29 December 2013

Another Angel...

Slightly different to the last one.... I found a strip of white and silver tulle, which I cut in half, and used for both the top and skirt of this Angel. I also added a sleeve to the arm, with hands in matching felt to the head.

I stitched the skirt and trim with machine, and glued onto the tin after. I think it worked pretty well! I did the skirt first, then decided how to do the top, and ended up unpicking the skirt and doing it again. I would use better quality felt for the base next time, as this one was a little thin...

Now that this one is done, she is a little dull... How can I add some pizazz??

Crochet edges...

I saw on a website recently a felt circle with a crochet edge, reminding me of the boxes that people used to make out of cardboard that were crocheted together.  The just use trebles - like granny squares - and I used this idea to go around the circle.

I had some Christmas paper, cut out a circle, attached it to cardboard, punched out some holes and off I went!

I need to make it smaller, and perhaps add some plastic over the top. I could then use photos or other pictures printed out - anything that I could glue!!

For this size, I used 6x trebles in each hole for the first round, then 5x trebles and 2x doubles to create the "dips". Worked out OK, but curls up a bit. Perhaps some spray starch will fix that? My yarn is quite slippery, so maybe that is a factor?? I'm not that comfortable with crochet, but I can make coat hangers, and that's about it... ;)

I wonder if I could make some Christmas decorations for next year?? Only 360 days to go!!

26 December 2013

Sing, choirs of Angels...

The plan is a bunch of angels, singing their little hearts out....

The first one is done, now I just need a couple more to make the choir!

I don't like the arms on this one, and I tried to use normal fabric as the base instead of felt, with limited  success. It was too transparent, and even after 2 layers of white paint on the tin, you can still see the design of the tin through it, hence the layers of lace covering it up......

I do, however, like the book and how it slots into the hand.  This one was made from felt and it's a little thick. I now have some black card stock to use that is lighter and thinner, and so should look better.

I am thinking the next one will use tulle stitched onto the felt before it's applied to the tin. This one was glued and it's hard to get the gathers to sit nicely.  I had to cover the join with ribbon, which is now hidden under the extra lace I had to use to cover over a glue mark right at the front! Grrr! I was going to leave it as per below, but it didn't have any zing, and I found the silver lace in my stash already.....

The wings are purchased - pack of 6 for $2! What a great deal!! They are perhaps a tad smaller than I would like, but cheap and cheerful is fine by me. I think I have only had to buy the balls for the head (I think $3 for about 30 balls), the wings and a couple of colours of felt I didn't have (or used up....) They do packs of 3 colours at Spotlight for $1.50, or single pieces for $1. Total so far, not much at all!! Fabric I had, tins I had, paint, wool and felt I had. Oh, the split pins I bought, too, but it's a box of 100, so will last for a while yet. 

Overall, I'm liking this concept! Will try a boy also, with top hat and tails. I have 40+ tins still available to play with, so failure is no problem! Just grab another one and try again... ;)

22 December 2013

Santas got himself an Elf!

I thought Santa needed a friend, so I made him an Elf! I took pics if my process, if you want to make your own. I drew all the parts freehand to fit my tin, so I have not provided a pattern only the process...

Firstly, I needed inspiration. Again, I turned to Google images and found a pic for inspiration, then made some doodles in my book...... 
I cut a rectangle big enough the cover my tin, so I could draw on some guide lines.
I then made some arms and legs patterns. I decided to joint the arms this time, so they needed to be designed completely differently. This is what I came up with :
I cut one set out of cardboard to test if it's heavy enough, since the last one was a different weight. Happy with the proportions, I used these as the template to cut the other pair.
Happy with this, it's time to start glueing!

Remember that paper pattern? I cut out the green felt, and laid it over the red strip I cut a strip wide enough so the front would be covered. I could have shaped it, but, as it turned out, the ridge it created made a really nice waistline! 
For the belt, I cut a square from some craft foam I had from another project for the buckle, threaded through some ribbon and voila!
The legs were to have striped stockings, so I used some woven stripe from my stash, and pressed some heavy stabiliser to it. This created a firm base to glue, plus helps to prevent fraying. I did the stockings first, then the shoes and pants afterwards. I painted the cardboard in white prevent the coloured side showing through the white. 2 coats where the stripe was, one over the rest...
Test fit on the tin - love it!!
Face time!!
I made my head sock out if different fabric, but it works just as well! Also used a different neck, this time some retic tube that was in the shed! Sweet!! More stuff I already had!!
I cut a very small hole in the lid this time, just big enough for it to fit through. It keeps it nice and tight, so it can be cable tied on permanently later on....
Face based on the Elf on a Shelf :
You can see I also I drafted a little ear, for later...
Face painted!!
Also needed a spiked collar. I used the lid as a base, marked eights, and ended up with this:
Completed, it looks like this :
Looking good! How about some hair?? This is my method....
Cut a rectangle big enough to cover the area, pin at the seam, plus at the front and back :
Then it's just a case of pinching up the darts. Trim them down, and pin in place. The front is the tricky part! I just snipped until I liked the shape, trimmed around the back, glued it on. Don't get me wrong, it takes some time to get it right! But if you have a plan in how you want it to look, otherwise you could snip off something you wanted to keep...
And those ears from earlier??
So, put it all together, punch the holes for the arms and legs and push through the pins. I like to open the pin slightly before I put it through because I am opening them by feel, and sometimes can't get them open once my hand is squeezed into the tin! 
Thread up the neck through the collar, neck and lid. I haven't secured this one yet, as it can't put my fingers on the cable ties!
I also added a hat and some buttons for the front.

21 December 2013

How I made my Tin Can Santa...

Ok, so it's not actually a "tin", it's cardboard with silver foil inside for freshness. I though "cardboard can Santa" didn't have the same ring to it!! :D

I started with a can. Mine just happen the be 12cm tall and 25cm around, with a plastic sealing lid. I also bought some plastic balls from an Op Shop that are the ones designed for kids to play in. You know the ones?? (Thanks google!)

Originally I was going to paint the balls, but as they are pliable and soft, the paint just cracked off, so it was going to have to be fabric. Fine by me, I got plenty of it!!

Anyhow, here's a few items you're gonna need :
A can with a lid - tin or otherwise, it doesn't matter!
Ball - can be plastic, styrofoam, or whatever, proportionate to your tin
A neck - I used poly tube, but it could be a ring of cardboard tube, a piece of retic pipe, whatever
Split rings - I got mine from a stationary shop
A hole punch - to put in your holes. If your can is actually tin, you may need a hammer and nail to make your holes
Felt - scraps are fine, but you will need at least one large piece to cover your tin
Glue - I used spray glue for the body and an all purpose for the rest. It should be suitable for the type of material you are using
Knit fabric - mine is a double knit that was dyed a while back. It's an odd colour, but works ok.
Paint - for face
Cable tie / zip clip - to secure the head in place
Textas, pens or pencils - for hiding the edge of the cardboard.
Scissors, paper, general craft scraps, ribbons, etc

Firstly, I started with Google. I know what you're thinking! But I needed a picture of Santa to work from, and searched for a cartoon Santa, found a pic I liked and worked from that! Cheating, yes a little, but it's just for inspiration, not to copy exactly!!

I then cut a rectangle from red felt to cover my tin. In hindsight, I would have done the whole thing flat then glued it on in one hit, but it still worked! I glued it on and discovered my accuracy was a little off at the top - I will deal with that later.... 

I then cut strips of quilt batting, glued them to the front, vertical first then the horizontal. A scrap of ribbon threaded through a square of craft foam cut to look like a buckle also glued in place. To address the shortfall at the top, a small strip of red felt glued around the top fixed it all. Now, if I hadn't told you, would you have noticed?? :)

On to the legs.... I cut some rectangles approximately the size I thought would work, and used a pin to gauge the correct lengths. I curved off the ends of the "thigh" pieces and the "knee" end of the shin piece, and added a boot shape. I then traced them onto the cardboard scraps (minus the boot) and punched the holes where the split pins will go. At this point, I used a red coloured texta to colour the edge of the pieces so it wasn't so noticeable when the felt was trimmed back. Then glue one side to the felt, allow to dry and trim away.

This is when I added the boot, but if using lighter card, this could be done first and the trouser done after. Once this was dry-ish, I then glued the other side to the felt, left to dry then trimmed. Voila, a pair of legs!! As the holes were already under the felt, I simply got an awl and pushed through, stuck through a split pin and that's it for the knee. The thigh just needs a split pin, for now.

Arms started off the same as the legs without the joints, although you could add them, if you wanted to. Make pattern, cut from card, add hole, pen edges, glue felt, add glove, felt other side, make hole, add split pin.... 

I also added the sleeve and trouser cuff at this point, wrapping around the whole piece to avoid a join.

Now, to decide where to put the arms/legs. Find halfway around the tin and mark the location if the hole. I used a small drill bit, first poking through with a needle so it would grip. Take it slow and careful! I don't want you to drill through fingers!

Put through split pins, open them up, and they are on!!

On to the head! 

Firstly, I cut a small hole in the lid. This is to pass the fabric through so it can be secured underneath where it won't be seen....

The size of the ball will determine the size of the "sock". Cut a strip of knit fabric folded in half, curve the end and extend to the end of the fabric. Mine is way too long, but it can be trimmed later, if needed. 

I then tested my tube to see if it was tight enough... It was!!

I took out the ball, trimmed it up and turned right side out. I put the ball back in to determine where to put the face, running a test fit on the lid. I marked the location with a water soluble pen, and took out the ball AGAIN! 

I now know where to place the face, so lay out flat and draw the eyes, nose and mouth to the design you want. 

Ball back in again, it's face painting time!! I like to outline in micron pen, then whites with gesso, and final eye colour once it's dry. The iris is marker pen for better control.

Then, on to the hair. I admit that I actually did this when I had my head on for face testing. It doesn't really matter! I used the quilt batting to mold over the head, plus a random triangle for his beard. A scrap of red felt for his mouth, and freehand cut him a moustache. 

Now it's just glue, glue, glue!!!

So, attaching the head permanently to the lid is not an exact science! I planned on using a cable tie (or zip clip) but couldn't put my hands on one, so I have just tied it temporarily. It's fine, for now...:)

So he is DONE!! If all items are on hand, it would only take a day to make. It's only the pattern making that takes all the time, and waiting for glue and paint to dry.

I will try and take more interesting photos for the next one...

Santa is done!!

I had a thought in the night about how to make his legs and arms....

The original design I saw was string or rope with a "shoe" at the bottom to dangle over an edge. I even bought cotton sash cord to try it out! Maybe dye it red? That was going to cost me more and what do I use for a shoe???

Then I thought I would make "stuffed" arms and legs, with a split pin holding it in place like a joint, and stitching it together. The knee would be a Y type joint with a gusset and stitched together... Over engineering at its finest!!

Eventually, I thought of those jointed paper dolls, made out of cardboard with the split ring. Voila! I could use heavy card, glue felt to both sides, split rings - done!!

I drafted up some arms out of paper, found the size and style I liked and off I went. Glueing up a storm, soon both legs and arms were finished. Any size tin would work for this project, all depends upon getting the right size of the head, but mine are 12cm tall and 25cm around, with a plastic sealing lid that held coffee.

So, without further ado, heeeeeere's Santa!!!

A couple of different angles....

As usual, a few things I would do differently. Firstly, his neck. I need a solid ring, rather than the clear, as you can see how I have pulled the fabric through a little hole and tied it. Not too nice...

Secondly, his arms and legs could probably use lighter card, which leads into point three, which is hands and feet. They need some kind of internal support, but the card I used was so thick I couldn't get any decent curves. Lighter card would allow stiffness in the hands while keeping the detail. I could then add laces to shoes, or rings to hands without them simply collapsing with the extra weight.

Apart from these points, all is good! I will write up a quick tutorial on how I made this Santa, and perlaps do a better one later on.... We'll see how motivated I get! It's summer here, and we just had our first heat wave - 5 days above 35*C - and it's not even Christmas yet! Thank goodness for air conditioning!! 

20 December 2013

Tin can Santa

All those coffee tins I've been saving have finally found a purpose! 

I saw AGES ago a jar that was made into a snowman that had lollies in it. Since then I have been saving the cardboard tins my coffee comes in, so I can make my own version. 

I had tried a few ideas ages ago, but failed! As usual, I was over engineering, trying to sew all the parts. This time I am just glueing felt together - no pattern, just scissors and glue. And it's actually working well! I'm shocked....

Here's where I'm at :

Still needs arms and legs, plus a face paint, but not looking too bad...

17 November 2013

All squared up...

I spent some quiet time this morning to finish up the embroidery in the clog, but I've kept the tulip pretty simple. It ain't perfect, but it's fine by me!

I also ran around the blades of the windmill to give it some more pop. Just one strand of brown, but if I was to do it again, I would do it all in brown! The white just disappears in the pale blue...

They are all trimmed and squared now, so I can play with layouts and colours. I don't have a design wall, so I usually take photos on the floor in different combos and scroll through them on my iPad. It would be easier with a design wall, but I just don't have the space!!

I think I will trim the smaller blocks in red first, and the centre block in the mottled blue. Maybe? I just need to separate the two blues from each other to disguise the fact that they are not the same. Or try to, anyway.... Wish me luck!!