Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mighty Fine Pencil Cups!

I did a fun little project here at home over the last two days, and I thought I would share it with you.

I have been trying other forms of art down at the studio, and have hauled out a big old mess of materials. I had so much stuff around that I literally had a 2"x2" area to work, and that just ain't right! I managed to do some organizing on the fly, but it was quickly apparent that I was going to need some kind of storage for markers and paint brushes.

Our Cool Friend has her art supplies set up on a spare room, and has literally dozens of markers tucked in mason jars. This is a very cool solution because it is inexpensive, it allows her to see the colors, it is easily moved to where she can reach, and it looks oh so cool.

Of course! I need some kind of cool pencil cups! But we're talking about me, here, and why use tastefully simple mason jars when I can make something shiny and colorful?

So I went to the nearby JoAnn Fabrics and picked up some lovely sari cloth in Cate-friendly colors: purple, pink and blue. I don't know if anyone uses this fabric for actual saris, but the patterns were lovely with a wide border detail, and they were 60% off! I bought half a yard of each of the three colors.

Since the fabric was so lovely, it didn't matter what I used for the cup, so I salvaged some aluminum cans from the recycling and ran them through the dishwasher. This made them extra clean, plus it dissolved the label adhesive so the labels just rolled off.

Then came the affixing of the fabrics. I have only ever used Mod Podge once, as part of a Girl Scout troop project. The girls made holiday plates, by using Mod Podge on seasonal fabric on the reverse side of a glass plate. I used the left-overs, and made a pencil cup. So I got myself some Mod Podge and a foam brush and started sticking.

I did three different fabrics, and left them to dry overnight. In the harsh light of morning, however, it was pretty obvious that this darkened the fabric and made it very dull. The light no longer played over the satin and metallic threads. Here you see what the Mod Podged fabric looks like next to the original fabric. I wanted the lighter color, obviously.

The advantage of using aluminum cans for my base is that the Podged fabric peeled right off. If it hadn't, there were others I could get pretty darn easily.

So the Mod Podge didn't work. What would? I wondered--very briefly--if I could sew a can cozy and slip it on like that. However, my sewing machine died, and I can't hand sew very well.

So I turned to the good old reliable--E6000.

It actually worked great! I smeared it around on the can, and wrapped the fabric around. It didn't soak through the fabric, so it didn't darken the colors, and it had a long enough setting time so I could adjust the fabric, but with a strong enough bond that the fabric didn't slide out of place.

I ended up doing four different ones this time around. One thing I didn't do was adjust for the ombre effect on the fabric. The borders were noticeably darker than the body of the fabric, so the pink and the purple ones look almost the same. I turned the pink around on the fourth one, so I got the reverse pattern of pink on gold.

I think I will have to do something about the ravelling, but right now it's not too bad. I could probably use a spray acrylic, but I don't really want to risk darkening the fabric again. I'm looking forward to taking these down to my studio and filling them up!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The fabric is beautiful!!! Would it work to spray a fine layer of Scotchguard over the finished product to avoid magic marker on the fabric?