Thursday, July 10, 2008

turning a child's art into embroidery

I came across this idea on another craft blog recently (unfortunately, I can't remember where) and fell in love with the notion that you could change a simple drawing on a piece of paper into something textured, durable and perhaps even functional (a pillowcase or t-shirt maybe?). My 4-year-old's art astonishes me sometimes. Her imagination, creativity and innocence comes through in each piece she creates. I love that she likes drawing, because I remember sketching and doodling constantly as a kid, and still find a lot of joy in it. I am also very big on preserving memories and creating long-lasting keepsakes. I treasure items from my childhood, especially ones that I made myself, and I want my daughter to have the thrill of holding and touching something that came from her young mind and little hands when she gets older. Add to all of this my fierce love of embroidery and this project is perfectly suited to me.

Before I started I did a quick search on the internet to see if I could find a good how-to, then realized I didn't really need one- this is a cinch! Here's what I did:

This part was by far the hardest- choosing which drawings to use! Luckily I had about a gazillion to pick from so I had no trouble finding 5 that I just love and were roughly the same size (clockwise from top left: dinosaur, alien lion, dinosaur/dragon, robot and alien puppy).

I used natural cotton twill for my fabric, and since it's too heavy to see through easily I decided to use a window as a light box. This did the trick nicely. I taped each drawing to the window, then taped a piece of the twill on top of it using packing tape. Some of her drawings were a little faded due to many weeks of sun exposure on our fridge, so I painstakingly re-traced her lines to make them dark enough to show through the fabric.

Then take whatever marking tool you'd like (I used a Mark-B-Gone pen), so long as it'll wash out, and go to work tracing.

If you come to an area where you're unsure of what's really under there and just can't make out the lines, lift up your fabric and peek at the drawing before you keep going.
Just a couple of suggestions if you decide to try this project -
-Iron your fabric first. I was too excited to start and skipped this step, which made tracing over the wrinkles a little annoying.
-Tape down your fabric (securely!) on the top and 2 sides, leaving the bottom open for peeking. --Resist the urge to correct your child's "mistakes". Every little overlapped line, misplaced eye or extra tongue (a la "alien puppy") is an important aspect of your child's artwork. When tracing be as true to their lines as you possibly can and your finished project will just glow with their personality. And that's the whole idea, right?
-When you start to stitch, keep the original art handy and refer to it often. I think I'm going to embroider each drawing in the same color Pyper used to draw them, just so they look as much like her originals as possible.

Here are a couple of awesome quilt ideas I came cross on two of my favorite blogs, Wee Wonderfuls and SouleMama, which incorporate this project. What a great way to use these little pieces of embroidered art!! Man, I can't wait to actually start stitching these! I'll definitely be showing off the results.

1 comment:

refabulous said...

What an adorable idea! Your little one is quite the artist. I hope you'll post pics when you've finished the embroidery!