This blog is a place to archive project processes and techniques from Painted Threads with descriptions of how work was produced. I am including comments that contain questions and answers pertaining to the work from many of the original blog posts.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dream Houses- more how-to details

This is one of my favorite house views not seen in the magazine.

In this months Cloth Paper Scissors magazine you can find the directions for making my Dream Houses also referred to as the bird houses. There are a lot of steps to making these and in fairness to the other contributors of the magazine only so many pages could be devoted to my article and as a result the photos included in the article were fairly small. So I thought I would give you some nice big detailed photos to see the process.

In this first photo you can see I use a ball stylus to mark the metal. Light pressure will score a line through the paper, so it is easy to see for cutting.

I use firm pressure to score lines that I will be folding. The metal cuts easily with an x-acto knife. cut once with moderate pressure and wiggle the metal back and forth in your hands and the cut line will separate. After cutting the basic house shape the outside edge is trimmed with decorative craft scissors.
To fold a straight line fold the metal up against the edge of the ruler.
The ruler is about the same thickness as the Peltex used in making the house, so I fold the metal over the edge of the ruler on all four sides of the opening.
Then I gently straighten the edges up and fit it through the door hole cut in the house then fold the metal flaps flat against the inside wall of the house.
The metal sews easily, it is very soft. Lengthen your stitch length and sew slowly.
I use the ball stylus to draw on the metal, free form doodles. Scoring a line that echoes the decorative cut edge is always a good place to start. Then fill in with dots, lines and zigzags.
I sew all the house walls together working left to right, stitching over a fused strip of painted fabric to reinforce the hinge.
This is my high-tech way of using an iron for fusing a 3-dimensional piece. Find the right combination of paperbacks from the library to fill the space, so when you iron the top edge you don't squish the structure.
Always put a press cloth over the painted surface before ironing, this is a cold iron for the photo.
I tape the metal strips in place on the roof and sew adding each metal strip just before I get to it.

After sewing the metal on the roof, I emboss it and fold the edges down to fit over the house.
Finished houses ready for roofs.
I always like to make sure there is something to catch your eye when you look through the door.

Martha said...

Thank you Judy for the instructions, I can't wait to start my own house. You are so creative and talented. I just love your work. I'm always telling my husband that when I grow up I want to be like you!! :)
Thanks again for the post.

Besides JoAnn's, any other places to buy the "metal"? I only found pewter at JoAnn's. I love the silvery color but a friend wants one with brass color.

judy coates perez said...

Martha, I use the medium weight Pewter. The brass is going to be a harder metal and may not sew as easily. I used the copper on a project and I definitely noticed a difference. It was harder and the machine skipped stitches a few times. You should try a small sample before going too far with the brass.

Another option would be to punch holes in the metal with a thumbtack or needle and then hand sew the metal to the peltex.

Years ago I sewed coke cans that I cut up and heated over a candle flame to anodize the metal then embossed. I punched holes with a thumbtack along the edges (over a piece of corrugated cardboard) and sewed the pieces to quilted fabric blocks in a 9 patch with wire and beads.

Vicky aka stichr said...

Judy do you think the hole punches would work? The kind that you hold in your hand, that can punch different shape holes, or a small round one vs. the 'binder paper size hole' we all grew up with???

judy coates perez said...

I am so glad the extra photos help. It is so hard explaining how to do things in words so it makes sense. I like seeing lots of pictures with instructions myself.

Vicky, all I can say about the hole punch is try it and let us all know how it works ; )


  1. Judy, thanks for sharing. I can't wait to get my magazine copy. I have lots of copper so I'll take your advice and punch holes and hand sew.

    Your houses are fabulous!:0)

  2. Hi Dolores, if you have a sewing machine with internal metal gears, like a Bernina or Pfaff, it's no problem sewing copper on the machine. A good way to know if your machine can handle the copper is if it will sew through a couple layers of heavy denim or canvas.


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