Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Project: The Butterfly Project

Instead of finishing up our month long series on dying-stamping-stenciling-embellishing shirts today, I decided postpone it for one week so I can show you one more fabric technique and tell you about a worthy project that needs your help.

The Holocaust Museum in Houston, Texas is gathering handmade butterflies to use in an exhibit remembering the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust.  The scheduled opening is for Spring 2013 - they need 1.5 million butterflies and so far have received 400,000.  Requirements for the butterflies are:
- 8 x 10 inches or smaller.
- No glitter or foodstuffs as materials.
- 2-D (flat) butterflies preferred.
Full instructions and mailing information can be found at the Museum's Butterfly Project page.  For any of you who work with children, there is also a set of lesson plans based on the book of poems and drawings by children in the Terezin Concentration Camp, I Never Saw Another Butterfly.

I've put together patterns and instructions for two butterflies that can be used as is or modified however you wish.  The butterfly on page one is the template for today's two projects.  The butterfly on page two would make a good stencil or stamp.

Denim Butterfly

This butterfly uses a fabric technique that is lots of fun to use on denim and other dark(ish) fabrics.  In the laundry aisle of the grocery store, look for a Clorox bleach pen.  This pen contains a thickened bleach gel solution that whitens whatever it is put on.  Since it's in a pen form, you can draw with it!  I love using recycled denim in projects - I used part of one leg from a half-price pair of Goodwill jeans.

1.  Cut two pieces of denim fabric big enough to fit the provided pattern or your own.  I just cut off the bottom of one leg.

2.  Slit open the leg and lay flat.  Put something protective underneath the fabric, such as waxed paper.  With the lid on, shake the bleach pen well.  Unscrew the fine tip cap (one side is a fine tip, the other is a wider scrubber), gently squeeze, and trace around the outside of the pattern, except for the antennae.

3.  Remove the pattern (throw away - it'll have bleach gel on it), add the antennae, and make sure all of the outline has a thick layer of gel.  Draw designs inside - I just doodled.

4.  Let set for 30 minutes.  If you are using this technique on fabric that is thinner than denim, 20 minutes will probably be fine.  Rinse in the sink and scrub the dried gel off.  With smaller pieces such as this, I then hand wash the fabric.  Larger pieces, like clothing, should be washed now.

5.  With the two layers together, sew along the bleached lines by hand or machine.  I'm using white thread on the machine to keep the delicate look, but I could see different colors of thread and different embroidery stitches looking great on this.

6.  Cut butterfly out along the outside of bleached lines.  I used pinking shears.

Layered Felt Butterfly

If you have not made layered felt ornaments before, first look at this past blog entry.
1.  Cut out two pieces of felt using the whole pattern.  Cut inside pieces of pattern from one side and cut two pieces of each.  It's hard to see with the black felt, but I also cut a circle and a body piece to sew on the butterfly's middle.

2.  Attach pieces to one piece of the body using a blanket stitch and starting with the bottom layer and working up.  I wanted a dramatic look for this piece, so I used the full 6 strands of embroidery thread.  Felt stretches a bit when you sew it on, so you might have to trim some of the pieces to get them to fit.  I had to cut the smaler pink ovals down to small circles.  When all your pieces are sewn on, attach to the back using a blanket stitch.

I thought it would be fun to see other types of butterflies we come up with, so I set up a Flickr group you can upload photos of your creations to.  I'm mailing my two off this week, but hope to make more from your ideas!

Happy Creating!  Deborah