The day I finally figured out the How of it all, was a slow day at work, so there was a some extra time to chat with my co-worker. That obviously led to extra time for yours truly to just think out loud about this project (I gotta work on that whole thinking out loud, thing...), and after doing a couple of sketches I decided on a plan of action: I would draw up a pretty arrow template, paint it on my tote with fabric paint, and then do some simple embroidery to outline the shape and add the details!
If you'd like to make one for yourself, here's what you'll need:
- 1 large tote bag (or more if you're feeling ambitious!)
- Fabric paint, not puff paint, in the color of your choosing
- Awesome gold metallic yarn, or embroidery floss/yarn of your choice
- 1 large embroidery/tapestry needle
- A thin paint brush for the outline and a thicker one to fill everything in
- Arrow template, printed and sized to fit your tote
- Transfer paper, OR if you're like me and always forget to buy one thing at the store, you can use a soft lead pencil and a hard lead pencil
Ok, buddies! Let's get started! First things first, you're going to want to transfer your template onto your tote! Actually, scratch that. First things first, iron your tote. Mine was ultra wrinkled. After you're tote is relatively wrinkle free, then you can transfer your template.
If you have transfer paper, have at it! Otherwise, let's talk about the pencil method. If you need to transfer a pattern to something that isn't transparent, such as a tote bag, and otherwise have no transferring materials, grab thyself a soft lead and a hard lead pencil and your printed template. Now, turn over your template, and shade the back of it with your soft lead pencil.
Then, find a good placement for the template on your tote. If you're lucky, your cat will help. Once your template is down, have your cat hold it in place, or if you don't have a cat, or your cat is unwilling to do so, you can hold it in place yourself, and then trace over the outline of the arrow with your hard leaded pencil. Skip the details for now! Tracing the outline from the top of the paper, will transfer the lead marks on the back the paper onto the tote in just the areas you went over with your pencil.
See? Pretty cool, huh? If your pencil marks are faint, you'll want to draw over them with your pencil just so it's easier to see.
Next up, use your thin paintbrush to paint the outline of your arrow with your fabric paint.
Then, use your thicker brush to fill in the arrow, and let dry. I actually did two coats, so once the first one was pretty dry, I applied the second coat of fabric paint and let that dry.
Ok guys, now this is the point at which my project, that I had planned to do in an evening, got slightly derailed. Ya know when you use something new and decide you can just figure it out and then later read the directions and find out there's a little more to it? Yea. That. This was my first time using fabric paint, and I had not realized you are supposed to let it dry for an extended amount of time, and then wash your item and let it hang dry.
Now, when I say extended amount of time, I mean 72 hours. I am not that patient. So, I decided to partially follow the rules and throw my tote in the wash after it had dried for 24 hours. I washed my tote in cool water with a small amount of mild detergent, then hung it to dry. Once it was dry, I ironed the crap out of it (it had gotten super wrinkly AGAIN in the wash.) and got back on track!
So the next step is to transfer the details onto the pattern using the same pencil or transfer method. If you'd like, you could also free-hand the details.
Now it's embroidery time! You'll be using a backstitch to do the embroidery work, so thread up a needle and have at it!
I started by embroidering around the whole perimeter of the shaft of the arrow. Then I moved onto the outline of the arrow head, then the outline of the feathers, and then I filled in the other details.
I'm really looking forward to bringing this tote just about everywhere this summer!
Hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial!
Til next time!