Cross stitching is a really simple technique to learn. I was first introduced to it in primary school, and I just recently taught my boyfriend the finer points. While the average haberdashery or craft shop is awash with old-fashioned patterns that give cross stitching a dated image, there is actually a huge amount of people working fun, modern, and sometimes nerdy, patterns. And one of the easiest ways to display your handiwork, is by turning it into a little badge. This tutorial will assume that you already know how to cross stitch. If you don’t, feel free to cry for help in the comments section.
You will need: self cover buttons (I used a 29mm size), button making press, brooch or badge pin, aida, embroidery floss, needle, a cross stitch pattern (this can be one you draft yourself, or working from a game sprite works well – they’re about the right size.)
1. Stitch up your pattern onto aida. I used 22 count, but other counts can work too, just make sure your design will fit on your badge. The bob-omb and boo ghost in the top photo were stitched on 14 count – the rest on 22. For a 29mm size badge, use a 2×2 inch square of aida.
2. Your button making press should come with a paper guide in it – cut this to the appropriate size and position over your work, then cut around it. I like to fold the guide into quarters so as I can find the middle to try to centre the motif on the badge. If you’re going to be making a lot of badges, it’s a good idea to trace your size guide onto card and cut out a few, just in case you lose or damage the original.
3. Take your button cover. It will have a little metal loop sticking out of it as these are intended for making buttons (no surprise there) rather than badges. You’ll need to remove this – you can use scissors, or wire cutters. The type I’m using has the loop slotted into the button cover, so it is easy to twist and remove.
4. Time to use your button press. These handy rubber tools can be bought at any craft shop or haberdashery for about £3 and have holes for various sized buttons. Position your work centrally over the right sized hole and put the front of your button on top. Push it into the mould, This makes the fabric taut across the front of the badge. Fold all the remaining fabric over.
5. Take the back of your button, put it on top of the folded in fabric and use the top part of the button press to push down firmly. Pop out your finished button. The excess material should be trapped neatly under the back of the button. I have real problems getting my work perfectly centred, but it adds to the charm, I think!
6. Using super glue or a hot glue gun, glue the pin onto the back of the button.
Done! Easy, isn’t it? And now you have the chance to win a set of four of my handmade badges. They are all Mario themed – one red mushroom, one green mushroom, a Yoshi egg and a red Koopa shell. To win all you have to do is leave a comment under this post telling us about your worst craft/DIY disaster. The winner will be chosen at random. The giveaway is open to everyone and the winner will be announced on 31st March 2012, so make sure you check back to see if you’ve won. Good luck!