Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stitched books & cotton bud (q-tip) paintings

Well, this started out as a quick simple craft to do with my 6 yr old daughter, Miss E, but ended up being a lovely way of spending an hour and a half together one very wintry afternoon. Instead of using plain card or construction paper for the cover, I thought it would be fun to do some painting first for a more decorative look. The painting techniques we used were good ol' watercolours and cotton bud (q-tip) painting using food colours. For the watercolour one we just brushed different colours all over the paper randomly and here are some basic instructions for cotton bud painting if you aren't familiar with it. It is very simple and easy and is even good for the 2 yr olds and up, although I would suggest you supervise closely with the littlies as the food colours can stain.

  1. Add a small amount of water to a small container (I have used an empty yoghurt pot here but I usually use ramekins from my kitchen as they don't tip over).
  2. Add a couple of drops of food colour to the water (I add them with an old medicinal eye dropper so you don't have food colouring dripping down the outside of the bottle).
  3. Pop in a couple of cotton buds (q-tips) in each container you have added colour to (to prevent mixing them up). These soak up the combined water and colour and provide a nifty little drip free paint 'brush' of sorts.
  4. Use these to draw all over your paper.
You get such lovely vibrant colours this way and they dry in minutes so you can use them for other things.
Ok, back to the stitched books. I first saw the instructions for these on a blog somewhere and I am so frustrated that I cannot find it to link to (I am sure I added it to my favourites at the time!) so I am going to try and draw them myself and put them up here in a day or two. I can say though that they are so simple and easy to make and so satisfying that we have kept making them. I use up any size paper so we have them in all sizes ranging from almost postage stamp to the size I have outlined below.
For those pictured our measurements were:
Cover - 22cm x 14cm
Pages - 21cm x 13.5cm
Length of thread needed to sew comfortably was about 50cm from memory, which leaves you with some to cut off but makes it comfortable for tying the knot etc.
I used 5 pages so that, when folded, it gave us 10 but you can adjust that up or down to whatever suits. For the first couple we made I punched holes for us to thread through (and that is easiest for Miss E) but if I am doing them myself I just push the needle straight through without any problem.
We love them and I hope you are inspired to make a whole bunch yourself!

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