The last time I went to a party on a Saturday afternoon I wore a blue flowery dress made by my mum, and a pair of knee socks so dazzlingly white they were visible three streets away. The last time I went to a party that lasted all weekend long. . . well, I’ve never been cool enough to do that. Which is why I was very happy to be invited to the inspiration bash going on this weekend over at shimelle.com.
The project I put together was one of those ideas born out of necessity. For the last few years, my desk has played host to a growing pile of burned CDs – backed up computer files, collections of photos, digital scrapbooking kits, audiobooks, podcasts and iTunes downloads (just in case something awful happens to both my laptop and iPod at the same time). While they don’t exactly take up loads of space, they’re surprisingly tricky to store or, more to the point, to store in a pretty way. If you’ve ever tried to buy a CD storage case in the shops, you’ll know what I mean – it’s all nylon, neoprene and nasty synthetics, and if you want anything other than black, you choices are limited to the kind of shades even Jordan would consider tacky. So, a DIY job was very much in order, and Shimelle’s music and camera-themed printables gave me a kick in the pants to finally try making something.
As you can see, I tried a couple of different variations on the theme, both with different bindings and using the printed images in very different ways. The camera one I turned into an embroidery pattern. This is one of my favourite things to do with digital stamps, brushes or line-work images, especially as they give you a wide range of options and quite a different look to traditional embroidery designs. The easiest way I’ve found to transfer them is to print your image on to plain paper, tape against a sunny window (or a lightbox if you have one), tape the fabric on top and trace the image through with a water-soluble pen. You can then stitch directly over your drawn lines and rub them away with a baby-wipe or damp sponge when you’re done. (The tape, btw, should be masking tape – use regular parcel or sellotape at your own, window-scrubbing risk.)
To add a little bit of colour, I ironed some fusible webbing (try BondaWeb, Heat'n'Bond or Wonder Under) to a scrap of patterned fabric, re-traced the centre section of the camera, then cut it out and ironed to the background. You could just as easily colour with fabric paint, wax crayons or leave it plain and simply stitch around the outline.
The second version of the album was an experiment which went wrong, but came good in the end – very often the best creative lesson, I think. Let me spare you similar frustration by saying you can’t print onto sticky-backed vinyl with a regular inkjet printer. Save your ink, preserve your nerves and move on. With my test pieces resigned to the bin, I used a fresh sheet to cover two pieces of stiff card, printed Shimelle’s music design onto acetate and layered it on top. The end result looks just like I wanted it to, but with a little extra texture, which is rarely a bad thing.
So, there you go – two similar-but-different projects and a little bit more of the mess cleared off my desk. If you want to try something similar with the printables (there are twenty sheets altogether), they all come as part of Shimelle’s class, which starts on Monday. And just in case you need any convincing that using your printer for stuff other than paper is a good idea, I’ve put together a few pictures which clearly demonstrate that I don’t.
When you’re done leaving me a comment (because I really don’t want to be the girl at the party who no-one talks to), remember to head back over to shimelle.com for stacks more inspiration and giveaways right through until Sunday evening.
I’m off to polish my tiara and dig out the cake-forks, just in case.