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Topic: So how does one make a "brain" pincushion anyway? *NOW--with pics!*  (Read 4154 times)
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« on: November 10, 2005 02:48:47 PM »

Not sure how this idea occurred to me, but I somehow have decided that the perfect gift for my mother this year is a pincushion...designed to look like a brain. She's a former alterationist and spends a lot of time sewing...she also occasionally has a twisted sense of humour (which I've inherited, apparently), so I like the idea of a stuffed, squishable brain, about the size of a fist, that she can stick her pins and needles in. I was thinking I'd glue it to a rather pretty, gilded dish. maybe even use some slightly translucent nail polish to simulate blood...

but how on earth could I make a half-decent stuffed brain?


it would be nice if it weren't too involving, expensive or time-consuming, as there's a great chance she hate it (we are sadly beyond the phase of "anything my daughter hand-crafts is sacred" phase). better still if it had the separate hemispheres and ridges. I'd like to spend about five hours on it, tops, but I'm open to spending more time if it's a really terrific, workable idea.

(don't worry--I have other gift ideas that are much more Mom-appropriate--it's only fitting that someone get her back for her years of gag gifts)

so, I did end up making the pincushion. I had wanted to go with the upholstery trim idea, but was unable to find any at the fabric store. What I ended up doing instead was buying a styrofoam cube (aproximately 4"x4") and carving it down until it was roughly the size and shape of a brain. Then, using an assortment of makeshift tools (inkpens, orange sticks, plastic chop sticks) I "sculpted" the styrofoam--basically, I'd dig in a ridge and then round it using the orange stick and the soft pads of my fingertips. I then put on a few layers of my acryllic paint--enough to make it look less porous and glued the whole contraption onto a nice china dish that I'd gotten at goodwill.

Mom looked perplexed at first. I think once she figured out how much loving effort was involved, she decided to love it. Whether or not she truely does, I'm not sure. I guess I'll see if she proudly displays it on her desk or table...

« Last Edit: December 20, 2011 08:48:16 AM by jungrrl - Reason: changed non-working images to links. » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2005 07:26:01 PM »

I read your post at lunch and it's such an unusual idea that Ive been mulling it over at work the rest of the day. What about making a sort of egg-shaped pincushion out of fabric and then adding the ridged by gluing on a beige colored yarn in sort of squiggly patterns?
just  a thought!
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2005 08:51:01 PM »

What about making one or two skinny long tubes, filling them with either sand or stuffing and attaching them to another form (basically a half circle filled with pillow stuffing) to make the ridges? Then you could make them all squiggly like brains!

I love this idea and hope you'll posted pictures of whatever your final project is. Smiley

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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2005 11:01:03 PM »

What if you had like a base pincushion fabric and then sewed a piece of felt over it, but with like heaps of room so it sort of billowed.  Then you sewed aroung the felt in random patterens and then stuffed the holes if you like with more stuffing so they were like super padded and puffy and slightly brainlike. Then you could sew it up into a pincushion.   I made a cushion with a picture of a frog like that and it made the frog look 3D.  It might work for this too.  Or you could buy a lambs brain and stick pins in it.  Shocked  Just kidding!!!! (I'm vegetarian).

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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2005 11:03:04 PM »

what about using a pair of red knee highs.   they used to come 3 for a $1 in those clear plastic eggs in discount stores back when odd colored hosery was in fashion.  i dont know if you could find them so easy now.  you could do the whole soft sculpture thing along the lines of those heads they used to make out of them.

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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2005 11:22:56 AM »

Thanks for the suggestions. They've helped spark some further ideas of how to execute this.

Here's what I think I'm going to try---

Next time I can go to the fabric store, I am going see if I can find a large styrophome egg or oval. I'll cut that in half and use it as the base of the brain.  I will purchase some pinkish colored fabric there as well--technically it looks like brains are a fleshy-grey colour, but I think that's just going to look too hideous, even for me. I'll also have to buy some very strong glue.

Then, I'd cut the fabric into strips, then sew it into tubes--I think they'd have to be relatively short tubes, in order to make it easy to stuff them and also it will probably be easier to "sculpt" them into the appropriate brainy ridges. I'm thinking about the diameter of a finger to the diameter of a link sausage. The hardest part is going to be styling the parts to look convincingly like a brain--and also, I imagine, gluing it down. It is going to have to be glued down very well, because I assume she'd sooner throw it out than repair it if the brain starts to fall apart.

Finally, I'll glue the whole thing onto a fancy plate. Depending on how it looks, I might paint it a bit to add more realism/recognizability.

I've decided I won't add any fake blood or gore. I'm going for demure. It'll be a *demure* brain on a pincushion. if I can find one of those cheese domes for relatively cheap, I think I'll throw that in as part of the presentation.

I think this is gonna be tricky. but if it works, at least *I'll* think it's cool.
wish me luck!
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2005 04:18:49 PM »

the styrofoam reminded me of a technique ive seen used for making fabric collages.  they used stryofoam... in this case it was a flat sheet but theres no reason why a ball or egg wouldn't work.  then they layed pieces of fabric over it and used a butter knife to push the edges down into the foam, repeating with other fabric peices until it was entirely covered.  maybe someone has better instrctions for this or knows where to find a photo? 

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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2005 12:07:51 PM »

What about using that cording trim they use to finish the edges of pillows etc? Its round and you can get it in tonnes of colors like this pink stuff (http://www.denverfabrics.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=001&Product_Code=21949&Product_Count=&Category_Code=)... if you were able to put it in random round patterns around a piece of styrafoam I think it'd look like a brain.  Smiley

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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2005 01:08:57 PM »

how about a small version of this:
(the original pic doesnt work but scroll down, someone else posted it)
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