Friday, February 8, 2013

Glue Resist Joy Pillow - Sis 1

My oldest daughter was invited to a Chinese New Year-themed birthday party for a girl named Joy. Since Joy is such an easy word to find in Chinese, we just couldn't resist giving her a present that said her name in Chinese. We hurriedly searched on the internet, but couldn't find anything that was suitable on Amazon Prime (comes in 2 days, which is what we had before the party.) So we decided homemade was our option.

I think this would be a fun present for someone who wasn't named Joy, as well, especially if they're interested in Chinese. But, of course, you can use any words or designs you want with this method.

We googled (yes, it's a verb) joy and chinese to find the characters that mean joy. There were several different versions, but this one seemed to be the most common, so it's the one we went with.

First, I we cut 17-inch squares of heavy white cotton percale. Cotton is important because it takes color the best. If you have a pillow form, measure the lengths and add a seam allowance for your fabric size.

Then I printed the character for Joy in Chinese as large as possible on a normal piece of paper. I also found an Asian script-looking font and printed the name Joy in English as large as possible for the other side of the pillow. I used "Calligraph421 BT" which just came with my computer. I wasn't thrilled with the kerning (the distance between the letters--see how the J is a little far away from the o), so after it printed, I folded the paper a little to manually kern the type how I wanted it.

This is difficult to see, but I centered the printouts under the fabric and taped them all to the counter with painter's masking tape. Then I traced the designs with white school glue. The flattened tip of the glue container helped to spread the glue to look like brush strokes. You could also spread it with a brush. Don't get it too thin, though. In the interest of time I used my blow dryer to dry the glue completely.

Then, working fairly quickly, we used a large paintbrush to wet the fabric, saving the glue-covered spots for last. My daughter who is attending the party  used watered-down acrylic paints to paint designs on the fabric, being sure to get paint over the glued areas. The idea here is similar to using crayons on paper to resist watercolors. Whatever is covered by the glue (or crayon) won't receive pigment from the paint and will remain white. The richer the colors you use, the better, as they will fade when you rinse it in the next step. We used red and yellow because they look Chinese to us. If I had been the one doing the painting, I would have tried to keep the colors a little more defined, as they came out more orange than I had imagined in my little head, but I do like how it turned out anyway.

As soon as you are finished applying paint, use a blow dryer to dry the glued areas and immediately around them. We went ahead and dried all of both pieces of fabric. Once the paint is dried, rinse the fabric in the sink. You will have to repeat this step quite a few times, until the water is mostly clear. Now transfer the fabric to your washing machine and wash it. I didn't use any detergent. The goal is to remove all excess paint and all of the glue, which will take a little while to dissolve. Once the cycle is complete, make sure all of the glue is gone. If not, wash again. Dry and iron your fabric.

Place right sides together with the characters and the english word both facing toward each other and right-side up. Starting at the bottom, sew all the way around three sides, leaving an open area on the fourth side. I find it easier to sew corners on my machine and leave part of the middle of the bottom side open.

Clip each corner as shown and turn the pillowcase right-side out. Stuff with batting or put a pillow form inside. When using batting, concentrate on the corners first, making sure they look good before adding batting to the middle.

Whip-stitch the hole together, trying to make the seam as invisible as possible. Ta-da! You've made a glue-resist pillow. I'm thinking Tee-shirts would be fun to decorate like this, too.