Saturday, November 24, 2012

sewing no 1 - embroidery, the mighty cross stitch

this is the first sewing entry.
actually it is not about sewing but about embroidery.
but I will label it with the sewing tag, this shall prevent more and more uploading categories ;)

why embroidery? I wanted to make a sweater for my boyfriend, with some really cool sprites of his favourite games. and I didn't want to print or paint it on. so I decided to cross stitch it on there.
if I had known how long this would take, I maybe would have thought of something else. BUT I didn't.
and now I will share all my fails and errors with you.

what you need for embroidery:

there are different yarns but these are the most common:
embroidery floss and pearl cotton. embroidery floss is in most cases made of 6 strings and you can separate them depending on the thickness of the needed yarn.
on the other hand you can not seperate pearl cotton and its texture is more smooth and shinier.
for my project I bought 17 different colours of embroidery floss. one string cost something like 1,5€

these are special embroidery needles. there are many different typis but I will only explain these two.
there are needles with a sharp tip (on the middle and on the left) and with a round tip (on the right). sorry I don't know the technical term for these (and wiki didn't help).
you can use normal needles but these special embroidery have huge needle eyes so you can easily put more or thicker yarns through.
the ones with round tips are for evenweave (special fabric with a specific weave) or to put knitted fabric pieces together. these with the sharp tips are for all the other embroidery fabrics.
so remember depending on the fabric and yarn you might need a special needle.

embroidery hoop.
here you can see two different sizes.
they come in different materials and sizes. depending on your project you will need at least one.

it is some kind of interfacing which will dissolve with water. I needed it for the mesh pattern. elastic fabric is not meant to be cross stitched but you can do it If you apply a mesh pattern to stitch on.
(not guarantee, this is something my cranky brain come up with. I really don't know if anybody with decent knowledge about embroidery would do the same)

for my project I needed a mesh pattern. the normal graph paper was to big squared for my opinion so I drew a smaller pattern (with 3mm gaps). I layered the soluvlies on top and made a point on every square corner. ( a super boring, stupid work!)

a reference.
I chose to go for some pixel art characters. because it is easy to translate them into the cross stitch pattern. one pixel is one cross stitch. easy. but depending on your picture it is difficult to count how many pixel one area contains. therefore I translate it onto squared paper.
so you can also make out how wide and tall your reference is. this link has a height of 28 and a with of 20 pixel. it is helpful to know this to prepare your soluvlies pattern, you save time by not drawing  useless dots.

and of course piece of fabric you want to apply your piece.

this is how you cross stitch:

first of all get your fabric between the pieces of the embroidery hoop. if you don't use linen or evenweave you will need this soluvilies mesh pattern thing.

I took these photos only for the sake of demonstrating how to do it, but if you are working on an actual piece you have to iron the fabric first. pull the fabric tight, and fix the desired tension with the screw. the more tension the easier to work with the needle. maximum tension depends on the kind of fabric you are working with. keep in mind that you should not overstretch elastic fabric. the result will be a crinkeling and bumpy embroidery.

start from the left side of the fabric and bring the needle up, at an cornermark.

stitch in at the other side of the cube and create the first angled stitch from the cross stitch. you can bring the needle up and down separately but this is the smartest way to cross stitch:  put in the needle for the first angled stitch and bring it up right at the same work step. it saves a lot of time.

repeat till your line is finished. then make your way back with the same stitching technique.

but this time it starts from the other side. try to hit the holes which are already where created for the first row of angled stitches.

in the end it should look like this. then get the yarn on the left side of the fabric to neaten the leftover yarn.

this is how it looks like on the left side. pretty neat and clean huh?

the make of the sweater shall be shown at an other entry. this is already long enough ^^"

hope this entry is useful.
thanks for reading and have a stitchy day.

Monday, November 19, 2012

material no 4 - acrylic paint

the fourth material entry.

this time all about the acrylic paint I use.

so basically I use two different brands of acrylic paint this is from Reeves and I chose this brand because they have a wide range of colours. I personally don't like to mix colours by myself. I am not confident that I may get the same tone the second time therefore I use these.
one tube is about 3€ and contains 75ml colour. its not cheap but it is not too expensive.
what else to say? they are water based and depending on the thickness of the colour layer and the material, drying needs more or less time (1- 4 hours but sometimes longer). you can mix and thin down all the colours, which is really good for working out details on props.
for big surfaces I recommend working with sponges. for small details brushe.

the other brand is this one.
first of all: I didn't bought this whole set! I got it from a friend who gave up his warhammer hobby. I have no money for that. each pot is 3€. I think it is pretty expensive but its quality is high.and they sell a lot of different colour tones. I don't use it for big surfaces, only for smaller details.

hope this entry was al least a bit usefull.
humble thanks for reading. colour up your life and props.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

material no 3 - styrofoam and styrodur

this is the third material entry.

all about styrofoam and styrodur.
I really like to work with this material, I think it is the cheaper version of expanding foam. but that may vary from project to project.
styrodur is a finer foam than the classical styrofoam, and it is mainly used for isolation of buildings. but also model maker use this material.

on this photo you can see 3 different kinds of styropor.
the one with the light blue colour is a very thick plate of styrodur, it is about 12 cm the pink one is also a styrodur plate but its thickness is only 1,8 cm. the white plate is a simple styropor plate with 0,7 cm thickness.

I don't recommend to work with styrofoam plates, it is a pain to work with it, better switch over to styrodur.

I really really like to work with styrodur. it is very light and very easy to handle. you can easily cut and carve it with a cardboard cutter, a fine saw and also sanding is no problem.

if you need thicker piece you can simply glue two thin plates/pieces together. but have in mind that strong glue like contact glue may melt the material with its solvent. so make sure you use solvent-free glue to repair broken styropor props or if you want to put two styrodur pieces together or if you apply anything.

styrodur and styrofoam are kinds of plastic, and plastic is sensitive to heat. if you make it hot it will melt. a big advantage over the wood, you save time because you simply iron it instead of sanding it. the plastic will meld and harden, so this step will also increase the stability of your project. on top you can easily create the blades without additional carving -> it saves a loooooooot of time
but when you are ironing it you have to put a baking sheet between the iron and the styrodur, otherwise you may throw away your iron and the piece you have been working on.

check this out
right piece is the basic piece. on the left side you see the ironed piece. it only took about one minute to iron it this way. and its stability is increased.

but sytrodur is dented easily, even if handled with care, it may happen that you drop something like your knive or scissors and the material will be damaged. but small dents can be corrected through ironing.
(you may need to enlarge this picture to see the dents)
but please remember: when ironing you loose material. test it out! and the vapours are surly toxic and very unhealthy , so open up your window if you are ironing styrodur!

this is the same piece ironed. all dents eliminated!

if you have a really detailed work carving might be the better alternative, because it is kind of difficult to work on small details with the baking sheet, the piece and your hot iron in your hands.
if carved, top it with papier maché or a thin layer of paper to increase its stability.
depending on the shape of your project it may be wise to increase stability trough a applied layer of foam rubber, cardboard, paper or fabric. I haven't tried the foam rubber, the cardboard and the fabric yet but I will expand this entry if I have tried it.

also you can shape and cut pretty easily with a saw, a knive or a cardboard cutter.

see this is a super-bumby piece of styrodur.
 simply cut it with the cardboard cutter.
depending on your skill the carved surface is pretty smooth.
and you can also sand it with a very fine sanding paper (400er) to make it completely smooth.
I love this material!

styrodur is pretty cheap. 
the 1,8 - 2,0 cm plates cost about 4€
the thicker plates cost more. sometimes it is difficult to get only one plate they sell them in sets of 10 or 15, depends on your building supplies store. 

painting the unironed surface will increase the amount of acrylic paint you will need to archive your wished effect. I also recommend working with a sponge if you want to paint large surfaces it will spread the colour evenly and is much faster then working with a brush.
working with spray paint is no problem if you apply thin layers of colour. remember the solvent may melt away the material.
for my katar I also used spray paint and it didn't melt :)

hope this entry helped you and thanks for reading.
have a crafty day. chackabäms!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

material no 2 - sanding paper

the second material entry

I really hate this part of crafting. but it has to be done. sanding.

and therefore you need sanding paper.
there are many different kinds for different materials: metal, wood, laquer and paint and even stone. I use the wood type sheets. you find them in the building supplies stores, sorted for different purposes. one page has the DIN-A4 size and cost about 0,60 - 1€ depending on the quality and the grit size.

here you can see my awesome collection of sanding papers.

this is a close up of the sanding papers for my grinding machine. you can see the difference of the grit size. the bigger the grain the more friction and the rougher the sanded surface. so if you want to shape your piece of wood use a big grit size. if you flip over the sanding paper you see the number. it indicates the number of the grit pieces per surface area. so a small number means few but big pieces. a big number indicates a huge amount of smaller pieces. in this picture you can see sanding sheets for a machine. grit size from left to right: white 80, light brown 60, dark red-brown 40.

these are normal sheets.
grit sizes from left to right: 100, 120, 220, 400, 600

here you can see the backsides of the sheets. sometimes even the purpose is printed on the paper (see the 100er paper is made for wood)

here is a useful table when to use witch paper. maybe I will implement it later but, doing tables in this blogger system is a pain in the ass...

hoped this helped a little.
thanks for reading, have a crafty day!

Monday, November 5, 2012

material no - wood

this is the  material entry.

oh gosh there are a lot different wood types to buy but I will list only those I use.

both rods and the stripe with the sticker are pine.
the big piece is a cottonwood plate 3mm thick

Sunday, November 4, 2012

material no 1 - glue

this is the first material entry.

in this category I will show you what materials I use, where to get them, how much do they cost and on what projects I use them.

so this first entry is very basic. it is about glue.
as I already said I am a cosplay beginner and have many things I didn't try or don't like. so this is only a very small collection of glue types.

there are many different types of glue. depending on the material you work with and the wished outcome it is useful to know the differences between the glues.

this is normal glue you can get in germany.
the smaller tube is an all-purpose glue with an gel like texture. I prefer this gel texture because it helps helps to work more precisely and on the other hand you are not wasting too much glue on your hands.
it dries clear, pretty fast, and is correctable when still wet.
you can use it on all kinds of surfaces : wood, porcelain, metal, paper, cardboard, felt, plexiglass, leather, fabric and many more. but don't use it on styrofoam, styrodur and this kind of weak plastic - the solvent of the glue may disintegrate your piece.
the bigger tube is a solvent-free crafting glue. so you may also glue styrofoam an styrodur with it but it does not come in this gel like texture and is a bit more difficult to handle. accordingly it does need more time to dry. and its gluestrenght is much lower.
so these two are good for papercraft. I glued my whole assassin cross armor with the all-purpose glue. but for this project a more liquid glue like the crafting glue would have been more effective...
cost all purpose glue: about 4€ for 31g
cost crafting glue: 1,69 € for 60 g

this is my beloved contact glue.
I really like this stuff.
its adherency is extra strong. as you can see on its tube picture is is made for stressed things like shoe soles. it may tolerate a wide range of temperatures, water, dilute acid and alkali. its super amazing. works on all kinds of materials but be aware of styrofoam and styrodur. this has a very strong solvent and will simply melt away ally your material.
you have to apply it to both surfaces you want to glue together and let it dry for at least 10 minutes. then press the pieces together. be careful with that you can not afford to mess up, this fixation is permanent.
you can get a gel or a liquid kind of glue, depends on your preferences. but it will always have this ugly yellow colour. so be careful if you are using it to repair any broken pieces.

cost: 7€ for 120 g

this is wallpaper paste.
I often use this on my craftswork at home and less on my cosplay projects but sometimes it is really useful.
I used it for my poison bottle to apply the paper onto the styrodur.
but I think you cannot use it for any other materials then paper and fabric...

I always have a glass of wallpaper paste ready for crafting. because I am very impatient. if you mix it together you have to wait at least 20 minutes till its ready for use...

cost: 5,69€ for a 125g package (6-9 litre of wallpaper paste)

hope this entry helped. thanks for reading.
glue wisely. craft a lot.