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Pet Portrait Stocking

Hey there, crafty-folk! My name is Stephanie and I am so honored to be guest blogging for Crafty Chica! I’m a wife and mother of 3 that also works full time as a graphic designer/art director. I spend just about every spare minute I have crafting, and I like to share my crafty adventures on my blog, Multi-Tasking Mama.

Today I’d like to share one of my favorite crafts from my 12 Days event that is a great mixture of the two things I love best – graphic design and crafting! So without further adieu, here’s my tutorial to make a Pet Portrait Stocking!

Pet Portrait Christmas StockingOur newest addition to our family is experiencing his first Christmas, and it only seemed fit for him to have his own stocking to hang along side the rest of them.

This idea is based on DudeCraft’s Paper Cut Portrait tutorial, only using fabric instead of paper.
Plain Christmas Stocking or material to make your own
Photo of your pet
Photo editing software
Felt or other fabric (at least 3 colors for highlights, shadows, and midtones)
Fabric glue
Embroidery thread and needle
Straight pins

Step 1 – Find your photo

Step 2 – Posterize
Open your photo in a photo editing program (I use Photoshop CS3). Print a copy of the original photo to use as a reference later on. Save the file with a different name so you don’t copy over your original photo file. Desaturate your photo to give you fewer tones to work with, keeping in mind the colors of fabric you intend to use for your portrait. In PS, under the Image>Adjustments, choose Posterize. Adjust the setting to your taste. Ideally, you want your image to have definable shapes for each color value, so choose the setting that allows the most flat areas of color without losing detail. I chose to set my level at 6 which gave me a nice balance.

Step 3 – Crop your image

Crop your image as close to the subject as possible to give you a smaller work area.
Step 4 – Define the areas

Create a new layer. Use your Eyedropper tool to select one of your 3 color values. Use your Paintbrush tool to paint over the areas of the color you selected to clean up any grainy areas and create crisp edges. Repeat for remaining color values. Refer back to your original image if needed. Your image should look something like this with flat clearly defined color shapes.

Turn off the visibility of your posterized layer and you should have just the painted areas visible.
Step 5 – Crop
Crop your image to only the portion you want on your stocking.

Step 6 – Add background if needed

Since my subject is mostly white, I needed a guide to know where to cut out my white pieces in the next step. If you are not using white then you can skip this step. I just added a new layer, dragged it underneath my painted layer and filled it with a solid color rectangle.
Step 6 – Print

Print a copy for each color value you are using, plus one for reference. For instance, I have 3 color values, so I printed 4 copies of my graphic. My photo was quite large so I printed it at 20% on letter sized paper. It is important to remember that the design needs to fit on your stocking–so measure accordingly.
Step 7 – Cut Out Your Pattern
The next step is to cut out your paper pattern pieces from the prints you made. Figure out which color value is going to be your background (this is usually the largest area; in my case mine was white). Trim around the entire shape and lay aside.
Cut out the rest of your pattern pieces by cutting out all of the midtones from your second print, and the remaining color values from your remaining prints. Piece them together by using your graphic as a guide.
Step 8 – Cut Your Fabric Pieces

One by one, pin your pattern pieces to their corresponding fabrics and cut them out so you have a bunch of fabric shapes.
Step 9 – Layer Your Fabrics

Again, referring to your graphic, start layering and gluing your fabric pieces accordingly.
Step 10 – Add Details

Once your layered fabric piece is dry, add details using embroidery thread. If you are using a thin fabric, you may want to add stabilizer before stitching, but since I used felt layers, I felt mine was sturdy enough on it’s own.
For the white dots of the eyes, I made french knots. If you don’t know how to make a french knot already, Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching has a fantastic, easy-to-follow tutorial. I got it right the first time using Jenny’s tutorial!

I also used a satin stitch to create the brown patches on my pet. Here’s Jenny’s tutorial for that as well.
Step 11 – Attach to Stocking

Once your stitching is complete, it is time to attach your pet portrait to the stocking. If you are making your own stocking, you can easily sew your applique on before assembling, but I used a ready made, dollar store stocking so I simply attached my pet with fabric glue. Step 12 – Hang and Enjoy!

Hang your pet’s new stocking and stuff with treats from Santa!
Don’t forget to come by my blog every day to see more fun holiday crafts, including Christmas Wine Bottle Lights and FREE editable Letter to Santa stationery!

Positive state of mind

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