Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December Tart Kit: Paper Leather

This month we are converting brown paper into leather. With wrinkles, paint, grunge board, and ink, you can simulate the look of leather. Because of the interfacing on the back side, it is sturdy enough to sew. Sue Anne made this small piece by combining paper leather with denim to create a western look.

Crinkle and wrinkle the piece of brown paper in your kit. You want lots of lines and creases.

Smooth out the paper and gently press the wrinkles flat.

Iron the piece of fusible interfacing to what will become the back side of your leather. Be sure the interfacing is well-adhered. Trim the paper and interfacing to match.

Dilute the brown paint with a small amount of water and paint it over the surface of the paper. Allow the paper to dry.

Carefully adhere the Misty Fuse to the front side of the paper, protecting your iron with a teflon sheet.

Cut shapes from the grunge board and fuse them to the paper by pressing them onto the Misty Fuse. Again protect your iron. You may have to use steam and iron from the backside as well as from the front. With enough heat, the grunge board will eventually fuse. With your sewing machine and thread, free motion stitch over and around the grunge board. It is easy to sew through, just go slowly. The thread will add more texture to the paper.

Repaint the paper, covering the grunge board and stitching with another layer of brown paint. Be sure you get the edges of the grunge board. You will be painting directly onto the exposed Misty Fuse as well. Let the paper dry completely.

Rub the black ink pad over the surface of the paper. You will decide how much. This will add more dimension and texture to your paper. When the ink has dried, the paper is ready to treat as fabric. It can be used as the background or cut into strips or used as applique. With the fusible interfacing, it will sew without tearing. Do something western!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November Tart Kit: Shrink Plastic Embellishments

This month we are reintroducing many of you to an old childhood craft - shrink plastic. We can create our own one-of-a-kind embellishments for our art quilts. Need purple beads, make them yourself! The kit contains half sheets of four types of shrink plastic: clear, matte, white, and inkjet. Although you will color them and shrink them generally in the same way, each type will yield its own result. The small sampler above shows the four different types. Be sure to read the general instructions about coloring and shrinking the plastic before you begin. The plastic will shrink about 50% so plan accordingly. We have included Sharpie markers for you to use to color your plastic. These markers will give you a bright intense color.

This clear piece of plastic was marked with a black Sharpie and then colored with the pens.

White Shrink Plastic

Matte Shrink Plastic

InkJet Shrink Plastic
Here are the four ready to go into the oven. If you want a hole for attaching the embellishment, you will need to punch it out before heating. Use the decorative scissors to give your piece an interested edge.If your intended embellishment will be reversible, be sure to color both sides.

As the plastic heats, it will curl. To keep the edges from curling over onto the center, cover the plastic with parchment paper during heating. When it has finished shrinking, the edges will uncurl and lie flat.

To make a bead, cut and color small strips of the shrink plastic. Wrap it around a metal knitting needle or parchment covered skewer and secure it with a rubber band.

Use your heat tool to melt the edges in order to hold them together and then remove the rubber band. Continue heating it until it has shrunk to its intended size.

The inkjet type of plastic is the only one of the four that you can run through your printer. Find a suitable photo and edit it to fit to your half sheet. Cut out each photo so that it will shrink separately.  I was able to print two photos on my half sheet. You must lighten your photo quite a bit because as the plastic shrinks, the picture will become more intense.

The shrink plastic can also be colored after heating. Try stacking pieces of plastic in a pile or add tiny colored bits to the top of a larger piece of plastic. You can also use ink and stamp a design on the plastic before heating. While the plastic is hot, impress it with a decorative tool to give it texture. Experiment to find a use that is just right for your work.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October Tart Kit: Positive/Negative Stenciling with Paintstiks

In this month's kit we are borrowing a lesson from Shelley Stokes of Cedar Canyon Textiles. She has developed patterns and designs for positive/negative stenciling using Shiva Paintstiks. Before you begin, you will need to choose a pattern from the sheet included in your kit which Shelley graciously allowed us to use. It must be enlarged to a 4" square. To do this, use a copier to enlarge at 133% and then again by 200%.


Once you have your pair of blocks enlarged to 4" make 5-6 copies so that you can put them together to form a large piece. As you can see the blocks are equal and opposite and will fit together in an alternate pattern, forming a secondary design.

You must pre-shrink the freezer paper before you make your stencil. Take it to your ironing board and press it on a lint-free surface, lift it, and press again. Cut each freezer paper sheet into an 8" square. Draw two sets of parallel lines 2" from the outside edges, forming a 4" box in the center. Trace each pattern in the two boxes. Be sure to mark the areas that will be cut out. Cut out the marked areas without cutting into the margins.

The fabric in the kit is a hand-dyed cotton and needs no pre-washing, just a light ironing. You will need to create registration marks on your fabric in order to place your stencils in the correct positions. Use an iron or chalk marker to mark multiple 4" squares. Position your first stencil in the correct position and press to adhere the freezer paper stencil. The Paintstik has a film covering the paint and needs to be removed. You can do that by twisting it off with a paper towel or cutting it away with a small kitchen knife. Rub the paint onto the waxy side of the left over freezer paper and load your brush.

With your brush at a ninety degree angle and with a circular motion, add paint to the fabric. Start with a light layer and gradually add paint until you have the intensity you desire.

Carefully remove the stencil. Position the second freezer paper stencil in its correct place on the fabric, matching the edges and registration marks. Cover your first painting with parchment paper and iron the second freezer paper pattern to the fabric. Add paint as before. Continue stenciling by alternating each pattern piece until you have filled your fabric with squares. As you can see, each pattern matches the other along the sides.

This stenciled fabric can now become your background. You can alter the fabric by painting it in a graduated color, adding the single color of paintstik over the top. Or you can stencil each pattern onto squares cut from different fabrics. You can also make your own patterns. See Cedar Canyon Textiles for Shelley's blog on learning that technique.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September's Tart Kit: White on White

Even though this lesson is titled "White on White", we will be using many variations of white and beige materials. The idea behind this kit is a chance for you to build some hand embroidery skills and work with a composition that does not use color as one of its design elements. We want you to create a piece that is interesting because of the texture, pattern and value contrasts.

The kit contents contain a variety of threads, yarns, and fabrics. Add other textures from your stash to give yourself enough materials to be inspired. Think about dimension and pattern, contrast and focal point. How will your piece be interesting and draw the viewer in without using color?

Use basic embroidery stitches or teach yourself some new ones. We have included a couple of websites that will give you lessons on embroidery as well as our own stitch glossary:

If you want, use your machine to complement your handwork.

For design composition inspiration, learn about zentangles - a purposeful way of doodling. You can find great information at www.zentangle.com.

One of the threads in your kit is a polyester metallic blending filiament. It can be used with one of your other threads to add just a bit of sparkle to your embroidery. Susan used it in the leaf stitch of the flower petals.

For those of you who love handstitching this lesson will be a treat! For those of you who don't, you may find that even a little bit of embroidery on your art quilt will be enough to add texture and dimension in a way your machine stitching cannot. Have fun!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August Tart Kit: Sun Printing with Grids

Sue used craft foam for printing a grid onto her fabric. She blended two paints to give the two-toned color to her piece. With this month's kit, you will take advantage of the summer sun and print on PFD fabric using Setacolor. This is a transparent paint and works terrific to create silhouettes on fabric. The technique is very easy, so to give you a challenge we want you to work with grids - the fencing included in the kit to print with or in your composition's design.

You will be painting the diluted Setacolor onto wet fabric which you have laid on a hard surface. Unless your surface is already in the sun, it will need to be portable in order for you to move the fabric outdoors to the sun.

Diluting your Setacolor will determine the intensity of the color. The photo below shows two greens with different dilutions. Add water to get the value you prefer.

Once the fabric is colored and still wet, lay your fencing on top and put it all into the sun. The fencing must touch the cloth in order to get a defined line. You may need to soften the plastic in order for it to lay flat.

Once the paint has dried, remove the fencing to see your gridded silhouettes. Heat set the paint with your protected iron.

As you will observe, the area open to the sun stays dark, while the area covered by the grids fades to a lighter color.

We have included craft foam if you want to make your own grids. In the photo following, squares were cut from the foam and placed on the fabric. When the fabric dried and the squares were removed, the results look a little like bright windows.

The reverse image could be made by cutting the foam into this shape.

Try printing with other grids such as rug canvas, plastic needlepoint canvas, screening, other interesting fencing materials or cut your own grids as Sue did with her sample at the top of the page.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July's Tart Kit: Fused Collage

In the Tart kit for July, we have gathered items for a quick fused collage. If you choose, there doesn't have to be much sewing. In fact, the piece could just be matted and framed. This exercise will give you an opportunity to practice composition and design.

You will be layering your collage elements onto a piece of hand painted cotton. Press out the wrinkles and lay the background on your protected ironing board.

Split the piece of Misty Fuse into two equal pieces. Cover the background with one piece. Misty Fuse is a wonderful fusible that allows you to fuse open-weave fabrics without obscuring the transparency.

Position the cheesecloth, Angelina, ribbons and the picture which you have isolated and cut out on top of the Misty Fuse. You can add any other elements as your eye demands.

When you are finished arranging, lay the second piece of Misty Fuse over the collage.

And finally, lay either piece of tulle over the Misty Fuse. With your iron protected with the freezer paper, press your piece to fuse the elements together. Embellish with the gemstones and any other stitching you desire. This piece can be quilted with binding or matted and framed.