The new students arrived on the 8th! It was so nice to see everyone after spending the past six months working with their files and the whole first week of September in Residence Life training… it was almost a relief to finally have people out and about campus. I decided that I wanted to have a welcome sign to hang in front of Merlin on move-in day. I threw a batiking party in the spring and thought I might be able to make some quick bunting using the same technique.
I printed W-E-L-C-O-M-E out on heavy cardstock and cut letters out to make stencils. Then I cut 7 pieces of white cotton fabric into roughly 8×11 inch rectangles. I held the make-shift stencils somewhere towards the middle-bottom of the fabric squares and, using a thick paintbrush, brushed over the stencils with Elmer’s Water Soluble Gel glue so that I had an even, thick layer. For the “O” and two “E”s I just held the centers of the letters in place with one hand and painted the glue on with the other.
I think painting the glue on worked much better than drawing onto the fabric straight from the nozzle of the glue bottle. It’s less wet and meant that the letter’s didn’t smudge or drip as much.
I set them on a wire rack to dry for a few hours then I got out my acrylic paints and a foam brush. I mixed some colors that I liked and watered them down to about 50-60% their original paintiness. I spread some newspaper on the sidewalk and, making sure the glue-side is up (I forgot on the second “E” and had to paint BOTH sides. It’s a little duller, but still legible) I just painted right onto the fabric. I hung each square on the clothesline and let them dry.
After three hours I filled a sink with hot, soapy water and hand washed each piece of fabric. It was so much fun watching the letters re-appear bright white from under the paint when the glue washed out! Instead of waiting for the to dry I took a hot iron to them and quickly dried them that way.
To make them an even size with actually measuring anything I cut a rough piece of cardstock in a 4×7 inch rectangle. Then I flipped the first letter over so that it was right-side down. I put the paper rectangle on top of the fabric so that the white letter was where I wanted it on the end rectangle and folded each side over the paper, as if I were wrapping a present. I pressed each side with iron and then slipped the paper out so that I could use it on the next letter. When all of the panels were pressed, I quickly sewed up along the edges with the sewing machine. Easy peasy!
I just tied them to a piece of string along their tops so that I could reposition them along the length if I needed to. And voila! It only took me an hour of actual crafting. It doesn’t get much easier!