Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fabric Stamp Tutorial

A few people have asked how I make my fabric stamps...  so here is a quick tutorial.  As you will come to find out, these stamps are SUPER cheap to make, but they have their limitations.  These stamps are cut with an exact-o knife, so the design you print should be fairly simple.  It would be really hard to achieve fine details using this method and there is a pretty large margin for irregularity with the print.  (side note: if you are looking to print a design that does have a lot of detail and a print that will offer more uniformity, then I would suggest getting a silk screen made and screen printing them).

The pic below shows some of the 1 color prints that I have made with this method.  In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to take it one step further and make a 2 color print (a fill color and an outline.)

Step 1: Gather your supplies and choose your design.  The image in the tutorial is an alien that my oldest son drew and it is perfect for a fabric stamp.  A quick list of supplies:
Exact-o knife
Tracing Paper
Craft Foam with Adhesive on one side.
An Acrylic Block (that is at least as big as your design, if not, get one that is bigger)
A Foam Paint Brush 
Fabric Paint
(Note: You can find Craft Foam at JoAnn Fabrics, Michael's, Hobby Lobby or any major craft store.  This will be located in the children's craft section. Craft Foam is made in every color under the rainbow and I recommend that you get one that is light in color and one that isn't the same color as the paint that you are using.  Make sure you get the craft foam with the adhesive back such as these, they will be displayed together so it is very easy to pick up the un-adhesive craft foam by accident.  You can find the acrylic block in the scrapbooking section of the craft store, they are used with acrylic stamps.)

 Step 2: you are going to want to trace the basic shape on to a piece of tracing paper.  The first stamp is going to be made for the fill color, so I am going to only trace the places that will be filled in.

 Step 3:  I cut out my image so that I could just trace around it.  (if your image has more detail then you can use graphite transfer paper...  e-mail me if you would like directions on how to make your own graphite paper)
Step 4: You will need to transfer the shape onto the back of the craft foam.  The white "paper" shown in the pic below is the back side of the adhesive foam.  You will want to draw the image onto the paper on the back of the foam in the same way that you will want it to print.  For instance, if you were to be making a stamp with text, the text would be drawn onto the backing of the foam in the way that you would read it.  If you have ever made a wood block for printing or anything similar you know that you have to transfer the text and image in the reverse because you are carving on the printable side of the stamp.  But because we are drawing on the back side of the stamp, you will want to draw it on as you want it to appear on your fabric.  (Not sure how to make that less confusing)  :-)

 Step 5: Cut out the craft foam image using your exact-o knife.  The image above shows the acrylic block on the left, my cut out image from the craft foam (which is orange) on the right, and underneath those 2 items, you can see the backing on the foam with the image cut out on the top.

Step 6: Remove the backing from the craft foam (like you would a sticker).

Step 7: Stick the image with the sticky side down. onto the acrylic block.

 Step 8: Prepare your fabric by ironing it well, so that there aren't any creases or wrinkles.  You also want to lay out your fabric onto a piece of cardboard or something to help catch any paint that bleeds through.  Prepare your paint by pouring some out into dish, and have your foam paint brush ready.
 Step 9:  With your foam brush, paint your stamp (the foam that is stuck to the acrylic block) with paint.  Then you will want to stamp it where you want it onto the fabric... you will need to apply a fair amount of pressure.  This takes a little finesse, so you might want to test this out on some scrap fabric before printing on your chosen fabric.  You don't want to apply too much paint to the stamp, because it will then squish out of the sides of the stamp when you print, and you don't want to apply too little because you won't have a solid color.  Note:  In paint (including fabric paint) colors like red and yellow are fairly transparent so you might need to over-stamp the image several times or you can fill in later with a small paint brush.  *** I would also like to point out that I specifically use an acrylic block so that I can see exactly where I am printing.  You could use a block of wood (much like a standard stamp) but you wouldn't be able to see exactly where you are printing and making an over-print almost impossible to match up.
 If you are doing a 1 color image, then you are done.  Set the fabric aside to dry and follow any further directions that the fabric paint suggests (like heat setting the paint and the fabric paint should also have suggestions listed on how long to let the paint dry.)

If you are going to do a multi-color print then you will need to follow the following instructions for every additional color that you are going to print.

Step 10: After the 1st color is dry you will want to follow Steps 2-7 to make another stamp.  The stamp below is the outline from the original drawing that my son made.  When you are getting into details like these, you are not going to be able to get an exact match.   For example, I made the outline a little thicker and placed the "dots" in the vicinity of the dots that were on the drawing. 
 Step 11: Using the stamp that you just made, follow step 9 to print the image on top of the images that you printed 1st.  I like the look of the slightly off-set outline so I purposely off-set it some to give it that effect.

If you are doing a multi-color print then when you are done printing all of the colors, you can follow the drying and setting instructions for the fabric paint that you are using.  (note: when you are done printing your stamp, wash it off with soap and water.  The sticky foam will peel off and if there is any adhesive or foam left on the acrylic block, [this can happen if you leave the foam stuck on there for a long time] then you can clean it off with rubbing alcohol.)
I hope that was clear!  If you have any questions,  feel free to e-mail me.  Happy Printing!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Anthropologie Necklace Copy

I have, yet again, copied another Anthropologie goody. Here is the original Anthropologie Cameo Collage Necklace:

This sucker is $298.00!!!!!   I have a hard time believing that anyone would pay almost $300 for a piece of costume jewelry....  but I liked it so I decided to make one of my own.  Years ago my grandma picked up a box of junk jewelry from an auction.  It was mostly old clip-on earrings that were crusty, missing rhinestones or the other earring.  I don't think my grandma knew what to do with this box of 'junk' so she gave it to my mom who gave it to me.  And as they say, one man's junk is another man's treasure!!!!  This was definitely treasure for me!  Most of the charms that I used were earrings or components from the earrings in that box.  I added some beads and things that I had, the chain I had and I bought a few extra charms to add interest.  Out of pocket...  I think I spent less than $10 on the extra charms and whaaaalaaaa.....
A funny side note: that cat bead was actually from an old bookmark tassel that fell apart.  What did I keep that bead off of a bookmark from middle school???  Why, to make this rip-off necklace, of course!! :-)  and yes, your suspicions are correct... I do have slight hording tendencies. :-)

Obviously mine is different.  I wasn't trying to get anything exact...  just tried to get the same 'look' and size.  I used the sizes and placements from the original as a guideline.  The original was peach and green and mine is a turquoise and red.  I completely recommend that everyone make one of these!  It was fun and surprisingly a little time consuming.... but it was totally worth it!!!  I saved at least $288.00, not that I would have paid $298.00, but you get the point.  At least 2 of the girls at work are going to make this copy too...  hopefully I can get some pics of theirs for a later post.  Happy Jewelry Making!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nappy Bag

I have a friend that is prego with number 3 and after number 2 she sold all of her baby stuff.  Not only am I completely excited for her to be having a new bb, but I also wanted to help her out in the most stylish way that I can.  So I made her a diaper bag.... and not just any diaper bag!!!

I was pricing fabric and the pattern for this bag uses a TON of fabric so it was going to be like $45 for the fabric alone!!  I am reluctant to spend $45 on anything so imagine how excited I was to find a 100% cotton shower curtain from Urban Outfitters for $13.99 with the exact amount of fabric?!?!?!?!  The minute I saw it I just knew that it would be P.E.R.F.E.C.T.  Here is the shower curtain:
It is a cream color cotton with a green funky/hand drawn looking pattern on it.  There are over-printed aqua and navy flowers in one of the corners.  The aqua is transparent so you can see the green pattern showing through.   
I loved how the flowers were just in one corner of the curtain... I used the floral sections for the outside of the bag and the rest for the inside.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE how it turned out... even better then the original fabric that I was looking at.  I am totally jealous :-)
Side A
Side B
This gives you a good idea of how big this bag is and a little more understanding of how it took the WHOLE shower curtain to make this bag.
The inside
And because I am a complete over-achiever, I embroidered a linen tag for the inside with the care instructions.  :-)
The tag :-)
This was the Amy Butler pattern for the Nappy Bag

If you know me or have read some of my older posts, you know that I LOVE this bag.  Does this look familiar? :-)

This is a really simple bag to make that is a great gift for the expecting mom.  The recipient of the "Urban Outfitter-shower-curtain-bag" isn't far along enough to know what she is having but I thought that this was a great fabric either way.  It is girly with flowers but is blue and green... so if she has a boy then she won't feel as guilty as if she would by carrying a pink diaper bag.  Not to mention that she doesn't even have to use this as a diaper bag, it's not like it looks like a diaper bag.  In the diaperless months between my 2 boys, I used this as just a purse and loved it.

As much as I LOVE this pattern, I have to tell you that I made a few alterations.  The 1st alteration I did when making my nappy bag for the 1st time....  I don't like the HUGE points at the bottom corners of the bag (see the pattern cover above), so I miter them on the inside so that it sits flat and is squared off (see the pic directly above to see square bottom).  The second alteration is that she has you sew in "bottle pockets" on the inside of the bag on each of the ends.  They pockets are o.k. but what I have learned from using mine is that those bottle pockets aren't really that great and by sewing in those 2 pockets, it renders 4 other pockets useless.  The original pattern also has you put in a small cell phone pocket on the strap.  With cell phones being all different sizes, there's no telling if the recipient can use the pocket for her cell phone and if you have a gummy case around the phone, it will not slide in and out of the pocket at all.  But with 6 HUGE pockets on the inside, I don't think that the cell phone pocket will be missed.

The best thing about this pattern is that the bag fits perfectly on the back of the stroller!!!  I think that Amy Butler was a genius making this pattern and it will continually be one of my favorite gifts for the new or expecting mom. 

PS.  This great fabric find has definitely taught me to think outside the box when buying fabric for sewing projects.  Not only do cloth shower curtains make good usable fabric, but you can use sheets, curtains, table cloths... you name it! The possibilities are endless!!

PSS.  The store that I work at on the weekends is moving..  just 4 doors down.  We have been packing and moving stuff down to the new store all day today and Anni, our store cat was a little lost.  She found her way to her favorite place, though.  I couldn't resist posting this cute picture.  Happy sewing!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Unveiling

    When I started this blog in 2007, my intention was to create a catalog of my artwork and the processes that I use to create my artwork.  Over the years this Blog has evolved into something more.  Now it isn't just a place where I share my art, but also a place where I share crafts, patterns, bargains and daily creativity.  So, I wanted my blog name, URL and overall appearance to reflect that.  This Blog post is going to be the juncture between what was, what is and what will be.
    I thought the best way to encompass it all would be to go back to the very beginning, the new name that I chose for this Blog is 'Cornflower Blue'.  If you asked me when I was a kid, "What is your favorite crayon?" I would tell you 'Cornflower Blue'.  Although my tastes are consistently changing, my favorite crayon has remained the same.  This one crayon is a symbol for all that I want this blog to be.  I will always be a part of the Add Art Movement, which my someday be recognised in the Art History books of the world :-)  But there is a lot more to me and my daily life than being the self appointed principal member of an art movement that currently exists only in my mind.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bargain Hunter

Bargain tip #1: Buy things when you don't need them.

This might seem like a recipe for disaster, clutter and over spending but this rule is what has saved me a lot of money. I will admit that this takes a little bit of planning and foresight... but it is WELL worth it. For example, in the early spring of 2007 my son was a year and a half and I stumbled on the deal of the century at JC Penney. They were offering half off of all of their sale prices on the winter clothes in the infant/toddler section of the store. I ended up buying all of my son's winter clothes in 2T and 3T sizes for $1 each!!! Pants = $1, long sleeve shirts = $1.... there were a few things that I spent $2 & as much as $3 on (I know, that's breaking the bank), but the majority of what I bought was literally for $1 a piece. Now, my son wouldn't be wearing any of these close for at least 6 months and I would be storing the 3T sizes for 1.5 years or better BUT, how could I pass that up?!?!?!?!? I couldn't buy clothes at a thrift store for that little and these were brand new clothes. So, plan for the future... upcoming birthdays, holidays, seasons... I buy birthday and holiday gifts sometimes a year in advance, if the deal is right.
The first reason that this is my number one rule is because of Clearance items. Clearance items are always better than Sale items because the store is eliminating the Clearance items to make way for new merchandise. Because the new merch. is worth more to the store, they are willing to discount the older merchandise low enough to get it out the door. That is opposed to Sale items that are usually on a temporary (small) discount pretty much just to lure you into the store. Now, Clearance items will generally be on the off season, so like the J.C. Penney sale that I scored above, you have to buy when you don't need them so you will be saving more money.
The second reason that this is my number one rule is because you are generally willing to pay more for something that you need. So if you are shopping for a black purse, for instance, you are probably going to be willing to pay a higher amount than you would if you just happen to stumble onto a black purse that you didn't necessarily need, but the price was too good to pass up.

With that said here is another example of some sweet deals that I have scored recently.

It all started with a belt. I am not usually a belt wearer... but last year I found this mustard belt on sale at Target for some crazy price like $1.50 or $2.00. I had no idea what I was going to do with this belt, but I liked it and for $2.00 (at most) it was worth the risk that I might never wear it.
So flash forward to about 2 weeks ago and I am in Old Navy and find this cute black and white muumuu style dress. I didn't have time to work out the logistics of how I am going to wear this dress at the store but I bought it any way. It is clearly a summer/strapless/knee length dress and I bought it in the middle of winter... I think the original price was $29.99 and I paid about $7 for it. When I got home and had more time, I tried it on and it is pretty shapeless, as muumuus tend to be. I am not the best at putting outfits together and I was instantly racking my brain trying to come up with a decent way to wear this dress. Then the mustard belt popped into my head and it was instantly like, "Whaaaahhlaaaaaaa." Perfect.
However, now I needed a shoe to go with. I own maybe 10 pairs of shoes (not including my insane collection of flip flops) and none of them would work with this outfit. I envisioned mustard or black flats.... I preferred the mustard color but I figured that black would work in a pinch... both of which I didn't have. So I started a quest for a mustard pair of flats, breaking my number one rule to not 'buy when you need something'. And proving my point, I was much more willing to succumb to a higher price because I actually had an outfit to wear them with. I looked at all my go-to merchants; Target, Old Navy, Urban Outfitters. The only shoe that I found was this one and Urban Outfitters.
The color is more of an ochre and a little duller than I was looking for... but it would work... but I wasn't crazy about spending $29 for a pair of shoes, especially since I am only going to wear them with one outfit.
So on my way from Target (my favorite store), I stopped into Famous Footwear, a store that I don't ever venture in. I quickly scanned the top of the shelves for a mustard shoe, (not-a-one)then I bee-lined it right to the sale rack. This was a shot in the dark... not only is a mustard flat going to be hard to find in general, but I wear a size 10 shoe!!! I know, huge. And because of this, I am very limited especially in the sale isles. But the shoe gods must have been on my side on this particular occasion because there was only one mustard flat pair of shoes on any of the sale racks and it was in a size 10..... for $15!!!!!

The best part is that they match my belt perfectly!!!! (side note: I am not crazy about the pleather bow thing on the top of the shoe so I might cut it off and find a craftier embellishment) For the record: I completely lucked out even though I did break my #1 rule!!!! :-) Happy shopping!