Sunday, January 5, 2014

Make Your Own Coloring Book Fabric From Your Child's Drawings

If you are visiting today from the Two Bee's Sew-Along...Welcome!

I am sure many of you have seen the very cool IKEA coloring book fabric that has been popping up on many sewing blogs.  You can color it one of two ways...with washable Crayola markers, and it will wash away when laundered, or, with fabric paint for a more permanent solution.  I recently used it to make a crayon apron for a customer.  I absolutely love the drawings on the fabrics!  It got me thinking...why couldn't I put my kids drawings on fabric!  How cool would that be!  So authentic!
Today I would like to share with you the technique I use to transfer a child's sketches to fabric, enabling you to create your very own personalized design.  As an art teacher, I love the idea of using your child's creativity to make a project unique.  Children's drawings have an uninhibited freedom, that as adults, many of us simply can't mimic.    

I hope you have fun with this technique.  There are just so many possibilities to it's uses!  You could create a custom pillow case, bag, apron, dress or other article of clothing.  I have used it to transfer to mounted canvases as well.  
Let's get started...First you will need a little artist, a big pile of regular white computer paper, and a sharpie (deep breath mom, it's ok to give the youngin a sharpie...if closely monitored and the rest of the surrounding areas are covered up!).  If you are working with a theme, share that with your little artist and help them brainstorm some ideas of things that they might like to draw.  I always tell my kids it would be helpful if they could make the drawing as big as their hand opened up ( therefore reducing the risk of them drawing teeny tiny little drawings which is very common with young artists!)  My son, Brock, helped me out with todays art.  We decided on a space theme.  He is a fifth grader and to keep it simple, I told him to make his drawing as though he were about a second grader.  The more drawings the better...but for starters let's just say a minimum of 9-12 sketches would be great!
Once your little artist has completed their masterpieces gather up your supplies.  You will need:
- fabric:  lightweight canvas, Kona cotton, Broadcloth, a Bed sheet, etc. If your fabric is very lightweight you may need to line it, but this is up to you!
-  Black Fabric Marker (I like Plaid brand the best, but this was all they had at Michael's today...we will see how it launders)
- Painters Tape ( if you are using the window transfer method)

And if you are planning to paint in the designs yourself...
- fabric paint
-water cup

The first step in putting your drawings on fabric is looking at the size that they are versus the size you need them to be.  Brock did a great job of making his drawings as big as his hand, but a few still need enlargement to change up the variety on the fabric.  To accomplish this you have a few options.  If you have a phone that takes pictures pretty clearly, just snap a picture of the drawing, filling as much of the screen on you phone with the image as possible.  Upload to your computer and use your favorite photo editing program to print.  Most program allow you to choose a size to print,  I went with 4x6.

Another option would be to scan the photo into your computer and print it larger.

Or, if you don't have a computer to do this, you could always take them to a copy store and just have photocopy enlargements made.

The next thing we need to do is set up a "light station".  For most of you, this will probably be a window.  This is what we always used when I taught middle school art!  To hold your images in place, use a little roll of painters tape on the back of the image.  With this method, use a long piece of painters tape to hold up your fabric.  As you trace new images, move the images, NOT the fabric.  It will make life much simpler for you!  

For those that might have a glass table or coffee table, you have a ready-make light box!  Simply grab a small lamp, place it under your table and you have a flat, lit up space to trace away on!  I have a glass coffee table that I will never get rid of (despite it's impracticality with two boys) for this very reason!

Let's start tracing!  Place your image under the fabric and use your fabric marker to start putting your childs drawing on your fabric.  Once finished, grab another sketch and start puzzling them together so that the overall look of the fabric has uniformity.

Keep going.... and going..... and going....

 .....until you have your own coloring book fabric!  To fill some blank space I added some 5-point stars and planets.

Just to be safe I would lay a scrap piece of fabric over the top of your design and press with a hot iron, even though my fabric marker says heat is not required to set the ink.  If you are worried about fading of the ink with laundering, just give lines a second or third coat to your black lines with your fabric marker.

And there ya go!  Now you are ready to move on to your project!

This is a picture my, at the time, 3-year-old son drew for his baby sister's room (before she was born).


I love this picture.

I showed him how to make the flowers, and then off he went with his little sharpie.

When he was finished I painted the colors in it to match the baby's room.  This technique would be darling if applied to your coloring book fabric.

I put together two quick videos to demonstrate how to achieve this look with fabric paint...
and for a more detailed view...