Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Xmas crafting - Printed fox cushions

How busy are you at the moment? I have decided to take on a crazy list of crafting for Christmas this year. The kids are both able to get excited about it and I am really enjoying making them pressies. We do not go overboard in this house at Christmas time or birthdays, but I really love pouring my energies into gifts for family and friends. It's so satisfying to hand over gifts that I have spent time thinking about and putting together. My parents are used to this, as I have always made them stuff, but I want my kids to grow up with an appreciation for the things I make for them too. With all that said, this next make is very last minute and not in 'the plan'.

I have been following Zeena Shah on Instagram for a while now and knew I would end up buying her new print book when she announced it's release earlier this year (is it me or has this year been great for craft books?). It's called How to print fabric and the projects are a mix of very simple and more advanced techniques.

I love the fact that Zeena really encourages you to look at objects as printing tools that you just have lying around. I am not really a print novice so I am using the book as inspiration for project ideas, but if you are a complete beginner then there are definitely projects that you can carry out with very few materials. This one is a cute project for a bean bag and the pattern is literally brushed on with ink and a paint brush. Simple!

Back to my first project from the book though hey? My son sat with me flicking through the pages and immediately fell in love with the fox print cushion. The book arrived through my door on Monday so of course it made sense that I wanted to make my two a cushion each by Christmas day on Friday (as well as make my husbands jeans, clean the house etc...).

A quick note - The fox cushion is probably one of the more complex projects and requires a bit of an investment in equipment, but I'm sure you could achieve a great finish with the suggested freezer paper stencil and a sponge. You could just sponge the ink on instead of screen printing.

The book suggests making a stencil out of freezer paper, but because I wanted to make two cushions and potentially make more as future gifts I cut mine from some firm, wipe able plastic sheets. I had to alter the design slightly for this method so that there were connectors in the stencil to keep everything in place. The freezer paper method relies on you arranging the design elements on fabric before printing, so it's not all connected as one piece. My stencil was to be taped to the silk screen, so I just had to adjust it so all the elements were connected. These were my stencils.

I am so pleased with how they turned out! I did a three colour print by masking off areas of the second stencil, printing a colour and then after cleaning remove the masks and mask off the rest for a different colour.

Now you may notice they are slightly different from one another. I had a bit of an accident when printing an eye and it went really smudgy. At first I was really annoyed and was pondering what to do, but then thought of printing an eye patch and it's become a happy accident. It means that Evan and Maria will definitely know which one is theirs!

I didn't add a zip to the cushion, but just hand sewed it shut along the bottom.

Even though I've made myself super busy I really enjoyed this project. I'm looking forward to creating some more stencils using a similar colour separation for some pictures or more cushions. The fox kind of reminds me of some quilting blocks I've seen lately which makes me think a quilt with printed foxes would look amazing! What do you reckon?

Ta ra for now and happy Christmas crafting!