Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Tale of Two Flags... Part 2 of my Flag How To

Crafting anything is always more fun when you have friends to bounce ideas off of.  So I pretty much make it a practice never to craft alone. Well okay, maybe "never" is a strong word, but I'd say I rarely craft alone.  I mean you need your REAL friends there to let you know that what you think looks great, really looks like poo.     That being said... making spirit flags falls into the category of "crafting", which means that I needed a crafting buddy.  My friend Liz (who had the brilliant idea to do this How To) gladly volunteered.

So our mission for today was to make 4... yes you heard it right, 4 spirit flags.  Did we complete our mission?  OF COURSE NOT!  But we did make some great progress and feel particularly proud of the fact that we will not be burning the midnight oil on the night before these puppies are due.

Now I present to you... A Tale of Two Flags

Yesterday we showed you how to prepare your flag canvas using Gesso to prime and stiffen your material.  The huge advantage to doing this is that if you decide to have a white background to your flag (which I did) then you have cut out a HUGE step in your flag making process. Why?  Because Gesso is white!  Score one for me!

But today is all about the accessories... the bling, the fru-fru, the sparkle that you can add to your flag to give it that POP-A-COLOR, and that shot of WOW!  But how do you know what to choose from the thousands and thousands of items that your local craft store has to offer?  Aahh why it's elementary my dear crafty friend... a theme.  I love a good theme.  Whether it's for a party, a craft, a room I plan to decorate.  A theme just makes me happy because I have a jumping off point as well as some boundaries.

So what were our themes?  Liz's was lions and mine was stars.  Now you can go in several different directions with these, but let me give you a super great tip.  THE INTERNET!!  You can find tons of ideas to help you find some inspiration.  Liz went the way of The Lion King. I chose to go the All Star route.  So lets start with the border materials.

NOTE: Before you start to add any of the items to your flag, you must either sew or hot glue the pole sleeve on your flag.  This will allow you to cover the seam with whatever you choose to use for your border.

Now with a theme like The Lion King you have some great inspiration pictures out there to help you with the graphics.  To carry through the theme, what better material to use on your border than craft fur.  Yes it does have a tendency to look like some random hairy man's chest... but it's FUN, and creative, and really who wouldn't love fur on a flag?

For the All Star theme flag, I decided to go with a colorful star grosgrain ribbon.  Another option would be to find a cotton fabric that either matches the color scheme or the theme that you are going with and use that to create a border around your flag.

Now I personally prefer to put my border on the canvas prior to adding any of the added graphics or lettering to my flag.  This is simply because I want to have a definite space to work with.  Believe me, there is nothing worse than spending lots of time drawing out a lady bug on your flag only to find that part of it is going to be covered by your border.  Live and learn!

Because of the border that Liz was using, it was easier (and necessary) to do her graphic before adding her border.  This takes a bit more planning, but sometimes it is necessary.

To add some stability to your flag, you want to insert a wooden dowel into the top and bottom borders of your flag.  Now these dowels will be way too long for your flag, and I am not a fan of power tools that could possibly cut off some fingers.  SO... these pruning sheers are my best friend for this part of the project.  


Once your base color has completely dried then you can start to add the detail.  Liz printed out a picture of The Lion King Musical poster and used that as a guide for her flag.  She first drew it out in pencil and then went through and added the black paint.  

What if you don't have a super steady hand and don't want to outline a graphic using a paint brush?  A black Sharpie marker is a great tool to add some dimension to your graphics.  It is so much easier to outline not only pictures and shapes but your lettering as well.  It really helps everything pop and stand out.  

There are lots of different ways to add lettering to your flags.  Stencils, stamp letters, chip board letters, wooden letters, vinyl lettering, felt letters, foam letters or just free hand writing. There are so many possibilities.  If you have a theme then you can choose a font that goes with your theme. Again, the internet is a great tool for this.

I have a CRICUT machine, so that is usually our first choice for lettering options.  For Liz's flag we downloaded African font from the internet and then used it to cut out the lettering.  

I wanted a font that would have the feel of an athletic letter jacket, and Freshman font did the trick.  I also chose a handwritten font to add some interest.  We did notice that the vinyl didn't completely stick to the canvas.  So to solve this problem we just gave the whole canvas a quick coat of decoupage.  Problem solved!

 The Final Result
I absolutely LOVE how this flag turned out.  So different and fun!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

And I LOVE how fun and colorful the ALL STAR flag turned out.  This one may have been one of the easier flags I've done.

 Okay, so there you have it.  Now go find a reason to make a flag!!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

We've Got Spirit Yes We Do!! (A Class Flag How To) Part 1

HoLy BLoG SlaCKeR BaTMaN!! Has it really been almost 8 months since I've visited my own blog? That's what happens when you are totally busy with life, and kids, and life, and crafting. But I'm getting my MOJO back!  School has started and Halloween is just around the corner so I'm ready to get to some craftin' (as we say here in Texas).

Okay, so in Texas we have some spirit... LOTS of SPIRIT! (Have you seen the way we love us some football?) We start them young here, and we are super proud to wave our spirit flags. We even have spirit flags for our classes. Yes you heard it right, Class Spirit Flags! We get all sorts of creative on these flags. From bling and boas, and Angry Birds and 3D animals. The sky's the limit... well actually the size of the canvas is the limit, but you know what I mean.

So since some people out there may be a little intimidated by making a spirit flag, we thought (this is my friend Liz's brain child) that it would be a great idea to put together a HOW TO. This is Part 1 which is the preparation of your flags.  Ill also be giving you some great ideas and tips.  Part 2 will be how we put together our own flags for this year.  So you'll have to come back to see how this year's flags turn out. Just remember, you don't have to be Martha to make a fun and cute flag.  It just takes some patience, paint, a glue gun and a HOW TO.  Now lets get to crafting!

First things first... supplies:
-canvas fabric (you will need the fabric to be 4 inches longer on the side where the pole will be and another inch longer all the way around to make up for your border.
- Gesso Canvas Primer
- foam brushes
- regular brushes
- 2 wooden dowels
- glue gun
- paint
- gems, fur, additional colorful fabric, glitter, or anything else you want to use on your flag.
- PVC tube ( this will be the pole used to hang your flag so the length is up to you.)

Before you start prepping your flag, you need to measure about 4 inches from the end of the flag.  Draw a line and fold over your fabric to meet that line.  If you are handy with a sewing machine you can sew a straight line down the edge here to make the pocket for the pole.  If you aren't then your handy dandy glue gun will do just fine.

Now it is super important to paint an even coat of Gesso all over BOTH sides of the canvas. You want to give it about two coats on each side. Without this, any paint you put on the flag will just be sucked up by the canvas, which means... more paint and more coats.  So believe me Gesso is your best friend on this project.  Plus it makes the canvas stiff and this is a good thing when adding all kinds of fun things to your flag.  

Once your primed canvas is completely dry, then you can begin drawing your image or painting your base color on the canvas.  I recommend using just regular acrylic craft paint for this.  It's easy clean up and the coverage is really good.  

Over the years I've done a variety of flags... from simple to wow!  It is really up to you how you do it.  I have found a few tricks along the way though.  

*  If you're doing a flag with an animal theme, don't be afraid to use a stuffed animal.  By cutting it in half and hot gluing it to your flag, you get a 3D look with a lot of impact.  Add a pair of child size sun glasses and you've got a Kool Kat

* Look for fabrics or trims that add to the overall theme and affect of the flag.  Fur around a lions mane and jungle type fabric for the trim finish off a fun Jungle Lion themed flag. 

* Make your flag colorful and fun for the kids to look at.  Also experiment with different fonts and mix them together.  You can use chip board letters, stamps, stencils, vinyl letters.  It makes for an interesting look!

Note:  And don't forget to decorate the back of the flag as well.

* Sometimes simple is a good thing.  

*Flags can be decorated with all kinds of fun things.  Here plastic gems are added (one per student) to represent all of Mrs. Thomas's Treasures.

*Finally, fun fabric, boas, fur, and fun themed ribbon can make great borders around your flag.  There is so many fun things you can use for this.  Go roam around the craft store and see what pops out at you.

How fun would it be to have a team flag for your little soccer player or baseball player?  Go out there and show your spirit!!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Total Blog Slacker... but I'm back with Vday Craft-a-palooza 2012

Okay, I know I have been a total blog slacker, but I have a REALLY good reason. In October we had some remodeling done to our house. This was something we had waited and waited for and although we were so excited about having it all done, it took waaaayyyy longer that we anticipated. But now the house is back together with new floors, new furniture, and a Restoration Hardware feel. LOVE IT! So I figured I needed some fun Valentine's Day decor to go with the new look. So we had a...

I have a FABULOUS group of friends who love to get crafty. Our monthly Craft-a-paloozas had been put on hold since I was basically out of decorating/crafting commission, so needless to say we could not wait to get our craft on. We scoured the blogs, stalked out Pinterest, and prepared, prepared, prepared. After lots of laughs, paint, and vinyl, here is what we came up with...

And my favorite creation was...

Now... I'm crafted out. BUT... I do already have some ideas for next month's craft-a-palooza. Can you hear the wheels turning????

Linking to these fun blogs. Go check them out!!
The Shabby Nest

Craft Junkie Too Friend
Design Dazzle

Whipperberry's Link Party



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