Fabric Postcards with Packing Tape Transfers

I mentioned in my last post about making packing tape transfers that I thought I might use them in a postcard swap from ihanna’s blog.  Very frequently, when I enter something like this, I end up making something very far away from my original idea.  In this case, though, I went with what had been my first idea.  The pile of postcards above are my result.  Here is an overview of how I put them together.

First, I made several packing tape transfers- check out my previous post linked above for the details.  I then pulled out my big box of hand-dyed fabric scraps left over from previous projects, dye experiments, etc., and tried to match them up with the transfers that I had.  I decided to go with a size of 4-1/2″ by 6″ and cut out what would become my base, some stiff interfacing.  I used non-fusible Peltex because that’s what I had ( I challenged myself to use only materials I already had in the house for this project):

I then cut out the fabric for the front and back of each postcard as well as a small piece of off-white muslin that I decided to use as a frame for each transfer.  Because each transfer varied in size, I hand-cut this.  Here’s a stack of all of the materials for one postcard: address-side fabric, Peltex, front fabric, muslin and packing tape transfer:

After cutting everything out, my first step was to use a couple of strips of Heat and Bond to adhere the main fabric to the Peltex.  This might have been a good place to use fusible Peltex or even full sheets of Steam-a-Seam or Misty Fuse, but once, again, I was determined to use just what I had on hand:

I repeated this with the rectangle of muslin, which I placed by eye.  I like general symmetry, but I don’t like it to be too perfect, so I don’t really measure most things like this:

I then placed the transfer on top:

For some reason, I forgot to take pictures of the next step, but it’s easy to explain.  I sewed around the packing tape transfer through all of the layers using a small-ish zig zag stitch.  I then switched thread colors to add a bit more depth and sewed around the outside of the muslin with a zig zag stitch.

At this point, I wrote  the addresses on my postcard backing fabric.  I wanted to do this before I sewed it all together so that if I made a mistake, I wouldn’t have to take the whole postcard apart to fix it.  In the past, I’ve also made fabric address labels that I ironed on after the postcard is all sewn together, but I didn’t want to do that this time. Once again, I ironed a couple of strips of Heat and Bond onto the postcard base.  Before doing this, I put down a piece of parchment paper so that there would be no chance of having the packing tape transfer melt or stick to my ironing board cover.  I don’t know if it would have really been a problem, but I didn’t want to take a chance.

I then sewed around the entire postcard with a wider zig zag stitch.  Here’s a close-up of one with all stitching finished:

A picture of all of the postcard reverse sides:

Here are a few pictures of the postcards a little closer-up:

These were really fun to make and now I just need to get some stamps to get them in the mail in the next day or two.   I’ve also been enjoying looking at all of the links showing the creativity of some of the other people participating in this swap. Check out the link to ihanna’s blog at the top of this post  to see the blogs of other swappers and a flickr pool of some of the images- lovely eye candy to me!


Packing Tape Transfers

I recently heard someone mention “Packing Tape Transfers” in passing on an internet list.  It seemed assumed that everyone knew what that was, but I had never heard of it.  After some googling, I figured out the basic principle (which is very simple!) and began experimenting.  This is the sort of craft I love because it’s easy, I already had all of the materials needed, and the result can be used in many different ways.

The materials:

Packing tape and magazines

I read in a few places that you should use pages from good quality magazines, but I’m not really sure what that means.  Some that were very glossy that I would have thought were high quality didn’t do as well as some that were more matte made out of recycled paper. I also successfully made one out of a cartoon on very low quality newsprint and another from an image on my power bill.  All I can really recommend is to experiment and see what happens.  You really won’t be out much if an image fails.

First, find an image you like and cover it with packing tape.  This image is from an ad in Mary Jane’s Farm magazine, which happens to make very nice transfers.  The packing tape is just regular old packing tape available everywhere.  I’ve used two different brands and both worked fine.

Next, trim the paper to match the tape and smooth down really well.  I use a combination of pressing with my fingers and also passing over it a couple of times with my grocery store club card:

Next, put the images in a dish of water.  I read all different lengths of time, from 15 minutes to an hour.  I usually leave them soaking for half  an hour or so.

The next step is my favorite part.  Gently rub off the paper from the back.  I usually do this one time and then soak it in fresh water and go over it one more time.  Some papers almost dissolve and others take a bit more work.

And finished- You can see how translucent the finished image is.

I usually give them one final rinse and then allow them to dry spread out on a dish towel.  Sometimes when they are dry there may still be little bits of paper and sometimes I re-soak them and other times I leave it as it doesn’t seem to make that much difference.  Sometimes there is still just a bit of stickiness on the transfers, so I store them in a single layer and then roll them up in wax paper.

Here is a recent batch:

These can now be used in a variety of ways- glue them to paper, use them in scrapbooks, cover a journal with them, or as my current plan is, sew them to something else.  I’m participating in a postcard exchange and plan to layer these with some of my hand-dyed fabrics and stitch them all together.  I made a sample out of a transfer I didn’t particularly love to make sure it would work.  In this sample, I sewed the transfer to a piece of muslin that I’d bonded to a piece of heavy interfacing (Peltex).

If I like my final results and end up going with this for the postcard exchange (organized by ihanna’s lovely blog), I’ll post them here.  And if I go a completely different way for my postcards, I’ll post that here, too :).

Another Star Ornament

I love star shapes and recently was browsing the internet for instructions for making star books.  The last time I did that, it led to an ornament on my blog (found here:  https://hinzpired.wordpress.com/2007/11/06/how-to-make-paper-star-ornaments/.  This time, the results were the same, although the design is new.  I think these are actually easier than the the first star ornaments and also offer the potential for lots of embellishments.

I’m sure that this isn’t really something new- I’m sure I’ve seen this sort of ornament somewhere before.  However, I didn’t find any instructions for them during my internet search, so I’m offering my version (I did find some very similar ornaments that someone is offering for sale using the custom images of your choice, which reinforced my idea that the instructions must be out there somewhere).

For my version, I used a few different choices for paper:  some multi-use 24 lb copy paper, both plain and stamped with paint; a paper grocery bag stamped with paint; and magazine pages glued together with a glue stick (the bottom two ornaments are made with magazine/catalog pages glued together).

Now for the instructions:  Cut your chosen paper into strips.  I chose to make my strips 2-1/2 inches wide.

Then cut the strips into squares- you will need either 5 or 6 squares.  Most of the ornaments above were made with 5 segments, but the bottom ornament made with the Lee Valley catalog cover uses 6- it’s up to you.

Next, fold all squares in half:

Open it up and fold it in half the other way:

Next, open it up again, flip it over and fold it diagonally.  If you are using a paper with images on only one side, those images will be on the outside during the first folds and on the inside during this fold:

Now, open up the paper, and on the right side, fold the little triangles that have been made inside the squares.  This is hard to explain, but easy to do:

Repeat these steps until there are  5 (or 6) pieces folded:

Now, the pieces are glued or taped together.  For most of the ones I’ve made, I used glue stick, but I tried double sided tape and found out that it worked out, too- and it’s a bit less messy.  Either way, apply glue or tape to one section and then stack the next piece on top:

Continue until all pieces are stuck together:

Next, cut two pieces of ribbon, jute, string, etc.  I tend to cut ribbon a bit longer than I think will be needed and then trim it at the end if it turns out to be a bit long.  Fold ornament into a stack and glue or tape ribbon on to one side:

Next, cut two more pieces of paper to be the covers of the book.  You can make it exactly the same size as the folded star or make it a bit bigger.  I chose to make mine the same size, so cut out one piece from my original strip of paper that was 1-1/4 by 2-1/2 inches and then cut it in half one more time.

Use glue or double sided tape to attach  this paper, covering up the corner of the ribbon that has just been attached:

Repeat on second side:

The ornament will now look like this:

Now bring the two ribbons together so that the ornament forms a complete star.  Slip a bead onto the ribbons and tie a knot in the end of the ribbons:

The finished star is now ready to hang.  For storage or to display the ornament in book form, the bead can be pushed to the other end of the ribbon and the star can be folded to become a book.  Push the bead back down to the end to keep it in this position:

I think that these ornaments would be beautiful made with some of the art papers I’ve seen, using nicer beads.  All sorts of recycled papers could be used, too.  I’ve also been experimenting with using stiffened fabric instead of paper, but those results aren’t ready for the blog yet (and you don’t really want to know why, although I’ll tell you that it involved my cats…).

Tie Dye Saturday

Last Saturday started out like most Saturdays during the months of May through October- with a trip to our local Farmer’s market. Also, like always, we took our dog. This week happened to be “dog day” and there was a very low-key dog parade and competition. As it turned out, our dog won a prize for “tallest dog.” He won a bag full of goodies, among which was a $20 gift certificate to the local humane society thrift store- which is a favorite family shopping place.

Naturally, we decided that a trip to the thrift store was necessary right after loading up on our weekly fresh fruits and vegetables. Dogs are even allowed in this store, so we didn’t have to take Felix home first.

We found lots of treasures. My daughter replenished her supply of fancy wine-type glasses, which she likes to use for drinking juice and water. I found a couple of odds and ends and then we looked through the linen bin, where we discovered our best find- 9 Williams-Sonoma white heavy cotton napkins in excellent condition. We don’t use paper napkins or paper towels at our house, and we can always use a few more of the cloth version for our collection.

These napkins, being white cotton, were crying out to be tie-dyed. White isn’t the best color at our house, plus I had a bunch of leftover dye that I’d used earlier in the week when I helped a friend’s church youth group tie-dye t-shirts.

Here are the results:

I love our new napkins and we still have 10 more dollars of our gift certificate to spend!

Also, since I was playing with dye anyway, I decided to overdye one of my pieces of rust cloth. I mixed up an un-reproducible brownish color using bits of all of my leftover dye. I’m thinking about what the next step will be with this- probably stamping something on it in black, but we’ll see what inspiration comes to me.

Recycled Art: Record Albums

This past Monday, I happened to see a link somewhere to some old record albums that someone had painted. I showed it to my daughter, Anna, who immediately got very excited about the idea. Anna loves to paint and something about the idea of painting on old records really spoke to her. She asked if we could go to second hand stores to find some old records, so we hopped on our bikes and headed to Anna’s favorite (and also the nearest!) thrift store. We found an assortment of smaller(10 cents each) and larger ($1 each) records.

As soon as we got home, Anna scrubbed off the label of a small record and sanded it a bit. She painted it just like that, without any other surface preparation. For her next attempt, she painted it with white acrylic paint before painting on her design. Later, we bought a can of spray primer and primed up her entire stock of records so that she has a waiting stack of prepared canvases.

Anna’s had a pretty busy week, but managed to finish these so far:

painted records

Here’s a close-up of Anna’s favorite, a jukebox painted from a picture she found of one:

And this is my favorite that she’s painted:

I have some ideas of my own for some mandala designs I’d like to try, but haven’t had time to experiment yet.

I think we’re going to be checking out the other thrift stores in town this weekend for the smaller size records with small center holes- we bought out all 10 that the Humane Society thrift store had in stock on Monday :).