Monday, April 27, 2015

Prayer Flags for Nepal

Nepal was hit with a 7.8 magnitude earthquake this past Saturday.  The death toll is 3,000 and rising. Sometimes I feel so helpless when these great tragedies happen.  I can't pick up and run there to physically help.  I can make a monetary donation through one of the many reputable organizations which will help the people of Nepal pick up and move on with their lives.  And just as importantly, I can pray for healing, comfort and peace for the people of Nepal.  I hope you will join me in putting your own prayers onto a prayer flag or two and flying them in your area.  I hope that together our prayers will spread across the world to provide healing and love to the children, women and men of Nepal.  Posting your flags on to the blog is another way of putting your flags into the wind to share the love and comfort you wish to share.  Please email photo's to if you would like to fly your flags across the world wide web.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Prayer Flag Tutorial by Jamie Fingal

I have been making prayer flags for about 3 years, first primarily for my own healing.  I felt it was way easier to make a small project, than to struggle with a large one.  I've made these for myself that hang in my studio, in my backyard and gifts for friends. I have made 5x7, 6x8 and now 4-1/2 x 8-1/2 #658113.  I used a Sizzix Fabi die cutting machine (same as the Big Shot) and the die cuts a perfect rectangle 4-1/2" x 8-1/2"  This photo is of 3 pieces of wool blended felt (National Nonwovens TOY002), that were cut on the machine.

This text fabric is from my line 'Heart and Soul Sisters,' by Hoffman Fabrics - all about being brave, strong and bold girls who dream big.  So there are great words to use on flags  The fabric is pre-fused with Mistyfuse, so I can cut out the things that I want, and iron them onto my composition.

These are words of encouragement for a dear friend who needs some good cheer

and some little drawings are part of the collection with birds, flowers, do-dads and houses, which make the perfect accent piece

I begin by laying out the words onto the wool blended felt, and not ironing them down yet.

I added some background, placing it under the words, so there is an overlap.  Some colors at the top and bottoms to make the flags more colorful.  When I am happy with the placement, I press them with a hot dry iron on the cotton setting
Flip them over, and cut the excess fabric from the back, using the felt as a guide with some sharp scissors
Here is a drawing of the flower dies that I used from Sizzix

I had made dozens of these flowers for another project - all with Sizzix die cuts in the Fabi machine (Big Shot).  I admit that I do have a sort of addiction with Sizzix flower dies. They can be used so many ways.  They are all pre-fused with Mistyfuse, to make it easier to put them together, and then on another project. I think they are totally fun!
I selected three flowers that would work for the flags.  I hand cut the stems and leaves out of a darker color of green so they would stand out on the lime green background.  I placed the stems under the flower petals.  Press into place, using a hot dry iron.  Note:  fabrics can be repositioned if they are fabric to fabric.  Fabric to felt sticks remarkably well, so you cannot reposition your artwork.

Using one piece of hot pink wool blended felt, I placed the flags on it, making sure there was a bit of space between each one.  This is my backing, and the idea is for it to show all the way around the edges when completed.  I pinned the top to the pink and free motion machine quilted each flag to the pink.  First with an outline around the flowers, and the tops and bottoms of the text and coordinating fabrics. This is yet another way to practice free motion machine quilting.  I free motion zig zagged the edges, all the way around.

Using a rotary cutter, mat and ruler, I trimmed the edges leaving about 1/8th of an inch all the way around.
Then I pressed them all with a hot iron, because most times when you machine quilt, the piece shrinks a little from the stitching.  The iron flattens everything out.

Be true to yourself, be strong

Be authentic, be bold

Be brave

I machine sewed them to a long piece of ribbon for easy hanging.  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on making prayer flags!  Feel free to visit my Twisted Sister blog for more 'How To's'  -- Jamie Fingal

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jill Berry's Prayer Flags

Jill wrote a blog post about the prayer flags sent to her that you might be interested in seeing.  So many beautiful flags.  Thank you to everyone who participated!

Friday, April 17, 2015

FLAG FRIDAY Gelli® Print Prayer Flags

I'm a mixed media artist but a total newbie when it comes to prayer flags. I've always had a thing for hearts and decided to work with the color black as the top layer instead of the bottom layer.  Wasn't sure if it would work out but it would be fun to try it anyway.

These are the materials that you will need to give this project a try:
Gelli® Printing plate 8x10 (or smaller if you wish)
heavy acrylic paints in favorite colors and black
Natural or white cotton duck cloth
scrap paper and/or text paper
paper plate
wet wipes
spray bottle and paper towels
paper plates
Optional:  acrylic inks and bamboo skewers

You'll need an area where you can lay out all your materials and have a flat surface for your Gelli Plate. Cut your fabric slightly larger than the size of your Gelli Plate so you can press down on the Gelli Plate and not get paint all over your hands. You can use the excess scraps for other projects.

The first layer of paint will provide contrast with the top layer of black paint, so my first layer will be a solid layer of a bright color acrylic.  I squirted a solid color onto the Gelli plate and brayered it all over the plate.  I placed the cloth on top of the plate and applied pressure evenly with my hand across the fabric and plate.  Then I lifted the fabric off the plate.  I don't need a lot of paint. Just enough to cover the plate in an even coat.  I made several of these first layers.  It is not necessary to let the fabric dry completely before you do the next layer. Clean your Gelli Plate with a wet wipe and/or water and paper towels after each pull or each color.

Below,  you will see the 2nd layer of acrylic paint with black on the Gelli Plate + stencil.  Squirt black paint on the plate and brayer it evenly. Immediate lay the stencil on to the plate and then place the fabric on top of the stencil with paint side down.  Use your hands with firm pressure to press down firmly and evenly to get the print on the fabric.  Some people work from the middle out and some work from the top down.  Some people use a brayer to do this but I get a better feel with my hands. Remove the fabric from the stencil immediately after.  

This last one with the black paper is an example of what you get using red paint with black cardstock.  I didn't bother to clean the Gelli Plate before I printed on it.
Note:  You can set the stencil, paint side down on a piece of scrap fabric/paper and get a partial print if there is enough wet paint left on it.  I don't bother to clean my stencils until I am done with all my prints.  That's why my stencils are so colorful.

If you take a piece of scrap paper or text paper and lay on top of the Gelli Plate that you just used with the stencil and press down firmly and evenly throughout the plate you will get a ghost/residual print that you can use in your artwork.  I use mine mostly for backgrounds and journal pages in my art journals. Lay the stenciled pieces of paper aside to dry.  See my two examples below:

I wanted to have some red heart backgrounds so I could cut out some red hearts and sew them onto my prayer flags.  As a result, I brayered red paint on the Gelli Plate and got a red background on my fabric. The only problem was that it looked too plain.  I figured that I would try it again but would stick a stencil in between the plate and the fabric with another layer of red paint. This is what I got.  I really liked the texture even though I used the same color red again.

These are the stencils I used for this project.  I used stencils from MaryBeth Shaw - Stencil Girl Products and Artistcellar Stencils. You can tell that I use them a lot because they are so colorful. Yes, I do clean them all the time, I just don't get to it right away.

Once my layers of paint are all dry, I want to add a little color, embellishing, and writing to it.  This is when I get out the acrylic inks.  I use a wooden skewer to add a bit of color and contrast.

Once it all dries, I cut them to size.  I know they are 5x8" but have to remember that I have to leave a few inches more at the end to fold over so I can hang it.  So, it's more like 5x11". I marked the back side with a dot where I needed to fold it over to sew it, to make it easier on myself later.  These are what the cut-out unfinished pieces of fabric looked like.

I decided I needed to sew my little hanging end/flap first so I knew where I could position my hearts and other stuff.  Then I stitched on the hearts/flowers/stuff and did my writing. This is my end result:

Well, the prayer flags are not complete until I've gone outside and hung them out on a line.  I couldn't do it myself. My daughter had to volunteer to help me. You'll see her in one of the pictures.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and will have some fun using the Gelli Plate making your own prayer flags.  You can find me on Facebook. Let me know if you have any questions. Comments are always welcome. 
                      - Belinda Spiwak