Thursday, January 16, 2014

DIY tutorial with KIDs - pillow making

Interested how to make a cute little pillow for a child's room WITH lot of help of your offspring and to a huge joy of both of you? Go grab a cup of tea to read and get inspired! Please welcome to a short tutorial, or rather an overview of a project. I'm not making step-by-step pictures and explanations, that's why it's not going to be a classic tutorial.

I've provided first the basic idea of a pillow - sketch, then I've colored it in PS to visualize better, and sort of art directed the most of the process. The theme was inspired by TURLUTUTU - a fun hero of french children literature. Santa's brought us the book and off we went on different projects involving the TURLUTUTU, because it's just THAT awesome!

Now about the process itself. And be sure you make it in several days and not ask too much trying to get it done in one session, there's simply TOO much work for that.

There're FOUR different techniques, hence FOUR stages of working together with your child, and yes, we did it in four different sessions:

1) Making a hand drawing of TURLUTUTU with some watered down black fabric paint on a piece of natural linen. Just give your child the idea of what you want to get (a simple something what he/she draws eagerly - Turlututu in our case), and let him/her draw free, only paying attention to scale, because that's what is IMPORTANT for the final composition, not the perfect execution. Easy and fast.

2) Monoprinting. I'm not going to detail how to monoprint, go grab a couple of videos on youtube to get the general idea. It's really fun, I LOVE it, and it's certainly kid-friendly. Make it easy in suggestive way "Don't you think we could put a flower here, or maybe alternate the shape". The trick is not to get too precise like "You make this one here and now you stop and then I'll see", that's a kill-joy. It's not easy if you have a clear vision of your future piece, but pull back and let your child make mess, mistakes and have fun. That part may take longer - mixing paints is fun, rolling them onto plates as well, drawing into the wet paint - the most fun, pressing the fabric onto with a huge WOW afterwards - it's ALL FUN!

3) Stenciling (screen printing with paper stencils) I've cut it prior to work with my little girl out of paper with my x-acto knife. I took a thread bobine as a basic circle shape and repeated it. I wanted simple shapes and clear result. We mixed paint together and she stenciled the paint with a kitchen sponge through the openings. And we stenciled immediately some other surfaces, like paper scraps, that's THAT addictive once you get your hands on screen printing.

4) Making fabric appliqué - somehow not that easy part about suggesting to make flower patterns to cut them from fabric. We've drawn them on paper, but my little girl got in trouble cutting them well, so she got upset and wanted me to make the job. I didn't want intervene that much, so I suggested simply drawing the flowers on the backside of fabric. She made it. Fabric cutting was pretty difficult though for a four-year-old, so at this point I had to help. I simply followed her lines, and yes, we got that made-by-a-child look. I wanted to put them into composition that I had in mind, simply thanking her for help, but she rearranged them. I've free motion stitched the composition that she's chosen. It was different as mine, but I respect her wish to keep her hands on project since we both have equal rights to do what we want.

And that's it! We had THREE great pieces (ONE - black drawing, SECOND - monoprint, THIRD - paper screen circle print/stenciling with fabric appliqué). They turned out differently as I expected, but the way I liked. Those are techniques where a child can easily be involved, with some help and guidance. We spent maybe about 10-40 minutes on each piece/at each stage, cleaning included to make this fun pillow surface.

I've added some color splashes in pink and ochre to bond them together. Backside of the pillow is some yellowy golden ochre corduroy, the pillow is zipped and fully lined. And I'm really happy about that project we made together. So happy that we've started another one, about TURLUTUTU, of course.

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