Saturday, July 29, 2017

Custom Bulletin Board

When we moved into the new house last year, I was looking for a cute way to display photos as well as my important notes. I wasn’t finding what I wanted. Instead, I got creative and put one together myself. I’ll show you what I did.

What you will need:
The size of the frame you use depends on the size board you want to make. I put mine over my desk so a 16” x 20” frame worked best for me. You can go bigger if you want. Michael’s and Hobby Lobby both sell a wide variety of open back frames. Also, thrift stores and flea markets are a great place to pick up unique frames. Do any painting, distressing, or alteration to the frame first. You don’t have to alter the frame at all if you do not want to and I left mine alone since it matches my desk so well. There are tons of beautiful ready-made frames to choose from. It is very difficult to antique the frame once everything is put together. You will just have a big mess on your hands.

To make the insert for your board, cut a piece of foam core or cardboard to fit your frame. With some frames, the opening is slightly different than the dimensions stated. So, your 16” x 20” frame may end up being 15 7/8” x 19 7/8”. A 1/8 of an inch does not seem like a big deal but it will once you try to put your fabric wrapped board in and it warps.  Just double check the frame by measuring the sides of the opening from the back side of the frame. You will want to cut your board slightly smaller to make room for the fabric to fold around the edges. For my 16” x 20,” I cut my board to 15 3/4” x 19 3/4”. With the fabric wrapped around it, the fit was perfect.

Cut the fabric at least 2” larger than your board and attach one edge to the back of the board with the stapler or double sided tape. If you want to use tape, make sure that it is nice and strong. Wrap the fabric around the front to the opposite side. You want to make sure that it is tight enough to avoid sags and wrinkles but not to bow the board. Once you are happy with the tension, attach it to the back of that opposite side. Keep the tension and attach the other 2 edges. Fold the corners flat and secure them down.

With most open back frames, there are no prongs or backing to secure your piece into the frame. This is where the offset clips come into play. There are different lengths of offsets so you will want to get a wider set for a deeper frame. Screw one side into the frame and let the other side hold your board in place. 

 Once the board is secured you can hang the frame. I recommend using two d-rings to keep the frame from moving when you are pinning things. If your frame does not come with a hanging system, you can find picture hanging kits with all that you need. Now just enjoy your new pin board. Happy crafting!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Making Painted Shirts

                Last Thursday, I was talking about the shirts I am making for Ella’s birthday. I have completed one and the other is almost there. Ian's is still drying. These have been a ton of fun to make so far. They really are not that hard and I would recommend making these for any occasion. Let the kiddos make their own shirts for trips, costumes, or just for fun.

                The stencils I used are under the sea since the party is mermaid themed, but there is a wide variety of stencils you can use. To keep the stencils from slipping, I used plain masking tape to secure the sides while painting. The daubers I used were left over from the flower pot project that I posted a while back. They worked perfectly with the fabric paint. Fill in the paint with a little a stamping motion and go slow, especially with detailed stencils. The fabric can stick to the dauber and cause the image to smudge. I found that it did help to hold down the sides of the image with a finger.

                For mine, I used purple for the background image and black for the lettering. Since the lettering was in a darker color, I did not have to worry about the background showing through. With Ian’s, I wanted to use white for the lettering. For his, I had to make sure the paint was thick enough to stand out. It was not hard since the paint was tulip puff paint. Some of his letters turned out a little on the light side but he seemed to be ok with that. I wanted my lettering to have some sparkle. So, after the black had a moment to dry I went over it with a glitter fabric paint. You do not have to use separate paint. They do make shiny paints, I just did not have one on hand.

                The process is perfect for t-shirts but you can use it to embellish any fabric item. You can take a tote bag, scarf, or whatever you want and paint your design. Just make sure that you put cardboard or plastic under the fabric that you are painting. Without something to paint on, the paint will bleed through and possibly stick to the back of the shirt or table. I used a plastic board covered in wax paper. It worked extremely well.

                Once you have painted your shirt, let it dry completely and follow the directions on the bottle to set the paint. When washing your shirts, you will need to wash it inside out. Just wait to launder them until the paint has set for 72 hours. You can add jewels or other embellishments with fabric glue such as jewel-it. Have fun with it and as always there are no wrong answers. Happy crafting!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Friday, July 21, 2017

New Use for an Old Ashtray

I really enjoy upcycling. You can take almost anything and give it new life as something new and useful. It also satisfies my need to be as green as possible. Recycle, reduce, and reuse! Well, today we are going to turn an old ashtray into a magnetic pin holder.

                Now, I am a huge Disney fan. I knew I had to do something with this little ashtray. It would have been more perfect if it was from Disney World, we worked there as part of the college program a couple times, but that’s ok. I don’t smoke and don’t plan to start so I chose to turn it into something that I could use in my sewing room.

                What I did was take a 3/4” circular magnet and attach it to the bottom of the ashtray. I centered mine because of the size and shape of my tray. You can use whatever shape or size you wish. If you want to use multiple magnets for larger plates, you absolutely can. Hot glue works wonderfully to attach the magnet. E6000 or super glue would work as well.

                The ashtray had a completely flat bottom and I did not like that it was sitting on the magnet. It wobbled and would have driven me nuts. To fix it, I made little bumpers with hot glue. At 3 points around the outer edge, I put a dollop of glue. Make sure that they are all the same size and let it cool almost totally. Just before they are completely cool, set it down on a flat surface to even the points out. I do not let it set during this step. Just a quick check on a table, and then flip it upside down again, will be enough. You don’t want it to stick to the table. If you don’t want to use hot glue, you can use bumpons. They are made to keep frames from slipping and scuffing your walls. They are adhesive and will give enough space for most magnets. Another thing to keep in mind is that the bumpons will work best on a flat surface. Either way, the bumpers will keep the tray from wobbling as well as help it grip the work surface.

                That’s it! You now have a magnetic dish for your pins. It works well to keep your pins in one place and will help if you drop one. I have carpet in my sewing room and it is hard to see the pins I drop. Magnets are your very best friends in that situation. I have made a couple of these, one for my cutting table and one to keep by my machines. As always, there are no wrong answers so have fun with them and happy crafting!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Things to do Thursday

     So, Ella's birthday is in just over a month. It will be her first birthday so I want it to be special and adorable. We are doing a mermaid theme and have been gathering supplies for birthday craft projects. Also, trying adorable hats on Ella. She really is a good sport.

     As I get the projects going, I will post them. So far, I have started our shirts for the party and a few sea creature decorations. I don't have any pictures of my jelly fish since they are still just cut up party lanterns at the moment but here is a shirt that is drying. It was stenciled and will end up saying mer-mama. I am making one for Ian as well. There are quite a few great sea life stencils but surprisingly few mermaids. The puffy fabric paint has been working very well so far. Once I get the pictures taken and everything drys, I will do a post on how I made the shirts. This is just a little preview.

     I am having a blast planing and making things and I hope you enjoy seeing the projects to come. Now, there are times that crafts do not go as planed. I really should have been taking pictures to post.  We can call it "When Good Crafts go Bad." Anyway, I am terrible about getting something stuck in my head. If the idea does not work out, I get extremely frustrated. Crafting should not be frustrating. As long as you look at your project with that same failed idea in mind, it will only upset you. Don't give up. In my case, I was attempting to make a dress out of some vintage fabric that I had found flea marketing. The fabric that I chose to line the dress was total garbage and, because I tried to make it work, the dress was a ruined. Well, I hated to lose the pretty vintage fabric but I was just sick about my dress not working. The problem was with the top so why not chop that off and make a cute skirt? That is what I decided to do. 

I was able to save the pockets too!
     This is exactly why I say that there are no wrong answers when creating. Enjoy the process and happy crafting!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Making a Tote Out of an Old Shirt

                We all have old t-shirts that are special. I have old concert shirts, shirts from different races I’ve run, and ones that are just cute. They take up space in my closet and some will be a quilt but the ones that are just cute may not make the cut. In that case, they can become other useful things. Here is how I turned this little elephant tee into a cute tote bag.

                First, I cut the sleeves and the neckline off. The elephant image was a bit off so I didn’t square it off like I normally would. The little dips would give the top a little something different. With this shirt, the fabric was very thin. I used the front and back to keep the elephant nice and visible. To make sure the bag is sturdy you can use canvas, upholstery fabric, denim, or other tough fabrics. With mine, I used canvas.

                I used the cut-up shirt to cut 3 pieces of back canvas. The shirt and one canvas piece became the front and the other 2 canvas shapes became the back panel. I also cut a square for an inside pocket and 4” x 33” strips for the handles. The front was made by placing the shirt face down and sewing along the top edge. On the back panel, I attached the pocket to the inside canvas piece and used the same process to put inner and outer pieces together.

The handles were made by folding the edges into the center and pressing them. That was then folded in half and pressed to create an inch-wide strap which was then stitched down the open edge. When attached, the straps would have created bumps in the shirt so I attached them to the inside with the raw edges folded under. I kept the stitching from showing on the outside of the bag by pushing the shirt out of the way when stitching. I then repeated this with the back panel.

                With the panels completely flat, I pined them together with outsides together and sewed around the sides and the bottom of the bag. I did have to snip the sides of the shirt so it would not warp. To make sure the corners turn nicely, I trimmed the excess from the seams and clipped the inside of the corners. I then turned it right side out and it was done.

                Honestly, I’m really happy with how it turned out. I was able to keep the little pocket in the elephant’s ear functional which is great and I don’t have to worry about it warping the image thanks the canvas. I would recommend that you use a heavy-duty needle in your machine, if you want to work with thick canvas. This was a fun project to make and would be a great way to re-purpose old shirts that the kids have out grown. As with everything on my site, there are no wrong answers so get creating!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.