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12 Days of Projects – Day 11 No Sew Stenciled Placemats

Wowsers, we are in the home stretch of 12 Days of Projects! Today is Day 11 and I’m making No Sew Stenciled Placemats. I could have just used a fabric transfer technique like I tried a few days ago, but I had this stencil of rustic numbers and thought it might be fun to try my hand at stenciling on fabric. I hoped the result would be soft and slightly imperfect. And why not try on a simple project like placemats?! Did you know the French word for stencil is pochoir? Tidbits to share with friends at cocktail parties (ones where you talk about DIY, of course!) I also wanted to avoid sewing so thought I could do some frayed edges that would give the placemats a finished look without the bother of pulling out the sewing machine. Let’s get started…

Materials:
Fabric – I used a cotton muslin pre-washed/shrunk. I think these would work much better with linen, I just didn’t want to spend the money!
Fabric paint
Stencil brush
Scissors – make sure you use a pair dedicated for use on fabrics. Did you know that using scissors on paper dulls them very quickly? I keep mine separate.
Pencil
Ruler/tape measure
Photo Nov 26, 9 51 31 AM
Instructions:
Step 1. From what I’ve seen, placemat dimensions tend to be about 13 x 17 inches. Plan out your placemats on your fabric and use your pencil to sketch an outline (I did 14 x 18). Fabric bolts can come in different widths, but if you find one at least 45 inches wide, you can easily get 4 placemats out of one yard.
Photo Nov 26, 10 01 16 AM
Step 2. Cut out your placemats with your fabric scissors.
Photo Nov 26, 10 09 01 AM
Step 3. Lay out your stencil and tape it down securely. I wanted mine to appear in the bottom right corner of the placemat.
Photo Nov 26, 10 32 01 AM
Step 4. Using a stencil brush (inexpensive foam round brush), dip the brush in the fabric paint, and “dab” on a surface to remove most of the paint (I use an old plastic lid). And then use the same dabbing technique to go over your stencil onto your fabric in an even manner. You really use very little paint, particularly in the case of these where we want it to appear a little faded.
Photo Nov 26, 10 33 27 AM
Step 5. Remove your stencil and let the paint dry.
Photo Nov 26, 10 34 23 AM
Photo Nov 26, 10 50 33 AM
Step 6. To fray the edges, pull strands of the fabric threads one at a time until you reach a desirable effect. I had mixed success with this techniques, fyi. I think it was the fabric I used, but it wasn’t that square, so my frayed edges got a little lopsided (but hey they are “perfectly imperfect”). 🙂 I think next time I might just sew them. Or linen might work better for this part, too.
Photo Nov 26, 11 30 25 AM
That’s it! That’s all! You could make 2 or 4 or as many as are in your family. These also make great handmade gifts. Have fun crafting!
Photo Nov 26, 11 28 07 AM
Photo Nov 26, 11 29 56 AM

12 Days of Projects – Day 10 Custom Serving Tray

Alrighty, folks. I just can’t seem to step away from the Mod Podge. I find it a fun medium to work with but also extremely frustrating. It is very forgiving when you are randomly placing papers on a surface. But for a single large image on a standard surface, it is difficult to get right! Today we are trying again – this time on a serving tray and with a very cool map of Paris I found that is actually giftwrap and a tray from Ikea. We are on Day 10 of 12 Days of Projects and in the home stretch! Let’s git ‘er done…

Materials:
Wood tray (this one is KLACK from Ikea, don’t you love their Swedish names, ha!)
Mod Podge
Brush
Xacto knife
Ruler
Photo Nov 25, 9 26 58 AM
Instructions:
Step 1. I decided to take apart this tray as it has the perfect bottom to decoupage and I thought it would be easy to just cover that surface without the walls of the tray limiting process.
Photo Nov 25, 9 33 09 AM
Step 2. Putting the screws back in loosely with the bottom removed, you can then position the tray how you like to find the best portion of the paper to use. I wanted to include Sacre Coeurs, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame.
Photo Nov 25, 9 40 32 AM
Step 3. Trace the area to cut using the bottom piece of the tray and cut out your image using a ruler so you make sure you get very straight edges.
Photo Nov 25, 9 46 10 AM
Step 4. Start your first layer of Mod Podge by brushing it on the backside of the paper in a thin layer covering the entire surface. This is easier said than done, my friends. Mod Podge is messy, and you best have some Kraft paper down so you can brush off the edge. You also need to move quickly as it dries fast and behaves erratically if you add wet to dry areas, etc.
Photo Nov 25, 9 59 11 AM
Step 5. Next you need to position the paper over the upper side of the tray bottom. This is also a little challenging due to its fast-drying nature. So do your best to get it right the first time. And then you need to rub with your fingers and maybe a squeegee tool (like an unused credit card) from the center out to remove as much excess Mod Podge and bumps and bubbles as you can. (This is the area I need some serious help in, not so good).
Step 6. And now it dries. If you followed my other post on decoupaging glass coasters, we need to wait at least 5-10 minutes to let the glue take hold. Mod Podge does best when you let it dry completely between coats.
Step 7. Next we need to apply the top coat using the same brushing technique and thin layer. Once again, we wait to let this dry – more like 10-20 minutes. And then apply more coats. For these trays, you’ll want to apply 4-5 coats to properly seal so you can use for serving beverages. I did not, but you certainly could, also apply a more robust sealant product if you know it will get heavy use.
Photo Nov 25, 12 31 44 PM
And now we are ready for our tea, s’il vous plait!
Photo Nov 25, 4 33 22 PM
Photo Nov 25, 4 36 13 PM

12 Days of Projects – Day 9 Cocoa Gift Mugs

After yesterday’s “giant” project of figuring out every option possible for printing on fabric (phew!), I’m super taking it down a notch for Day 9 of the 12 Days of Projects. Today I’m making cute and simple (with infinite variations possible!) Cocoa Gift Mug sets… or coffee or tea or or or…

Materials:
Mugs (or tea cups/saucers, wine glasses, anything!)
Cocoa (or coffee or tea, you get the idea. If you’re an over-achiever, make your own hot cocoa mix. There are tons of recipes on the interwebs – I just went with Starbucks cocoa packets for these.)
Ornaments, candy canes (or spoons or marshmallows or…)
Twine (or ribbon or wire or…)
Cellophane bags
Gift basket filler
Photo Nov 16, 9 38 15 AM
Instructions:
Open cellophane bag, insert cocoa and candy canes.
Tie bag shut with twine.
Hook ornament onto twine.
Fill mug with gift basket filler. Badabing, badaboom! Could not be easier.
Photo Nov 16, 9 37 03 AM
Photo Nov 16, 9 33 05 AM
These are great as small gifts for a Christmas exchange, teachers, mailman, etc. Have fun creating, my friends!

12 Days of Projects – Day 8 Fabric Transfer

Well, hello there. So glad you’re still with me as I plug away with my 12 Days of Projects. This has been a good journey – both a lot of fun, and motivating to get things done! Maybe I should approach everything this way. 😉 Somehow sharing with you all makes me very committed to getting it done. We are on Day 8 of 12 Days of Projects… let’s go!

Today I’m having fun? (more like wrestling) with fabric transfers. For some reason, I thought it would be possible to accomplish what I wanted with readily available products. I have some Ikea kitchen towels that I wanted to spruce up with some text and graphics. I now know why screenprinting exists – I’m pretty sure it is the most effective way to print on fabric. But if the internet isn’t for finding this stuff, I don’t know what it is… hence, let the Googling commence…

1. What I found is that you can try printing on fabric with your inkjet printer – this frightened me, as I didn’t want to ruin my printer plus it seemed like the tutorials I found required cutting freezer paper to the size of your fabric (which also had to be 8.5 x 11 to fit through the printer) – too many limitations. So I skipped that.

2. I moved to iron-on transfers. I bought some paper (expensive at $10/pack of 7 sheets) at Walmart for my first attempts. I’m not sure what all variations exist for iron-on transfer paper, but this product is really only suitable for some very basic transfers. It produced essentially a polymer square not pliable at all and very plastic-looking right after ironing (can’t use to dry dishes!). Fail.

Iron on

Iron on

Iron on, less time - fail!

Iron on, less time – fail!


3. I found a great tutorial about printing right onto freezer paper (cheap!) that could produce a soft aged effect and thought, perfect! That’s what I want, and my first attempt wasn’t bad (you will need to cut paper to 8.5 x 11). It’s just that it’s quite light (I’m washing now to see if it will completely fade). But because you are printing on a non-porous surface and essentially transferring that ink, if any little jam happens in your printer – ink shmear everywhere! Fail. Frustrating, because this would definitely be the cheapest method. If you try it, know that freezer paper is not wax paper (I did find it at Target, though for $3+ a roll!).
Photo Nov 20, 8 04 37 AM

Freezer paper

Freezer paper

Burnishing freezer paper

Burnishing freezer paper

Freezer paper result

Freezer paper result


4. Enter Lesley Riley’s TAP: Transfer Artist Paper. I read only good reviews of this product and successful tutorials! Unfortunately, it’s a little expensive ($10+ for 5 sheets!) and I had to buy via Amazon (couldn’t find locally). But the results I got were quite good and the closest to official screenprinting. Apparently you can use this paper for multiple surfaces, too…I will definitely be experimenting more.

Materials:
Graphic (I used one from http://thegraphicsfairy.com/)
TAP transfer paper
Kitchen towels or fabric for transfer
Iron
Photo Nov 23, 11 15 52 AM
Instructions:
Step 1. Iron your fabric on a hard surface covered with a pillow case or towel. Use the iron on the highest setting (no steam) and remove wrinkles.
Step 2. Print your graphic in reverse. Graphics fairy has reverse versions. If I did a custom one, I would just flip horizontal in Photoshop and save a PDF. Cut around the graphic. This paper is expensive so you might want to try printing multiple graphics on one sheet, etc. I’m not sure how long it lasts between printing and ironing, though.

TAP, reverse print and cutout

TAP, reverse print and cutout


Step 3. Place the graphic ink side down on your fabric. The instructions say to iron ~20 seconds, but I found that ~30-40 worked a little better (maybe it’s my iron). You want to keep moving in a random paper around the paper (so it doesn’t burn). And when you think it’s ready, pull up one corner – if it pulls back easily it’s done. If it doesn’t, iron until it does (you won’t ruin the paper by ironing longer).
TAP result

TAP result


TAP, too little iron

TAP, too little iron


TAP, good iron

TAP, good iron


Et voilå, you are done! Looks pretty good and the polymer is a little bit noticeable but way better than the initial iron-on paper. I also decided to wash these to test the fade on all of them and maybe soften them up a little bit. Here’s the final result (including after washing):
TAP before washing

TAP before washing


TAP after washing

TAP after washing

I think these could have a lot of potential once I perfect the technique and maybe get a little better at ironing, ha! I hope you enjoyed this post – happy project’ing’! 🙂

12 Days of Projects – Day 7 Etched Glass

Hi, friends! I feel like yesterday was hump day of the ‘ol 12 Days of Projects and we’re keepin’ on truckin’ with Day 7. Today I want to share a fun project that is really super easy and quick and has … lots of possibilities. I say that a lot, don’t I. 🙂 But anyone who appreciates hard-core etching, like sandblasting done by Leandra Drumm, will appreciate the simplicity of this technique. We’re going to use a product called Armour Etch to create some customized glassware.

Materials:
Armour Etch
Glass
Brush
Stencil (preferably peel and stick)
Photo Nov 21, 8 44 19 AM
Instructions:
Step 1. Prepare your stencil and adhere it to the glass. Peel and stick stencils are great because they allow less seep on the edging of the stencil and produce a cleaner line.
Photo Nov 21, 7 25 54 PM
Step 2. Open the Armour Etch and using your brush, dab on the etching cream to the etching area.
Photo Nov 21, 7 26 57 PM
Step 3. Wait. The instructions say 1 minute, but I feel like 5 minutes gives it a denser result. About 3 minutes in, move the etching cream around to make sure it’s spread evenly on the stencil.
Step 4. After 5 minutes are up, wash the glass/stencil in warm water in the sink.
Photo Nov 21, 7 32 52 PM
Photo Nov 21, 7 33 52 PM
Step 5. Remove your stencil and voilå – you have etched glassware customized how you want!
Photo Nov 21, 7 35 07 PM
Photo Nov 21, 7 47 30 PM
Photo Nov 21, 7 41 39 PM
Maybe use your initials or a favorite symbol or create a collection with a theme like game night, etc. Whatever you do, have fun!