By Jessica Wilson
I am a fiend for pattern tissue – an absolute fiend! Here is a nifty little bit of ambience you can easily make with an embroidery hoop, pattern tissue and a few gobs of Mod Podge.
6″ Embroidery hoop
Pile of tissue from old/thrifted sewing patterns
Paint or sponge brush
Small battery-operated light source
Alphabet stickers, optional
Step 1: Grab a sheet of scratch/blank paper and lay your hoop on top. Trace the inside of the hoop.
Step 2: Cut out your circle and sketch a pattern, picture, or design on top. I’ve had They Might Be Giants stuck in my head for a while now, so I went with a simple bird theme. If you wish, you can make your design extra fancy through multiple layers. For the sake of this project, I stuck with something simple to start.
Step 3: So we’re dealing with positive and negative space here, not unlike a wood cut or eraser stamp. For your image, you will want to layer up the object you want darkest and open up any shape you want to have more light shine through. Use your scissors to remove the object/shape you want to be darkest in your design, and use a blade to remove any other embellishments within that object/shape. Set aside.
Step 4: Separate the two parts of your hoop and wedge in a single sheet of tissue paper. I’m using pattern tissue as it is simply awesome and I have it around in abundance. Being that it is tissue, be gentle.
Step 5: Working on a wax paper surface, dip your brush into a bit of water then into the Mod Podge and gently brush on a thin layer atop your hooped tissue. The weight from the Mod Podge will sink your tissue a smidge, but don’t worry – it will harden after it dries. Go easy on the wet; you don’t want to tear your tissue. Set aside to dry and add another coat if you think you need it. I began with one coat.
Step 6: Once your first layer is dry, use your scissors to trim excess paper around the hoop. I do this after so that nothing slips through during the first round of sticky.
Step 7: Place your chopsticks or extra pencils down on the work surface and place the papered hoop on top so that the pencils/sticks are supporting the hoop at the sides. With all the Mod Podge you are going to layer on, your paper will get a bit sticky and while it won’t stick terribly to the wax paper, we don’t want to encourage any tearing.
Step 8: Grab your first shape – the one you want to appear darkest – and smother it in glue stick. Don’t forget you are working in reverse, so make sure to add the sticky to the side that you want to see. This is most important with letters or objects you want to face a certain way. Position sticky side down into hoop.
Step 9: Coat in Mod Podge.
Step 10: Pre-tear a handful or two of tissue pieces to have at the ready and begin layering your design. I added a single layer around the little house for variation.
Step 11: Add smaller embellishments and layer them up as well.
Step 12: Occasionally hold up to a light source to see how it looks. I found that I had lost the chimney of my little house, so I cut an additional chimney and layered it back on. Work slowly. You can always make images darker but cannot make light images lighter. There’s no going back.
Step 13: Add your final bits. For letters, I used alphabet stickers flipped over backwards, which was really frustrating with all the tack attacking my hands. I would recommend tweezers for this. Again, go slow. It took me three tries to fit all my letters on somewhat evenly.
Step 14: Use a tiny drop of glue on the front side of your letters if they have a sticky back and carefully place them back where you want them. Set aside to dry.
Step 15: To display on a shelf or tabletop, place your light source (in my case, a dollar-store push light) down first, then rest your happy hoop in front. You may also use a battery-powered votive or small bunch of battery powered LEDS (like Christmas lights). My light source has three points of lights that would need a bit of diffusing if I wanted to hang my light up on a wall. For that, I would sand the top a bit and probably affix a piece of paper over it as well.
Step 16: The big reveal! This is simply displaying it, as I mentioned in the previous step. To hang on a wall, use a bit of wire to brace the hoop away from the light source. The fixture atop the hoop is a good place for any bells and whistles.
Step 17: For a more unique approach, hang the hoop over a lampshade. It adds a bit of quiet pretty and makes the birdhouse in my soul a little warmer. Happy layering!
About the Author:
Jessica Wilson is most happily known as ‘jek in the box’ and spends most of her time crafting it up and taking pictures. She can often be found standing on benches over on Flickr and creating all sorts of kiddie crafts on her blog scrumdilly-do! She lives a life of scrumdillydilly and loves to share.