|Finished products, laid out like a plushy arsenal, ready for play|
I have always loved screen printing, from the very basic technique I learned in middle school to the advanced technique I learned in college. This machine is somewhere in between because while you don't have to stretch your own screens or apply emulsion in a darkroom, you still have to create a design, print to a transparency, and expose your design before you can begin printing. If you don't have much screen printing experience, you might not know what the heck I am talking about, but just trust me when I say that it is like magic when your image finally appears on a t-shirt (or whatever else you are printing on).
Anyway, back to the "weapon" pillows for my friend Jordan's cousins. They are both boys, so they will have a great time attacking each other with these soft, kid-friendly toys. I have to admit, I have had great fun testing them out as well!
|During the stuffing process: All of the original sewing has been done, I just needed to stuff and sew the seam shut. The nunchucks have been stuffed and sewn shut; the throwing star is stuffed, but not sewn; and all the rest have not been stuffed.|
- Screen printing capabilities (or the ability to draw well with fabric paint)
- fabric ink
- fabric (I tried both a muslin cotton as well as a fleecier cotton fabric, in white)
- sewing machine and thread
- serger (optional)
- needle and thread
- stuffing + a hard rod to make stuffing more firm and easier on yourself
1. Create a design for your pillows (my weapons ended up being a set of nunchucks, a short sword, a grenade, a lightsaber, a throwing star, and personalized shields, but I also toyed around with ideas for a battle axe and some other weapons.) I designed mine using a basic paint program, but you could also download a black and white outline off the internet. My brother harped on me for not using Illustrator to create my designs for the weapons, but my method worked fine!
2. Go through the steps to set up a screen in order to print OR create a template to trace onto the pillows. MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE A SEAM ALLOWANCE on either side of your template (I didn't and it made my life a bit of a nightmare trying to sort out)
3. Print onto the fabric either by screen printing OR trace an outline in pencil and draw over it with a fabric pen or ink.
4. Cut out your designs, leaving ample room for a seam allowance.
5. Sew around the edges of the weapons, one by one, making sure to leave a small opening so that you can stuff your pillows with fluff. Considering how much hard use these pillows are going to see, it might not be a bad idea to serge around the edge as well, in order to lock your stitches in place.
6. Stuff your pillows. You can use a rod/dowel tool to help you stuff your pillows so that they are more firm. I lost mine for a couple of days and was using a hot glue stick; my light-saber ended up floppy, which was embarrassing. I had to take the stuffing out and do it again with my wooden dowel rod.
|This lightsaber has been stuffed, using the dowel rod method, but it hasn't yet been hand-stitched shut.|
|Here is the lightsaber with the stuffing hole sewn shut (say ooh and ahh over my whip stitching abilities)|
My next craft will be looking to incorporate both of these fun new machines into one project!