Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dinosaur Egg String Balls

This is one of the many projects I made for Kabir's Dinosaur Birthday Party. I am still waiting on the birthday pictures, so I am going to use this time to post the projects I made. 

This is very similar to the hemp lamp I had made here, but with some important differences. For the egg shape, I used a balloon instead of a ball. And cotton/acrylic yarn instead of hemp string. You can color the hemp string instead as well. But these 2 replacements introduced new problems. As balloon is thin, it sticks quite strongly with the yarn, which makes the yarn more susceptible to cave in once deflated, leaving the ball shapeless. After trying various options, I figured that the balloon needed to be coated with something to avoid yarn from sticking too much with balloon. From what I read online from others experiences, some people tried using Vaseline, but it made the balloon surface very slippery. So, putting the string on makes it tougher.  Finally, I decided to use wax instead, and it worked like a charm. Below is a small tutorial on what worked for me:

What you need:
  • Acrylic/Cotton yarn
  • Small size latex balloon
  • Dry wax(I used my dry wax for hair)
  • Fork or needle to deflate the balloon
  • Clear gel tacky glue or any fast drying glue

1) Blow the balloon in the shape of an egg.

2) Coat it with wax: very important step. Try not to leave any spot. The green ball below is an example of what happens if this step is skipped. Once the balloon is deflated, the yarn caves in, and the ball is left shapeless and loose.

3) Pour glue in a bowl. Dip the fingers in the bowl and run it through a small section of string and then wrap it around the ball.

4) Let it dry over night, for around 12 hours. The acrylic wool takes less time to dry than hemp string. 

5) Deflate the balloon with a fork or needle. This was Kabir's favourite part(or should I say, the only part where he was involved in this project).

There was an egg waiting for him everyday in the morning (for almost a week) that he would deflate. I think he enjoyed deflating the ones that caved in more than the others.

The blue and orange string balls were made with the additional step 2: of coating the balloon surface with wax, and I love the output.

You can leave a place at the top (just like in hemp lamp), if you want to use it as a lamp.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dinosaur Tote Bag Tutorial

October, my favorite month of the year is here, which also means my son's birthday is around the corner. Preparations are in full swing and Kabir is participating at every step, which makes it all the more enjoyable. There was no confusion on the theme of the party. Kabir made it clear a while back that he wanted a Dinosaur Birthday Party. So that’s what he is going to get.

I don’t want to ruin the fun by posting everything before the party, but I have decided to share a little here and there.

Birthday invites are already in the post, and I love how the invites have turned out.

The favourite part of the birthday for the kids is normally the goodie bag. I knew I wanted something earthy and natural looking, and in a big size so I could fit in all the good stuff for the little ones. I looked at the muslin cloth drawstring bags on etsy, and I loved them. But the biggest size they came in was 8*10. Anything bigger than that was too expensive. Plus, I thought it would be easier for kids if they had a tote bag with a handle vs drawstring. So after much thinking, I decided to make my own.

What we are making: Tote bag of size: 11"wide by 26"high with a TRex Dinosaur painted on it along with kids name stamped on it.

Stuff you need:
1) Muslin cloth - cut to the size you want
2) Sewing machine or needle/thread if doing by hand
3) Scissors

For Decoration
1) Stencils (you can make your own)
2) Acrylic or fabric paint
3) Sponge brush
4) Alphabet stamps

You can create your own stencil by printing the image you want on paper. Cut it out, and trace it on a card board. Cut the image on the cardboard keeping the outside intact. I started with making one stencil, until I saw this amazing deal for Dinosaur stencil on amazon.

Step 1 : Cut the muslin cloth of desired size.  I cut it 11"wide by 26"high for a bag of size 10"wide by 12"high.

Step 2 : Decorate the front side before sewing. You can use the acrylic paint as is, or add a textile medium like GAC 900  to it.
Place the dino stencil in the center, and put some tapes on the edges to avoid it from moving. Keep a cardboard behind the fabric to avoid staining the surface below with paint.

Step 3: Using the sponge brush and acrylic paint, paint the part in the stencil. What worked the best for me was to start in the middle with the big sponge brush, and do the edges with a small paint brush. For the edges, you can also pat your brush down, in up and down motion, instead of horizontal strokes. This prevents the paint from leaking from under the stencil.

Step 4: Take off the stencil gently, and let it dry.

Step 5: Using rubber stamps, add the name at the bottom of image, on the muslin cloth.

Step 6: Make a strap/handle for the bag

Pic a: Cut a strip of fabric depending on how broad and long you want. I cut of size 2 " by 15". Fold the fabric length wise and sew it from 3 sides. Keep it open from one small side as you would need it to turn it. Here you can see the part under scissors is open.

Pic b and c: Using a knitting needle, stick the needle at the short edge which is closed, and pull the fabric down as shown in pic.

Pic d: Pull the part of fabric which has turned over and straighten the strap. Iron it.

Step 7: Sew the bag together. Fold one inch of the top edge to the inside of the bag and pin in place. At this point, attach the handles of bag. Place the straps an even distance from the side seams, and pin it. Stitch the edge in place stitching as close to the edge as possible.

Step 8: Sew a square, and a cross at the end of the strap to attach it to the bag securely.

Step 9: Fold the length of the fabric in half with the right sides together. Using a 1/2" seam allowance, sew both side seams.

Step 10: Turn the bag right side out and iron it.

Ta Da.. bag is ready. This tote bag can be used as a goodie bag, gift bag or just a personalised everyday bag for your little one.

1 done 20 more to go :-)

Here is the link to rest of the details from the Dinosaur Birthday party.

Happy Sewing!
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