Monthly Archives: June 2013

Custom Fabric Tags




Making your own fabric patches

If you like to sew, fabric patches can be a nice way to customize what you make. This is a quick tutorial on how to make a batch of small patches using a simple stencil technique and silk screening ink.

I recently created some patches to customize a pile of hand-made hammocks.

What you will need

  • Fabric paint or silk screening ink (plain acrylic paint works too for a frugal option but it does not last as long. There are products you can use to turn acrylic paint into a suitable fabric paint).
  • Paint brushes (or maybe your fingers?)
  • Fabric ink pens (optional)
  • Craft knife for cutting out stencil
  • Thin plastic to make reusable stencil
  • Blank fabric patches


How to

1. Make your patches. I used raw canvas (100% cotton) and sewed the edges to prevent fraying.

2. Rummage through the recycling for a suitable plastic lid or container that you can safely and easily cut through to make a simple stencil.

3. Draw your image onto the lid.

4. Cut out image using craft knife.

5. Lay stencil flat to fabric, apply pressure with one hand and use other hand to apply ink through the stencil.

6. Using a fabric ink pen, clean up edges of your design where the ink may have bled through or created uneven edges. Add details to make your simple stencil design more dynamic.

7. Allow ink to dry (this may take hours, read the label on the fabric paint you are using).

8. Once the ink is dry, apply a hot iron for the time suggested on your fabric ink label. Mine says iron on highest heat setting for up to 3 to 5 minutes on each side. This takes patience. Protect each side with a sheet of paper so you don’t accidentally get ink on someone’s ironing board or iron.


Ink runs-stencils are simple ways to create many similar images; however, the ink can bleed through under the edges of your stencil. This might require you to rinse the stencil each time you use it so that your edges can be more defined and reduce blotching of ink.

Blades cut-be careful when using knives, especially retractable blades as they are sharp and delicate. Pay attention to what you are doing and go slowly. If you are doing this with children and they intend to use blades, make sure they have proper supervision and help. Pick a plastic that will lend itself to being cut with ease rather than something unreasonably hard (i.e.: yogurt lid vs. peanut butter jar lid).

Fabric can become burned-applying a hot iron to fabric can create burn marks. Make sure you follow the directions on your fabric ink label if it requires you to apply a heat treatment to the ink. Use 100% cotton because it is less likely to burn under high heat, whereas synthetic fabrics will melt or become discoloured.



The sew must go on




Another batch of hammocks!

I’m happy to be making things with my hands, and extra happy that people are finding a use for what I’m making. This may sound like an obvious statement but you just never know if people will get as excited as you do about what you like to do.

I participated in a local art festival recently. Here are my wares on display: up-cycled table cloths and curtains which are living a second life as tea-towels, a hand-painted duvet cover, and a pile of hand-made hammocks.


At the end of the day, a woman’s name was drawn and so a hand-painted duvet cover was won. She was enthusiastic and appreciative to win the hand-made item. So excited was she, that she insisted that we have our picture taken together with the prize in hand. What more could I ask for?


For details on how this was made, see the previous post about duvet covers. I found this tree limb image online and added birds to it. It’s simple and bold.

I am happy to report that most hammocks went to friends and their families. How flattering it is to have their support. Also, I can be sure that whomever I visit next, I can count on them having a hammock for me to swing in.


Strung up between a street sign and a tree, my adoring boyfriend hung around for the day to model the goods. He had many visitors, including countless photos taken by passers-by and a crew from the local news who were eager to capture this relaxed festival go-er.

I had a great time surrounded by friends and was inspired by so many other local artists. I walked away having recovered the costs I invested in this project and with a mental list of more creative things I hope to make this summer.

I’m hoping to shift my focus to duvet covers this summer and work on some new designs. I would like to extend a big thank you to all of my supporters who walked away with fabric creations and those who lent this wandering seamstress a sewing machine, or basement, or kitchen table to work on.