Monday, December 5, 2016

Cutting Up My Kona Color Card {Tutorial}

Over the summer, I bought Amy Ellis' pattern for her Majestic Mountain mini quilt. I HAD to make it, and I'm so pleased with how mine turned out! But picking the colors was no easy task. I had a Kona color card, but it was so difficult to pick colors that would work together from the tiny swatches that were so far apart from each other on the card! If you have a color card, I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about. You do your best, but in the end, it's just impossible. This was the first time I was needing to use it to pick solids to go together instead of picking solids to match fabric I already had, and it proved too much.

So, I cut it up.

I know a lot of people have done this, but I was nervous and I wasn't sure how I wanted to store it exactly. I was worried about losing swatches, and I was worried about finding the easiest way to use them. I know lots of people punched holes in them and strung them on a chain, but the swatches are so small already that I didn't want to punch a quarter inch hole through the color. And then I saw a post on the Anything Pretty blog. She cut hers, mounted them on velcro and stuck them on a canvas. I thought it was brilliant! I didn't have to punch a hole in them, and it seemed like a great way to store them: as decor. It would be one less thing I need to find a place for me in my cluttered sewing room.

So, first things, first. I didn't find a whole lot of great tips for how to do this, so I thought I'd really spell it out. After all, "cut it up" seems like directions, but what's the best way to do that, really?

I don't know if the way I did it is the absolute best way, but it worked well for me.

I started with a dull rotary blade and used my rotary cutter and quilting rulers to cut it. It was hard, I'm not going to lie, and I did it over several days because it put a lot of strain on my hands. But, doing it this way meant that I got really straight cuts, and I imagine it was easier on my hands than scissors! Note that because the swatches aren't all the exact same size, you need to do rows individually. No short cut here--every piece has to be cut out. I cut rows the width they would end up (a fraction below the name) and then cut the strips into pieces.

Next, I bought rolls of velcro with adhesive backs so I wouldn't have to glue. I bought 3/4" wide velcro and I found it at Lowe's. Again, I think "stick velcro on the backs" isn't very helpful, so here's exactly what I did. I tried peeling the velcro and then cutting it, but this gummed up my scissors a lot faster than when I cut the velcro in pieces with the plastic still on. So, do that. I found that it was easier to keep the velcro from tangling up by separating the two sides of velcro, which come next to each other on the same piece of plastic. Cutting it apart was pretty quick, and then you can set aside the half you're not working with. And, I elected, like Anything Pretty, to put the loop side on the back of the color card pieces so that if I put them on fabric I won't risk the hook side snagging my fabric.

Last was the trickiest part for me: applying the velcro strips to the canvas. I cut a tiny bit off and stuck it to the back to test the adhesive, which seemed pretty strong to me while I was putting it on the color swatches, but the next morning, it pulled right off. This very likely might have been due to the face that I used a tiny piece, but I wasn't wiling to risk it after all the work I went to since I reasoned it could be due to the uneven and flexible surface of the canvas. So, even though the velcro had adhesive on it, I used glue, too. I didn't want the strips to peel off when I pulled color chips off.

I bought a 24x36 canvas from Joann's when canvases were 50% off. It still ended up being $25--this is not a cheap project! I used blue painter's tape to create a 1" border around the canvas to keep my strips even, and then I marked my strips with pencil and my 6"x24" quilting ruler to make sure they were evenly spaced and level. Make sure you use a light pencil line--after I glued down a few strips, I went back and erased the lines so they were fainter because you can see the pencil through the velcro. I spaced the lines apart by 2", so the strips are closer than that since the swatches are over an inch tall.

I started by finding the middle line and then measuring out from there--you'll need 13 lines total. And for the glue, I used E600. So far, it's holding well! I found a package of single use tubes at Target of all places, and bought that even though I had a large tube at home. My large tube was several years old and I knew it would be difficult to squeeze it out evenly.

After glueing the velcro down, I spent a bunch of time sorting the color swatches, but that part was fun, as I'm sure you can imagine!

I'm really happy with how this project turned out! I love that it's a prominent piece in my room and that I can see it all the time. I love playing with the color chips and picking out new color combinations. It worked out really well, and if you're looking for a way to cut up your card, I'd definitely recommend it!

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