Paper Crafts for Children
“Mum, we’re bored.” Have you heard this already these school holidays? Don’t panic here are a few more inexpensive craft activities that should keep the kids occupied for a little while. You might even make some and use in your own craft projects.
Double Dip Delight
You will need:
Variety of Different Paper. Images are paper towel; use normal photocopy paper, watercolour. Even newspaper works.
Acrylic Paints or Food
Containers for colours
Method: Squeeze paint into containers. Add water to the acrylic paint until its very runny. Fold paper into
small shapes; squares, diagonals, etc. Dip 1 corner into a colour very briefly, in and out quickly. Dip another corner into another colour. Refold the paper and continue dipping until the paper is completely coloured. Leave to dry. Do not try and unfold while wet. The paper is very fragile and will tear. As an
alternative to folding you can crumple the paper before dipping. Paper can framed, used in gift cards or scrapbook projects.
You will need: Corrugated cardboard, can be
purchased from a bargain shop or recycle an old cardboard box.
Water Spray bottle
Method: Draw the outline of a shape onto the corrugated cardboard. The kids colouring books are great for inspiration. Cut out this shape. Using the spray bottle mist water over the white paper. Don’t make it too wet or it will tear. Lay the cardboard shape flat and then place the wet paper on top. Using your finger, gently push the paper into the edge of the cardboard. Now place layers of paper towel on top. This
will absorb excess water. Weight with a heavy object until dry. Once dry the finished embossed artwork can be painted.
This post was first published here on 30th September, 2007.
Chicken Scratch Embroidery is a type of embroidery worked on gingham fabric. It is also known as Snowflake Embroidery, Depression Lace or Gingham Lace. The exact origins of this craft are unclear as is the origins of the name ‘Chicken Scratch’. Chicken Scratch embroidery is worked on gingham
fabric and uses 3 embroidery stitches. Couldn’t be simpler. In fact many of us can probably recall being given a piece of gingham, needle and thread as children to sew with.
The needle should have a long eye and a sharp point, a number 20 Chenille or number 5 embroidery needle are perfect. The thread is embroidery floss or stranded cotton. White is the colour of choice but
you can certainly experiment for different effects. The number of strands you choose to use will alter the finished look again experiment.
Chicken Scratch is worked from a chart; anyone familiar with Cross Stitch charts will be able to follow one. Before beginning to stitch it is important to measure you fabric. Do not guess this. While gingham checks come in a variety of sizes most are not square. Measure the number of gingham squares in 1 inch of fabric, top to bottom and side-to-side. This will determine the stitch count necessary for your project. If you do not do this accurately you may find that you don’t have enough fabric to finish the work.
Work Chicken Scratch in a hoop. Remove the fabric from the hoop when not working. Some of the
gingham fabrics are very fine and they will mark if left in the hoop for long periods. The stitches used for Chicken Scratch are already familiar to most Stitchers. The Double Cross Stitch, the Straight Running Stitch and the Woven Circle Stitch are worked in various combinations to produce a multitude of patterns. The Double Cross Stitch may be more familiar to some Stitchers as Smyrna Stitch. Chicken Scratch is worked in order. The outline is completed first. The Double Cross Stitch is worked next followed by the Running Stitch. The Woven Circle Stitches are worked last.
If you are unfamiliar with any of the stitches used in Chicken Scratch a quick ‘google’ will reap you many
This post was first published here on 28th August 2008.
This is what has been keeping me busy this week.
On night one I braided these 4 basic braids. Tonight I’m hoping to braid 4 variations. They will eventually be used in a project but for the time being they are destined for an altogether different purpose. Patience people. It won’t be long now.
This post was first published here 19th January, 2012.
Sun Dyed Fabric
I realized during the week that I didn’t have many ‘greens’ left in my Eco Dyed Threads. In fact I had none at all in rayon. I grabbed my blues and yellows and started mixing.
While they were doing their thing I grabbed some Sun Dyes and a silk off cut.
I purchased these for a children’s class I started around 3 years ago. They go a loooong way.
There was no real plan here. I just painted colour on, the secondary colours were mixed directly on the fabric. When I started I also didn’t have a plan for what I was going to use for a resist.
This is the security screen we slide into place when the back barn door is open. It was the perfect size.
End result. Now, what to do with it?
This post was first published here on the 14th May, 2011.
Dyeing in the Kitchen
I was recently browsing blogs and came across one where the lady had used foam glue as the resist. Before I go any further I can't recall the site so my apologies for not giving due credit. Anyway the finished result had me thinking I should give it a go.
Last Sunday afternoon I started. Of course I hadn't remembered to presoak the cloth in the soda ash solution before starting. I got out my sponge and started to brush the glue onto the sponge. First hurdle.
I couldn't see the glue on the fabric so I couldn't see where I had been. It also took forever and used a LOT of glue. Needless to say that before long I decided to change to the good old flour paste resist.
The bottom of the photo has been sponged with the foam glue and the top with the flour paste. I was using a plain sponge. I let this dry.
The next day I slapped dye on (literally). I added soda ash to the dye at this stage. Here you can see where the foam glue resist is. Yes its the big square shape.
This is piece finished. You can still see the foam glue square.
This is a closeup of the flour paste area. The photo doesn't quite capture the even sponge speckled finished.
The fabric feels very stiff where the foam glue is and normal where the flour paste was. The other thing I noticed was as the glue didn't all wash out ironing was problematic. I ironed from the wrong side and it still wanted to wrinkle. A bit like plastic does when its burnt.
While I had fun playing, the use of the foam glue certainly isn't a viable resist option for me.
This post was first published here on 31st January, 2008.
Traditional Japanese Needlework
Sashiko(pronounced: Sa-Shi-Koe) is a traditional Japanese needlework technique. The technique can be traced back to the Edo period (1603-1868). The workers could not afford expensive milled fabric so out of necessity they needed to extend the life of their worn clothing. By stitching layers of cloth together
they were also able to wear summer weight fabric throughout the winters. As the cost of fabric became less expensive the sashiko style of stitching became more decorative.
Traditionally, Sashiko is most commonly seen on indigo dyed cotton. Today we can purchase pre-printed fabric ready to stitch. If you wish to transfer a design onto your own fabric choose an even weave that is tightly woven. Prewash before stitching.
The traditional sashiko designs are inspired by nature and use ‘negative’ space as a design feature. The thread is 100% white cotton with a high twist. Variegated sashiko threads can also be purchased. You
can also use Perle cotton or embroidery floss. The traditional sashiko needles are about 2 inches long and uniform in width, the eye is very small. Use a needle that you are comfortable with and that you can thread easily.
Sashiko stitching does not require an embroidery hoop nor do you knot the beginning or end of fabric. While the word sashiko means ‘little stabs” the stitch is more ‘rocking’ than ‘stabbing’. Stitching is one- directional and the designs follow a set order of stitching. Vertical and horizontal lines are done
first, followed by diagonal lines, and then curved lines.
Insert the needle into the fabric without pulling the thread through. Continue inserting the needle
into the fabric as you do with running stitch without pulling the fabric through. When you have multiple stitches on the needle ease the thread through the fabric. Take care not to pucker the fabric. If your pattern has a change of direction leave a small loop at the change point on the wrong side of fabric.
This will prevent puckering.
Sashiko is an easy stitching project for a beginner with lots of practical uses for the finished work. For the more adventurous the designs also lend themselves to beading. If you haven’t already tried sashiko try it next time you are considering a project.
This post was first published here on 3rd February, 2008.
Second Life DIY Project
I recently saw these great paper bookmarks on Faerydi
Dianne had painted some paper towel, then stitched it before adding some mixed yarn tassels.
I use paper towel to mop up drips of dye. I'm such a messer that I have lots of dyed paper towel. I've recently been using it in collage etc but I though this was another great idea.
The paper towel is usually all scrunched up so I started by giving it a press with the iron. I then got out the paintsticks and scribbled over the sheets. Just enough to give it a little zing. I cut them into strips and sewed the edges with a straight stitch on my machine.
I then gave them a light coat with gel medium. I only did one side and wasn't too fanatical about missing bits. I really wanted to strengthen where I was going to punch the hole. I added eyelets and then some hand dyed yarn.
I'm really happy with them. And of course I've now got hundreds of them.
This post was first published here on 16th February, 2008.
Recycled Neck Ties
Alan had heaps of ties that he no longer wore so I planned to make a bag out of them. I googled ties and found lots of really creative ideas. There were heaps of bags but none seemed to scream "me". I decided I would make one that suited me. I used all the tips and hints from those who had gone before. Thank you.
Here's how I did mine.
First of all you need to decide on a tie combination. Sound easy? This part was the longest.
This if the front and back. Or is it back and front. I lay the ties down, right side up, topping and tailing them. At this stage I left them intact. I butted the edges together and sew them. You could skip this step and go straight to the machine but I wouldn't recommend it. The ties are slippery and quite
difficult to keep together while using the machine.
I then cut them to size. Using a decorative stitch with a contrasting thread I sewed over the basting thread. This reinforces the seams. I considered hand embroidering the seam but got over that in a hurry. I realized that I could be sewing through 8 layers. I then sewed the front and back together to make the
I used an offcut of the wide end to create the closure. I lay it right sides together and zigzagged the straight edge just below the top of bag.
I added a button to the other side.
I next added handles using 2 long narrow offcuts. I chose to make mine so it would be easy to carry in my hand but also fit over my shoulder. I also lined the bag.
This is the finished bag. It has a nicer shape when in use, this photo was taken empty. I've used it already.
This post was first published here on 4th March, 2008.
Make Your Own Gumball Beads
For this design you will need needle and strong thread, thimble (optional), jump rings, clasp and fabric scraps. For these fabric beads I like to save the bits that your overlocker cuts off.
Step 1: Gather your fabric scraps together and pop them in the washing machine. Sending through a cycle helps matt them together.
Step 2: Take the fabric out of the machine and pull out small balls of fabric. I usually make mine about the size of uncooked biscuit dough. Let dry thoroughly.
Step 3: Thread your needle. Hold your fabric ball firmly and start stitching through the ball to secure the fabric. Initially this seems to be never ending but it soon comes together in a firm bead shape. Once you have formed the shape you may like to add a few seed beads. Repeat for all of your balls.
Step 4: Once you have finished making your beads you are ready to create a necklace. Take 1 jump ring and sew it to the first bead. Add a second bead to the opposite side of the jump ring. I prefer to work in pairs of beads before going back and joining the pairs together.
Step 5: Add the clasp of your choice and there you have your very own gumball necklace. In these photos I have used a selection of mixed pastel fabrics. If you want to make your beads in a particular colour palette I suggest you separate your colours before placing in the washing machine.
This post was first published here on 22nd March, 2009.
Market Stall Set Up & Display
Go to any market and a lot of the stall holders will have set up their display like this. I have airbrushed their faces and identifying signs to protect the inexperienced.
Their thinking is that as customers walk by they can see everything. Seems logical, Right? Lets go back and re-look at the phrase “as customers walk by”. That’s right, by setting up your site like this you are making it too easy for your customers to keep walking. And I didn’t set up this image. I literally
walked outside my door and took this straight away, no waiting for people to walk past.
Another reason I don’t particularly like this set up is that the table has created a barrier between you and the customers. Its very difficult for you to get around and provide assistance, to make the experience personal for them, to engage with the customer.
The product is well packaged but displayed poorly. Having all your products sitting flat on the table provides no visual stimulus, there is nothing to catch the eye. The food is also directly in the sun.
If you have no choice due to site position then you need have an attention getter, something that will stop people in their tracks for a better look. That few seconds pause in their step could be all that is between you and a sale.
Not all sites and conditions are equal so your set up strategy will need to be flexible. Sue from Spoil & Indulge has mastered this.
This is the stall set up Sue uses in wet weather and at busy Event Days. Being able to step in allows the customer to stay dry in the rain. At Event Days it easy for the crowds to be so big that it is difficult for a customer to stop without being trampled to death. Allowing the customer an opportunity to step
away from the crowd and browse in peace will increase your sales.
Note that Sue has set up the site to entice the customer in. The placement of the 4 tiered stand catches the customers eye inviting them in a little further.The L-shape with the short end at the entrance is another successful ploy.
Here is another of Sue’s setups. Here Sue has no immediate neighbours. To the right of the photo is a pathway down to the building behind. To the left is a park bench. Customers can walk around the entire site.
Yes, I know not the best angle but the best I could do to demonstrate this next point. Even though the weather was fine Sue has still set up the tables back a little so her customers can step out of the sun while looking. Customers linger longer when they are not melting away. Both of Sue’s displays utilize risers to vary the height of the display providing visual variation.
Setting up your site is akin to setting up a shop. Large Department Stores,Boutiques etc spend a lot of time & effort on Visual Merchandising. Why? Because it increases their sales. Have a look around the next time you are a market at how more experienced stallholders set up their sites. Experiment and
note how changes affect your sales.
You’re not likely to get it right first time but with a little perseverance you will learn the best setup for you and your product.
This post was first published here on 14/02/11