Friday, August 3, 2012

Easy Hula Hoop T-Shirt Rug

This year I am moving to a new school and I don't have any rugs in my classroom.  I made this super easy t-shirt rug this afternoon.  It took me about 2 hours from start to finish.  Below are all the directions you will need to create this colorful rug for your home or classroom, too.  

Materials needed:
About 10 old t-shirts (at least 1 will need to be a youth size shirt)
Hula hoop -Larger works better, I used a smaller size hoop because that is what I had already.  The size of the hoop will directly affect the size of your rug.  I think 33" is the biggest there is.

The first thing you will do is cut the t-shirts.  Lay the shirts out and cut the trunk of the shirt into strips about 1" in width.  You will need 11 loops from the first shirt (the youth size shirt) as we you use this shirt as the loom.  The rest of the shirts don't matter as much, as long as the pieces are about 1" wide.  Cut the shirt all the way up the trunk until you get to the sleeves.  (You wont need the rest of the shirt, so you can save it for other crafts).

Next, you will put the 11 loops from the youth shirt on to the hula hoop.  Start with one, and then put the next loop perpendicular to the first (see below).

Then use the rest of the loops from the youth size shirt to fill in the spaces. When you are done, it should look something like the one below.  Be careful to maintain the shape of the hula hoop.  If it gets distorted, make sure you straighten it back out the best you can before you start to weave or your rug will be lopsided.

Before you start to weave, you will need to push 2 of the spokes on the loom together.  This will keep the weave in an alternating pattern.  Next, you will tie your first loop of fabric on to a spoke near the center of the loom where all the spokes cross each other.  I tied mine on the two spokes that I put together in the last step.  This is a good idea because you will need to keep track of this spoke.  To tie the loop onto the spoke, wrap it around the spoke and pull it back through itself (you will use this tie to add pieces later, scroll down to see a photo of this technique).

Next, weave the loop of fabric over and under each spoke.  You will keep the two pieces of the spoke together for now.  Make the weave snug, but don't over-tighten it or your rug will not lie flat (I made this mistake on my first rug).  When you get to the end of the loop, attach another by putting the loop through the last and pulling it back through itself.  
As you weave, push the pieces toward the center of the rug and be sure you don't see any spaces.  If you see spaces now, they will be in your rug later.  Continue weaving until your rug is about the width of your hand.  Then you will begin to weave each piece of the spoke individually, going under and over each individual piece of fabric instead of the doubled spokes.  When you get to the two spokes you put together, pull them apart.  One of those two spokes will be treated as all the others (individually weaving over and under each part).  The other will stay together as one piece of fabric (do not separate and weave under and over individually).  This will continue the alternating pattern of over and under.  

Continue weaving and adding strips of fabric until your rug is about 4 inches from the hula hoop.  Then cut the last loop and tie onto the closest spoke and tuck the ends into the rug.

Last, you will cut each spoke off the hula hoop and double knot it.  

Continue around the hula hoop until each spoke is cut and tied.  Voilà, your t-shirt rug is complete!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Crayon Art

Welcome to my very first teaching blog.  I've recently become obsessed with Pinterest, so I figured I would give it a go.  I love that teachers are sharing so much, and I am using so much of what others have shared!  As teachers, we create so many things to use in the classroom. We try new things, some work, others don't, but we're always growing and learning.

Crafty Corner Monday

So today a friend and I decided to try that fancy crayon melty art we've been seeing so much of lately.  All in all, it went well.  

Here are the materials you need:
Art Canvas
Crayons (we used the 64 count box-it has more colors)
Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
Hair Dryer
Small Wooden Letters (Optional)
Paint for Letters (If Desired)

The first thing you need to do after getting your materials together is decide whether or not you want to add lettering.  We were making ours as signs for the classroom, so we used small wooden letters that I found at Walmart.  

We painted the letters for our signs with inexpensive acrylic paint.  Once your letters dry, you will need to decide if you want to place them on the canvas before or after you melt the crayons.  I wanted mine on first so that the crayon would drip around them.  I didn't want the crayon to melt and cover the letters, so I put a large dot of hot glue on each letter and let it dry.  Then I put new hot glue on in a different spot and stuck it on the canvas.  That way the letters would stick up off the canvas a bit.  Be sure to place a crayon at the top and arrange your letters on the canvas before you start to glue them on.

Next, we arranged the crayons on the top of the canvas.  Before you glue, be sure the crayons are arranged in the order you want (I wanted the word "crayola" to show).  You may want to leave out some colors (brown, black, gray, etc.).  Then you will put a line of glue down the back of the crayon and glue them on the top of the canvas.

Once all of your crayons are glued on you are ready to get out the hairdryer. We started out aiming the hair dryer near the bottom of the crayon.  They started to melt very fast, but we quickly learned that if we wanted the point to stay on the crayon, we had to aim near the top of the crayola mark and point the dryer downward.  This will take a little longer, but the end of the crayons will stay pointy this way.  

Once the crayon starts to run down the canvas, you can use the hair dryer to make the drips go all the way down the page, or blow around the colors to mix them up.  Its all up to you.  Have fun!