September 25, 2012

Halloween Felt Suzani Wall Hanging with RIT Dye

My favorite crafting time of year is here!  Fall and Halloween provide lots of opportunities for creating all kinds of costume and home decor projects.  If only I had more hours in my day...

I did make time to create something using wool felt and RIT dye--a Halloween wall hanging styled after a Suzani textile.
I've long admired Suzani textiles, which originate in Central Asia.  The embroidered textiles, which were sewn by brides as part of their dowry, are so beautiful.  I love how their designs radiate from a central motif, similar to a mandala.
In creating this Halloween wall hanging, I took some short cuts (forgive me, but minding 2 babies and a preschooler doesn't leave much time for full-on crafting).  I used wool, which can be cut easily, doesn't fray, and doesn't need hemming and also receives RIT dye very well.  My second shortcut is that I glued my wall hanging rather than embroidered it.  I really, really wanted to fancy it up with embroidery floss and stitches, but again, the time thing always gets in the way.

I started out with a rainbow of RIT dyes, one yard of 100% wool felt, sharp scissors and tacky glue.
I wanted to use Halloween colors, so I chose black, purple, yellow, orange and green, then mixed the liquid dyes according to the instructions.  For the largest piece, the background, I chose purple and mixed up my dye bath in a large tub.
For the smaller felt pieces, I cut the white felt into smaller pieces and dyed them in recycled yogurt containers. 
RIT dye works best on natural fibers like wool and cotton.  The colors looked great after they came out of the dye bath and were rinsed.
The black unfortunately looked more brown than black, but the color would still work well for the bats on the wall hanging.  I probably would double or triple the time that I left the black pieces in the bath next time.

Once all of the wool was dry, I started cutting out pieces of felt to create my design.
I worked free-handed, but if you're a little more particular (or less confident in your cutting skills), you could certainly make paper patterns to follow from your own drawings or cookie cutters. Or even do an internet search for "Halloween silhouettes" and use those as patterns.

For the center, I made a yellow "full moon", surrounded by jack-o-lanterns, then skulls and bats.  To cut out the faces on the skulls and jack-o-lanterns, I just folded the felt in half and cut half circles or half triangles or whatever.
They weren't perfect, but they worked out just fine.
I added some leaves to the corners, and some crescent moons and spooky clouds too.
I kept the design symmetrical, and played around with how I wanted to arrange it.  The beauty of felt, like those felt boards you may have played with as a kid, is that it sticks to itself, so it's easy to play around with your design.  I think this would look equally stunning with a spider web as the central motif, since it would fit the symmetrical design nicely.

Once I had my design how I wanted it to look, I started gluing the pieces down with tacky glue.
SMILE!
I kept the pieces in place, just so I could remember where they went because I had so carefully spaced them out.
For the finishing touch, I cut 4 long strips of felt to go around the border of the wall hanging, then scalloped the edges and glued them to the sides.
To hang it, I stitched a dowel rod in three places to the back along the upper edge, then hung it on the wall with the dowel rod balanced on two hooks.  You could also use this as a table decoration on as a pillow if you sew a backing to it, though you may want to really glue the pieces on well.
My preschooler LOVES seeing this hanging on the wall.  His Halloween salivating gland is triggered whenever he walks by it. :)
You can find more RIT dye projects on their website, as well as through their Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest updates.  There are also other bloggers participating in this campaign, so check out their projects via the linky below. Happy crafting!



Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with RIT Dye and Blueprint Social.  All opinions in this post are my own.

8 comments:

  1. That is adorable! Loving the colors, so vibrant and fun!

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  2. I imagine this did get your little one ready for Halloween! Great project Kathleen!

    gail

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  3. That is soooo cute!! What a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I think that turned out absolutely beautifully Kathleen! This time of year is chocked full of creative inspiration so good for you for taking advantage of it :)

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  5. This. Is. Fabulous. Who would have looked at an old folk art like suzani and thought about pumpkins? WOnderful!!

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  6. This is wonderful - I love all the coloring working together!

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  7. Very cool! My weekly linky party--One Creative Weekend--has gone spooky this week in honor of my thirteenth party. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll visit "One Creative Weekend" on OneCreativeMommy.com (open every Fri-Wed) and link up this idea and anything else you’d like to share. (You can include non-Halloween posts as well, but feel free to link up as many Halloween-themed posts as you like.) There are two categories—one for Halloween and one for everything else.

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