Friday, April 29, 2011

Secret Project Reveal

Thanks to those of you who gave me opinions on which pattern to try out here.  A little background as to why I went all ninja crafty this past week.  Ballard designs had these curtains that I was just in love with:

But, at $180 for EACH PANEL, there was just no way it was ever happening.  Not that they aren't worth it...that's a lot of embroidery and a lot of work that goes into each one, I just couldn't justify it.  I had a bunch of sheer curtains, and a bright idea that I could maybe make them.  Not embroidering...I'm not that crazy.  So I thought...what about a Sharpie?  What would happen if I drew a pattern on curtains?  Would it be passable?

So the first thing to decide on was the pattern.  I've been in love with this quatrefoil shape for a long time:
But the pattern on the curtains that were the inspiration were actually this shape:
Hence my post asking for opinions on which pattern to use.  The overwhelming response was for the quatrefoil, so I listened to the masses. 

(BTW, I made both of these shapes in photoshop, feel free to use them)  I printed out my quatrefoil (4 inches across) and cut it out.   

I transferred the pattern to an index card and cut it out there so the pattern would be a bit more sturdy given how many times I was going to have to use it.  (You can see it in green there at the edge of the table)  In retrospect, 5 or 6 inches for the pattern wouldn't have been a bad thing and would have cut a lot of time off.  

Then I used painters tape to tape the edges of the curtain down so it wouldn't wiggle a bunch while I was tracing around the inside and outside of the pattern. (with a piece of paper under it to stop bleed through)  At first I taped the pattern down too, but after a while I was practiced enough to just hold it in place.  Heck by the end I could almost freehand it.  OK, that's totally an exaggeration, but there were a TON of these things.  By about quatrefoil number 20 or so I had a realization as to why Vinny usually gives me a  dubious glance when I explain to him what new project I have in mind.

It ended up using 4 markers worth of ink. I probably could have eeked by with just 3, but 4 was nice and safe.  We had a minor snafu when marker 3 turned out to be a bit more blue and not so much teal compared to the first two, so I had to take a breather until I could go back to the store to hunt down more markers with the teal gene.  At the beginning of each marker the ink spread a lot further and toward the end of the life of a marker the lines were a lot crisper. I tried to switch between using newer markers and older ones sporadically so that the difference wasn't so noticeable.

I lucked out in that the curtains I started with had stripes, so those helped me keep my patterns straight vertically.  If your curtains don't have those, you may have to mark some chalk stripes or something to keep yourself in line.  But make sure it will come off easily, because I currently have no idea how the marker will hold up in the washing machine.

Since I brought it up...washing.  I hear if you let the marker set in the sun for at least 72 hours that it holds up pretty well, but I'm not ready to tempt fate anytime soon.  If you try it, let me know how it goes.

At the end of the first night of tracing, (yes there were multiple nights, I estimate each pattern inside and outside took about 2 minutes to do by the end) I noticed the paper that was catching marker overage under the curtain looked pretty cool.

So when I came back the next time, I used a nicer paper because I might decide to use it either as matting for some art or as art itself in a later project.  Yay for happy accidents.

And well...there was a not-so-happy accident as well.  Bella decided she wanted to help a little and added some extra while Vinny wasn't looking (I was running an errand to the drug store).  We'll call it character and try not to let it happen on the next one ever again.

So at the end, here it is, the final product:

I'm thinking of putting it in the laundry room at the new house, and using the overflow marker paper for some laundry room art.

What do you think?  Wanna guess how many quatrefoils are there? Is it passable?  Should I do the same thing to the other curtain I have like this one? Try the other pattern?  Try a bigger pattern? Toss it all out and burn it and never do another craft again? Let me know if you have questions or anything...I love comments :)


  1. Very impressive! Congratulations!

  2. I think it looks great! So chic and well done.

  3. I love these! They are awesome, great job! That's a great idea, I may need to try it when it comes time to make curtains around the homestead!

  4. That is BEAUTIFUL!!! You have far TOO much time on your hands! Where do you find it?!