February 11, 2010
A couple of months ago, a really cool Swedish military-style backpack had been making its rounds on the design blogs. In love with the looks, but not with the price tag, I sought a way to replicate the style and military-aesthetic. Recalling a certain army bag I toted around in high-school, my ideas fell into place.
So you know how there’s Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade? I like to think of this project as semi-handmade. No shame in that, especially when it’s done affordably.
Project time estimate: 1-1.5 hours
The idea is simply this: purchase ammo bags (perfect size for little boys!) from a military surplus store, then sew on a customized patch.
To get started, either design your own stencil, or download and print my Clone Trooper illustration (PDF) or sword and arrow (PDF) onto a piece of freezer paper cut down to 8.5″x11.” Make sure the paper side gets printed and not the shiny, waxy side.
Note: I’ve successfully ran freezer paper through two different types of inkjet printers, and never, ever had a melting issue. Jamming yes, but melting, no. Just wanted to forewarn you as I have heard this is a risk, though I’m guessing this is an issue with laser printers since there is no heat involved in inkjets. So please don’t try to run waxy paper through a hot laser printer!
Trim out your paper stencil, then cut out a piece of canvas. This will be your patch. For a frayed patch (like the Clone Trooper one above), trim out your circle 1/4″ larger than the stencil (example two pictures down). For a smooth-edged patch (like Dax’s sword + arrow one), cut exactly to the size of the stencil.
Set the canvas aside to prepare the stencil. Using a sharp craft knife, carefully trim out the white parts of the design. This will be the negative area, the parts that will not be painted. Set these tiny pieces aside (a tweezer is very useful here) until everything is cut out. Then reassemble everything onto the canvas patch. Heat up your iron to low, and iron down each itty bit, pressing just one piece at a time. The heat from the iron melts the wax side of the paper, adhering it to the fabric. When the entire stencil is assembled, run over the whole design with the iron to make sure the paper adheres to the canvas.
Using a brush, paint the exposed areas, dabbing fabric paint a bit at a time. Allow to dry. If using the sword + arrow design (no frayed edge) make sure to paint along the edges of the patch to ‘seal’ in the loose fibers. Carefully peel away the paper, using a tweezer for the smaller pieces, to reveal your design:
To fray the patch, rub edge with your fingers and pull off loose fibers. Then take your patch and bag to the sewing machine, stitch patch directly onto the bag flap, and call it done and cheap. Or “rocket pack” as Kai likes to call his new bag.
For a a more in-depth tutorial on stenciling, read my post here.
And Dana’s intro of me left me all sorts of blushy and giddy. Sweetest words ever, thank you!
Leave a comment