Shrinkage - It's A Good Thing

3:39 PM

(At least in this post it is!)  I'm talking about Shrinky Dink shrinkage.  I remember making these when I was a kid but haven't seen them since the seventies. Wow, that's thirty years ago now.  Pardon me while I come to terms with how freaking old I am.  Hey look! A bunny!

A bunny!

I recently came across a post at Just Something I Made showing a Shrinky Dink bracelet tutorial that will be in the March issue of Country Living magazine.   The best part, for me, was finding out that the plastic sheets are available for ink-jet printers.  Right. Off to the craft store!

The sheets are available online at the Shrinky Dink website  for about $9 for 6 sheets.  I got mine at the local Hobby Lobby, which charges $11.99 for the same package, but I had a 40% off coupon so I got them for $7. If you add in the egregious tax percentage - 9.25%!!! and I still got them for under $8.

Thanks to Cathe's tutorial I had some ready made free vintage ephemera sheets, which I did a tiny bit of editing on. I printed one to test, baked it up and Voila! (you know, as an aside I was reading someone's product description on Etsy the other day and they had spelled "voila" as "wella".  Oy!) 

Here's what I learned in my second testing phase:

1. Image opacity should be about 50%. The actual instructions say that the image will get 9 times darker.  I found that to be relatively true. There were some images, especially the ones with bright colors that I used my photo editing software to tweak the saturation so the end result would be more vivid.  

2. Colored backgrounds work best. The ink-jet plastic sheets are white. BRIGHT WHITE.  This means that if your image background is white also, you are bound to get some dots and smears from the printer.  These will also be 9 times darker.

post-cut, pre-bake images

3. Shrinky Dink corners are sharp. Sheee-arp I tell ya! They can be filed down to a less lethal pointy-ness with a nail file. Or maybe sandpaper if you've got it. I liked the control I had with the emery board.

4. Bigger is not better! 
Case in point: This little Fraggle was about twice the size of any of the other images I cut out. I would say he was about six inches across pre-bake.  There was no fixing this. lol.
Poor twisted little Fraggle...

I reduced the size by half and here's what I wound up with.  My daughter will lose her mind when she sees this tomorrow after her orthodontist appointment.  She would be a Fraggle if she could. True story.
Yes, that's more like it!

5. Plastic is brittle during the cutting phase or  in my case, "keep it simple, stupid".  Complicated shapes like the cloud form are harder to cut; taking the turns too sharp caused some breakage into the design.  It could be that sharper scissors and a more steady hand would do the trick. 


6. Not all Shrinkies Shrink equally.  Shapes don't always hold true in the end.  I made my husband a key chain using his blog header image. It was a rectangle.  Now it's only close to a rectangle.  Best not to expect perfection and it will be ok!   Visit him to see the real image.  (Drool cup required)

Getting his noOb on

7. Punch your holes before you bake. Luckily I did not learn this one the hard way.   Also, it may seem obvious, but the hole shrinks too. I used a three hole puncher to punch my holes and they came out only slightly larger than I would have liked. They fit the key ring splendidly, but are a bit too big for the jump rings. (Or maybe my jump rings were too small.)

8. Some kind of sealer is required.  I say this because if you don't use any kind of sealer at all, the surface is rough-ish to the touch.  I used what I had laying around which was just a bottle of clear nail polish.  I don't expect my finished product to be near water, so a thorough sealant wasn't necessary. 

All done!

The finished product above is a set of six stitch markers for my MIL.  I sanded the edges with my nail file to get rid of the pointy bits, which would not mix well with yarn.  I was thinking about distressing them a bit but decided against it this time around.

I also experimented with acrylic craft paint in silver around the edges (not shown) and sealed that with nail polish.  The edges looked fine, but stood out awkwardly against that BRIGHT WHITE background.   You can file off any mistakes and reseal.

This was a really fun project and I've already got the other 5 sheets mapped out. The internet has a buffet of free images to use for personal use, the only trouble is narrowing it down to just 5 sheets!  Have you made anything with Shrinky Dinks lately? 


One Done Bunny

2:04 PM

I finished my freehand stitching of the bunny.  It came out ok. And I mean just ok. I was tempted to restitch but the Peanut liked it the way it came out. 

Here you can see I added a pom-pom that I found lying in the craft drawer to give it some dimension.

Maybe I should have not left so much white space.

 I stitched the felt first and then sewed the felt to the fleece.  I thought about a blanket stitch. Didn't do one though.

I think next time I should plan ahead!

I have stitched felt to fleece before and didn't run into any problems.  This time however I noticed the fleece fuzz coming up through the stitches.  I don't know if there was anything I could have done to prevent that. It isn't noticeable at a distance but up close I can see it and it bugs me.  Maybe I need a less nappy fleece.

I've got a few other stitched things that I've finished in the past few days.  Here's a bird I did up yesterday in a pinch.

Nestled In The Branches

I am in love with this fabric.  So far my MIL has made me two throw pillows and a quilt for my wall. I even Macguyvere'd a slim curtain for the window in my hallway.  I'm down to just scraps now. I did a few accent stitches on the bird, leaves, & branches and added a few french knots for depth.  I also stitched the words "Blue skies, smiling at me..." but those will get picked out and redone.

Here's my first redwork piece.  The pattern (which I found at Flickr) is called Robots in Spring by Sibling Craftery.  There's much more to the pattern, I've only grabbed one robot. :)

All Our Base Belong To Us

I'm also working on another stitch book. Pics of that soon! 


Spring Stitching In Progress

6:17 AM

It's nearly spring right? RIGHT? This has been the snowiest winter I've had since I left New York. That includes my year in Wisconsin! So much for man-made global warming.

In the spirit of spring and my Peanut's birthday I'm working on a little project for her.  I have tons of fleece that I don't know what to do with.  (From the epic fail that was "let's make baby items for Etsy!" and the death knell of that idea which was something called CPSIA)  I also have some felt laying around which I've been making into those little needle books. (I wrote about those in Felt Frenzy).  So I thought that I could combine these things together and make a kitschy little wall hanging for the Peanut.

She is way into the animal kingdom and her stuffed animal collection is approaching Guinness Book numbers. The one thing she doesn't have is a rabbit. At least I don't think she does.  In order to confirm I'd have to don a pith helmet and wield a machete. For safety sake I'm just gonna assume. ;)

Here's a sneak peek.
The tree design is from Aimee Ray's Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection which I highly recommend.

Bunnies and spring are synonymous, no?

Transferring to felt has been an issue with me in the past. Hell, transferring anything has been an issue. I still don't own a transfer pen.  What I did was print out the design, trace it onto tracing paper and then I pinned that paper right to the felt.  After the stitching is finished I use my tweezers to remove all the excess tracing paper. Most of it is easy to remove. However, just when you think you've gotten it all....

you realize you haven't.

Thank goodness for digital camera's and their amazing resolution that lets me see things like that nearly imperceptible bit of tracing paper.

I haven't any other planned stitching for this bunny. I'm going to just go to town freehand style and hope for the best.  What's the worst that could happen?


Stitch Along with Feeling Stitchy

6:44 AM

Feeling Stitchy is exactly what I have been feeling lately.  Which is a good thing since I've been a bit uninspired on the jewelry making front.

I decided to join a Stitch-along with the  Feeling Stitchy Flickr group.  Here's the design that we're using:

According to the rules of the group we just stitch the design in any way we like and are free to modify it as well. Since I'm still in the newbie phase of embroidery I didn't trust myself to put this design on anything important like a shirt or table cloth etc.  I simply traced the design on a scrap of muslin and went to town.

I believe the stitch-along was meant to go for the entire month of February. Oops. I sort of just kept going until it was finished. I meant to take photos to show my work in progress. Oops. Didn't do that either.

Here's what I did do:

February Feeling Stitchy Stitch-Along

I changed the design when I realized that the flowers around the ring were looking like hyacinths.  That was a stroke of luck really.

Hyacinths were hiding in my embroidery!

I mixed two colors of thread (like I did in my previous embroidery project)  I really like the look when the threads are just a shade or so off from one another.  I did this for the hyacinths, the purple petals and the green leaves.

I love taking photos at an angle!

The flowers that look white are actually a super pale blue with a brown french knot to accent. I used three and four strands at a time depending on how I was feeling, though I was consistent throughout the project. (If I used four for a stem then all stems were four)  I can't seem to get used to using all six threads at once. It seems way too chunky to me.  I was down to one thread for the vein on the leaves, which to me made them stand out that much more.

Muslin is no longer my enemy.

Here are the colors of DMC floss I used:

Purples: 154 & 3042
Greens: 469 & 731
Blues: 504 & 3756
Brown: 801

If you've come over from the Feeling Stitchy Flickr group feel free to post links to your projects and/or blogs. I would love to visit you! :)

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