them!  This is optional, you can stick with making your own appliques with fabric.

– Pencil and Scissors: You need to bring a few pencils and scissors for those who want to create their own appliques. They will draw the shape on the back of the fabric and cut it with the scissors.

– Iron and Ironing Board: You need to have an iron and board to set the appliques on the onesies. It only takes about 15 seconds of heat to glue the applique on the onesie (you can follow the instructions on the Heat’n Bond packaging). I love that it is super quick!

– Gift Tags, Wool and Safety Pins: I made little gift tags with simple cardstock and a tag punch so that everyone can attach a note to the onesie they create.

– Clothesline or Rope: You will want to display all the creations when they are completed, so if there is no clothelines (or if you do the activity in the winter), you can easily set a temporary clothesline with a rope. Make sure you get some strong rope! If you look at the pictures I posted, you may notice the makeshift clothesline that I made with wool because I had forgotten a rope. We ended up having to double the rope and add metal wire to support the weight of all these cute onesies. You can learn from my experience and make sure you have a sturdy clothesline 😉


2. Preparation:

Before the shower, you will need to prepare a few things to make this activity easier for people.

First, iron one side of the Heat’n Hold adhesive to pieces of fabric that measure approximately 30 cm x 50 cm. Once this is done, you can cut some shapes, as seen on the picture below. To cut the shapes, I made stencils using a die-cutting machine at my local scrapbooking store. I cut all kinds of cute shapes into thick chipboard so they would be reusable. Here are the types of shapes I cut: circles, birds, fish, butterfly, teddy bear, flowers, hearts, clouds, music notes, etc (you can see some of them on the picture below). I tried to use about half of each piece of adhesive fabric to cut shapes and keep the other half of the fabric to bring at the shower. This way, each person could either pick pre-cut appliques or use the fabric to cut their own shapes to create unique designs. Once you have cut a few appliques, you should make a test and create your own onesie. This way, you will make sure you know exactly how to make it, and the best thing is that you will use this one as an example when you explain the activity during the shower.

The other thing you need to prepare are the gift tags (see purple and pink tags next to the onesies on the picture below). Making gift tags is really simple. You only need to take a sheet of coloured cardstock and using a punch, cut out enough tags for each onesie (and a few more since people may use more than one). Attach a short piece of wool and safety pin on each tag so people can easily attach them on their creation.

The last thing you need to prepare before the shower is to set up the Onesie Decorating Station. You can set up the crafting station on a table by placing the onesies, appliques, fabric, scissors, pencils and tags. You should also set up the iron and ironing board in a corner somewhere out of the way, where there are no chances of tripping on a wire. Finally, you can set the clothesline and you are all ready to go!


3. During the Shower: Now that you have done all this prep work, it’s time to enjoy the activity and discover everyone’s creative side. First, you can explain the activity to the group and invite guests to drop by the crafting table whenever they want during the shower. It is good to try and get about 2-3 people at the station, since it will be easier for you to help out everyone and walk them through the detail of the activity than if you get 10 people at the same time. You can stay around the station to provide guidance and advice during the process. Also, once someone has completed their design, you can take them to the ironing station and help them ironing their. If you want, you could also assign a friend to help out and supervise the ironing station to ensure it is done properly and safely. Once each person has completed their onesie, they can attach a personalized note on the tag and hang it on the clothesline.

Overall, everyone was so positive about the activity! Everyone had a blast and was so proud of each creation! It was amazing to see all the different designs that reflect the personality of each of Marie’s friends and family members. By giving the option of using pre-cut appliques or giving people the opportunity to cut the shapes that they want, it really helped tailor the activity to everyone, from beginners to avid crafters.

2014_06_07 - Best of Maries Shower

Homemade Baby Shower - Personalized Onesies

Homemade Baby Shower - Personalized Onesies

4. After the Shower: First, you can clean up and be amazed by all the beautiful onesies that were created. Then, you can start thinking about the practical stuff: Heat’n Bond Ultrahold is apparently the strongest iron-on adhesive out there, but unfortunately, the patches you iron-on will get removed after a few washes. Thus, to keep the patches on longer, I recommend that you do the new parents a favour and hand sew each applique on the onesie, using a matching colour thread. It is not as long and tedious as it may look, this is an activity that you can easily do while you watch a movie or TV show, and it makes a huge difference on the final product! This step is not required, but it definitely adds a nice finishing touch and ensures that the onesies will keep its lovely decorations while the baby is wearing them, and when the parents will wash them!

Homemade Baby Shower - Personalized Onesies

Marie’s sweet daughter Sofia was born a few days ago. She is gorgeous and I can’t wait to meet her, and I can’t wait to see her in all those colourful outfits!


  1. me says

    Hi there! Great article. I am trying to do this activity for an upcoming baby shower. How did you get the rope to stay up? Great job :)

    • Ellie says

      This is great to hear! I just secured the rope on the balcony posts and tied it a few times around the posts so it is secure. You really just have to improvise with the space that you are in :)

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