Here is my quick version of how to make a quilt using children’s art. I really only have about three tips, but I’ll go start to finish. This one was auctioned at a fundraiser for the pre-school that my boys attended many years ago.
Order inkjet prepared cloth. This is one of my big tips. At retail and on many websites, sheets can cost up to $3.00 each. I almost never pay more than $1.00 — you just need to hunt around a little online. Many fibers and weaves are available. For a quilt like this, I recommend a cotton with some drape (i.e. not pima or canvas). For memory quilts featuring a single image (say, a vintage photograph), I have used silk.
You can prepare your own cloth for inkjet printing, of course, but it is a giant pain in the ass. Even if you shortcut like mad (as I am wont to do — in this case, meaning skipping the Bubble Jet set soak and subsequent pressing and skipping the stabilization of the perfectly measured and cut piece of fabric with a perfectly cut piece of freezer paper) — it is a lot of work. And if you DON’T shortcut and do all those time-consuming steps and the paper/cloth jams, it is heartbreaking.
Gather the artwork. This is the easiest part. Children make incredible, unselfconscious art. For this project, I used self portraits drawn by three year olds.
Photograph and Tweak. Take pictures and crop or adjust color a little, if necessary, but do not shrink the file size. This is different from the resizing one typically does to shrink an image for posting online. You want the data. Remember seam margins.
You might want to dye fabric for the sashes. We tried and it was a lot of fun, but the non-toxic green mixture was too dilute or weak or something. I decided the failure served the project, though, because a dramatic, striated ARASHI border would have competed with their art work.
Print the artwork onto the inkjet-prepared sheets of fabric. If there is not a TON of color in the artwork, go ahead and set your print to BEST. However, if there is a lot of color, you might actually achieve a better image at the REGULAR print setting (less toner being key). Fix the image. First, let the printed sheets dry without stacking so as to avoid any possible smearing. Then, carefully peel the paper off of the back and press to fix the color. Some instructions recommend rinsing with water, but I don’t find it’s necessary.
Make the quilt. This is standard stuff. My only tip here is if you were concerned about keeping your hours somewhat contained, skip the batting and make a pillow-case style attachment of the quilt top to the back, and run a machine top stitch around the edge to close the opening. Then the two layers will stay together with just a little hand or machine quilting and no binding will be needed. One of my objectives in selecting fabrics was to make sure they didn’t compete with the drawings.
By pressing the quarter inch turn-under at the opening, the top stitching is very easy. I do this when hand-stitching the closure shut as well.
That’s it! Easy, really.
[On another note – The fakey links are back with nearly irrepressible pops ups and this rogue insertion of six gibberish characters “&nbsp;” or something like that, is freaking me out. WordPress has been so glitchy on top of that, with weird new arbitrary photo placements, etcs. Between all of this and the loss of regular readers, I have to wonder why I am doing this!]
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I just came over from “Considering Weave” and was so glad to see this … with two two-year old grandsons (born 4 months apart), I’ll be able to keep an eye out for artwork to put together for their moms someday.
Oh great, Liz, glad to provide. This is SUCH a better project that a t-shirt quilt (awful, awful job that, actually). Also, while you’re at it, it is easy to print the same pix onto notecards. I’ve also printed my boys’ artwork onto magnets (you can buy sheets of it at Staples, with the photo papers).