Being ‘AUTUMN’ on Halloween: Sharing a simple DIY plan of making an Autumn costume.

Last year just after Halloween she announced,”I wanna be ‘Halloween’ on Halloween! And handed me a beautiful sketch of how her costume should look. The sketch was quite detailed and she was really clear about what she wants. Well..just like many other ideas it evolved over the year. And from last week I am hearing, “Ma, you know, I want to be ‘Autumn’ on Halloween! I think that would be more fun. We just need loads of colorful leaves!!” Our discussion continued about what are the main features of Autumn, what color palette we are going to use. Whether we can use something we already have and so on.

We decided that we will be using the colors we are seeing around us as our inspiration. Like all those wonderful fall colors on the trees when we drive to school. Magenta, rust, yellow, red, some reddish green and orange. We happened to have a magenta colored dress which we decided to use as our starting point.

Our plan is to stitch and glue decorative fall leaves and flowers on the dress, make a mask and make hair accessories. Pretty simple. We already gathered everything and now we just have to assemble them!

Materials needed:

Dress of your choice. We choose a solid dark color (magenta for us) for the dress so that it can  pop up the colors of various fall leaves we will stitch/glue on the dress

Assorted fall foliage and flowers of your choice. (As stores already started stocking up Christmas stuff, I got these at 70% discount rate at JOANN)

  • Matching thread
  • Sewing needle
  • Hot glue gun
  • Mask
  • Rubber band
  • Hair band
  • Scissors and wire cutter
  • A small piece of fabric
  • An enthusiast child to assist you!

How to do it:

1. Lay down the dress and arrange the foliage. Keep experimenting until you feel really happy about how it looks. We started at the top of one shoulder and came down in an angle to the midway of the dress. You can see someone else also decided to join the ‘Make In The Break’-Team! He just loves to be with us whatever we do.

 

 

 

2. Once you are happy with the arrangement of foliage and flower, start gluing the overlapping parts. That way you only have to make few stitches to attach those foliage on the dress. I only glued the corners of the overlapping leaves.

3. After gluing all the overlapping leaves now stitch them on the dress. Few small stitches will be enough to keep them together.

 

 

4. Now do the same thing with the back of the dress. You can make the arrangement of leaves very simple for the back side of the dress. I just have leaves going around the neckline and the bottom edge. And that’s it! You have made ‘Autumn’!

Now comes the accessories to go with the dress. First let’s make the mask.

Making the mask:

1. We bought a plain white mask and painted them with acrylic color. Used a blend of red and orange. I forgot to take a picture that time though.

2. Layer 2-3 leaves with different colors and glue them together with hot glue gun and finally attach them to one side of the mask. Make sure you are not covering any part of the eyeholes.

Making of the flower rubber band

1.Cut a big flower from its stem as close as you can. With a thread and needle sew that to attach to the rubber band. Secure it by gluing a small piece of fabric over the rubber band.

 

 

 

Making of the leaf crown headband

Materials needed:

  • A headband
  • A stiff piece of fabric (I cut a piece from a discarded jute bag)

1.Arrange few leaves and glue them together keeping the biggest leaf at the bottom. I want this crown to be at the side. So locate the place you want to attach your leaf crown to your headband.

2.Fold that small rectangular fabric in half keeping the headband going through it and glue the fabric piece around the headband.

3.Now glue that bunch of leaves on that fabric.

4.Do the same on the other side as well.

5.Nicely tuck in and glue the bottom of the leaves to the headband.

 

 

We have the AUTUMN costume with all the accessories ready to mix and match with it.

Few possibilities are

  • Just the autumn costume.
  • Autumn costume and the mask
  • Autumn costume,mask and flower rubber band
  • Autumn costume,mask and leaf crown
  • Autumn costume and the leaf crown

Now this little ‘AUTUMN’ is super happy with her costume and ready to go out with her friends. The other day she was mentioning to her music teacher that it would be really fun if 3 other friends dress up like Summer, Winter and Spring! Then they will play Antonio Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons’ while walking together. What a beautiful idea!

Wish you all a happy and safe Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Color Block Printing for Beginner

Block printing

Block printing has been around for more than a thousand years. It is one of the most popular printmaking techniques . Traditionally an image is carved with some sharp tools on a block of wood, producing a “stamp”, which then could be painted with ink and pressed onto paper or fabric to produce a “print”. Over time many other surfaces like metal and linoleum started to get used along with wood for this kind of printmaking process. Very recently another material (some form of rubber sheets or rubber blocks) is being used which made the carving process involved in this kind of printmaking very easy. And that is how I am able to introduce this to an 8 (then) year old studio partner! She started making carved stamps out of eraser when she was 6 and got so interested in the process that I had to introduce her to printmaking. And she loved it! Specially the carving part!

Few things to keep in mind while choosing your material:

Choosing the printing block: As you will be working with kid/kids, choose a printing block which is easy to carve. We used Rubber sheets/ rubber blocks ( Speedball Speedy-Carve printing block) which is very soft and that way very easy to carve.

Go ahead and use linoleum block if you are not working with children.

Choosing carving tool: Choose 3 linoleum cutters: One small blade (for details), one V shaped blade for outlines and one U shaped blade to carve out larger areas.

So here is the entire Material list:

  • Printing block- A Speedball Speedy-carve block. (We cut it according to our need)
  • A 4 inch rubber brayer (Ink roller)
  • A barren (not necessary, we just used the back of a spoon. But for intricate projects, investing on a barren would be helpful.
  • carving tools/linoleum cutters
  • A non absorbent board/glass plate/foam plate for rolling out ink (we used a foam plate/tray saved from grocery store)
  • Water soluble Block printing ink (we used Blick Block Printing Ink)
  • Paper to print- Not in picture (we used 8″X10″ Strathmore Printmaking paper)img_2396

PROCESS: Simply the steps in block printing are DRAW,CARVE, INK, PRINT AND REPEAT!!!

Draw: What should be the design? Hmm…start with something very simple which will be easy for the kids to carve and understand the process. It could be the first letter of his/her name or a logo or any other pattern/design. You can also trace any small design/pattern from printed fabric or any book you find around you. Or you/your child can come up with your own drawing like she did here. I explained the entire process of making a print and then asked her to come up with a simple drawing which will involve 2 colors (we will use two inks/colors and the white from the paper will also show through)

She came up with this idea which I think is perfect to start with and understand the process.

IMG_3087After coming up with a plan, sketch/transfer your image to the printing block using graphite transfer paper or draw directly on the block. You have to keep in mind that the image will be printed in reverse so plan accordingly, specially if your design has letters or words!

Carve-Ink-Print:

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once you have carved the part you want to keep white/color of the paper, now ink the block with brayer/ink roller  with the next color (in our case, it is red). Then print as many you want.

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Repeat the process: Carve- Ink- Print: Now you have to carve the part you want to keep red. In her case, it is the lollipop head. So she went ahead and carved that part. Keep one thing in mind, while carving, always carve away from you for safety

The rest of the part will be printed in blue. So roll the ink on your plate. And then roll it on your block. Apply the ink in a thin even layer.

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You can see that the parts which has been carved out, did not get any ink. So those areas are not going to get printed.

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Now place the paper back on the block. Align it properly. Rub the paper with back of your spoon in circular motion. Apply even pressure so that the ink transfers to the paper from the block evenly. Also make sure your paper doesn’t shift while doing this.

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Hold your paper at one edge and lift it gently

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You will see the final print revealing on the paper! Aha! The most desired moment of a print making process!!

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You did it! Let the prints dry.

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Now ask your proud printmaker to put number(edition), date and sign his/her prints before you frame them.

How art prints are numbered:Each impression/print is signed and numbered by the artist in pencil. Usually you can see two numbers separated by a slash (for example: 2/90). This means that the artist made total 90 prints while 2 is the specific designation for that particular impression,simply this is the 2nd print among 90 prints made by the artist.

The edition/number is written on the lower left corner of a print and lower right corner is the place for signature and date.

Wash: At the end don’t forget to WASH the roller, the block and the ink rolling plate (wash if using glass or metal plates, throw away if you have used a foam plate like us)

You can see among these two prints, the second one came out blotchy. Either the ink has not been rolled on the block evenly or the pressure was not even while rubbing the paper to transfer ink from block to paper. But the first print came out pretty good as ink and pressure was evenly applied.

Also, the little circular blue marks on the lollipop head gives it a nice dimension and creates an illusion of transparency which I liked the most.

Hope you understand the process and inspired to try it. Shortly we will bring more tutorials/lessons on printmaking. By the time, get your materials!