Summer is on it’s way (no, honestly, don’t laugh!) and getting rid of the thick jumpers and scarves is just the excuse I need to indulge in some costume jewellery. If you love outfit coordinating jewellery and hate spending lots of money on it, this is the tutorial for you. It uses Polyshrink (Artists Grade Shrink Plastic) and basic jewellery findings to make a range of bunting jewellery products so you can have one for every outfit!
Materials You Will Need to Make Bunting Jewellery:
Tools You Will Need To Make Bunting Jewellery:
How To Make Your Bunting Jewellery:
Take your sheet of Polyshrink and sand the surface on one side with a fine grade sandpaper. That allows your printer ink to stick to the sheet instead of running off of it. Make sure that you get all areas.
A tip; the harder the lead in your coloured pencils, the rougher the sheet needs to be for it to show.
If you want to make all the options of this jewellery you will need to prep two sheets of plastic for printing. If not you will need to print accordingly.
Draw out your bunting flags. I used pencil and a ruler and mine were 4.5cm wide (at the top) by 4.5cm long (along the centre line. I used a penny to be the outer line of the peace logo.
Use your coloured pencils to colour in the pennants that you want for your piece of jewellery. My advice is to enjoy this bit with a glass of wine in front of the TV!
Use scissors to cut out your flag shapes and diagonally trim off the corners so that they don’t rub a sore spot whilst you are wearing the necklace.
Use the single hole punch to punch holes in the corners of each flag. Don’t put the holes too near the edges as this will distort the shape when you shrink it.
I then used Sharpie markers to colour the edges of my bunting flags to match their main colours, (excuse the appalling photo quality, I had to zoom right in and set the timer!).
Step Seven (Version 1):
Pre-heat your oven to 177º C/ 300º F. Place all your flags onto a baking tray on top of some baking parchment. Place in the oven. You will find that the plastic curls up as it shrinks and then flattens back down when it is fully shrunk.
You need to keep a close eye on the tray because occasionally the plastic curls up in such a way that it sticks to itself. If that happens you’ll need to sort it out.
The Polyshrink website says:
“Expect PolyShrink to curl and move during baking. Occasionally a piece may stick to itself as it shrinks. To separate, allow the piece to cool slightly and pull gently. You’ll hear a “snap” as the joint comes apart. You can now reheat the piece and finish shrinking”.
Step Seven (Version 2):
Use an embossing heat tool to heat the piece of plastic and heat proof tweezers (or disposable chopsticks!) to secure the plastic in place and apply heat as shown in the video below.
Using pliers twist one of the jump rings to open them (don’t pull apart as they never line up again, and besides twisting is easier!) thread two of your shrunken flags onto the ring and then use the pliers again to close.
Repeat this until all your flags are linked.
Use a jump ring to link one end of your chain to one end of your row of flags.
Position the row of flags into the position that you want to wear them around your neck. Loop your chain around the back of your neck and figure out where you need to cut the chain to get the look you want.
Cut the chain using wire cutters and join that end to the opposite end of your bunting with another jump ring.
Find the middle of the chain section of your necklace and cut on that spot with the wire cutters.
Use a jump ring to attach the clasp to one side (which one you will prefer depends on whether you are right or left handed) and attach a jump ring to the other side.
Et voila! Your necklace is complete.
If you want to make earrings you can hang shapes from a ball wire or kidney wire fitting or you can use glue to stick shapes to studs.
Back in 2014 I used a holiday photo to make a home wifi code sign for our guest bedroom as a way of making visitors feel more welcome. Since then we have changed our router, and indeed our internet provider. That means a new password for the wifi and an opportunity to introduce all of you to one of my new favourite (and free) resources Canva.com. I thought I’d get you all started with a tutorial for a simple wifi password sign using Canva that you can stretch your creative muscles on.
This is a brilliant way to become familiar with the design programme and make something that is personal and useful in a short space of time.
Materials You Will Need:
Kit You Will Need:
How To Make A Simple Wifi Password Sign Using Canva:
Go to Canva.com and make yourself a free account. You will need your email address and a password (or you can use your Facebook or Google account).
Selecting the “work” option will lead you to a paid account so selecting personal is completely adequate for most purposes! You will also need to confirm your email address via the email they send you.
Canva will then take you on a little tour of the programme. It’s worth doing this and you will end up on the page that allows you to choose a “canvas” (or working area size) from a large range of templates. You will then need to measure the size of the image area in the frame you have chosen. Mine was 178mm x 128mm.
If your frame is a standard size to fit (for example) a postcard, you can select that option for canvas size on Canva (make sure that you click on the plus sign to see the full range of pre-set canvas sizes, there are loads!)
Click on the one that fits and the programme will present you with a blank canvas.
If none of them fit click on “Use Custom Dimensions” in the top right hand corner of the screen. You will need to change the unit of measurement to mm (millimetres) and then type in the size that you want your image to be.
There will be a menu on the right hand side of the screen that provides a large number of layouts that you can pick for your sign. You may choose to have one large image or a collage of smaller ones.
These are all free to use so just click on the one you want to have it appear on your canvas.
Start adding images to your layout. Here you have two choices. You can click on the “elements” tab at the right of the screen and click on the “Free Photos” icon. This will give you a choice of loads of lovely professional stock images to use. To add them you just click and drag them into the spot you want.
Step Six (alternative version):
If you want to use your own holiday snaps uploading them to Canva couldn’t be much easier. Just click on the “Uploads” tab (again at the right of the screen) and select “upload an image”. It then takes you into your documents or pictures to select the image you want and uploads it to appear in the “gallery” on the right hand side of the page.
If you want to move a picture to a nearby area you can just click and drag the picture to where you want it. To get rid of it altogether just double click and click the cross (X) to remove it.
If the wrong part of the photo can be seen inside the frame you have chosen for it you can change that really easily. Simply double click on the image and the whole thing will appear with the area that can be seen in the frame highlighted. Just drag the image so that it lines up the way you want. You can also rotate the image in this way.
Once all your images are in their frames and you are happy with the layout of your wifi password sign using Canva it is time to add some text to the picture. If you put text straight onto the images it is likely to disappear into the background where you can’t read it. I get around this by adding a “shape” into the mix.
“Shapes” are again found under the “Elements” heading on the right hand side of the screen. There are loads of free ones. Once you have selected a shape you can change it’s colour and how transparent it is by clicking on it an using the menu that appears.
If you want to you can place a shape over the entire collage and adjust the transparency to make the image appear slightly faded. That helps any text that you put on it to stand out.
Next in your wifi password sign using Canva you add your text via the “Text” tab on the right hand side of the screen. Again, there are lots of free text layouts that you can use, either on their own or in combination with each other. However I often find that I want to put more text in them than will fit and you can only edit them so much.That means I use the provided layouts as inspiration and use the heading, subheading and body text commands choosing the fonts and colours that I want.
The image on the left was produced using my own holiday photos, whilst the one of the right uses Canva’s free stock images.
Because the images in the sign on the left have brighter colours they have been “knocked back” using a semi transparent rectangle (from the “Elements” menu, under “Shapes”) placed over the top of the collage. When you add the lettering on top of this it stands out more.
When you are happy with your wifi password sign using Canva, it will automatically save it for you on their cloud so that you can access it by logging into your account at any time. However you can download your design in several formats. If you just want to print it I suggest downloading a PNG file as this will give you a better quality print.
The download button is at the top right of the Canva screen. Click on it and select the PNG format to download a file that gives a good quality print.
Print your wifi password sign using Canva design, frame it up and enjoy!
The possibilities are really endless for a wifi password sign using Canva. You can produce collages, or use one single image. Make a plain background for your text or use icons from Canva’s stock list. Remember that if a $ sign appears when you hover your mouse over it you will need to pay for it when you download the project but there are loads of free resources to choose from.
I use Canva for so many different things and find it so easy to use in comparison to some others. Your party invitations, posters and graphics will never look to professional!
How are you getting on with Canva? I would love to see the things you create with it. Tag @IlMagpie on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram if you post anything!
I splurged a bit on my planner this year and treated myself to the Blogtacular/Lollipop Life Planner which has huge flexibility in it’s layout to plan how I wanted to. One of the best things about it was that it comes with a plain grey board cover. The possibilities were endless. I always like to customise my planners. and this year I came up with this Geometric Notebook Cover DIY that I wanted to share with you.
After a great deal of mulling things over I decided that I wanted something bright, colourful, inspiring and personal. Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows that my insta feed is pretty colourful and I decided I want to use my photos from the last year to inspire the next. I also needed the cover to last the whole year without looking tatty. I’m thrilled with the Geometric Notebook Cover DIY that I ended up with and think it will do the trick beautifully.
Geometric Notebook Cover DIY:
What You Will Need:
Choose your photos. Instagram pictures work well because they are square to start with. Print them out onto thin cardboard. I found that two per A4 sheet worked out with about the correct proportions. I needed 21 images per cover. So to do the front and the back I needed 42 images.
I had an Inkjet Printer so I used that. If you have a colour laser printer you can skip Step Two.
Spray ALL of your images with 3-4 coats of transparent spray sealant. It is best to do this in the open air. I used my washing line and some pegs but make sure to check the wind direction first as you don’t want a face full!
You are doing this so that the ink doesn’t run when you coat it with Mod Podge. Doing this meant I got away with using the Inkjet printer instead of paying for colour laser print offs. Plus I get to keep the rest of the spray for other projects.
Measure your notebook. Mine was A5 size. I wanted a minimum of four complete triangles across the width of mine (I thought it needed at least this many to get the tessellated look I wanted but still be big enough to show the pictures off). A few sums gave me an isoceles triangle with a base of 4.5cm and a vertical height of 6.4cm (Allowing for a 2mm gap in between shapes). I also wanted the header “Life Planner” to show so I made a note of it’s size and location.
Using these measurements I made a template from a spare piece of card.
I placed the template over my images, moving it around to get the best “view” of the image before drawing around the shape with a pencil where I wanted to cut.
Then I set to and cut out all my little triangles!
I arranged the triangles as I wanted them and used my trusty double sided tape mouse (those things are seriously life changing!) to stick all of them into position (front and back). I didn’t use glue because I didn’t want to make the cardboard damp and risk it wrinkling.
I added some washi tape around the header text to make it stand out a bit more and another area on the back for continuity.
Break out the Mod Podge. I used it neat (un-diluted) and used an old paintbrush to paint a coat of it all over the front cover.
After the cover is thoroughly dry coat it with Mod Podge again (ordinary PVA glue will also work for this but I like Mod Podge because it isn’t quite so runny and I can get it in a matte finish). Keep the coats as smooth as you can for the best finish (if I did this again I would actually use one of those foam brushes to help with this). Keep doing this until you have 3 or 4 coats of Mod Podge on both the front and back covers. As the Mod Podge dries you will see that it really brings the colours of the images out on this Geometric Notebook Cover DIY.
I really love this Geometric Notebook Cover DIY, it was really good fun to make and now it cheers my days up. Helping motivate me through the rest of the winter towards sunnier spring days. I am also really loving the Life Planner itself. It is really flexible and actually allows me to bullet journal (which might be my new obsession).
What about you? How do you plan? Do you bullet journal? Any tips for a newbie journaller?
I don’t relax, I almost relax and find something to stress about. That means it is time for a project. Simple projects are my form of mindfulness. This is a good beginner’s patchwork project and for me means that I can keep my mind occupied but still relaxed.
When I discovered the Petit Fleur Alphabet Cot Quilt Panel (see below) at my favourite fabric store The Eternal Maker I fell in love with it. The snag? I don’t have young children and my nieces and nephews all have their nurseries sorted
No inspiration struck until we were packing to go on holiday this year. I wanted to pack my laptop but not in the large (and if I’m honest ugly) case that we had. However I couldn’t leave it unprotected whilst travelling through France. There are plenty of simple laptop sleeve or cosy sewing patterns out there on the internet but it suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t need to spend money on fabric. I simply needed to make the fabric from the patchwork panel I already had.
As with most patchwork projects, this project has three phases; Phase one is piecing the fabric together to a size and shape to suit the project, phase two is quilting it to provide padding for the computer and phase three is making the actual sleeve. This first post covers Phase One only as it it pretty detailed.
The Patchwork is very straightforward and suitable for a first project. The quilting is also straightforward. Putting the cosy together is a bit more awkward as it is dealing with vinyl and thick quilting but I managed it all on a normal domestic sewing machine with a standard general purpose needle.
Phase One – Patchwork:
1 Cot Panel or other Patchwork cotton fabric to cover approx. 50cm x 80cm (for a 17″ Laptop) – I used the Petit Fleur.
Coordinating fabrics to make patches for spots where the colours do not quite match up.
2 x 5cm squares of interfacing in three weights – I used iron on standard medium vilene, peltex 71f fusible one side heavyweight interfacing and a fusible cotton interfacing. Basically any scraps I had left over!
Pre wash the fabric you intend to use in a net or pillow case to stop it fraying too badly. If it is patchwork fabric then put it on a cotton wash with no fabric softener.
Iron the panel flat. It is important to get all creases out of the fabric before the next stage.
Using paper scissors cut a length of iron on vinyl that will fit part of the panel (it isn’t wide enough to do the whole panel in one go!) Peel the backing paper off and put the sticky side onto the front (picture side) of the panel. Smooth it into place with your hands.
Put the backing paper shiny side down on top of the vinyl and use the iron (on a medium heat setting, with NO steam) to put pressure on each area in turn for eight seconds (You should have seen my husbands face at me standing there counting “one – Mississippi – two – Mississippi” over and over!) Make sure all areas have been heated and DON’T put the iron on any uncovered areas of vinyl or you will end up with a messy iron sole plate to clean (ugh).
Flip the fabric over and press all areas on the back of the fabric for around four seconds for each part. This should finish adhering the vinyl to the patchwork panel.
Using a cutting mat, quilting ruler and rotary cutter cut up the patches of the panel with a half inch seam allowance all the way around.
This short clip shows you how to use a rotary cutter to cut a straight line on Cotton fabric. There is no sound, therefore no language barriers.
Standing up to do the cutting gives you the most reliable pressure and be sure to roll the rotary cutter away from your body. The picture below shows you how to line up the quilting ruler to get the correct seam allowance.
Layout your cut pieces to decide what order you want to patchwork them together in (I wanted alphabetical order for this panel but it might be as simple as what looks pretty!)
If there are any “gaps” in the layout (for example where you don’t want two patches of the same colour next to each other) cut panels to fill the gaps. I used plain coloured quilting cotton in coordinating colours and laminated each piece as before.
In order to make the envelope type flap you will need to add four extra “patches” that are cut diagonally to create the shape
I used one of the printed panels as a template to cut the rectangles.
I then lined the quilting ruler up so that the line half an inch in from the edge rested on the exact diagonal. When you cut with the rotary cutter you then have a panel the correct size with a seam allowance.
At this point I usually take a photo with my phone so that I can remember what the order was that I liked.
Using the sewing machine (set to a medium length straight stitch) sew together rows of patches (you will sew the columns together later)
From the back of the fabric press the seam allowances left on one row and and to the right on the next (why, will become clear!) Use a pressing movement, rather than a normal ironing one. If the iron moves around too much it curls the edges of the fabric/vinyl mix and that is really annoying!
Trim all the ends of thread off of your sewn rows so that they don’t get in the way and tangle up in the next stage of the patchwork.
“Nest” the patches of the rows together (this was why you pressed the seam allowances in opposite directions) and then use clips to hold the two rows together whilst you stitch.
Using clips (pins will make holes in the vinyl) clip the row into position and sew. (If you need to, use an air vanishing maker to mark your stitching line across plain panels). Use the photo for reference to make sure that you get the rows in the right order and the right way up!
I LOVE the internet for crafting, specifically I love the fact that it has given us access to a much wider range of sewing patterns from all over the globe. Pattern designers upload their patterns as PDF files. I have downloaded any number of PDF sewing patterns over the last few years. Some I paid for and some were free of charge. I have learnt a few things along the way that might just be useful to you in starting out with PDF sewing patterns.
Note: Please take all your usual precautions when downloading pattern files in checking that they are from a reputable source and that you are ONLY downloading the file not a virus!
What to expect when you open a file and printing:
Pattern Source: Tilly and the Buttons (http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/p/make-it-yourself.html)
Each page of the sewing pattern is there in front of you, you simply need to connect up your printer and print it. However when you are printing there are a couple of things you need to watch out for:
Pattern Source: Tilly and the Buttons (http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/p/make-it-yourself.html)
It is crucial that you select “actual size” or “print 100%” or the printer will try to be helpful and fit all the pieces onto less paper and you will end up with pattern pieces that might fit your dog or cat once made up (if you are lucky) and it wont make sense when you try to put all the pages together!
If the pattern is from an experienced or professional designer they will have a checking mechanism built into the pattern design so that you can check it has printed to size. The square below appeared on the first page of the wonderful pattern I bought from Tilly and the Buttons. So I could check the size as soon as it printed and not waste paper printing the rest of the pattern if it was the wrong size!
Pattern Source: Tilly and the Buttons (http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/p/make-it-yourself.html)
If the pattern is less modern or sometimes if it is free of charge you may have to make an educated guess. I recently downloaded a free apron pattern and it had no way to check if the print size was accurate.As this was a simple pattern with very little in the way of tailoring I resorted to holding it up against myself to check and adjust the fit.
What you get once the file has printed:
The program usually splits the pattern into A4 pages that start with the number 1 in the top left corner of the pattern and, page 2 is the next in the top two rows assembled. (to see exactly what I mean look at the red text I have added to the assembled pattern picture below).
Most patterns have “markers” to help you line up the pieces. You can see some examples of these in the image below.
Assembling the pattern for me involves a glue stick, paper scissors and a large cup of tea! I trim the borders off of each page, one at a time and glue them into position as I go. That way I do not muddle the pages up and have loose ones floating around!
I won’t lie, lining up can be a little tricky and I work on the “more is best” principle. That means, if the main outline lines on the pieces line up pretty well I can sort out darts and notches in the pattern once it is assembled!
I’ve Glued It Together – Now What?
You have the same two basic options that you do with a store bought pattern.
Use tracing paper/dressmaker’s carbon paper to trace it from the main sheet(s) – this preserves the pattern for other uses in other sizes.
Cut it out with paper scissors and use it on your fabric.
I don’t get on very well with tracing and to be honest I don’t have the patience when I can print it again if I want a different size (the beauty of PDF patterns, create a folder on your computer labelled patterns and keep them all in there!). I use them directly onto the fabric.
Some people do find that printer paper is too think and immobile for them though. Tracing paper is certainly lighter.
A word of warning though; if they arrive saved with an obscure name save them as something you recognise or you will never remember which pattern is which!
In picture 1. You will see my pattern file layout (a folder for “Patterns”, and one each for Sewing, Knitting and Embroidery) in picture 2. you will see the original pattern name, in picture 3 I have changed it to something I will recognise
Well, those are my top tips and I would love to hear from anyone who has something else to make PDF patterns less daunting – I am a true magpie, always on the look out for bright ideas!
We are gradually trying to smarten our kitchen up a bit. We inherited all the decor from the previous owners and we always thought we would completely re-do it. However circumstances changed (not least of which was me giving up teaching) and we have never managed to get the money together. Now I am finding ways to spruce it up without major investment.
We had a set of three IKEA pictures that used to hang in our sitting room before we re-decorated. Since then they have been relegated to the upstairs sitting room. Neither or us were that enamoured of the sand dune scenes and they no longer seemed to fit anywhere (and yes, we still haven’t decided what colour to paint the walls!).
I love typography and I have long wanted to put some kind of outsize sign in the kitchen but not quite found the one that was “right”. So I made my own!
Kitchen Foil (I used the extra wide stuff you usually use for the Christmas Turkey).
“Mod Podge” or PVA Glue
Double sided tape
Mount board in the colour of your choice.
Computer and Printer
Cutting Mat (or smooth surface that you don’t mind getting ruined)
Steel rule (for cutting with)
Paintbrush or glue spreader
Decide on the word that you want to feature (mine was partially dictated by the fact I had three frames to use!) and find a font on your computer that you like.
I used “Maxxi Serif” which I found and downloaded from “Dafont.com”. If you haven’t discovered this website it is an amazing resource for what is fashionable in type right now and most of the downloads are free for personal use.
If you have Microsoft Publisher it will allow you to have sheet sizes that are larger than A4. I don’t so I have a programme called Serif Draw Plus. This is graphic design software and I have the free starter edition.
This allowed me to set up a page size the size of my frame and add type to it. I then played around with the size until I was happy. When it came to printing the programme splits the digital “page” evenly amongst certain number of A4 sheets.
Print the letters out and glue the sheets together. The printer gives a 5mm overlap to each one and I made it easier to glue them together by drawing a line at the 5mm point to align the edge of the page with more easily.
I used Pritt Stick to glue the sheets together but then sellotaped over the top of each join to help it hold together as I wanted to move on quite quickly.
I cut the letters out and used Blu-tack to put them cut outs onto the frames so that I could check the size and proportions of the letters.
I stuck the paper cut outs FACE DOWN onto some card board boxes using Mod Podge spread out with an old children’s paint brush (in my experience brushes do not survive glue!)
I stuck them face down because I wanted the templates to be on the back of the final piece and the smoother surface on the front.
Whilst waiting for the templates to dry I used the one of the pictures from the frames to mark out the size on the back of the mount board. Because of the size of the frames I had to use three pieces of mount board (a bit expensive at around £2.50 a sheet, but the only thing I bought for this project).
Because of the price of the board I drew my cutting lines in with pencil completely rather than cutting with my ruler lined up to marks!
I continued until I had my three pieces of backing board ready to go.
Using a craft knife I cut out the letters attached to the cardboard. Once I thought they were cut out completely I would flip the cardboard over and check the back (it is a good way to spot bits you have not cut all the way through on and catch them before they tear and spoil the finish)
I spread the roll of kitchen foil out along the table carefully so as not to crease it. I wanted a more industrial steel finish on my final piece so I placed it shiny side up. Again I used Mod Podge to stick the shapes to the foil and weighted them down with books to dry (around two hours).
Using a scalpel or craft knife cut the shapes from the foil leaving a border around each one. Score into internal corners at 45 degrees and cut across external ones at the same angle (see the picture if that doesn’t make sense, I wasn’t sure how to describe it!)
I then put double sided tape around the edges and folded the edges tight around the cardboard.
I used masking tape to mark onto my backing boards where I needed to line the letters up with to get them in the right position and used double sided tape to secure the letters to the back boards.
I put the boards into the frames (which I had painted white with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and waxed) and secured.
Hang your pictures. This was actually quite tricky as they had to be level and it took me quite a long time to tweak the hanging cords to the right level!
I’m pretty pleased with result. They remind me of a slightly retro marquee sign and with three letters I have limited the amount of chaos Boffin and Best Boy can cause by re-arranging them!