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More Art, Less Craft Tutorials

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July 31, 2014 02:16:58 PM by P_E_S_T
Views: 10388 | Comments: 8
I was recently in the fabric journal swap, which I joined with every intention of testing out a method of sewing art which a friend talked to me about ages ago.

It has been an amazingly beautiful method to play with - and I wanted to share it with you so that you can have a go.

I apologise in advance for the huge amount of photos but it is far easier to explain visually don't you think Smiley

Firstly......here is a fairy themed piece I made for sharalee

And now the how to.......
So firstly heres what you are going to need.
A sewing machine with the ability to use a free motion function, a free motion foot, some organza fabric in different shades, some sateen (make sure you test its burn factor, to assess take a small bit and try to light it with a match - if it melts easily then you cant use it). A backing piece of fabric (this can be anything - your not going to see it) sissors and cotton (a main colour and a black) a soldering iron, some decorative bits (buttons, jewels etc)

So to begin you need to cut out bits of sateen and layer up onto your backing fabric. This can be as random as you like.

Then take sections of organza and layer up again. You will have fun doing this and seeing the different shades you can make. It reminds of tissue paper or water colour painting

Pin up round the outside. Notice how blocky this looks at the moment (wait for the magic)

Ok now we are going to talk machines and the importance of having a free quilting function. WHen you free quilt you need to be able to turn off / lower your tracks. This is so that you can be in control of the fabric.

and OFF  notice that I have also attatched my free motion foot and I have chosen a stitch where the needle position stays central.

So now we have our machine up and ready, lets secure all that fabric down by hemming round the outside using your colour thread

Ok, now you can trip off all the floaty bits. If I was you, I would leave a little border in case you want to use your piece later on and need to turn the edges. Keep your trimmed organza !!!!
Once you are all trimmed we can think about design. Now Im liking doing silhouettes at the mo, but Ive also done some very simple applique work. Whatever you do - draw out your design on some plain paper first and then draw onto the BACK of your piece.

Back to your machine, and with the BACK facing up, and using a black thread - use your machine to "draw around the outline". In my honest opinion when you are free motion stitching - the faster you can get your needle going up and down - the better. THIS DOES NOT MEAN you have to move fast, in fact go as slow as you like as there are no treads controlling you, but the faster needle speed means that you get nice curves and no big long stitches.

Now when you turn your piece up the right way, you can clearly see where your main picture is going to go, and where you can avoid in the next stage

Back to your pen and paper, and this is just to get you to practise "drawing free hand", create a relationship between your hands, your eyes and free and easy swirls and closed shapes. It is really important that you have a good few closed spaces of varying sizes - all will become obvious later on.

Over to your machine - and PLAY !!!, get the colour thread on and just go for it, all over the place. Doodle till the cows come home, and having outlined your main silhouette - you know exactly where not to go. You will notice after a while that as the swirls and doodles force the fabrics to lie closer together - the blending starts to happen and it all gets a little magic (see I said there was magic)

NOw we can do some scribbling. Your going to use your needle like you would a pen and literally scribble into your silhouette using the black thread

Coming on huh !!!

Now remember those bits of trimmed organza, Im going to use them and a little bit of patterned fabric to make my wing. These little floaty bits of fabric provide interesting movement to your final piece. They could be tails, curtains, rainbows..... oh Ill let you tell me what you make . Can you see ive used the same scribble method to sew the wing down

Right - Sewing machine can go away Smiley go have a cup of tea and a slice of cake and raid your husbands shed for the soldering iron Smiley
Now these things get seriously hot - and each one is different. I start by heating mine up to its hottest and then adjusting it as I go. Basically you want it to melt the organza, not set fire to the whole thing, and preferably not burn holes through the whole piece.
This is where it will have really paid off for you to test your Sateen, as if it is burnable you are going to be hugely disappointed Sad SO CHECK IT RIGHT xxx

What you want to try to do, is use your soldering iron a little bit like a pencil, and "draw" around the inside edge of all of your "closed shapes" which you made in the colour thread. After each one, use your nail or a pair of tweezers to lift up the organza bits from the centre of the shapes and pull it away. This is seriously addictive and makes me go ooooo and ahhhh every time.

Now I could stop there and show you where weve got to - but hold your suspense people !!!
I managed to find a rather fabulous machine in ALDI (do you have that in the states ?) Anyhow it is like a soldering iron but you use it to press gemstones into fabric. Essentially it heats up the stone, melting the glue on the reverse so that it sticks to the fabric. But if you don't have one of those, you could always use a little super glue. So...... get bedazzling !

And with a twingling button eye - my piece is complete Smiley

Below are the fabric journal pieces I made for the swap. I would love love love to hear if you play with this technique - please post your photos in the thread and let me see Smiley

February 21, 2014 03:53:29 PM by rockmygypsysoul
Views: 8927 | Comments: 7
Okay so after I did a couple of these for the OWS, I received lots of praise which I totally didn't deserve cause this is a total cheat.  So anyway I promised a tutorial and decided it would also be a good first project for my little website, too!  Smiley

So here it is:
Cheat Shaded Art

Craft acrylic paint one base color per subject (so for this, I had two); also white acrylic paint and one color for the background.  
Glue/Mod Podge
Paint brushes at least one wide for spreading the glue and one fine for detail work
Printer and paper
A palette, palette paper, or piece of cardboard you can throw away

Choose and alter your photograph into black and white.  I use fotoflexer.com where for free you can upload your picture, then click on the Effects heading and switch it to greyscale.  If it all seems really difficult to tell sections of gray apart, add a little contrast if needed.  Then print the thing according to the size of canvas you are working with (810 is usually ideal since you can do it at home).  Print it on regular paper not photo paper.

My picture I started with and then after I adjusted it:

THIS IS THE ONLY SEMI-TRICKY STEP.  Bust out your pencil and break apart your subject(s) into shades of gray.  Ignore the fact that you love these people and are callously penciling all over their faces and breaking them down into shapes and areas instead of looking at them as a person.  I promise, whatever damage you do the soul will be repaired when painting.
Warning: Use pencil.  Do not use pen.  Never.  Ever.  No matter what.  No matter how lazy you feel.  Painting over pen is an exercise in futility.  Trust me on this.

Now, the easiest way is to draw over the picture, simply blocking off sections when you get to an area that is noticeably lighter or darker.  Dont worry about not being 100% sure.  Just block it off.
Now, divide up your blocked-off areas into 5 shades.  At least, I use five shades of gray.  Im sure anything 3+ should be fine but I think 5 gives a lot of detail without being ridiculous (more than five might make you want to kill someone).

Start with your darkest and lightest areas they will give you a base to work from.  I usually use 5 for my lightest areas, 1 for my darkest, and so forth.  Once you have labelled your lightest and darkest areas, you can much more easily identify the middle shade (your #3) and then your remaining areas.  There will be some areas that dont fit squarely into your five shades its okay.  I promise.  Just try your best.

Tip: Evaluate each individual subject on their own.  In this picture, for example, Greyson would be way lighter than Alexis.  So do your five shades of gray for each person, animal, whatever on their own for a more balanced look overall.

Warning:  Those areas in the mouth?  Like the spots in between teeth?  DO NOT use your #1 shade even though they are the among the darkest spots.  Trust me on this.  You can use your darkest for general mouth stuff (like Greysons) but when youre dealing with in between teeth, use your #3 or #4 shade so theres not as much glaring contrast between the white teeth and the spots in between.

Tip:  When it comes to hair, dont get too wrapped up in it.  Number the areas that are on the outside and any large chunks but just leave the rest of it alone.  When youre painting, youll just naturally color in some areas with various shades and it will all look fine.

Other Tip:  Dont mess with background.  I include clothing and accessories but not background or furniture (unless the person looks weird, like if theyre leaning on a table and then they look float-y).  Sorry, underthemountain  Roll Eyes

Other Other Tip:  Just like the hair and clothes arent that important, the eyes are far and away the most important.  Make sure you keep those flecks of light in their eyes.

Huzzah!  You are ready to roll!  Your areas are blocked off and numbered (the more you do of these the less you have to actually block and number everything).  So now you are going to take your picture and glue it on top of your canvas.

I am so not even kidding.  Mod Podge is always ideal but even Elmers will work if you are careful to keep it light, spread it evenly, and carefully apply it to make sure there arent any bubbles.

Create your five shades.  Its pretty basic start with your base color (which will be your #1) and add an increasing amount of white paint to your next four shades.  You should end up with something akin to these five discernible shades:

Paint already!  This isn't rocket surgery.


Youll note that in this picture, the paper gets wrinkly as youre painting.  Its okay.  As long as your initial adhesion to the canvas was smooth, this wrinkliness (that should be a work) will be completely flat once dry.


Paint your background.  FYI, depending on your chosen background color, you may have to do more layers.
THEN YOURE DONE!!  It takes a little while but put on a movie or two and youll be done in no time.  You do want to do each subject in one sitting to make sure you have well-balanced shades.

Hope that clears up why I keep telling you guys that the final product on these has absolutely nothing to do with any talent or skill  Cheesy

P.S. Remember when I told you the painting would restore the damage done to your psyche by breaking someone you love up into shades of gray?  Seriously, every time I do one of these, even for people I've never met, I fall in love with some part of them.  The roundness of cheeks, the purse of lips, the spark of eyes - even how much eye makeup my niece wears - you totally discover it all over again.

May 19, 2014 12:38:45 PM by tapestrymlp
Views: 5726 | Comments: 4
For the IYP 25 swap I wanted to make something unique for my partner chughes225. I've wanted to make a book painting for a while, inspired by this pin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/63824519691605298/

However, I couldn't possibly hack up some books even in the interests of art. It took me a while to settle on a solution, but I finally figured out a way to pull it off. This was my solution:

I used a 12 x 12" wood frame base. Next I cut strips of thin cardboard and gave them a slightly bowed shape and then used duct tape to secure them to the wooden base.

After that I covered the book spines in two layers of plaster tape and allowed them to dry.

I gave the plaster a base coat of black when it was done. Next I found some faux leather textured scrapbook paper, cut strips of that and painted them. I glued them onto the base and then used acrylic to add details based on vintage book spines.

And last I sketched a profile image of Hermione onto the book spines and then painted in the details.

If I do this again I'll make the spines less curvy because the image distortion is a bit distracting. I like the dimensionality of the finished piece though. I just need a better balance Smiley

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