Alaska Crafter's 'I'll Ask-A-Crafter'

The Empire's craft columnist tackles questions from the field

Posted: Thursday, May 13, 2010

What are pinking shears? -Perturbed in Pink

Well PIP, though they may sound like a torture devise invented by your grandmother, pinking shears are actually a very handy tool that every crafter could use around the house. Chances are if your mother has a sewing machine, pinking shears are hiding somewhere nearby. These scissors, or shears, are used to cut woven fabric. The jagged edge clips the threads of the woven fabric in such a way that doesn't prevent unraveling, but reduces damage to the fabric as it unravels. Plus, they make a really fun jagged or "pinked" edge. Which is exactly the reason why your mom hides them, because the fun paper starbursts you love to make dull these babies (never use fabric scissors on paper). Pinking shears were named after Pink, not the punky pop star, but the flower whose petals have a similar jagged edge.

I make dolls and sell them locally. I really want unique tags, but haven't found a good solution. Any ideas? - Mistagged in Misery

Dear MIM, there are a couple of great ways to create unique tags for your products, and relieve your woes. For a low-tech solution you can order embroidered tags or printed tags. Check out www.MommieMadeIt.etsy.com for some adorable pre-made designs. If you are a little more adventurous and have a computer and printer at your disposal then follow these steps.

You will need: a computer, a printer, iron-on transfer paper, white ribbon, and an iron.

1: Create your design. You'll want to make the design slightly smaller than the width of your ribbon and whatever length you like. Printing upon a white background is easiest, but the design you overlay can have lots of color and be all about your style. Remember to clearly have your company, or your own name, and sometimes a small image will fit. Use whatever image software you are comfortable with, or get a friend to help.

2: Create an 8.5x11 page full of your image repeated over and again. Repeat the logo in long strips to make it easier to iron onto the ribbon.

3: Print your image onto the iron-on transfer paper by first reversing the image. You only need to reverse the image if you are using "print on light fabric" paper. I suggest the light paper over "print on dark fabric" paper because when the image is ironed onto the fabric, or ribbon in this case, the ink is sealed between the fabric and the transfer material, making it more water and wear resistant.

4: Cut the printed images into long strips the width of your ribbon. You can also use fabric instead of ribbon, but the finished edges of the ribbon will be handy when sewing in your tags.

5: Iron your image onto the ribbon by following the directions on the package. I have found that old transfer paper will not work over time, so make sure you have a fresh pack.

6: Now the best part, peel away the paper after the transfer has cooled! So satisfying. Rewrap the new tagged-up ribbon around the spool and now you have a handy ribbon of unique tags for anytime.

• Send your craft questions to alaskacrafter@gmail.com.



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