Sunday, June 12, 2011

Alphabet Bean Bags!

My daughter is obsessed with the alphabet, so for her birthday (which was actually 4 months ago) I decided to make her an alphabet toy that she can really play with. She also didn't have many toys that she could throw inside, so I thought bean bags were the perfect solution!

It was a pretty simple project, though somewhat time-consuming. Making myself a template to cut along helped a lot. Mine was 4 inches square, but I think that I might make them slightly larger if I make a similar project again.
I re-used t-shirts that my husband and I don't wear any more for whatever reason. I did make sure they were in good condition.
Black fabric for the consonants, red fabric for the vowels. I cut a few extra of each color just in case I messed up later.
I took a while to find a good font for the letters and, unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the one I used--it wasn't one of the common ones, though. I found the right font size (they printed 2.5 inches tall, I believe), set them to print outlines only (save ink!), cut my freezer paper to 8.5x11 inches, and printed the letters out on the NON-SHINY side of the paper. (Be careful not to print on the shiny side or you'll have a yucky mess. This also will only work in inkjet printers--laser printers will melt the freezer paper.) Then I cut them out, being careful to safe all the centers.
I ironed them on (medium to high heat, no steam).
Yay, ready to paint!
And started painting. What I found with the jersey material (and vivid colors of the fabric) was that the colored fabric paint (I use Plaid folkart) would soak into the fabric and not show up very well. I ended up doing a coat or two of white fabric paint first, before putting the color down.
What I should have done, I realized after completing the project, was to put down a layer of the intended color to soak into the fabric and fill in gaps under the edge of the freezer paper and THEN put down the white on top of that first layer. This would get rid of the white outline and edges that I ended up with on my finished letters. Oh well, live and learn!
All the colors down!
They look so pretty! I let them sit and air dry for 24-48 hours, then ironed them (per the instructions on the paint bottle) to set the paint.
Then it's time to sew them together! Make sure that the upper and lower case letters don't get flipped upside down in relation to each other. I used about a 1/4 inch seam, leaving a gap for turning and filling, and clipped all the corners.
Turning them was pretty easy, but filling wasn't. If I had been using rice, then filling would have been a breeze, but I was using kidney beans and a home-made funnel (from paper--no pictures, sorry) and it took a bit of work to get the bags filled. Be careful not to overfill the bags or you'll have a hard time stitching the gap closed. I did not topstitch around the entire edge of the bags because I felt like that would be a huge pain.
All finished! No logical order to the bags in this picture, just colors. If you click on the picture, you should be able to see the bags in more detail (including the white edges that some of the letters ended up with).

My daughter loves them and I'm pleased with how they turned out. I may make a few more later on so that she has extra letters to spell her name and other common words.


No comments:

Post a Comment