Saturday, December 22, 2012

Embellished Burlap Table Runner How-to

     I wanted to have something fantastic on the table for Christmas dinner this year.  I've seen a lot of burlap being used for various projects and thought to myself, why not a table runner?  From there, the idea just kind of took off on it's own and evolved several times.  At the end, though, I'm super happy with what came to be...

    There were a few firsts for me, (using burlap, fabric ink, and a new material for stenciling) so it was a bit of a shot in the dark experiment.  Sometimes shots in the dark work out!

Here's what you'll need:

Main fabric- I used burlap.  You can find it at your local fabric store.  You'll want enough to have one continuous strip across your table plus about 12" or so on either side to hang over.  (So length of table + 24")
Backing fabric- I used muslin that I had in my fabric stash.  There should be the same amount of backing as there is main fabric.
Rotary cutter and Scissors
Ruler or measuring tape.
Sewing Machine
Paint Mask- This was a first for me.  I guess this stuff is used for painting cars, but it can be found at vinyl suppliers (I used H&  You'll need enough for your graphics plus a 1-2" border around the design.
Transfer tape or contact paper
Sponge Paint Brush
Fabric ink- I used the stuff that came in my Silhouette kit, however, it's the same as you can find at the hobby store for silkscreening.
Vinyl Cutting Machine or a steady hand, utility knife, and a lot of patience- I used my Silhouette Cameo, as I am seriously lacking in that kind of patience and it was a huge design.  If it's just a small one, I could see doing it by hand, though.
Weeding Hook or needle and tweezers
Iron and/or Heat Press- I used both, though just an iron would be okay.  You'll see in the tutorial how I used them.
Freezer paper or scrap paper- To keep the ink from bleeding through onto the surface of whatever you are painting on.

Step 1- Cut your main fabric and backing to the size of your table plus 24" (that gives you 11" of overhang on either side after factoring in a 1" seam allowance) for the length and then the width you want plus 2".  (Mine was 20" wide.)  For burlap, I found that an easy way to make a straight cut was to pull on one of the end threads.  It would gather the burlap and eventually snap, but left a nice, clean straight line to follow for when you cut it.
Step 2- After your main fabric and backing are cut, iron freezer paper on to the back of your main fabric.  (Main fabric being the top fabric that you are going to paint.  See which side of the burlap you want to use... some sides are prettier than others, and iron the freezer paper onto the ugly or "wrong" side.
And keep ironing...
... until the back parts of the runner that will have the graphics on them is completely covered.

Step 3- Using your cutting machine, cut out your design on your paint mask.  You may have to cut the paint mask down to fit onto your mat.
     Also, if your design is large.... you may have to cut it in several sections.

Step 4-  Weed your design.  Using your weeding hook, remove the parts of the stencil that you will want to paint.  This part may leave you a little covered in paint mask vinyl.

Step 5-  Lay out your design the way you want it.

     Once you're happy with how it looks (keep seam allowances in mind!  Don't place it too near the edge or some may disappear into a seam), use your transfer tape or contact paper to remove the design from the backing and onto your main fabric.  (Use the squeegee over the transfer tape once it's on top of the vinyl and then peel off the backing... then place it on your main fabric and squeegee again.)  Before I put the contact paper on top of the vinyl to remove it from the backing, I like to stick the contact paper on the carpet and pull up a few times to get the stickiness down a bit.  Makes it easier to remove later.

Step 6- This is BY FAR the hardest part of making this.  Peel back the transfer tape.  Go slow, take your time.  Cut the excess transfer tape away as you're doing it. I don't have a photo of this step because I was charging my phone, but use one hand to hold down the vinyl and the other to remove the transfer tape.  This takes awhile.  Be patient.

   I do, however, have a pic of some of the words with the transfer tape peeled off while the rest wait for  transfer tape and placement.
     As you get the decals on there, go back over them gently with your squeegee, and/or press firmly with your hand to resticky it to the main fabric if it came up at all.

Step 7-  Now comes the fun part.  Using your sponge brush, apply the fabric ink to the decals, being careful to stay within the frame of the decal and not go out of the lines.  I did a thin coat and waited for it to dry.  Then did a second coat a bit thicker... blotting up and down with my brush.
     What you DON'T want to do, is paint so forcefully that you pull up your stencil... or blob so much paint that it bleeds all over the place regardless of the stencil.  The freezer paper will also help keep the ink in check.

Step 8-  Once the paint is COMPLETELY dry, peel back the stencil.  This was my favorite part by far.  So fun to see the end result peeking through.  Then, heat seal it.  You can either use an iron and iron through a protective layer of fabric (such as an old pillowcase) or a heat press if you want to blaze through it.  Make sure you use a teflon sheet if you use your heat press.

Step 9-  Now it's time to sew it together.  Pin your fabric right sides together.  Starting on one long side, sew down and around 3 sides with a 1" seam allowance.  Leave one short side open so you can turn it right-side out.  Iron.

Step 10- Tuck the unsewn short side inside 1" and press flat.  Sew as close to the edge as you can.  To finish the runner off, top stitch around the entire  runner.  I topstitched slightly under 1" to catch and hold all of the layers.  Then, you're done!

     Send pics if you guys make some!  I'd love to see them.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Etched Hurricane Candleholder Tutorial

     I LOVE the dollar store.  Specifically, Dollar Tree.  You can find some super neat glass items there to experiment on, and not worry if you completely mess it up because... if you do, it was only $1 *shoulder shrug*... and if you don't, it was only $1!!! *excited happy dance*

   So this was my first time etching glass.  I was a bit nervous, but I found that I absolutely LOVED it and I thought you guys might too.

    See what you can make?  Doesn't take much and it's not only inexpensive, but LOOKS fantastic.

Here's what you'll need-

Hurricane candleholder or other glass item to etch
Etching cream (I used EtchAll, but there are other etching creams out there)
Vinyl for a stencil (some people use contact paper, but I haven't tried it)
Weeding hook
Transfer tape
Cutting tool such as a Silhouette or a utility knife and your time and patience.
Old paintbrush

Step 1- 
     Design and cut your stencil, leaving at least a 1" edge around your design that you want to etch.  I knew that I wanted to do snowflakes on  mine so I measured the candleholder and eyeballed about how big I wanted it.  Pulled up the image in Silhouette Studio, sized it, and cut it out on my vinyl.

Step 2-
     Once your design is cut, use your weeding hook to pull out the part that you want to etch.  Make sure that you get everything you want to see etched on your glass is weeded off of your stencil.
Starting to weed out the design.

Weeding complete

Step 3- 
     Lay your transfer tape over the top of your design and squeegee across your stencil to get the vinyl to stick to your tape.  Then transfer the design over to the glass.  Go SLOWLY.  Make sure you line up your stencil before placing it on your glass.  Then, squeegee it down REALLY WELL.  You don't want any bubbles or lumps on the design part of your stencil.  (Around the edge doesn't matter, but you want to make sure that the design part is squashed on there nice and tight so the etching cream doesn't leak out through a non-secure part and blur or smear your design.)  I squeegee'd and then went back over with my fingers.

Step 4-
     Gently peel back your transfer tape and then re-eyeball your design.  I ran my fingers over it again (and held it up to the light to check for bubbles around the design edge) to make sure that it was stuck on there really well where the design was.  Make sure the placement and everything is where you want it because once you put the cream on, you're stuck with it.  :)
Check your stencils
Step 5-
     Using your old paintbrush (**DON'T TOUCH THE CREAM WITH YOUR BARE SKIN**), blob the etching cream on there.  Be GENEROUS, don't skimp on this part, but be careful where you put it, if you go outside of your stencil, your glass will have a mark.

Step 6- 
     Wait.  :)  I waited 30 minutes wiped a part off (use a paper towel, don't wipe with your hand) and held it up.  It wasn't as deep as I wanted it to be, so I reapplied to that spot and waited 30 more minutes... then went on to Step 7.

Step 7-
     By this point, my kids were wigging out and jumping around like crazy.  I completely forgot to scrape the excess cream back into the jar and, instead, I was rushing and didn't realize until I had already started to rinse and the pic was taken.  Right now is when you should scrape the excess cream off and put it back into the jar.  THEN rinse it off.  (I was kicking myself afterwards.)
     If, after you rinse, you are still not happy with how deep the etching is, you can dry it off completely, and then redo Steps 5-7.  If you're happy with how it looks, then you can move on to Step 8.

Step 8-
     Remove the stencil and take a bow.

     Or take two....
   Once you're finished congratulating yourself, do it again after you decorate.  ;)


Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Ornament: Polar Bear in an Ice Cave

     This weekend consisted of a lot of experimentation with ornaments.  I had found this fantastic glitter paint that I wanted to try using to coat the inside of glass ornaments.  I thought that maybe it would be even easier than glittering.  (Boy, was I WRONG.)

     In the course of my ornament experimentation, I managed to blow up an ornament in my oven, resulting in a massive glitter bomb.  I also wasted more ornaments than I care to think about trying different techniques.

     One of those techniques was just coating the outside of the ornament.  It was successful, but what's the point if you can't adhere vinyl to it and can find them at any dollar store... minus the mess and hassle?

     While coating the outside of the ornament, I noticed that the paint dripped down in a neat way.  So I did one ornament that was completely coated to test the technique, and the other one, I added significantly less.  I WANTED the drips.  To me, it looked like a cave... an ice cave.  Awesome.  I immediately knew what I wanted to do.

And I also did the back.

     When I was thinking about the design of the ornament, I went looking for some cute polar bear artwork, but nothing seemed to fit what I was looking for.  So I made my own.  :)

     I'm really loving the Designer Edition of Silhouette Studio.  Lots of neat tricks!

     I cut out all the vinyl, adhered it to my transparency to make the bear "float" in the middle of the glass ornament, and then added Swarovski crystals to the snowflakes for a little extra pop.  Super excited about this one!

And a few pictures of my experiments this past weekend.

     The vast majority were fails... but you can't win them all!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

DIY Glitter Ornament Tutorial

     Both of the boys have class Christmas parties coming up and I wanted to do something special for their classes.  What better thing to give at the party than some homemade ornaments?  Plus, it gave me an excuse to pull out the glitter.  Win/win!

     So far, I've finished one class:
And ALMOST finished another class:

Here's how you do it....

1.) Ornaments- either glass or plastic clear ornaments with removable cap.
2.) Floor polish or Liquid hair spray- Use Pledge with Future Shine (must have Future Shine to make the glitter adhere properly) for glass ornaments or liquid (non-aerosol) hairspray for the plastic ornaments.  You can find this at the dollar store.
3.) 2 funnels- Not 100% necessary, but definitely helps.  I wish both of mine were plastic, but I only had one plastic that I used for the hairspray.  I made my other one for the glitter out of a piece of paper and tape.
4.) Extra fine glitter-  I used "WOW" glitter for Cam's class and Martha Stewart Neon Glitter for Kai's class.
5.) Glue to secure the tops when you are done.  (E6000 works great)
6.) Rubbing alcohol or distilled white vinegar (rubbing alcohol works best) to clean ornaments.

Just those supplies above (also, vinegar and glue) are what you need to glitter ornaments.  If you want to add vinyl embellishments, you will also need:

transfer tape
Silhouette or Cricut cutting machine, or a lot of patience and a crafting knife.

Okay, down to business.

Step 1-
Pull the cap off your ornament.  Clean out the inside of your ornament with rubbing alcohol (just pour in and shake) and let dry completely.
Cap off, ready to be cleaned.

Step 2-
Once completely dry... using your funnel or a steady hand, pour your hairspray (plastic ornaments) or floor polish (glass ornaments) SLOWLY into your ornament.  You want to do it slowly to avoid bubbles that might mess up your glitter later.  A bubble here or there isn't anything to worry about, but frothy bubbles all over will make your ornament look messy and clumpy.  When using floor polish, I found that adding some and "swirling" (NOT SHAKING, that will make tons of bubbles) it gently around the inside of the ornament worked best.  For hairspray, I just filled the ornament up to the top and then poured it back into the hairspray bottle using the funnel.  You want to make sure to coat the entire inside of the ornament, don't miss any spots or you'll have bare spots where your glitter won't stick.
Ornament full of hairspray

Step 3-
Once your ornament is coated on the inside, pour the excess fluid back into your bottle, being careful not to make bubbles.
Step 4-
Right after pouring out the excess fluid, quickly add glitter using a funnel, then plug up the hole with your thumb or paper towel and shake... making sure to coat the inside of the ornament evenly.

     Beware, this step may result in severe "Purple Glitter Thumb".  ;)
Step 5-
Prop the ornament up and let it dry completely.  I let it sit for about an hour or so.
Step 6- 
Once ornament is completely dry, pull the wires on the cap until the ends click.  (Hard to describe so I took a picture.)  Don't pull it all the way out, just pull until it's ALMOST out.
Step 7-
Add a little glue to the inside of the lid and then place it over the top of the ornament, keeping the wires up while you place it and hold it securely.
Step 8-
Pinch the wire and push it into the ornament slowly.  Pinching it will help keep the wire from scraping the sides of the ornament.  This way, you're not scraping up all that pretty glitter work you just did.  ;)

     That's it!  Easy as can be!

    You can choose to leave them as-is, or embellish them with vinyl and/or ribbon.  It's completely up to you.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Easy Gridwall Vinyl Organizer

     Like a lot of my crafting hobbies, my vinyl collection had gotten out of hand.  I was resorting to a Rubbermaid tub with the vinyl rolled up in giant rolls inside, but it looked like a Rubbermaid tub wrestling an octopus with all of the vinyl sticking up and fighting it's way out.

     It was time to get it under control.

     First, I looked at vinyl racks.  I LOVED them, but at $54 a pop for the small ones that wouldn't even hold a quarter of my vinyl, I had to pass.

     Next, I considered building my own.  I thought about a giant thread rack with dowels at an angle.  However, I don't have a drill press and with my OCD-like tendencies, I knew that any imperfection would drive me batty and I'd never finish it to my liking.

     Then.... pegboard.  This seemed to be my best option.  I could always paint it to pretty it up, but I like super-simple, non-busy things.  Right next to the pegboard was a gridwall.  BINGO!

     Before ordering, I measured my wall.  I had a 2' x 5' section that was just perfect for vinyl storage.  Luckily, gridwall comes in all kinds of sizes.  I knew that I wanted 3 baskets.  One to hold supplies, one for scraps, and one for my specialty vinyl.  So I ordered 3- 12" x 12" baskets.  (They narrow at the bottom, so a 12" x 12" piece will not lay flat in the bottom, but it still works for me.)  I also wanted to be able to hang up my tape that I would use to secure the rolls, so I got a 2" peg.  For my vinyl color chart and samples, I ordered an 8.5" x 11" acrylic literature holder.  Finally, of course the vinyl pegs... I purchased 90- 12" long pegs.

     I always order my vinyl in 12" long sections anyway, so this fit perfectly.

So the total of my order-

1- 2' x 5' gridwall
3- 12" x 12" x 4" baskets
6- wall brackets (only used 4 but keeping the others just in case I start getting more "heavy" rolls and need additional support)
90- 12" hooks
1- 8.5" x 11" acrylic literature holder
1- 2" hook (for my tape)

     I found this all at KC Store Fixtures.  After shipping and everything, my total was $121.08 shipped. (This included 12 additional tiny mounting brackets that I didn't even use that were $.15/ea., so I didn't list them above because they weren't necessary.)

     It was super-easy to install.  I was able to do it on my own with my handheld drill.  Make sure you mount it into the wall studs so it's nice and secure.

     After taking this picture, my order for my 12" x 10-yd rolls came in.  I was able to put them on the gridwall as well, just double up the hooks to help support the roll.

     I'm really happy with the way it turned out.  It makes the vinyl easily accessible without being "in-your-face".