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Handmade Packaging: DIY Laundry Instruction Tags for Hand-painted Textile Products

20 Oct

I have a little project to share with you, it basically brings together two of the things I love: Illustration and packaging. If you are making hand-painted fabric totes, scarves, tablecloths, etc, using fabric paints, then I hope you will like this idea.

A while back  I started painting on fabric, using permanent fabric paints and colors. If you have experience with fabric paint, then you must know that to fix the colors you mostly need to iron your finished product on”cotton setting” to make the artwork permanent. But there are products that only need to be air-dried for at least 72 hours before going to the washing machine on a gentle-cycle, and on a certain, usually low, temperature.

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As I mixed brands and worked with more than one “instructions booklet,” I felt the need to merge the instructions from the different fabric-paint brands in a way to make all the products I worked with laundry-friendly. I decided to choose the instructions that recommended the lowest heat-setting, the lowest washing-machine temperature, and I decided maybe it was best if I recommended all pieces be ironed on reverse, since that was the safest method for some fabric-paint labels, and no tumble dry.

This is the basic illustration I came up with for most of my products. There are items though, that required to be washed by hand. This meant the washing-machine illustration had to go, and another symbol was sketched instead. I did play with this photo (above) a bit and added the colors with Photoshop, but one can achieve a clean colorful illustration by applying acrylic paint with a thin brush.

This is the colorless illustration. I basically used cards that are about the size of a regular business card. The paper has a lot of grain and the color is off-white and very nice to work with.

Here’s a label using old markers. I embellished the tag’s borders a bit, but I decided later on that this wasn’t necessary. You can punch a hole at the side of the tag, insert a nice thread or twine, and use a pin or tape to attach it to the product itself, or to the packaging.

An envelope can also be used if you wanna further spruce up your packaging.

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DIY Illustrations: My Botanical Garden | Recycling Old Book Pages

19 Oct

The most soothing after-noon activity is to engage in something new… and botanical. One day, not far ago, I decided it was time for me to experiment with making botanical shapes. This is what happened…

I’m not the watercolor kind of person. All my previous attempts ended up in the trash bin.

But, after spending hours and days… and weeks… collecting botanical illustrations, inspirations, and images over at Pinterest, I started to understand the flow of the botanical shape. What I gathered is that in making watercolor images you didn’t have to be specific – like in doodling shapes with a Sharpie.
On the contrary, watercolor was a very interesting medium where “water” had a big role in the way you applied the color. A brush pregnant with a big dollop of water, and color, and applied with quick watery strokes to create stems and leaves, can actually leave you with an amused smile.

I continued to make botanical shapes – over old book pages and fabric – after I finished these {below} a few months ago.

There is beauty in the  way watercolor bleeds into the paper and settles at the borders it feels comfortable with. Each kind of paper, heavy or light, grained or smooth, has a different communication with watercolor.

The best kind of paper I found I, and my watercolors, were comfortable with, is old book pages. They’re not so old. These are books collected during the nineties whilst I was in the midst of searching for answers. Many are full of gibberish and useless techniques to tame anger, heal hearts, and lose weight. I am an adamant believer that if you find a book useless it is insincere to give it away. Some went to the trash bin, but others stayed with me until the time was ripe for them to become watercolor canvases.

Watercolor has a good understanding with ink. They actually like each other. In some cases, I used bottled ink and applied it after I created the primary watercolor shape. They blend and dance perfectly together. There’s also a bit of acrylic paint in some places, and a dilute-able wooden pencil for sketching quick lines.

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Inspiration: DIY Stamps from Erasers

15 Oct

I love stamps, I use them for embellishing both fabric and paper. Although I’m not so much into geometry and repeated pattern, I still find it very interesting to create a stamp that you can use over and over again for a multitude of projects.

You don’t have to buy fancy stamp-making products to create a durable stamp. There is always the option of the potato to make a quick stamp, just like they taught us at school. But there are numerous materials that we can make stamps from, and they can all be found around us in our everyday lives. Erasers are a good example; you can use cheap erasers to create unique stamps. This you can apply to different surfaces; to spruce up your tablecloths, or embellish your wrapped presents, and even personalize your totes.

And as usual, here is some inspiration from Pinterest. I tried making my own eraser stamps; they work great… and I do hope I will have the time to share them with you here in the near future.

Tips: Turning Erasers into quick stamps

Here are some tips…

  • Things you usually need: Eraser, craft knife, and pencil to draw your design on the eraser.
  • Stamps can be used on paper, fabric, walls, and any surface you can think of.
  • What really matters is the color you are using, and whether it is ink, acrylic, fabric colors, or fabric inks. And… the surface’s smoothness or lack of; whether it is porous, textured, smooth, shiny, etc. Experimenting with different color mediums and surfaces always gives you a different result, even if you are using the same stamp.
  • It is important to clean the stamps with soapy water once done with them to be able to work with them on different other projects.
  • You need to be a bit delicate with rubber stamps made from erasers, because they tend to tear, especially if the design is intricate.

Source: etsy.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

  • There are many image-transfer techniques (that I might be posting about soon) to help transfer an image you like unto an eraser. An easy option is, print the image you like in reverse  on regular paper, go over the design with a heavy pencil or piece of charcoal, place the image, face-down, on the eraser, and trace over it with a dull object, so as not to tear the paper.

Source: etsy.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

  • Usually eraser stamps are good for bold designs, like arrows.
  • As shown in two examples here (see one of them below), pencil rubber ends can be used without carving them as stamps. Just use your imagination.

Source: joybx.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

  • Stamps are really cool to work with on fabric. Just use a good quality fabric-color range that you can later on fix by ironing. It will become washable and permanent, if you follow the instructions on the can.

I have used stamps to change the look of so many things. You don’t need to create a repeated pattern or a geometrical one, sometimes one stamped shape onto the corner of your tote, or in the middle of your T-Shirt, will be quite enough to breathe in new life to it.

Happy stampin’ :)

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Packaging Ideas: A simple touch to transform Kraft paper

2 Oct

Kraft paper is so versatile. In packaging, you can mix and match it with almost anything to create a soft feminine look, or one that works great for wrapping a man’s gift. It also looks fantastic for packaging indie products for kids, girls, old people, young people.

The fact that Kraft paper comes with this beautiful organic, neutral color, makes it a great canvas to work with.

Here are some ideas that I have collected on Pinterest

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The Sharpie Effect

Turn a simple box into a cute treasure chest with Sharpie illustrations

Source: cb2.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Modern & Cool

Kraft paper envelopes, with dots, stripes and chevron, and a neon tape

The Romantic-Organic Look

Kraft paper envelope with doily and baker’s twine, and white dots

The Whimsical look

Buttons, baker’s twine and a pinking-sheered edge

Source: etsy.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Whimsical Packages

Embellish your packge with natural elements, ribbons, beads, incense sticks… and anything you can get your hands on

Indie Brand Inspiration

A simple flower stamp, a ribbon and a cute stamped tag, with a Kraft paper envelope, can be all you need to create a branded package for your handmade brand/shop!

Source: flickr.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Chic Packaging

For a sophisticated, simple look, a few golden dots will turn an ordinary Kraft envelope into the height of chic

The Handmade Look

Add a few hand stitches to your package and you’ll create a real cool package in just a few steps

Cute Packaging

You can use dotted ribbons, a pop of color, twine, and your plain pillow envelope is now a branded indie package

Source: etsy.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

The Simple Touch

Using pinking sheers scissors, a cotton thread, and a simple tag is all you need to make a big impact with these cute Kraft packages

I did write a similar post a while back, and listed a few other packaging ideas (plz see below)… Enjoy!

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DIY | Mini Canvas & Chalkboard Stand {From Popsicle Sticks}

12 Sep

Popsicle sticks are made from trees; it’s such a huge waste to throw them away! What to do with them? They’re fragile and you can’t do something serious with them… unless it’s a miniature, like a mini stand for your cute little drawings, or handmade chalkboard signs to be used at craft shows.

Materials needed:

  • 4 Popsicle sticks
  • 2 Tooth picks
  • White glue – I used Bic White Glue
  • Craft knife or X-acto knife
  • Cutting mat or cardboard to protect your work surface
  • Some book pages to cover the cracks on the Popsicle sticks

How-to:

  • I initially wanted to create little holes in 3 popsicle sticks to insert a toothpick – to bind the three “feet” and to keep them free to fold and move. The Popsicle sticks cracked but did not break, so I inserted the top toothpick where the wood cracked… and quickly added a generous amount of wood glue to fix it in place and to prevent the three feet from breaking. It took some patience to engineer the tripod and balance the “feet.” The rear “foot” can swing back and forth if you want it to, and it’s safe to do so since the model is well glued and the paper strips kind of toughen up the miniature stand.
  • I glued the “shelf” on by adding a huge amount of wood glue. I decoupaged some strips of paper that came from an old book using a lot of white glue. This worked perfectly as extra support and as a decorative touch to hide the cracked wood.
  • I then added an extra tooth pick at the base of the mini “shelf” for extra support, again by applying a lot of glue.
  • One thing to remember though, you need to let the glue dry a bit before you move into the next step or the whole thing will fall apart. Patience is a virtue :  – )

This mini stand actually has a function other than being utterly cute and adorable:

You can use it in craft shows to place your brand name on it… or, if you make a few more stands, you can place cute little chalkboard signs on them to identify your craft work, homemade cookies, or handmade jewelry (bracelets, rings, earrings, etc). You can also display your miniature canvas (or cardboard) drawings and paintings with this stand. In your kitchen or dining room, if you have a corner for homemade olives and oils, sandwiches, cookies… you can place this stand with a sign that tells your dear ones “yummy things are served here.”

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DIY Table-setting Placemat | Pompom | Handpainted Floral & Botanical Design

6 Sep

I have a special thing for placemats. They can be made by hand, that’s one of their major attractions. And you can customize them to look exactly the way you want them to. You only need some basic sewing skills, some fabric colors, and a bit of imagination.

I have been dreaming about making my own placemats for quite some time, really. Recently I felt I was ready to make them since my sewing skills became a tad-bit better than they used to be.

The ingredients for making these cute placemats are:

  • Cotton fabric
  • Pom-pom trim, and individual pompom balls
  • Fabric paint and markers (I actually used more than one brand, but they all have pretty much the same ironing, and laundering instructions)
  • Sewing machine with the ability to sew a straight line
  • Flatware to trace around

I started by sewing the hems with the pompoms at one go.

Then I freehanded the word “eat” on a paper with pencil, while keeping in mind I wanted it to look like the vintage American Pop font.

I then traced the word on both placemats after taking measurements and centering it, also with pencil I used a basic image transfer technique using charcoal, for more ideas go here). I used the round lid of some cookie canister to trace the plate shapes. I then got me a real spoon and fork and traced around them (with pencil), that’s how I got the fltawre shapes. Once I was done with the basic outlines, I used a black fabric marker to outline them again, then I painted and sketched flowers and herbs to fill the plates.

The inspiration for making this specific design came from different places, which all have one thing in common: A vintage feel.

Inspiration: Table-setting placemats

I found a few table-setting placemats that I really liked. Here are a few ideas. The one above is so lovely, it has a vintage French feel, while the one below is a bit whimsical, especially that lace was used to create the place-setting utensils and plate shapes. So, if you don’t want to invest in fabric paint, you can simply applique the shapes.

Or you can use your basic embroidery skills to create this beautiful and simple placemat by Yellow Spool.

Source: u-createcrafts.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

And of course, you can always upcycle a jean pocket to create a one-of-a-kind placemat.

Source: todaysnest.typepad.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

You can actually use the pocket on its own, like this one below. All you need is cut the jean, then place the flatware inside for a cool table arrangement.

Source: bhg.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Here is another pocket placemat idea…

Source: bhg.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

And, finally, a cute picnic placemat with multi utinsil pockets.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. If you have any interesting placemat ideas, or, better still, if you have made your own placemats, please do share your link in the comments section below. Take care for now… K

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A glimpse into my atelier

9 Aug

I have been patiently tidying up – & crafting – my work space. I finally got around to put together a nice mood corner & desk. Here is a little glimpse.

I see myself as organizationally-challenged, but I am slowly & very patiently learning how to put everything in its place. You have no idea what this used to look like… and, em, no, I don’t think sharing a “before” photo is a good idea (ehem)… believe me,  imagine the worst ciaos and that would be “it”  –   hehe!

The challenge in putting together this atelier is that almost everything is handmade, and so it took some time to finish creating. The handmade items are:

  • Mood board (right): I used burlap, which I glued (using glue gun) on a piece of cardboard, and added the ribbon. At the bottom I stuck a piece of cork behind the ribbons.
  • Chicken wire mood board (left): I basically rolled some chicken wire around an old canvas frame, that I actually had since school. I didn’t staple or glue anything, just scrunched it round the frame.

  • Thumbtacks: Made those using several materials… including coins. Added a dab of E6000 to plain tacks and glued on some coins, plastic things from broken things, a bear’s face…
  • Chicken-wire lampshade, which I shared in a previous post right here.
  • Other handmade items are: White wire basket (for the pencils) and a mini wire-sculpted chair. Mini Chalkboard and chalkboard stand (a tutorial is on it’s way, hopefully!). Mini wire birdcage. Hand-painted tins (the ones under the lamp). Handmade flower magnets (using corn flour dough). Cement votive (it’s next to the tins, which are under the lamp). The botanical watercolor sketches are also mine. And other stuff.
  • Handmade bunting: Recycling old fliers I had into rectangle bunting, and there’s the mini paper flower garland, too.

So basically a bit of recycling, painting, and re-styling, went into there. What helped to tie the whole look together is the neutral shades of burlap, wood, and cork. As for the theme,  I went for a bit of British-chic in celebration of the Olympics.

Please do share links to your mood-boards, ateliers, or craft rooms if you feel like it.

Have a lovely day

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Packaging Jewelry 101: Upcycling Matchboxes

8 Aug

I have an infatuation with matchboxes, especially when they are repurposed into something else, like a little cute box for packaging my handmade earrings.

I had some glitter, some paint (yes, oil-paint for furniture), acrylic paint, white glue, and a stamp. And this is what I came up with.

The oil-based paint actually makes the matchboxes much more sturdier than they are. The stamped bird is made with foam. This stamped side of the matchboxes is actually painted with white acrylic, so that the ink would stick.

Matchbox inspiration

Here are some ideas for embellishing matchboxes. Some are shabby chic, some are not… but they’re all so beautiful.

Things to use upcycled  matchboxes for:

  • Packaging small jewelry items, like earrings and pins, broaches, and a strand of pearls – and using them in craft shows, for instance.
  • Organizing tiny office supplies – like clips, tacks, push-pins, rubber bands, etc
  • Stationary: You can put a stack of sticky notes (Post-it notes) on top of the matchbox and place a tiny pen in the “drawer” to make a quick notebook
  • Gifts: Wrapping a cute little gift (of candy, maybe) for a loved one
  • Miniatures: Making miniature drawers for small toy houses

Source: etsy.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

One can come up with as many ideas as one can with this little drawer-shaped box. The possibilities are endless…

If you have any matchbox ideas or projects, please do share them. I created a Pinterest board for them, and I’m always on the lookout for cute little matchbox  ideas…
thanks!

 

DIY Prettier Magazine Files

30 Jul

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In the spirit of continuing the theme of pretty organizing, I noticed that when I place things in beautiful containers and storage solutions, they get an instant promotion around the craft room: From being a merely functional “thing” to a piece of “love” that you want to place in a prime location.

In this DIY, I basically upgraded 3 magazine files by attempting a wall-paper look. This is inspired by the lovely bird magazine files that are at the bottom of this post, and which I mentioned previously.

This is how these poor black files got their promotion up into a much nicer shelf at my workspace. The files are a bit unsteady since they are old, and I did stack up more magazines than they could hold, so they are puffy at the edges.

I had a difficult time deciding whether to decoupage the files or paint them. I had some nice damask wall-paper, but it looked too patterned, too well-finished for the look I was looking for.

So I decided to use:

  • Acrylic paint (white, pink, green)
  • Foam stamp (Motif: Grapes)
  • Brush

Method:

  1. I started by free-handing the shape of a pink bird, as if perched on a branch. I found an illustration of a bird and placed it in-front of me to help me keep the proportions right while I painted. I decided to paint the bird on two magazine files (I just had to hold them real tight as I sketched the shape). This is so that the final image would give the impression of a whole big painting that was cut into 3 parts (just like the original wall-paper idea was).
  2. I stamped the grapes around the bird arbitrarily after dabbing acrylic colors on the foam stamp (pink on the grapes, green on the leaves), but the lines were too thin, so I decided to take advantage of this and add a vintage-y touch by dabbing paint here and there, on the leaves, around the grapes themselves, and around the bird.
  3. I touched up some areas with light pink or white to hide mistakes.

The inspiration

Yes, here it is… the beautiful inspiration that got me thinkin’ about changing the look of my files.

The design of the files in the above pic is by British stylist Marie Nichols, whose blog  is so inspiring.

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