Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to Make a Fabric Covered Pin Board For Your Studio or Office

Use this pin up board as a design wall, photo display, inspiration board, and any other way you would use a cork board. You will love this simple, easy project, that brightens up your work space, and organizes clutter.

This was my "design wall" after I took down the ugly, tacked-on piece of batting I used to have there to stick fabric onto as I was designing art quilts and making color arrangements. I wanted something I could sink pins into, and certainly something that looked GREAT!

Ding! Ding! Ding!... and in the other corner ring is this monstrosity ...... my cork board: a place to collect images I liked and keep my pattern notes organized next to my cutting table. Not enough room, cork too shallow, ugliness. It's a sewing studio, I don't want to deal with thumb tacks, I want to stab needles into my board to pin things up!

So, to solve my problems, did I head to the art store? The office supply store? Heck no! (No offense, but...) They would probably suggest reams of expensive, stick on cork that was too shallow to hold things on. I tried that in the kids room and it does not stick well on the semi gloss paint, nor does it hold anything heavier than a sheet of paper. I love that cork is sustainable, but it hasn't worked well for me.

I literally went to the hardware store and asked for "something in stiff sheets that I could pin into, like foam, but not the crumbly kind? " And wow, is this ever perfect stuff! Insulfoam comes in large sheets, that are about $2.50 each. In case you are wondering, and this will be matter to some folks, no, it does NOT make a yucky "squeek" sound when you push the pins in later. You're safe.

This does not make it a "Green" project. However, now that you and I know what we are looking for, next time we need a gorgeous fabric covered pin up board, we can stop at a building project and ask for scraps or head to Bring recycling center. (In just a sec, I'll show you how to piece sections together).

Supplies you will need:
insul foam sheets 3/4" thick
and duct tape
thumbtacks- the flat kind are helpful
yardage of fabric you love
nails long enough to go through 3/4" and into the wall
and a hammer

This is the back side of the insul foam. The back side will go against your wall, and the plain front side will be what you pin into.

If you are making a board from several small pieces or you want a MASSIVE pin up board, like I did, butt the sections together and tape them. I found that the boards stayed together without the need for tape on the front side. Yey!

Choose fabric to cover your board. How will you want to use the board? Cover it with items, change the items on it frequently, put only a few choice pictures up, use as a design wall? I went with a beautiful black and white print. I wanted the board to be pretty on it's own, but not too colorful and busy because I plan to put lots of images on it.

Give your fabric a press with the iron.

Center your fabric on the board and make sure it covers the board. You can easily cut down the board to fit the fabric, like I did on this first, smaller board. I laid the foam on the floor and used a ruler and exacto knife to cut into the back, then stood it up to bend the foam, and slid the knife to sever it.

You can make your fabric panel wider as I did on the second, larger board. Sew a strip of fabric along the side of the main fabric to make it wider. Press the seam open and flat. Because of the pattern I chose, you can't see where I've put a seam in! (Just you try and find it.) Good stuff.

Let's put the fabric on already! Now that you've decided the size of the thing, and pressed your fabric relatively flat, center your fabric on the board and put a flat tack in the back of the board to hold the fabric. You'll be working from the back side the whole time. Pin your fabric smoothly along the top edge, and then do an awesome job of both corners. Make sure your fabric is straight with enough wrap room for the rest of the board. Start taping! Tape to the back of the board only. Don't pull the fabric, just keep it straight and flat. I removed some of the tacks as I went, but taped right over some others, esp the corner holding tacks. Really press that tape to the fabric then pull a little as you stick it to the board.

Flip the board to do the bottom side. Now, starting in the center, you will want to pull the fabric taught. Do not over stretch the fabric or it will warp your board. Remember this is foam not a painter's canvas-don't over do it. Keep peeking at the front side to make sure it's flat. Tape. Tape. Tap-ity-tape-tape. (You might love having someone hand you strips of tape, though this is an easy solo project).

Now do both sides, starting in the middle. It was so easy and fast! Now you can nail it to the wall.

Here is my pin up board # 1. I love it!

Here's how it looks with all my cutting table notes and patterns put up.

Look at this HUGE pin up board! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, size does matter!
Second board, I made a larger design wall. I will put my inspirational pictures and objects here, as be able arrange designs for new art quilts and projects here.

I painted and hung a little shelf just for my new blocks from Felt Cafe. She's currently located in Tokyo, where they make these cute little "City in a Bag" blocks. This set is.... can you guess?
Hint: the double decker buses? I adore it and no one can resist arranging the little cars and buildings. Visit her shop to get some blocks of your own, or other cute Japanese goodies. Convo her if you don't find the blocks.

In case you are wondering, the creatures below are some of my stuffy collection, monsters, and Freddy the Frog who I inheirated from my grandma Betty.

Another view of BlissMonkeyStudio. Behind my sewing machine. A rainbow of thread, monkey shelf, hot iron, and bright bags ready for sale. Thanks for visiting. Write and tell me when you make your board and if you found my article helpful.

Happy Spring!

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Birthday Bunny gift package

Birthday Bunny Gift set! I think this is one of my funner ideas.... a gift package. Gift one: the 8" plush cupcake bunny. Gift two: the tiny coloring/workbook. All gift wrapped in bright tissue paper, and shipped in a sturdy envelope with my hand carved stamps. I think that's pretty special!

This wee book has 8 pages, but is made of one single sheet of paper! I had a great time writing the prompts, decorating the pages and putting it all together. It's intended for kids of ALL ages.

Other prompts include: Your wish for the world, This year I wish to write/make/sing/paint/hear/do....", "I wish to learn...." "Draw the world.. my wish for the world....", "I wish to go here..."

This is the back of the little book, with room for me to add someone's name, or special message.

In my store, I have the bunny package listed, with bunny color choices, and will eventually add a listing for just the card/coloring/wish book. If you need one sooner, just pop to my etsy store and "convo" me!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Front Page ETSY

For those of us who sell on etsy, it's a thrill to see your goods on the etsy front page (home page). These are picks right from Etsy admin, who think the products are hot, well photographed, timely, and a good collection together. Not only is it a compliment, BUT being on the front page tends to bring many new visitors to one's shop.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Gnomes!

Meet Nissa (sold) and Treezel, new gnomes in Bliss Forest. They were so much fun at the photo shoot! Check out their mug shots in my store. Thank you to Tonia for the fantastic paperclay mushroom. :-)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Indonesian Shadow Puppets - Lesbian Love Story

We partied late with the kids last night. Took them to an Indonesian shadow puppet performance on campus, with live gamelon orchestra. Traditional with a twist! A lesbian love story no less, about a princess and her wife, and their hearty army of TomBois, who fight off the sultan's arrogant advances and win acceptance for loving relationships of all kinds. It was especially fun that audience is allowed to walk around during the performance, look at all the instruments, and view in front of the shadow screen or behind, as they prefer. It was a big surprise to discover that the puppets are highly colorful behind the screen. (See imagine below)

See the traditionsal puppet show? click here to see YouTube Video touring an Indonesian puppet theater. You get to see all the instruments, the puppets behind and in front views of the screen. Be sure to view or click to the end to hear the show in progress. I love that music!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Garden Gnome Brooch

Garden Gnome To-Go Brooch is the latest creation in BlissForest shop. He's handmade by me! I carved a stamp block to create a form to press the polymer clay into. I wanted the look of a hand carved wood pin. He was baked, then painted, distressed, detail painted, given a coat of eco-varnish in gloss, and a pin back. Your companion on the go.

I had a great time photographing him. You can click on the above link to see the other photos and snag one for yourself!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bliss Bags

Happy May Day!
Ppssssst! Whatcha workin on?

Bliss Bags are in the works for my Bliss Monkey Studio store. They aren't up yet. I want a nice selection up before I start selling them. Sneak peek just for you......

The zippered pouches are great for in-bag organizers. I put my checkbook in mine, along with all the punch cards, coupons, business cards, and gift certificates I need to carry. It lightens my wallet considerably!

Bliss Bags with designer Kaffe Fassett fabrics on the outside, and upcycled quilted fabric interior and lining. I love the quilted soft feel. The bags stand up on their own, but without that stiff, ironed-on lining feel and use of plastics.

Magnetic closures going interior pocket, and pen holder, two large outside pockets, sturdy padded handles.

I love working with the fun colors and patterns.