Chalkboard Tutorials

On this page of the E Craft Classes blog, you'll find brief tutorials to help you with different craft techniques. This is an interactive page. Please read the rules at the bottom of the page to find out how to get your tutorials listed here. Tutorials must be small - no more than a few sentences in a short paragraph.

Doll Tutorials

Bendable knees and elbows
You can have bendable knees and elbows on virtually any rag doll.
    a. Simply stuff the limbs about half way.
    b. Sew a row of stitches at the knees and elbows sections of the limbs.
    c. Finish stuffing.

Weighted doll bottom
Weight a doll's bottom so it will sit on its own as seen above.
    a. Sew the body pieces together as indicated on your pattern.
    b. Match the seams on each side, mark and sew a strip of stitches so that you have created two triangles sewn as you can see below.  Mark both sides equally. Measurement will need to be longer for large dolls and shorter for small dolls.

    c. Cut off excess triangle leaving 1/4" seam allowance. I like to zigzag this to be sure it holds the weighted material.

    d. You will likely have a slit in the back of the doll body. Add about an inch of weight material (cat litter or white play sand) then you can stuff.

Aging painted doll parts for primitive dolls
To age painted doll parts you simply need a fine grain sandpaper.
    a. Paint the doll.
    b. Allow paint to dry.
    c. Rub sandpaper over painted sections. Rubbing harder in some areas and lighter in others will provide
the uneven aging effect that is intended for primitive dolls. A before and after picture is provided below.

Doll stain and paint drying techniques 
 There are a few ways to dry stained or painted doll parts.
    a. One way is to allow parts to dry naturally for 24 hours.
    b. Another way is to dry parts in the sun. This can be completed in a day if  you start early enough in the
    c. A third way is to use a blow dryer to dry the body parts. This provides faster results so that you can
continue working on the doll in a brief period of time.
    d. The oven is the fastest way to dry stain and paint on doll parts. You will need to watch over this 
carefully! So be sure there will be no interruptions during this drying process. If an interruption occurs
remove parts and turn off oven immediately. Set oven temp to 250 degrees. Place parts onto a cookie sheet. Turn parts every few minutes to avoid scorching. Within 30 minutes you should have dry parts. If
you're working on several dolls, repeat the process until each set is dry.

NOTE: This also works on other painted fabric projects.

Primitive Doll How To

As mentioned above, staining and sanding are common ways to create a primitive overall effect. There are a few additional ways to reach a desired primitive look below. Apply these techniques more or less for a handed-down-through-many-generations appearance or a gently loved treasure found in grandma's attic.

To achieve a more primitive look for doll clothes, leave the edges unhemmed. Pull several loose threads from the unhemmed regions to give them a more worn appearance.

Use mismatched buttons for doll eyes.

Eliminate facial features altogether.

Sew arms and legs to the outside of the doll  body rather than inserting them into the body.

Stuff with rags instead of fiberfil.

General Craft Tutorials

Number of squares per one yard of fabric
This isn't a tutorial but is a great lesson for the chalkboard. I cut a lot of squares for quilts and this is very helpful information to have available. The square sizes are given per 1 yard cut of 42" wide fabric.
Square size                 Number of squares per 1 yard cut
                             2"                                 378
                             3"                                 168                        
                             4"                                   90
                             5"                                   56    
                             6”                                   42
                             7”                                   30
                             8”                                   20     
                             9”                                   16
                             10”                                 12
                             11”                                   9
                             12”                                   9

Staining: Recipe and How To
Staining Ingredients
2 heaping tablespoons of instant coffee
2 cups of water
one teaspoon of vanilla
teaspoon of cinnamon
spray bottle or sponge brush
funnel if using spray bottle
old cookie sheet if oven drying

a. First boil your water to make your stain. After the water has boiled, stir in your coffee, vanilla and cinnamon. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes to cool.

b. Use your funnel to pour the cooled mixture into the spray bottle if this is your application method. You may also use a sponge  paintbrush to apply the mixture.

c. Place the items you want to stain into the sink and spray or brush everything with the mixture. Rinse sink immediately after removing the items to avoid staining the sink.
d. Allow to dry overnight, or in the sun, or dry with a blow dryer, or in the oven on 250 degrees. If you choose to dry in the oven, you should use a cookie sheet to place the items on. Do not leave the kitchen; you must keep a close eye on your items to avoid fire. Turn items every 5 minutes or so. Lightly sand any scorched areas if you wish to make the lighter. Rules
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