{How to} make a fabric bowl

Because all of your beautiful things need pretty places to live. No more tangled necklaces or frantic searches for house keys as you are rushing out the door, these bowls are a great way to use up all scraps of fabric and add some style to your storage solutions at the same time.

You will need:

  • {How to} Make a fabric bowl: you will needfabric
  • rotary cutter and cutting board and scissors
  • craft glue, water and water-based varnish mixture (recipe below!)
  • bias binding
  • glue brush / foam applicator
  • bowl to use as a mould
  • plastic wrap
  1. Cut your fabric into stripsCut the fabric into strips that are roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and long enough to overhang the edges of your mould. The fabric you use is up to you. Cotton-y fabric works best as it soaks up the gluey slop nicely and is thick enough to hold its shape and whatever you want to put in your dish once it is dry. I’ve tried this with just about every scrap of fabric I could find, you can layer up nets and chiffon and other spangly fabrics to make things a bit more textured or glitzy as long as you keep in mind that you need a reasonable glue-to-absorbent fabric ratio for you creation to hold its shape once it is dry.
  2. The slop. To make your magical wonder glue you will need equal parts of craft glue, water-based varnish and water. I mix the glue and the varnish together first, then thin it with the water to help get the right consistency, you are aiming for that international standard of ‘a pudding-like consistency’. You want your mixture to be thin enough to soak into the fabric but thick enough to stay in the fabric and set the shape of your creation rock solid. Lay your strips onto the mould
  3. Cover your mould in the plastic wrap as smoothly as possible to stop your fabric strips sticking to your mould. Soak your strips in the slop and then lay them onto your bowl crossing them over the centre and filling in the gaps as you go. (I put mine on the inside of the bowl but you can use the outside instead, it just depends what you want the final shape to look like.) The first bowl I made got quite bulky on the base where all of the strips overlapped in the center of the bowl and it wouldn’t sit still. To stop this from happening lay the first four strips in a star shape and then cut your remaining strips in half and use these to fill in the gaps. Build up two layers.
  4.  The easy step. Let it dry. Completely.
  5. Lift your bowl out of the mould, peel off the plastic wrap and trim off the excess fabric at the top.Trim off any excess
  6. Cut your bias binding to length. Apply some glue mixture to the inside of the bias binding and glue it over the edge of the bowl. A fiddly business at the best of times, but made slightly easier by gluing the tape and the edge of the bowl at the same time and allowing them to go tacky before pressing them together. Once the binding was finally all glued in place I covered just the bias binding in a layer of the glue mix so that it would have the same finish as the rest of the bowl.
  7. You can always add a layer of varnish to your finished bowl if you want it to be super sealed and sturdy. (I decoupaged a trunk when I was a teenager which I sealed with a couple of layers of varnish and my son uses it as a toy chest now. The colours have faded a little but the magazine pages are all still perfectly intact!) I don’t think I’ll bother with varnishing mine, I’m happy with how solid and sealed they seem, once yours are dry it’s up to you!

and you are finished! There is something really pleasing about making these bowls, it’s one of those cutting-sticking-paper-mache-being-a-kid-was-the-best happy places that finishes up with a grown up bowl that you can personalise to your heart’s content and show off to all your friends.

For more bowl based inspiration see my {Gallery} here.

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{How to} Grow borax crystals

Home grown crystals to add a little sparkle to your life in a few short hours. I made some of these to go on our Christmas tree but with Spring in the air (or at least it was!) it’s time to take the snowflakes down and make room for a new season full of makes. I wondered if the decorations would get brittle as they dried out but they seem just as solid as when I made them back in December, so I am going to put them away to next year and see how well they fare. They are so simple to make though if I have to make a whole new batch it wont be much of a problem.

To make your own borax bling you will need:

borax pipe cleaner jar crystals

  • borax powder
  • hot water water
  • pipe cleaners
  • jar/ heat proof container large enough for your pipe cleaner shape to be suspended in the solution without touching either side.
  • thread
  • a pencil
  • food colouring (optional)

 

 

  1. Bend your pipe cleaner into shape. I have tried this with super fluffy pipe cleaners, normal pipe cleaners, metallic pipe cleaners and twisted metallic pipe cleaners. They all worked fine but you can see from the photos that the crystals grew differently on each one. It’s also worth knowing that I untwisted the same type of silver and blue pipe cleaner I used to make the snowflake to make the heart and the star. Weirdly the crystals grew differently on the pipe cleaners after I had separated them… although maybe that was to do with something else. I guess we’ll never know!
  2. Tie a  loop of thread around the pipe cleaner shape. Then thread the loop over the skewer so that you can suspend your decoration in your jar so that it is not touching the sides or the bottom.
  3. Boil enough water to fill the jar and completely cover the decoration.
  4. Pour boiling water into your container (allow it to cool slightly first if you think your jar might pop!). Add one tbsp of borax powder, stir until dissolved, then keep adding a tbsp of the powder and stirring until the borax stops dissolving and starts collecting at the bottom of the jar, at this point the solution is saturated. If you want to you can add food colouring to the solution and grow coloured crystals, (I haven’t tried this but if you hop on over to the Yoyomax12 YouTube channel they’ve given it a go. [If you aren’t already hooked on Yoyomax12 click here and prepare to loose hours of your life] )
  5. Gently lower your decoration into the solution. In all the tutorials I have read it says that you should see some crystals growing after a couple of hours, I don’t know if I got a bad batch of borax (is that even possible?!) but I have found that I need to leave mine for at least 4 hours to get a good covering of small crystals. As far as I can make out you can leave them to grow as long as you like I think but the crystals will only ever grow so big. Out of curiosity I  left mine over night and ended up with some really great cubic crystals, which leads me on to step 6…
  6. When you are happy with the size of the crystals gently lift your decoration out and either hang it up somewhere to dry, or lay it down on some absorbent paper away from prying fingers.

Cleaning up – Crystals will grow on the inside of the jar but these will wash straight off with  a little warm water and you can pour any unwanted solution down the sink. Just like you would with any laundry detergent type chemicals it might be worth wearing gloves when you are washing up and obviously be careful not to splash it in your eyes and to clean the sink carefully afterwards so that it doesn’t come into contact with anything you would use for cooking.

19.04.14

I am a hoarder of the worst order but having lived at five different addresses in three different cities in the last 7 years I have come to appreciate clearing out the inexplicably useless things I choose to hang on to. I love taking bags of stuff to the nearby charity shops and passing on clothes to friends, it’s all those other things that I feel the need to squirrel away that are the problem. Clothes that aren’t in any fit state to be worn but could add some lovely colour to that rag rug I’ve been meaning to make, I strip the zips, buttons and trims off everything and have miles of bits of ribbon taken off packaging.

In a recent clear out my Grandmother asked us all to let her know if there was anything any of us wanted putting aside. The house in question is the home where my Grandparents’ raised their seven children, which in turn was played in and visited by 13 grandchildren and with the eldest of the 12 current great-grandchildren being in his mid twenties and the youngest being only a few weeks old, serious hoarder goodies, I mean treasured family memories up for grabs.

I’ve been covertly coveting this tablecloth that Gran never had a chance to finish – I mentioned the proliferation of children in our clan right? – for years. It’s a beautiful combination of cutwork and embroidery made up of hundreds of Gran’s tiny, perfectly even stitches. Apologies for the crumpled fabric in the photos, I haven’t quite plucked up the courage to press it yet.

But that’s not all, oh no, this was a real hoarders-hand-me-down. In the bag with the tablecloth was a whole gold mine of embroidery patterns on canvas, transfers, all the wool and silks I needed to finish the projects, a book about needlework and something the like of which I have never seen before.

 

I really wish I had at least a tension square that I have created to show you, but I just can’t figure it out! Having only one needle does not simplify things, it seems to make knitting far MORE complicated. I will not be beaten by such a ridiculous article though. I hope in the end to be smiling like the guy in his cardigan from the pattern book, at the moment I think I feel more like the lady in her cardigan/ mini skirt combo!

Eggs!

I’ve been spinning and spinning the time turner I was given for my birthday but IFaulty time turner can’t manage to create even one extra  hour in my day. Back to elbow grease and self discipline I guess! I’ve been feeling a little flat about all the felt making and social media madness recently, I’ve been working hard and don’t seem to have much to show for it. So today I am focusing on the successes.image

I finished my first round of eggs this morning and I’m pretty pleased with them. These eggs have taken a little longer to hatch than I had hoped but I now have a clutch of about 40 done. Some of these sets will be gifts for family and friends, but I hope to get some on etsy and maybe find one or two fairs to take them to before Easter.

Usually I get all of my tops from World of Wool. Their roving is just gorgeous, lush wingham wool workscolours and great to work with. This time though I used a bag of Merino tops from Wingham Wool Works. A friend recommended them to me as she had used them on a felt making course and I have to agree that they are equally as lovely to felt with and good value too.  I love these pastel shades (not a phrase you can expect from me often), pics of the vivid brighter shades to come when I have finished the next batch.

While we are on the subject of Easter gifts I am also in the process of making thislittle guy as an Easter hunt jackpot prize. Depending how long he takes I might make a few.

unfinished Easter Bunny

A good productive day all round….and that’s not all I’ve done today but you’ll get to see the rest in good time…..