Cute And Easy Bunting Jewellery To Show In The Summer

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!

Use heat shrinkable plastic to make this cute bunting jewellery to co-ordinate with all your summer outfits.

Materials You Will Need to Make Bunting Jewellery:

To make this bunting jewellery you will need: Polyshrink Artists Grade Shrink Plastic, A length of chain, necklace clasps, coloured pencils, fine grade sand paper, jump rings, a pencil and sharpie markers

 

Tools You Will Need To Make Bunting Jewellery:

The tools you will need to make this bunting jewellery are: Paper scissors, two pairs of pliers, a heat proof surface, a heat tool or oven, wire cutters and a single hole punch.

 

How To Make Your Bunting Jewellery:

Step One:

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.

Use a fine grade sandpaper to sand the entire surface of your sheet of shrinky plastic

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.

Step Two:

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 a pencil to draw out your bunting jewellery. Mine was about 4.5cm wide by 4.5cm long

Step Three:

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 coloured pencils to colour in your bunting jewellery.

 

Step Four:

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 paper scissors to cut the shapes out and trim off any sharp corners so that they don't rub whilst wearing.

Step Five:

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.

Use a single hole punch to put holes in each corner, but not too close to the edge.

Step Six:

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!).

Use co-ordinating Sharpies to add colour to the edges of your bunting jewellery

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.

Step Eight:

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.

Step Nine:

Use a jump ring to link one end of your chain to one end of your row of flags.

Use pliers and a jump ring to connect your chain to one end of your bunting jewellery.

Step Ten:

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.

By placing the chain around your neck you can get a more accurate idea of how short to cut the chain of your bunting jewellery

Cut the chain using wire cutters and join that end to the opposite end of your bunting with another jump ring.

Use wire cutters to trim your chain to the right length for your bunting jewellery

Step Eleven:

Find the middle of the chain section of your necklace and cut on that spot with the wire cutters.

Lay out your bunting jewellery and find the centre of the chain. Cut it with wire cutters

Step Twelve:

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.

Use pliers again to securely attach the clasp and a jump ring for it to attach to.

Et voila! Your necklace is complete.

Quirky and cheap bunting jewellery with very little time invested and maximum impact, enjoy

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.

 

Make A Simple Wifi Password Sign Using Canva

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.

Make your own version of this stylish wifi password sign using Canva and your guests will feel right at home.

I am not affiliated in any way with any of the products used during this article. I have received no compensation (monetary or in kind). All opinions are my own.

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:

Make a stylish wifi password sign using Canva displaying your home wifi code for guests, using just an empty photo frame, photo print paper, a computer and printer

Kit You Will Need:

You will need very little kit to make this wifi password sign using Canva. A computer, a craft knife, a cutting surface, a steel rule and a printer.

How To Make A Simple Wifi Password Sign Using Canva:

Step One:

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).

You will need an email address, Facebook or Google Plus Account to make your wifi password sign using Canva

Step Two:

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.

 Select the personal option to make your wifi password sign using Canva

Step Three:

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.

Measure the size of the image that you will need to make your wifi password sign using Canva with a ruler.

Step Four:

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!)

Make sure that you click on the plus sign shown at the top of the home screen so that you see the full range of canvas sizes available for your wifi password sign using Canva

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.

To create your wifi password sign using Canva if none of the template canvas sizes match the frame you have, then use custom sizes to make your own

Step Five:

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.

In your wifi password sign you can use one single, large image or a collage of many to make your sign from.

These are all free to use so just click on the one you want to have it appear on your canvas.

Step Six:

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.

Under the elements tab there are a lot of free stock photos that you can use in your wifi password sign

Simply drag and drop the photos to where you want them on your wifi password sign.

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.

Use the upload an image command to import your own photos into Canva to use in your home wifi password sign.

Step Seven:

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.

If the wrong part of the picture is in focus on your wifi password sign using Canva , double click and drag the image to the correct spot.

Step Eight:

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.

By clicking on a shape a menu appears and allows you to change the colour or transparency of the shape you have chosen for your wifi password sign.

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.

Step Nine:

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.

You can use pre formatted text combinations or make your own for your wifi password sign using the text tab.

Step Ten:

The image on the left was produced using my own holiday photos, whilst the one of the right uses Canva’s free stock images.

Two examples of a wifi password sign that you can design using Canva, one using stock photos, one my own 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.

Step Eleven:

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 of your wifi password sign that gives a good 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.

Step Twelve:

Print your wifi password sign using Canva design, frame it up and enjoy!

Once you have printed your wifi password sign and trimmed it to size it can be displayed for guests to use whenever they need it.

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!

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY (Using Your OWN Images)

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

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.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

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 using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY:

What You Will Need:

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step One:

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.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

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.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Three:

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.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Using these measurements I made a template from a spare piece of card.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Four:

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.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Then I set to and cut out all my little triangles!

Step Five:

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.

Step Six:

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.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Seven:

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.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

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?

Patchwork Laptop Cosy Project – For Newbies or Relaxation

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

Image of the Petit Fleur Patchwork Quilt Panel and Four Coordinating Fabrics

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.

The final laptop cosy is waterproof & padded. I think it ticks all the boxes for a cute and very… Click To Tweet

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:

Grid showing all the equipment needed for this project

 

Collage picture showing all the materials necessary for this project

  • 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.
  • Quilt Batting (I used this Polyester Wadding but decided to use it double thickness)
  • General purpose sewing thread
  • Backing Fabric of your choice – I used a coordinating fabric from the same range. 50cm x 80cm.
  • Coordinating Bias Binding – 3metres
  • Iron On Vinyl ( I used Thermoweb Gloss Heat ‘n’ Bond).
  • 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!

Step One:

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.

Step Two:

Iron the panel flat. It is important to get all creases out of the fabric before the next stage.

Step Three:

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.

Image showing lengths of iron on vinyl placed across the panel in the most efficient manner

Step Four:

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).

Step Five:

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.

Step Six:

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.

Patchwork usually works with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. That makes me nervous so I make it wider when I can! Click To Tweet

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.

Image showing how to line up a quilting ruler to obtain a half inch seam allowance on the patchwork block

Step Seven:

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!)

Step Eight:

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.

Three image collage showing the steps of cutting the diagonal patches

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.

Step Nine:

At this point I usually take a photo with my phone so that I can remember what the order was that I liked.

Pay Attention - if your pattern only makes sense in one direction lay out your patches to accommodate this. Click To Tweet

Image of patchwork squares being photographed with a mobile phone

Step Ten:

Using the sewing machine (set to a medium length straight stitch) sew together rows of patches (you will sew the columns together later)

Step Eleven:

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!

Photo of iron pressing seam allowances of patchwork blocks in one direction

Close up image showing seam allowances pressed in opposite directions on next door rows

Step Twelve:

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.

Image showing scissors trimming ends of threads from patchwork rows

Step Thirteen:

“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.

Close up shot showing the seams of the patches being nested into accurate positions.

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!

Collage showing preparing the rows for sewing together

That is it! Phase One is complete!

Photograph of the completed patchwork section

Next week  Phase Two – Quilting and Assembly.

How To Use PDF Sewing Patterns – A Beginners Guide

 

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)

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:

How to Print

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!

Test Square

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.

Checking Pattern Sizing-1

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).

Assembly - Final Assembled Piece-2

Most patterns have “markers” to help you line up the pieces.  You can see some examples of these in the image below.

Different Methods For Aligning Pattern Pieces

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!

Pattern Assembly Collage

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Pinned Pattern-1

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

Renaming Patterns Collage

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!

Typographic Kitchen Wall Art

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.

Typographic Kitchen Art-1

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!

Materials:
  • Kitchen Foil (I used the extra wide stuff you usually use for the Christmas Turkey).
  • Cardboard Boxes
  • “Mod Podge” or PVA Glue
  • Pritt Stick
  • Double sided tape
  • Mount board in the colour of your choice.
  • Sellotape
Equipment Needed:
  • Computer and Printer
  • Scalpel
  • Cutting Mat (or smooth surface that you don’t mind getting ruined)
  • Steel rule (for cutting with)
  • Paintbrush or glue spreader
  • Tape Measure
  • Blu Tack
Step One:

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.

Printing the Templates

Step Two:

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.

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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.

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Step Three:

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.

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 Step Four:

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.

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 Step Five:

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!

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I continued until I had my three pieces of backing board ready to go.

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Step Six:

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)

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Step Seven:

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).

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 Step Eight:

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!)

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I then put double sided tape around the edges and folded the edges tight around the cardboard.

Step Nine:

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.

Step Ten:

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!

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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!

This week I am linking to In a bid to get some more opinions this week I am linking to; Handmade Monday and Enjoying the Little Things.