Last Friday morning when my friend Lucie and I were solving the problems of the world over a cup of tea, she brought out a papier mache box and asked me if I could find a use for it. Immediately, I had a vision and when I got home, I sketched out a pattern and got to work.
I knew the fabric that I wanted to use for the sides so I went to my box with leftover scraps and found exactly what I was looking for…a piece of fabric with a stitched sampler design from Moda’s Madeira collection. I trimmed the fabric to the width of the box and added a little extra in the length to allow for some overlap.
Whenever I apply fabric to either wood…or in this case, papier mache…I use a water based varnish which is readily available at most craft or hardware stores.
Note: I have tried petroleum based varnishes and they just don’t seem to work for this type of application.
At the outset, I would recommend wearing rubber gloves if you are going to attempt this as it can get kind of messy.
I liberally spread the varnish on the surface to be covered using a sponge brush and then smoothed out the fabric over the ‘wet’ area. I then spread the varnish over the top of the fabric as well and smoothed it out again to ensure that there were no bubbles lurking beneath the fabric. At this point I made sure that all the areas were covered well with the varnish and that there were no apparent ‘dry’ areas. I then wiped off the excess drips of varnish with a dampened paper towel and allowed it to dry. I set mine out in the sun on the deck and it was dry in less than 15 minutes.
While the box was drying, I traced the individual elements of the pattern that I had designed onto a sheet of ‘Steam-a-Seam 2’ using my light box. If you don’t have a light box, you can achieve the same results by tracing your design against a window during daylight hours.
While that was drying and curing, I ironed the cut out shapes of ‘Steam-a-Seam 2’ to the appropriate wool, cut them out, then ironed them onto the background fabric and began to stitch them in place using a blanket stitch. In this instance, I used wool on a wool background.
After the stitching was done, I decided that it was going to be a pincushion.
I then painted some appropriate sewing ‘words’ around the rim of the lid e.g.. needles, thread, scissors, etc. and glued buttons between each of the words not only to separate them but to also add a little bit of interest and dimension.
Did you notice the little ‘bee’ button in the center? I used that to attach the pincushion by making a little hole in the center of the lid through which I pulled the thread that I had used to attach the button and tied it to the underside of the lid. I didn’t want to glue the pincushion to the top, just in case I want to change it out for another design at a later date.
And that’s what I did on Friday afternoon and part of Saturday…along with playing in my garden!