Lutradur Lampshade

While I was working on the Lutradur Michaelmas Daisies recently I realised that the semi transparent nature of the Lutradur fabric meant that it would probably be great for making lampshades.  I felt quite excited by the idea of attempting a lampshade – quite a challenge and all that lovely problem solving is good for the creative soul!

I headed for the local charity shops to buy a small drum shaped lampshade.  It had definately seen better days.  I didn’t get a photograph.  It was so dusty that I threw it straight into the kitchen sink for a good wash  even though I was about to take it to pieces.

Removing the fabric was easy.  Removing the glue from the frame proved to be difficult.  I tried very soapy water, neat washing up liquid and a pan scrubber, nail polish remover and surgical spirit.  The glue stuck fast.  Finally, I found something that worked; WD40 (or UB40 as it’s known in our house).

Next, I cut the Lutradur.  I measured the fabric I’d removed, adding enough for the seam allowance and tothe overlap around the frame.  The Lutradur was coloured with inktense and the stitching commenced.  I used the same die cutter for the flowers as I’d used previously for the Michaelmas Daisies.

Once the stitching was complete I used Wilko’s Fabric Glue to glue the seam and to stick the fabric onto the frame (two rings, one normal ring and the other with spokes and a light fitting).  This was the tricky part.  The lutradur is fairly open, and the glue did go through in places.  Luckily it dries clear.  It took about 40 mins to dry the seam (holding it in place initially was awkward and I ended up with more glue on my fingers than on the seam).  I used pegs to hold the fabric and glue over the rings.  This is the final result (no lamp, just a small LED battery operated light):

Michaelmas daisy lampshadeAs a first attempt I managed to solve some problems and to actually produce a lampshade.  However, the Lutraur is not quite strong enough to hold the firm shape required for the lampshade.  In retrospect I think I should have used some lampshade pvc, though this seems to be quite expensive.  I’m going to think this one over for a little while, maybe an alternative will come to mind.  Can anyone suggest another fabric please?

Background From Torn Fabric and Scraps

After all the technical rocket science yesterday I was keen to get back to the fabrics and stitching today.  I set out determined to have a scrappy crafting session.

I wanted to try to create a background in similar colours to those on the original torn and stitched paper background:

I used a piece of thick calico for the backing, and ironed on some bondaweb.  Then I searched my stash for scraps in similar colours to the original, tore them into strips and placed them on the bondaweb.  This is the start of the first layer:

And the first layer completed:

At this point I questioned whether the colours were anything like the original – I didn’t think so, but I was surprised when I placed them side by side:

Not as far off as I thought.  I then added some torn strips of the muslin that I’d dyed recently.  I wanted t add some curves, texture and loose threads.  The muslin strips were stitched them in place with dark blue thread.  Again, here is a comparison with the original:

Tomorrow I’m going to add some more colour and decorative stitching with rayon and metallic threads.

From Background Papers to Background Fabric

At the end of my little crafting session yesterday I was feeling good about the torn and stitched paper background.  This is how I left it yesterday:

This morning I was up bright and early, and ready to take on the rocket science. I love computers and technology.  I’m lucky enough to have one of those mathematical/logical brains that enjoys the challenge of solving issues in these particular realms.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming to be a genius.  I’m more of a ‘dog with a bone’.  I like to chew away at the issue until I’ve either whittled it down to nothing, or until I’ve found a bigger and better bone.  The computer thing doesn’t scare me.  What does scare me are printers, scanners and photocopiers.  I’m sure that printers have little annoying gremlins living in them.  I press ‘print’ and by the time the paper has been thrown from the printer either the paper has been pulled to one side, chewed, or half the ink has been licked off the paper by the said gremlins.  Daring to look inside the printer to solve the issue is a risky business.  This eats too much time and causes too much frustration.  I use the printer only when I can’t avoid it.  Photocopiers are even worse.  I lay the paper in what I think is the correct place, press the button, and all hell breaks loose.  Lights flashing, thousands of copies start churning themselves out, collated information becomes incoherent garbage, A4 turns into A5 giants and I generally switch the off button and do a runner!  Scanners?  They are another species.  I can never find the settings and I can never find the resulting scanned image.  I think I have used my scanner about 3 or 4 times in the many years I have owned it.  Today, I have had my ‘dog with a bone’ head on.  This is where it took me.

Firstly I wanted to achieve a number of things with photoshop;

  1. Scan the image.
  2. Find a way of viewing the image and any changes at the same time in Photoshop
  3. Alter the colour of the image:
  4. Alter the size of the image to A4 (the size of the photocopy transfer paper I have bought).

I won’t bother you with all the ups and downs of trying to work out how to scan the image and all the time taken finding the image and then working out how to change the settings from png to jpeg.  It took a while, but I managed it.  I also made an imortant discovery.  The scanned images go into a ‘Scans’ folder which is located in the Pictures folder on my computer.  Well, I never knew that.  Too easy!

Next, Photoshop.  I wanted to view the original image at the same time as viewing the image with any changes I made.  I searched the Internet for a solution and I could not find one.  So, thinking head on.  After a short time I realised I could rename the file so that I had a second copy which would be altered. I could then open the first one, so they are both open at the same time, place them side by side on the screen in photoshop and I have what I need.  Easy! Here is the saved screen print (you can save the screen print by pressing the windows key and PrtSC on your keyboard at the same time – the screen dims briefly and the file will have been saved in a ‘Screenshots’ folder which will have appeared in your pictures folder):

blue backgrounds before and after compared in photoshopAm I boring you?  Am I going too fast?  Nearly finished with the technical stuff.

After altering the colours (to make them more intense and to make the blues more purple-ish) I wanted to print A4 size.  In photoshop you can change the canvas size to 29.7cm x 21.0cm (go to Image, then Canvas Size for this – don’t forget to save as jpeg):

changing canvas size to A4 in photoshopAfter a few warnings about the image being cropped (and me selecting yes because by this time I would have said yes to anything) I pressed ‘Print’ to print the image on ordinary paper (with an x pencil marked in the corner so that I knew which way to place the Transfer paper) and the printer started to whirr and buzz.  Thankfully there was no hissing, spitting or ripping to be seen or heard.  Phew!

OK, so now I had the original and a print of the altered image.  I was ready to take on the biggest gremlins.  After comparing the printed image with the original, I thought that I may have altered it too much, so I decided to print the unaltered image onto the transfer paper.  I placed the Lazertran Inkjet Textile Transfer Paper into the printer the correct way (the back has a grid printed onto it so you know which side takes the ink), took a deep breath, held it, and pressed print…………………

I’m still here!  It worked!  Here are (from left to right) the original, the altered print and the transfer paper print. 

The transfer was ironed onto polyester cotton.  This took only a few minutes, and it was left to cool.  After removing the backing paper I could see that the image had transferred completely.  Here are the original torn paper background and the transfer print (which is on the right): As you can see, the colours are similar.  The texture, however, is quite different.  The print feels quite rubbery and flat (just like a thick printed area on a T-shirt), not quite what I had in mind.  Though the technique does work I felt I would have to continue to search for alternative methods to transfer the image.

I then went on to try another technique.  I’d read that you could use acrylic medium to transfer an image onto lutradur.  So, out came the matt medium and the lutradur.  The matt medium was painted onto the lutradur and the image was placed face down on top of the lutradur and rubbed with the back of a spoon.  This was the result:

As you can see, the image did transfer but it was a very faint print.  Again not quite what I had in mind.

I’m pleased to say I’ve learned lots today.  I’m still pondering what to do about the image transfer.

Just to finish on a positive point though, here are some of the backgrounds with just a colour change from the original file:

Tomorrow I’m going to try tearing fabric to produce a similar background.



Bondaweb Leaf

The bondaweb was out again today.  I wanted to try a technique similar to that described by Carolyn Saxby.  She wrote an excellent tutorial which you can find here on her blog.  Basically it involves making leaves from snippets of fabric.  Whereas Carolyn used a layer of fleece for the backing, I used a piece of fabric that was green on one side and a matt gold on the other.  I ironed bondaweb onto both sides, cut out a leaf shape, then removed the papers.  I then added snippets of fabric, yarns, cotton, a bit of glitter, whatever I could find, to one side, ironed again to make the snippets adhere, turned the whole thing over and did the same to the other side.  I then pinned on some green organza and stitched leaf veins and then stitched around the edges.  Finally, the soldering iron came out and I made lots of holes in the organza (you can’t tell it’s been covered in organza at all).  Here are images of both sides of the leaf:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe leaf has a really interesting texture, a bit of glitter, it’s quite strong and it’s very pliable.  I’m now sat playing with this leaf and pondering the potential of the technique. Just think, I could have the biggest aspidistra in the world surrounding my waste paper bin before the end of the week!

30 Day Challenge 22 – Hand Holding an Object

The challenge today was a difficult one.  I had to draw my hand holding something.  I wasn’t looking forward to this one as I was worried that it would be beyond my capabilities.  I found a lemon in the fridge and started to draw.  It was difficult, so I kept it simple:


This was a bit of a strange challenge.  Trying to draw my hand wasn’t something I’d done since my school days.  Looking closely at all the lines (I have collected many since my school days) was a little – freaky?  I didn’t know I had so many lines on my hand.  The lemon was much prettier and easier to draw.  I wouldn’t like to have to repeat this challenge.

I’ve been busy most of today, so unfortunately I haven’t had time to make any more cards.  What I do have to show are photographs of the back of one of my sketchbooks where I started to investigate watercolour and Brusho techniques last week.  I found that when I tried to paint the biomorphic forms I was having difficulty controlling paint. I divided each page up with masking tape and used turquoise and violet Brusho to try out techniques in the spaces:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI took the pictures in the dark so I apologise that the pictures are not brilliant.  I felt it was important to record ideas and to be able to add to them.  It’s one of the sketchbooks I will use as a reference in future.  I did learn a little about the flow of paint from the books, and actually trying out ideas helped.  I’m looking forward to building on this in the next few weeks.