You may have noticed that I missed a July post - this was mainly due to a lot of other commitments and the Little Man finishing nursery and suddenly being at home all the time! This month I thought long and hard about creating a project that could be enjoyed by kids of all ages. I wanted to make something that the Little Man could take an active role in creating AND that he would be able to play with long after the craft tools had been packed away...
There are so many different products to chose from on the Abakhan website but I finally made my selections and spent this month's budget on 1m of bleached calico fabric, a Dylon Colourfun fabric marker pen in black and half a dozen tubes of Leeho fabric paints in bright colours.
And this is what we did with them...
Rocket play cushion
First of all wash your calico - this ensures there are no residues let from the manufacturing process that may stop the fabric paint from taking properly. Once it was dry we cut the fabric into quarters and laid one out flat. Using the Dylon marker, I drew a basic picture of a rocket. This fabulously retro rocket was copied out of Little Man's favourite colouring book :-) Make sure you leave enough room to cut out around the outline of the picture with a couple of centimetres to spare.
Set the outline by ironing over it with a hot iron.
Now lets get painting! You can use the Leeho fabric paints straight from the tube and create patterns/doodles/writing using the fine nozzle tip (takes a bit of practise and better for older kids to do) or you can squeeze a blob of paint out and spread it around with a paintbrush for more coverage. Little Man happily got stuck in and even managed to stay within the outline most of the time! The paints are water based so wash out of the brush and off hands easily (they are permanent once dry so wear old clothes or an apron whilst painting!)
Once you have finished colouring your picture you have to leave it to dry flat overnight.
Once the paint is completely dry pin another quarter over the top. You should be able to see your painted picture through the fabric enough to be able to trace an outline. Use a sharp pencil to lightly sketch the outline allowing approximately 2cm around the edge of the picture. Don't worry about following the picture outline exactly, a general outline will be easier to sew!
Then you need to stitch around the outline - by hand or machine - leaving a gap to turn and stuff in a suitable place in the seam. Then trim all the excess fabric away about 5mm from the stitches, snipping into curves and notching corners to reduce fabric bulk.
Leave a little extra seam allowance where you have left the opening to make it easier to stitch up the seam when you have finished stuffing.
Turn your cushion the right way round and press it lightly with a warm iron on the back, easing it into shape.
Now we can stuff it. Fill in the extremities first using small amounts of stuffing at a time. I use a chopstick to help push the stuffing into little spaces. The Little Man joined in on this bit too adding lots of stuffing in the middle.
Make sure you stuff your pillow fairly firmly so it keeps it's shape - for a pillow this size you will need about 200g of toy stuffing.
When you have finished stuffing, stitch up the opening.
The Rocket Pillow is now ready for lift off!!!!
I finished off our pillow with a label, written with the Dylon marker pen and blanket stitched in place on the back of the pillow - just a little reminder that we made this together. I hope it's something he will keep and cherish for years to come!
OK - I cheated a little teeny bit with this month's Creative Budget - the fabric and paints came in at a few pence more than my £15 budget and I used toy stuffing I already had, BUT we still have half a metre of calico and plenty of fabric paint left for another project or two. Maybe an alien pillow to go with our rocket? ;-)
Calico can be used for all sorts of projects - how about a personalised P.E bag to take back to school? Or make a simple tote bag and get the kids to decorate it for you. It's guaranteed to bring a smile to everyones face when you fill it with shopping at the supermarket checkout.