Category Archives: Tutorials

Three Minute Tutorial: Clipping Mask in Illustrator

In my previous post, I talked about cutting out the armadillo armor shape from a paint texture and I wanted to dig in a little bit to how that actually works because it is a really neat technique. It uses a tool called Clipping Mask. I am going to show it to you in Illustrator, but you can do it in Photoshop too.

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 2.28.49 PMStart with the shape you want to cut out. For the armadillos it was a cloud shape that was their armor. For this example, I drew two simple fishy shapes.

If you have more than one shape, like these two fish, you need to create a “compound shape” from them so you can cut them all out at once. Choose the black arrow Select tool and shift-click to select both shapes. Then go to Object -> Compound Path -> Make.

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 2.31.42 PM

Next you need to add the texture you want to cut things out of. We do that by Placing it in the file. Go to Edit -> Place and select the texture you want. Any .jpg will work. Choose a photo or a scan that you have. I placed the bubble wrap texture that I scanned because I think it also looks a little like fish scales. Once you have placed it, it will show up as another object on your canvas. You might need to resize it; you can do that by clicking the toggles on the corners and dragging it bigger or smaller.

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 2.28.19 PM

We need the texture object to be behind the fish, so select the texture and choose Object -> Arrange -> Send to Back. Now move the texture and the fish around so that the fish are covering up the part of the design you want to cut out.Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 2.48.10 PM

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 2.31.55 PM

The last step is creating the Clipping Mask. Select all of the objects (fish and texture) and then choose Object -> Clipping Mask -> Make. (You can also right-click once you have them selected and a menu will pop up right where you clicked. Choose Clipping Mask.)

Now you have fish cut out of bubble wrap texture. You can do the same things to cut words out of a photo or make a valentine heart from your dogs’ faces.

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 2.35.03 PM

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 3.02.02 PM

Announcing: It’s a Spoonflower Handbook Master Class

masterclassblog

Registration is now open for my March 2017 Spoonflower Handbook Master Class. This session uses Adobe Illustrator as our main design tool, so it’s a great intro if you have ever wanted to learn about Illustrator. All of the details are on the Master Class page here. Hope you can join us!

Holiday Ornament Tutorial: Goldfish Bowls

img_0700I love goldfish. My logo has been a goldfish for years and years. (His name is Smee.) I have 2 goldfish named Harold and Henry that spend their summers outside in the waterlily pond and the winters in my living room begging for someone to feed them. So goldfish might not seem like an obvious ornament choice, but I love ornaments that are a little whimsical.

Materials

  • 4 x 8 inches of blue felt
  • 2 x 3 inches orange felt
  • assorted small seed beads; gold, brown or cream colored
  • 1 white 8-10 mm sequin
  • thread to match your blue felt
  • green embroidery thread
  • 6 inch piece of narrow ribbon
  • 2×3 scrap of fusible paper backed webbing (Heat & Bond Lite, Wonder Under)

Tools

  • small sharp scissors
  • beading needle, embroidery needle
  • sewing machine with straight stitch (optional)
  • iron & ironing board

Instructions

1. Right-click or option-click the pattern pieces below and save them to your computer. Then you can print them out. Cut two bowls (circles) from the blue felt. Set one aside.

2. With the embroidery needle and a piece of green embroidery thread, use a feather stitch to embroider a plant in the fishbowl. Here’s a great feather stitch tutorial

img_0693

3. Use the beads to add a pebble bottom to your fish bowl. With a beading needle and thread, stitch individual beads in a random scatter. Be sure to keep your beads about 1/4 inch from the outside edge of the bowl.

img_0695

4. Iron the fusible webbing to the back of the orange felt piece, following the instructions on the packaging. Trace the fish pattern and cut it out.img_0686

5. Peel off the paper backing and fuse the fish in place.

6. Using the beading needle and thread, stitch on a large white sequin and dark colored bead to make the fish’s eye. Tie a knot in the end of the thread. Bring your needle through from the back and add the sequin and then a seed bead. Bring your needle down through the same hole in the sequin. Pull it tight. The bead will hold the sequin in place and makes the pupil of the eye. Tie a knot on the back. Add a few small clear sequins to make bubbles around the fish, if you like.

img_0696

7. Layer the two fish bowl pieces together. Fold the ribbon in half and place the cut ends inside the top of the bowl between these two layers. Pin the ribbon in place.

img_0698

8. Machine stitch 1/8 inch from the edge of the bowl (shown in photo). Or you can handstitch using a blanket stitch and matching thread to go around the edges.

Pattern Pieces

goldfishpattern

Holiday Ornament Tutorial: Peppermint Candies

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-11-10-27-pm

Materials

  • Felt – two 9 by 12 inch sheets in different colors
  • 4 x 8 inch piece of fine bridal tulle in a pale color
  • embroidery thread

Tools

  • rotary cutter, mat and ruler
  • scissors
  • sewing needle, thread

Instructions

1. Using the rotary cutter and ruler, cut the felt in to strips 1/2 inch wide by 12 inches long. You will need 2 strips of felt for each candy.

2. Choose two different colored strips. Layer one strip on top of the second, matching the long edges. Starting at one short edge, roll up the two strips. You will now have a disk with a two-colored spiral. This is your candy.

img_0441

3. Stitch the short ends of the felt to the roll with a couple of small stitches to hold them in place.

img_0443

4. Cut a rectangle of tulle about 4 by 8 inches. It should be wide enough to wrap around your candy with a little overlap. This will be the wrapper.

5. Wrap the candy in the tulle wrapper. Cut two pieces of embroidery floss or ribbon. Use a square knot to tie the ends of the wrapper on each side.

img_0447

6. Trim the ends of the wrapper so they are even.

7. Thread a piece of embroidery thread in your needle. Stitch through the candy and then back again to the other side. Remove the needle and tie the ends of the thread together to make a hanging loop.

Holiday Ornament Tutorial: Frosty Polar Bears

img_0620Materials

  • 6 x 6 inches of white felt
  • 6 x 6 inches pale blue, grey or green felt
  • white embroidery thread, white sewing thread
  • an assortment of white, clear, silver and pale blue sequins, any shape or size
  • white, clear or silver seed beads
  • narrow ribbon, about 6 inches long

Tools

  • Small sharp scissors
  • Beading needle
  • Embroidery sewing needle

A note about the sequins I used: I found snowflake shaped sequins in the scrapbooking section at the craft store and I think they were really perfect on this snow bear. You can also find squares, stars and other shapes.

Instructions

1.  Right-click or option-click the bear pattern below and save it to your computer. Then print it out. Using the pattern, cut out one bear from white felt.

2.  Thread your beading needle with a piece of regular sewing thread.  Tie a knot in the end.  Poke the needle through from back to front, where you would like one sequin to be.

3.  Thread a sequin, then a seed bead on to the needle.  Stitch back through the hole in the sequin, back through the fabric and pull the thread snug.  The bead will hold the sequin in place.  Cover the bear shape with as many or as few sequins as you like.

4. Continue to stitch the rest of the sequins in the same way.  Be careful not to pull the thread too tight between stitches making the felt pucker.  When you have finished adding sequins, tie off your thread on the back and trim the ends. You can add just a few or cover the bear with sparkles.  That’s up to you.

img_0608

5.  Place your be-spangled bear on the colored felt. Thread a needle with embroidery thread and tie a knot in the end.  Poke the needle from front to back just inside the edge of the bear.  Pull the thread until it stops at the knot.

6.  Blanket stitch around the edge of your bear. As you get to the top of the bear’s back, fold the ribbon in half, place the cut ends of the ribbon between the layers of felt and stitch them into the blanket stitch as well.

img_0612

7.  Trim the extra colored felt about 1/8 inch bigger than the bear, leaving an outline of the colored felt.  Be careful not to trim the ribbon.

polarbear

Holiday Ornaments: Deer in the Headlights Tutorial

img_0600I made these little deer ornaments originally as gifts for my co-workers one year. A friend took one look at the goggle-eyed deer and said “That’s what deer in the headlights look like.” The name stuck.

Materials

  • felt, 4×5 inch piece in any color
  • embroidery thread and sewing thread, any color
  • scrap of fabric about 4 by 5 inches
  • fusible paper-backed webbing (like Heat N Bond Lite or Wonder Under)
  • 8 mm sequins, white or another pastel color
  • a few dark colored seed beads

Tools

  • pencil
  • beading needle or small sewing needle
  • iron & ironing board
  • small sharp scissors like Fiskars microtip

Instructions

1.  Right-click or option-click on the deer pattern piece to save the pattern piece below to your computer. Then print it out. Trace the deer pattern on to the paper backed fusible webbing.  Following the instructions on the packaging, iron it to fuse it on to the back of your scrap fabric.deerheadlights

2.  Cut out your deer.

3.  Peel off the paper backing from the felt deer and place the deer, glue side down, on to a piece of felt.  Iron to fuse it in place. Note: If you are using acrylic felt rather than wool felt, please test a scrap first to make sure it doesn’t melt when you iron it.img_0586

4.  Cut out around your deer again, leaving about 1/8 inch border of felt all the way around.

img_0588

5.  To make the eyes, thread your beading needle with a piece of regular sewing thread.  Tie a knot in the other end.  Poke the needle through from back of the deer to front, where you would like one eye to be.  Pull until it stops at the knot.img_0590

6.  Thread a sequin and then a seed bead on to the needle.  Poke the needle then back through the hole in the sequin, and back through the fabric. Pull the thread snug.  The bead will hold the sequin in place. Repeat for the other eye.  Tie off your thread on the back and trim the ends.

img_0594

7.  With a 6 inch piece of embroidery thread, stitch through the felt between the antlers and make a loop to hang your deer.  Tie the ends together.