1. Distribute the garments


2. Immediately instruct students to print first and last name on garment.  I usually have them put it on the inside bottom seam on shirts or the bottom corner on aprons.


3. Give each student a piece of white butcher paper (or manila folder) that will fit inside the shirt or on back side or apron. This prevents the paint from bleeding through to the back side when painting. (Note: Our school had lots of book covers available since most teachers use class sets. The book covers worked great but you can use wax paper, poster board, etc.)


4. Demonstrate how to paper clip the garment and paper together to prevent the paper from sliding out when the garment is hung up at the end of the period to dry. Have students smooth the garment on a flat surface (table).


5. Looking at their plan sheet as a reference, students draw and label the phases of the moon with a black sharpie.  Color in the non-reflected surfaces of the moon black.  Students can use the fabric markers or colored sharpies* to color the stars, Earth, rocket, lettering, and sun.


 6. Painting the phases –Give students a small plastic plate onto which a small amount of glow-in-the-dark fabric paint can be squeezed (no bigger than a dime). Use the glow-in-the dark paint to carefully paint the reflected surfaces of the moon phases.  Paint two coats, allowing it to dry between coats.  I find the small stiff-bristle brushes work best for painting the moon phases.  A can of water at the table is for rinsing the brush.  Paint that dries on the bristles will ruin the brushes so they cannot be reused.  Have paper towels available at each table for drying brushes and water drips.

 Note: My students sit at tables in groups of 4 so I have four plastic plates on the table. The same plate can be used throughout the day by different students without washing if students stick to the “No more than a dime size amount of paint at a time” rule. Overnight, the paint on the plates will dry and you can use the same ones the next day. Eventually, you may want to replace some of the plastic plates with fresh ones.


7. About 8-10 minutes before the class end, tell students to get to a stopping point and pass out hangars and hang the shirts to dry.

8. Rinse paintbrushes and add fresh water to the cans to prepare for the next class.  If there is not another class, rinse paint brushes thoroughly and lay flat to dry.


Optional: have students print moon quotes, jokes, or “fun facts” on the back side of their shirts using permanent markers.  Examples: Aiming for the moon and missing it is better than aiming for the ditch and hitting it!



Care and Cleaning

When “painting” with sharpies on cotton blend T-shirts, allow the ink in the sharpie to thoroughly dry. A minimum of 48 hours drying time is recommended. To set the ink, and prevent it from bleeding, place a clean white cloth over the entire design and iron over the cloth on the highest setting the fabric can handle.  Be sure to iron the entire design.


When you do need to wash your wearable project, wash separately in cold water on a delicate cycle.  Use only a small amount of detergent, or no detergent, if possible.  Dry immediately.

**Some people recommend 1/2 cup salt in washer with cold water, no detergent. Wash item. Then dry in dryer. (I am going to give this “salt wash” a try on the next wearable and I’ll let you know how it works.)



Lunar Cycle Letter to Parents  (MS Word)>

Lunar Cycle Plan Sheet (PDF) >

Lunar Cycle Plan Sheet Key

Moon Songs (PDF) >

Phrases for Phases (PDF) >

Lunar Cycle Project Organization

Give the students a plan sheet that has a line drawing of the Lunar Cycle design. Discuss the Earth, Moon, and Sun and its location relative to each other.

***Phrases for Phases and Songs about the Moon are helpful for teaching beforehand.


On the plan sheet, have students draw and label the phases of the moon as it revolves around the Earth in a counter-clockwise direction.

Students should neatly color the sheet as they envision their painted shirt, apron, or lab coat. I always make extra copies of the plan sheet available so students can try various color combinations until they are happy with the plan. Collect and check the plan sheet for any errors they may have made.


Working on the garment

Depending on the length of your class periods, I generally allow two 45 minute classes to draw, label, and paint the project. The plan sheet they created should be at their table for a reference. I assess their project, checking for completeness and proper drawing and labeling of the phases. I write the grade on the plan sheet which I collect for recording purposes



Supplies: (based on class of 24):

> 12 fine and/or extra fine black sharpie markers for drawing and labeling moon phases,

> Fabric markers or permanent sharpie markers* in assorted colors

> Tulip glow fabric paint for the observable surfaces of the moon (Comes in natural, green, orange, and yellow glow)

> small bristle paintbrushes,

> 12 small cans for rinsing brushes (I use an empty vegetable can and only fill 1/3 with water),

> 24 pieces of butcher paper or wax paper,

> 24 small plastic plates or pieces of aluminum foil,

> 48 jumbo paper clips,

> 24 hangars,

> paper towels or cloth rags for drying brushes

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