#thecraftyupcycle challenge

At Happy Fabric, we love giving people the materials and inspiration to create something unique! Whether you’re jazzing up an old pair of jeans, or transforming a worn armchair pillow to a decorative cushion- we love an upcycle. And what’s better than turning old into new? Supporting a brilliant cause along the way! From this idea, our #thecraftyupcycle was born.

For our #thecraftyupcycle challenge, we visited our local charity shop, The British Red Cross in Halstead, where we were excited to meet their lovely staff members! We gave ourselves:

  • A budget of £10
  • A time allowance of 30 mins

To find and buy some items that we could take back to the Happy Fabric office and upcycle using our amazing heat transfer (iron-on) vinyl!

While in the store, we found SO many items that we loved! Some already had embroidered pieces on them, some were perfect blank canvases that we could imagine as perfect projects... but we stuck to our £10 budget and managed to choose three brilliant bargains.

Once we arrived back at the office, Hayley created a mood board for each item:

Upcycle 1: Floral print top!

Hayley decided to highlight this top’s floral print by creating larger flowers (using velvet textured Signal Red HappyFlock vinyl). She drew the shape first, and then used this a template to draw onto the back of the vinyl and cut out using scissors. In our video, Hayley also highlights (in the Youtube video) that you could use a Silhouette Cameo or cutting machine to cut multiple flowers quickly.

When all of the flowers were cut out, Hayley gave the material on the top a quick pre-press with the iron to remove any creases or moisture that might be hiding in the material. After placing the flowers onto the top (shiny side up) she then covered the flower with greaseproof paper and pressed with the iron for ten seconds (at 165 degrees).

Once the flowers had cooled slightly, Hayley peeled away the plastic carrier from each of them to reveal their velvet (flocked) texture. Voila! The top had a new splash of colour!

Upcycle 2: Autumnal cushion!

Autumnal colours never go out of style- and so are rainbows; they add character and warmth. When we found this lovely blank cushion, we knew exactly what to do.

Hayley drew out her rainbow on to some sketch pad paper and cut out the three arches. Using these as templates, she then drew onto the back of the vinyl sheets (all A4 HappyFlock) and cut the arches out.

To ensure that everything presses correctly, Hayley removed the cushion insert from the cover and pre-pressed the cover for 5-10 seconds to remove all creases and moisture from the fabric.

Using the iron just above the two-dot setting (165 degrees), Hayley then placed the largest arch onto the cushion cover, covered with greaseproof paper and pressed down on each area for 10 seconds. Using the first arch as a guide, Hayley then placed the second largest inside the first and repeated the pressing process. Lastly, she added and pressed the smallest arch.

Before placing the cushion insert back into the cover, Hayley peeled the plastic carriers off of the rainbow arches! This left the cushion with a lovely flocked finish and as the perfect addition to any home!

Project 3: The ‘lovely’ top!

For this chequered print top, we originally envisioned red writing lopping across the front, but eventually we settled on white HappyFlex Stretch. Due to the stretchiness of the fabric, HappyFlex Stretch was a perfect choice and would move with the fabric.

To achieve the curly, neat handwriting that Hayley wanted, she used the Silhouette Studio software to design her wording. After deciding on the word ‘lovely’, she flipped the writing (as it would be cut into the back of the vinyl) and sent it to the Silhouette Cameo cutting machine, which was loaded with the A4 sheet of White vinyl. The machine then cut the word into the back of the sheet, and Hayley simply had to weed out the word as shown below:

Hayley then uses the iron (at 150 degrees) to pre-press the area of the top that the wording will be placed. After this, she positions the vinyl onto the fabric, covers with greaseproof paper and presses each area for ten seconds to ensure the entire design receives the correct amount of heat for the correct amount of time.

Once pressed, Hayley peels back the shiny plastic carrier from the vinyl to reveal the smooth finish.

To add some extra detail, Hayley decided to hand sew a light pink pom-pom onto the design, in the middle of the letter ‘O’.

                This added a small but quirky detail to the top, transforming it from a blank canvas to a ‘lovely’, unique addition to a wardrobe.

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