Brace Yourself. School is Coming.

It’s almost here.

Some of you already have your backpack filled and your first-day-of-school outfit picked out. And some of you are planning to hide under your bed and hope that August 16 just gives up and goes away.

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Either way, it’s coming. You have a little over a week to get your stuff together, find your classrooms, and google your new teachers. (Does anyone else do that? No? Just me? Okay.)

If you’re like me, you have, in past years, spent the month before school in a crowded store hunting through disorganized shelves to find  the perfect prismatic penguin pencil pouch – only to discover they’re sold out. (Actually, it was a green unicorn trapper keeper, but that didn’t fit the alliteration thing I had going there.)

HAVE NO FEAR!

You can easily turn those boring, plain school supplies into unique pieces of usable art!  

Here are a few ideas to help you customize your school supplies!

  • Follow these WikiHow instructions to make a duct tape pencil case!
  • Visit Studio 300 to make some vinyl stickers for laptops, Chromebooks, phone cases, and more!  Bring in a few silhouette .jpg images on a USB drive.  There is a charge of $1 per foot of vinyl, but you can get a LOT of stickers in one foot!

Create!

Summer’s here and the season brings with it a certain creative energy. There’s just something about the colors and freedom of summer that makes me want to grab a paintbrush or camera or even a crochet hook.  

When you feel the call of creativity and need an outlet for your artistic ideas, look no further than the Vortex! This summer, we have programs in which you can learn to draw, paint, tie-dye, crochet, knit, photograph, animate, and more!  

In betwen programs, you can always curb your crafty cravings by checking out a Craft Kit or exploring the Vortex’s Maker Cart stocked with tools and supplies to help you create!File_001

Need some inspiration? Check out these ideas on our Pinterest page!

Cosplay How-To: Moogle Wings

Kupo! Today I’m going to walk you through how to make moogle wings! Moogles are creatures from the Final Fantasy franchise and come in a variety of styles and sizes depending on the Final Fantasy (or Kingdom Hearts) game they’re in.

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Mine is based on a mixture between Mog from Final Fantasy XIII-2 and the Kingdom Hearts moogles, kupo!

First things first.

MATERIALS:

  • 4 pieces of purple felt sheets (I got mine at Michaels and they’re just approximately larger than a sheet of computer paper, probably 9”x12” roughly)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • A sewing needle
  • 3 yds of wire (I used 18 gauge, I actually recommend a thicker gauge than I used because it was a little TOO easy to work with so that means it was easily bendable if something presses against it)
  • Purple thread to match your purple felt
  • A sheet of paper to draw your pattern on
  • Pins
  • Black Sharpie
  • Wire cutters
  • Needle Nosed Pliers

STEP ONE

You need to make a pattern! I based mine off a pair of wings I saw on Etsy

il_570xN.727244452_ppwlAs you can see, the wire shows through really well because they chose a thinner fabric (looks like some form of suede to me) and thicker wire than I used.

Again, basing it off the design from Etsy, I drew out my wings on a sheet of paper, sketching and erasing until I came up with proportions that I was happy with.

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STEP TWO

Arrange your wire around the pattern on the paper and mold and shape it to match. The first wing will be your hardest because you’re getting a feel for your wire. Use your hands or your pliers (or a mixture of both) depending on how thick your wire is. To help mold it to your pattern, feel free to tape down the wire as you go. It’ll definitely help one end keep its shape while you work on the other end!

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Then cut two pieces from your spool of wire and lay them across where the two “bones” will be. Cut longer than you think you’ll need because you’ll be wrapping the ends to the base to secure it.

IMG_20170506_131653940To connect your wire pieces to each other, gently (and carefully because the ends can be sharp depending on how you cut it!) wrap the wire around until it’s secure.

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Now you have your first moogle wing frame, kupo!

STEP THREE

Now, detach your frame carefully from your pattern if you had taped it down. Then take two of your felt sheets and put the “right sides” together. The right side is the part that DID not have the barcode sticker on it (make sure you take that sticker off though before proceeding!).

Then place your frame over the felt until your frame fits snugly inside the dimensions of the felt with at least half an inch to spare on each end, like in the image below.

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It looks like there isn’t room to spare in the image, but that’s just an optical illusion from the camera angle.

STEP FOUR

Take your sharpie and trace around your wings carefully BUT BUT BUT let me finish my sentence here before you use that marker! Trace around it widely so what your tracing is actually half an inch bigger (or a little bit more is ok) than your actual wire frame. You need your felt to be bigger than your frame so it can fit inside!

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STEP FIVE

Grab your pins and pin the two pieces together carefully.

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STEP SIX

Cut. Cut. Cut. Carefully!
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STEP SEVEN

Do NOT take your pins out. Leave them in for this next step, because now we’re going to be sewing! Thread your needle and then fold the amount of thread you cut in half, and tie the two ends together.

I want you to start sewing a basic straight stitch (it kinda looks like a long dashed line, like so: — — — — ) from the right end, all the way around the top to the left pointy end, then STOP and tie off your end. You will be leaving the bottom open.

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This is what it will look like after you sew it then turn it right-side out.

STEP EIGHT

Insert your wing frame into your newly sewn felt wing.

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STEP NINE

Now this is the tricky part, sewing your wing frame inside the felt. You will have to fold the ends up carefully so you don’t see any rough edges from cutting out your pattern. We want nice and neat edges! What I did was wrap the bottom edge around the wire, to give myself a guide for the top end to meet it. Pin it as you fold.

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Your edges should look something like this. See how they’re folded under? Once that’s sewn, it’ll look nice and neat!

STEP TEN

Pick whichever end you prefer, and start hand sewing carefully from one end to the other, then tie it off. Remove the pins as you go.
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One wing is now complete!

STEP ELEVEN

Repeat steps 2-10 for the second wing.

STEP TWELVE

If you would like more bone definition (if you chose a thin wire like I did and cannot see the wire through the felt), feel free to sew straight stitches along the top edge and along the middle “bones” for some decoration.

Otherwise, your wings are done!

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STEP INFINITY AND BEYOND

Attaching, how did I attach mine? I actually sewed mine into the back of a white dress I obtained from Goodwill and also used some fishing line from the top points to the dress to make sure they stay up.

If you’re not sure of doing that, feel free to try a bunch of safety pins to see if that works until you’re ready to commit!

Or, like in the Etsy wings, you can create a harness with your remaining wire and some elastic to wear them. (I hate wearing harnesses which is why I opted for the sewing option).

Any questions? Feel free to comment on this post or email me at
fountaindaleteen at fountaindale dot org.

Enjoy your wings, kupo!
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Ashe

How to Make Your Own Cross Stitch Patterns

Do you love needlecrafting but were looking for an easy way on the computer (besides Microsoft Excel which still needs tinkering to get right…) to make your own patterns?

Look no more!

KG Chart is an application that allows you to easily create your own cross stitch patterns. It has all the official DMC colors preloaded onto it for easy color picking and pattern creating!

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Cnet offers the free version of KG Chart for download!

Try it out today! Create to your hearts’ desires, my crafters!

For some pre-made patterns, check out our collection of cross stitch books!
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Ashe