Sunday, March 21, 2010

Build-a-Bear Stamp Camp! Part 1

I survived! But more importantly, I learned a ton!

I hosted my first Stamp Camp for kids Friday. I really enjoyed it, but it was a lot of work. Originally, there were going to be three ten year old girls in attendance, but one of my daughter's BFFs couldn't come, so there were just 2.

The activities included:

  1. Making a Build-a-Bear Tote Bag
  2. Making a Build-a-Bear magnetic dress up doll set in a tin.
  3. Making a keychain with their initial to hang on their backpacks. This happened to be the only stamping project. So it really shouldn't have been a Stamp Camp, but my daughter really loved the name!

I am going to break it into a few blog posts, so there will be only a little bit to learn at the time! Today's post will feature the Build-a-Bear Tote Bag! Click on the photos to enlarge them.

a 006

I really needed to iron this some more! Can you say Spray Starch?

a 003

The above photo makes her look odd because the bag was bent.

I absolutely loved this project! It was so simple and quick! Here is what to do:

  • I started at the fabric store. These are important tips.
    • Beware of a dark brown. This bear is made with a medium brown. The bear will be darker because of the iron-on adhesive. Also, choosing too dark of a brown will make the facial features difficult to see.
    • Purchase 1/8th of a yard of brown. This will allow you to make a bunch of bears.
    • Purchase fabrics for the clothes and accessories. I purchase 1/8th of a yard (4.5" x 45"), but used only about 8" total for 3 bears! You could get by with a sample size, but I think that is being dishonest, so please purchase the fabric. I don't know if they sell 1/12th of a yard (which is 3" x 45"). This is all you would actually need. You can get a ton of clothes from this strip of cloth.
    • Purchase paper backed iron-on adhesive. The brands I use are Pellon, which is a lighter-weight adhesive, but still works fine, and I use Heat-n-Bond. Wonder-Under will also work, but use the others if you plan to sew through them so you wont gum up your needle.
    • Finally, I chose cotton fabrics for this project. I do not know how other fabrics would work, but they should do just fine!. The only fabrics I would say not to use is a faux fur and a net or tulle, because of the way the glue works with them.
  • I measured the area of the clothes, such as the pants, by "eye-balling" it. Basically, I just guessed how big the fabric needed to be and cut a rectangle that was a bit larger that the piece of clothing. I did this for each piece of clothing.
  • Next, I ironed each piece of fabric to the Heat-n-Bond iron on adhesive and cut each piece out. Leave the paper on for cutting, so you do not gum up the blades of the die.
  • I ran each piece of fabric through the Big Shot cutting out the particular clothing or bear.
  • TIP: For the Sizzlits small dies that cut the bows and purses, place the fabric face down on the die and be sure to only use one layer. Sometimes, even with a shim, it wouldn't cut through the fabric, if I placed it fabric side up. Placing it fabric side to the die (face down) will make sure the fabric is cut!
  • TIP: For the Embosslits die, which I used to cut the butterfly, place the fabric face down again. Also, make sure the paper is on the back of the fabric. You don't want to gum up the die with adhesive, but you also need the paper to protect the fabric from the embossing.
  • Next, Peel the paper off of each of the parts and lay them on the tote bag in the proper position. I peeled gthe paper off everything except the bear on the first bag. No problem though. I just lifted it, peeled the paper, and continued ironing. All the other pieces had attached to the bear, but not to the bag. I ironed every piece on at one time.
  • Tip: When ironing the adhesive paper onto the fabric and then again when you iron the pieces all onto the tote bag, be very aware of the heat setting of your iron, the length of time that you iron it, and then allow it to cool completely before you handle it. Make sure you follow the recommended setting for your adhesive paper. There are several reasons for this tip.
    • In the beginning, if you iron the adhesive paper onto the fabric for too long, you could end up melting the adhesive enough that it is embedded into the fabric itself and won't later attach to the bag.
    • When you are attaching the fabric to the tote (or to the other pieces of fabric), if you heat it too long, you will have the same problem of over melting the glue, making it embed in the fabric. To see a tiny bit of what I mean, go back to the first photo and look at the bear's face. You will see "canvas texture". This is an example of what happens when the adhesive is overheated and "embedded" in the fabric.
    • Finally, if you don't allow it to cool properly, you will affect the adhesion. If you move the bear, for example when you are moving the tote, it may lift and then not attach properly. It  only takes a couple of minutes, and it will make a world of difference.

Don't let these specific tips scare you away from this project! This bag was so simple, even with learning how to use the adhesive (because I didn't read the instructions for it). All 3 bags were done and looked great! So you can do this!

Thanks for stopping by today!


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