Posted by: rachelbarnes | March 25, 2009

Stamping fabric with acrylic paint and linoleum type stamps

So I’ve wanted to spread my stamp making into custom fabric creating. I’ve been looking around at craft stores for stamp pads that are meant to ink on fabric, without luck.  I then had the idea of using acrylic paint as the stamp ink for fabric.  I have acrylic paint at home, so that would mean I could try this experiment with all of the materials I have at home (if you don’t already own acrylic paint, you can purchase acrylic paint with fabric fixative already mixed together).  I found this article that shares a little about acrylic stamping and a great brand to try of paint (oddly enough I only have two brands of acrylic paint at home and one of the two is Liquitex).  If you stamp with just acrylic paint, it will make your fabric stiff when it dries.  If you use this lovely Fabric Fixative, your fabric will stay flexible after the paint dries.  You mix one part fixative to one part paint.

The stamp I wanted to make is based of an image I liked of wine glass rings.  Here is a picture of my image and carving block.


I took my charcoal pencil and traced the image.  Then I put the image on the carving block and rubbed the back side of the paper to transfer the image onto the carving block.


Then I started carving.  I use the #1 blade first to go around the detail of the circles.


The next step is my FAVORITE, I LOVE using the #5 blade.  It’s the largest blade and it makes carving go by super fast!  I go around with the #5 blade to take out the large chunks of the image.


Here is a picture of my stamped images.

asilkstamppaperI like to stamp the image after I’m done carving and the go back and carve more out of the stamp that I missed.  If you like a more handmade look, you can leave the carving marks.  You can see on my stamp in the picture below the extra black marks that are around the image that were inked.


The fabric part of this project is shown in the following picture.  I’m repurposing a silk blend sweater into a gift bag (sorry, it was hard to show the white sweater well in the picture).

asilksweaterI cut the arms off the sweater and then cut the front and back apart.  I just used the back for this bag since the front has such as deep v-neck.

This will be my finished bag (I’ll add a draw string), but I thought I’d experiment on a piece of scrap fabric before I start stamping the bag.


I inserted the cereal box to prevent the paint from bleeding through the fabric.  Any type of cardboard or other material you have on had to insert behind fabric will work well.  I mixed one part of the fabric fixative with one part blue acrylic paint.  I inked my stamp with a brayer and then stamped a scrap piece of the fabric.


Here is a close up of one of the images.


A couple of things I learned, my brayer had dried black speedball stamp ink on it, which bled into the blue paint that I inked the stamp with.  I assumed that the dried black paint wouldn’t effect a new layer, but it did.  I washed off my stamp and brayer and I will try this image again on scrap fabric in a different color.

Please read the additional tips from liquitex on using fabric fixative here, and here.  I believe there are other brands out there for fabric fixative, but Liquitex was the only brand my local Dick Blick store carried.  The instructions recommend waiting 4 days to wash your painted garment.

I’m going to still experiment with my fabric swatch to wait 4 days and then wash it to see how the image turns out.  I’d also like to carve a little more out of my image to make some of the circles more thin.  I think there are too many thick circles when the image is painted onto fabric.  I will share my findings from the washed fabric and a different color paint in a future post.  Thanks for viewing my fabric stamping experiment!

Posted by: rachelbarnes | March 10, 2009

first time linoleum block carving, homemade stamps

So I’ve been itching to try linoleum block carving to make my own stamps.  I purchased a starter kit, which was really nice to get the brayer, carving tools, and ink, but I detest with a passion the hard lionleum block material (I’ll stick to the soft, eraser type carving).  If you get a starter kit and the hard linoleum comes in the kit, throw it away (or freecycle it) and get the white or pink soft carving material (mentioned later).

The number one reason why I detest with a passion the hard linoleum block material is because I cut my hand 4 times through the carving process (exhibit A shown in the picture below).

cutfingerThe material is really hard, so as your carving, it’s very easy to slip and deeply cut your fingers.

I decided to do a journal style stamp. You can sketch your image on a piece of scratch paper, and then transfer the image to the stamp.  I sketched the image directly onto the stamp.


I learned through playing around with carving that you carve with the curve of the blade down, into the material (yes, I didn’t know this at first and tried to cut with the blade the opposite way, which of course didn’t work).


An even more disappointment I had with this finished project was that when I inked the freshly carved stamp, the finished image is hard to stamp evenly.  I guess it isn’t the end of the world, I can save the stamp for a distressed looking image.



I did purchase some of the soft eraser material material from Speedball, and I Love it!!  I got a 4×6″ sheet and cut it into multiple pieces so I can make multiple stamps with the one sheet.  I purchased the Speedycut by Speedball, but I’d recommend the Speedycarve (the pink Speedycarve doesn’t crumble like the Speedycut tends to).  It’s easy to cut and really fun to cut as well.  Here’s a link to a comparison crab apple designs did for reference.  The following is my stamped image with the Speedycut:



I’m going to use this stamp to pair with gifts I make as a label on the gift tags.  I used a left hand for the image since I’m left-handed.

For inking your homemade rubber stamp, you can use a stamp pad or the liquid speedball ink.  I like the speedball ink that you can roll with the brayer (roller toll) onto your stamp for an even finish but I think I’ll play around with both stamping pads and the black liquid ink to see which I like best.


Something else you can use to carve stamps is simple erasers.

Posted by: rachelbarnes | February 25, 2009

Sew a little baby doll

So I’ve been working on making a baby doll from a Martha Stewart pattern for a friend of mine’s little girl.  Check out the pattern, it’s fun and easy to follow!

A good friend of mine recently had a little baby boy, and I wanted to include in her gift package a little gift for her four year old daughter (as I know it’s hard when only “little brother” gets the gifts).  This doll was actually my all day project during an ice storm/snow day we had in January when I got to stay home from work.

One tip I would share, make a second version of the doll head to practice on before you make the actual doll’s head.  To me, the head was the hardest part in making the doll, getting the facial features to look right and to make the hair look real.  This is my practice doll head:

practice-doll-headFor the head, I used a t-shirt material from cotton cleaning rags I had around the house (don’t worry, this cotton rag was brand new).  A regular white t-shirt would work just fine.  For the eyes and mouth, I used brown and red heavy duty thread.  For the hair I used brown Sugar and Cream cotton yarn for the hair (what I had in my yarn stash).

Here is a picture of the finished doll.  The body of the doll was from an old sheet a friend of mine gave me.  I believe the sheet is originally from the 70’s or 80’s.  I love the colors!!  Especially the little blue and orange butterfly.  For the practice head, I unwound the yarn.  That made the doll’s hair look a little wavy, so I decided to leave the yarn as is for my finished doll since the actual little girl has very straight hair.


Here is a close up picture of the corduroy jacket.  It’s my favorite part of the doll.  When I was younger, I loved taking clothes off and putting them back onto my dolls.  For that reason, I thought a little jacket would be fun.


Here is a picture of the little girl wearing her jacket.


To make the jacket, I took the top part of the body from the pattern, and traced the shape onto the corduroy material.  I then cut the material slightly bigger then the pattern, maybe 1/4″-1/2″ bigger.

She looks kind of angry in the pictures, but I did have her mouth turned as a half circle for a small smiley face, so the frown is probably the camera angle.  This little girl was quite fun to make.  I made the doll with the actual little girl in mind, trying to match her hair color, hair length, and eye color to the doll.  I’d enjoy making another doll in the future to give as a gift, but I think I’d enjoy  making the next doll with a different personality.

If you make one of these dolls, please post your comments and a picture in the comments.  I’d love to see other dolls that were made from this pattern with different personalities.

Posted by: rachelbarnes | February 16, 2009

easy Valentine brownie cupcake idea

So I LOVED this idea from Martha Stewart, but I wanted to put my own twist on it.  I made this as a part of my Valentine’s gift to my husband this year.

So, I purchased a box of Ghiradelli double fudge brownies from my local grocery store.  The brownie box came with a fudge packet to ice the top of the brownies (or cupcakes in my case), so that was a bonus!  I also purchased a bar of Ghiradelli white chocolate.  The brownie mix was easy to throw together and I was able to get 12 brownies from one box.  The quantity of brownies were perfect for us because if I have sweets in our house I will always eat them up.  Not having dozens and dozens of brownie cupcakes in the house is a good thing.

The back of the box did not give directions to make brownie cupcakes, so I improvised.  I baked the brownie cupcakes at the recommended oven  temperature for a square pan and started the timer at 30 min.  I watched the brownies and added more baking time as necessary until the cupcakes were completely done (doing the toothpick test at the center of the brownie cupcakes to check doneness).

Once the brownie cupcakes cooled, I iced them with the fudge frosting.  I actually baked the brownie cupcakes the night before Valentine’s Day and iced them the morning of Valentine’s Day.  If I did this recipe again, I would ice the cupcakes when they’re still warm, not hot, so the icing would be more shiny. 

I melted the white chocolate bar in the microwave by breaking up the chocolate bar and microwaving in 10 second increments, stirring in between, until the chocolate was melted.

I then put the melted white chocolate in a zip lock bag and I sealed the bag.  I then cut off a teeny bit of the one of bottom corners of the bag.  This allowed me to pipe the chocolate onto the brownie cupcakes for the words.


I didn’t really plan what I was going to write onto the cupcakes until I started piping the white chocolate.  I tried to recall as I piped what the little Necco hearts have printed on them and wrote away in white chocolate.  The cupcakes were YUMMY and really easy to make.

Posted by: rachelbarnes | February 14, 2009

crafting with what you own, Craftypod podcast

So I’ve recently discovered the free podcasts out there that are available through the ITunes Store (yes, I know, I’m a little behind the times just now discovering podcasts, when they’ve been available for awhile now). Anyways, I’m LOVING these podcasts!!!  Little did I know that podcasts are out there for free that I can download for yet another resource for great inspiration!!  


The podcast I’d like to share today is for green ideas, using materials that you already have. I LOVED this podcast from Craftypod and I wanted to share it with you.  I’ve felt the same way as Diane shares in her podcast, a desire to use the materials that I already own to create instead of consistently buying new.  I LOVED this podcast to hear of other fellow crafters that have felt the same way as I do.  She brought up an interesting topic as well to try and support local crafters while also using what you have.  I’ll let you listen to the podcast. 


I was also inspired from this podcast to start documenting crafting items I already own to encourage the “use what you have” philosophy.  I’ll have to share in a future post my current craft material inventory pics for an encouragment to use what you have.

Posted by: rachelbarnes | February 3, 2009

knitting a baby kimono preemie sweater

Yikes, has it really been a month since I’ve last posted?  Shame on me.  I have been doing a lot of crafting in the mean time, believe it or not.  My craft of choice this month has been knitting.  In fact, I’ve been knitting ALOT over the past couple of months.  So much that I had to get a pair of these for both wrists:


Yes, wrist braces.  Don’t feel sorry for me, though.  I can still knit, write, and do most things with them on.  I’m trying to wear them for a week to see if the aching in my wrists goes away.  I think I knitted too close to my body, straining my wrists.  I’m wearing the braces for a week so I should be back to “normal” soon.  Yes, it is embarrassing to share at work that I strained my wrists knitting, not through bowling (as I’m not a bowler).

What have I been knitting? (you might ask).  Well, I’ll show you,


This is my first ever baby sweater.  It’s a kimono sweater I made for a little preemie girl that came into this world in December (not my own baby, but the baby to a sister of a good friend of mine).  From this experience, I have developed a heart for the preemie babies in this world.  It is VERY difficult to find clothing for them.  It was a joy to create a customized wool sweater to keep little Lillie warm.  I actually took a kimono sweater pattern and modified it for a preemie.  It was fun creating my own knitted pattern in this process.  I usually find a pattern and stick to it, so diverging away from the original pattern into my own pattern was quite fun.  The original pattern I worked off of had an eyelet detail so I added my own twist to weave the ribbon through the eyelet for the kimono ties.  I’ll have to come back and post the pattern directions.  I’ve already given the sweater away, so I’m going back through my notes to speak to the pattern directions.

Here are some more pictures of the sweater.


And here is a picture of the outfit I put together for the gift.  I had a lot of fun with this one.


More crafting to come.  I have a lot of friends having babies this spring, so I’m enjoying the excuse to make gifts.

Posted by: rachelbarnes | January 4, 2009

2009 new word

A new look for a new year, I enjoyed updating the look of my blog to bring in the new year.  I’m feeling inspired this year to join Ali Edwards one word challenge.  The thought of reflecting on one word for many different goals is very exciting to me.

I’m challenging myself with two words.  One word for my spiritual side and another for my art side.

My spiritual word for 2009 is love.  I feel drawn to step outside myself more this year to give to others of my time and talents, even when it isn’t an easy thing for me to do.  I’ve felt very selfish these past six months, very “me” focused, so I look forward to giving more to people that I know and don’t know that are in need.

My word for my art side for 2009 is create.  I want to make time to create, something I love to do.  I also want to include in this challenge to use what I have.  I want to springboard creativity from using what I already own instead of continuing to buy new supplies (unless absolutely and utterly necessary).  I’ll need to find inspiration for projects based on what I already own instead of solely from the idea.  So I hope to share new crafts and creations that come from my create goal for this year.

Posted by: rachelbarnes | January 3, 2009

recycled sweater scarf

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  I must say, aside from a yucky bout of food poisoning I went through this month, it was a great month and it flew by!

I have been a knitting fool these past couple of weeks (which I’ll share more in a post in the near future), but today I’d like to share today a gift I made that was REALLY EASY with old sweaters.  I bought these sweaters at a thrift store at the end of the winter season, so they were $1 a sweater.  Make sure and purchase sweaters that are 100% wool.  If you get any variation of blends other then 100% wool, they won’t felt exactly right.

The first step I did was to felt the sweaters.  I put them together in really cheap pillowcase covers (zippered cotton bags) and threw them in the wash on the highest setting.  I threw in some tennis balls to help the felting process.  I put in 1 tablespoon of dish soap in the soap dispenser.  I have a front loading washer, which doesn’t felt as well as the top loading.  Depending on your washer, there are different tips out there for felting sweaters.  You really can’t mess this step up, it’s pretty easy.  I ended up washing my sweaters 3 times to get them as tight as I wanted.  A tip here is make sure your sweater weave has shrunk enough so when you cut the sweaters, they won’t unravel.  When in doubt, throw it back in the wash.  If you pull the material and it stretches, it probably needs to go through the wash again.

I then cut the sleeves off of the sweater.  The fun part about this project is you’ll have the bodies of the sweaters left over for additional projects in the future!


I then cut the sleeves down the seam to flatten out the fabric.  Then I cut strips of the sleeves.  I made the strips longer then I needed to and found out later that I could get two scarfs out of one sew.  You can make the strips smaller then I did, just make sure they’re longer then what you need them to be so that you can trim them later and they are all even (unless you want to keep them uneven, which is always an option).

Then I pinned the strips together to sew.  I liked the idea of putting one of the squares on top of the other two and varying the pattern to keep the squares flat (instead of seaming the squares and making it more bulky).  The pattern I choose is shown below.


After I sewed the squares together, I pinned the scarf in half and cut off the raw edges.


Then I cut the scarf in half.  The width of  my scarf was 3 3/4″ and the length was 85″.


As I shared, a fun detail I wasn’t planning, getting two scarfs in one project.    I decided to give both scarf’s to my friend and offer she can wear one and the other can be cut shorter so her little 3 year old little girl can have a matching scarf the same as her mama.  The piece that is cut off from the second scarf can be a little scarf for one of her dollies to also match.

Here is my finished scarf.  It was so much fun to make!!  Yeah for recycling sweaters.


Posted by: rachelbarnes | November 19, 2008

natural fire starter, egg carton video tutorial

I found this lovely video tutorial I wanted to share.  We’ve had a common problem at home to get a fire started in our fireplace, quickly,  without lighter fluid.  I’ve wanted to find a more natural way to get a fire started rather then using lighter fluid.  Watch the video link.  This uses items we had around our house already, paper egg cartons, dryer lint, and candle wax.

I modified this tutorial slightly.  We have a candle warmer, so I used this instead of boiling the wax on the stove. 

I think I’m going to use these fire starters as a a part of Christmas gift baskets for friends of mine that like to go camping or have a fireplace.

Posted by: rachelbarnes | November 14, 2008

inspire board 11-13-08

I’ve enjoyed sharing this blog as crafts, projects, inspiration I’m working on.  An idea I’ve been wanting to share is what is inspiring me at the moment or what I’m feeling or experienced for that week that week through a digital bulletin board.  Forgive the simplicity of the picture, I’d like to do more texture and artsyness with future inspire boards, but for today, this is what I’m sharing.  Enjoy, inspire, create. (C:


« Newer Posts - Older Posts »