This year we held two Majacraft camps, one in Australia and one here in New Zealand shortly after. Both were pretty awesome! Majacraft Camp Australia was organised by the very inspirational Janet Day of ‘My Spin on Things’ in Melbourne. We started out on a […]
If you are a spinner who enjoys making anything you do ‘yours’, then I think you will enjoy this idea! Our wonderful wooden bobbins are just right for adding your own personal touch and turning them into something uniquely yours. I have played with this over the last months and created a few different designs for my own bobbins, I certainly always know which ones are mine when sharing them at workshops! I have found that the Mandala kind of design really lends itself well to the circular shape of a bobbin, and it can look great when spinning. I have also created some less symmetrical designs as well, just for fun.
What follows is a tutorial I have written to help you get started with your own bobbin decoration, mostly just an overview of equipment and techniques that I use and know work well, however there are so many ways you could do this, please consider this tutorial as just a starting place for your own art. I have also included a video to accompany this, the first part taken from a Livestream I did on our Majacraft Facebook page (click THIS LINK to visit there and you will also hear my expanded commentary for the first half of the design work). The rest of the video was completed after the livestream and shows more closeups on how I blend colours on the design.
If you have never worked on a wooden surface before you may want to find some wood to practice on first, as the best option, find a bamboo chopping board or similar and sand that back to give you the same kind of surface as the bobbins. Bamboo is smooth and not very porous and makes a lovely surface to decorate, but it does behave a little differently than paper does for creating your art on.
- A small piece of fine grade sandpaper (160-180)
- Fine maker pens such as Staedler triplus markers in a range of colours
- Gel pens of any variety – sparkle gel pens are fun to use too
- A white gel pen with free flowing ink (it should draw easily)
- A fine black marker pen
- Spray Varnish – I use Mod Podge Hi Shine – but you can use any kind, matt to super gloss, depending on your tasteIf you want to try this design you can download my pre-drawn template. Print it to about 65% scaling (not ‘fit to page’) with your printer software options. DOWNLOAD THE TEMPLATE
Give the surface of your bobbins a light sanding to remove the varnish and create a more porous surface. If you do not take enough of the finish off your pens (or paints) will not stick to it or dry well. You will see when it is ready as the surface will look smooth but not shiny, and it will be slightly lighter in colour. Make sure you work evenly across the bobbin.
Cut out your design, including the circle in the middle. Transfer your design onto the wood. In the video you can see how I do this using a very traditional method! Completely colour the back of your design with a soft leaded pencil, leaving a layer of lead on the paper. Make sure it is nice and thickly covered with no gaps.
Turn the paper template over and lay it down on top of the bobbin with the drawing facing upwards. It helps now if you stick your design down in a couple of places with a little tape onto the bobbin, just to prevent any movement as you transfer the drawing.
Take a pen with a hard tip and trace over the lines of your drawing, press hard enough that the pencil on the back is transferred onto your bobbin (you can lift the paper a little to check) but not so hard that you leave dents in the wood. Once you have worked your way all around the paper image your design outlines will be transferred onto the bobbin and you can remove the paper.
The template I have provided you with has only the main outlines on it, which is all you need for your colouring. When it comes to adding details and the white lines you can either make those similar to the ones on my bobbin example, or make up your own! Think of it as just ‘doodling’, its fun!
Now it is time to add your colour! This step really is literally colouring in! You could simply colour in each shape as a solid colour, choose the colours you love and work your way around the design. Or you could do what I do and blend colours together inside each shape.
I love to make graduated tones and layer colours to blend together. The video shows you how I do this. I usually start with the lightest colour first and lay that on in a larger area than I want it to end up in, because some of it will change colour. Then swap to your next colour and lay that on next to the first colour, and then overlap it slightly. Go back to your first colour pen and use that to mix the two colours together where they meet, I use very small circular motions to do this. Sometimes you need to swap back and forth a little between colours to get the mix right, just keep working into the area, dragging one colour into the other, until you are happy with the result.
Add your white gel pen details. I usually use this to put an outline around all the shapes, and then add details inside the shapes such as dots, lines, swirls, spirals, your imagination can take you anywhere with this!
When everything is dry you can finish your bobbin with a coat of varnish. I have used Mod Podge Hi Shine that gives a glass-like finish to the finished art. I love how it really lifts with the shine over it but you prefer you could instead use a matt or a semi gloss, it is entirely up to you! I use a piece of tape to cover the plastic centre of the bobbin and prevent any varnish from getting inside it.
And thats it!
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and that it has given you some ideas for your own bobbins! You can use these techniques on any kind of wooden tool or piece of equipment, the bobbins lend themselves to it very well of course but there is no reason to stop there if you wanted to really customise your tools yourself. I am also considering a themed set, ‘dragon bobbins’ are coming soon! I just need to stock up, but luckily as well all know, there is no such thing as ‘too many bobbins’ 😀 If you find you need more then of course any of our dealers will be happy to help you, follow THIS LINK to find one closest to you!
Now please enjoy the video, it shows each stage of the process and also some speed drawing to see the design grow 🙂
Things have been pretty exciting over the last month in the Aura Club, as we have been running an ‘Extreme Yarn’ challenge! The Aura is a wheel that is MADE for extremes, it handles the biggest, bulkiest, most textured of yarns, taking it all in it’s stride with rarely any need to hand wind onto the bobbin or even worry about it all fitting. We knew this already, but this challenge has also shown us the huge range of the Aura wheels and the people who own them! We saw extreme fine (Anne Lies) to extreme texture and colour (Joelle McCarthy), we have seen extreme plants, such as the nettle spun by Judy Kavanagh, the flax by Samantha Gehrmann, or the fresh grass spun by Isla Fabu.
We saw some extreme ‘firsts’ with such as Isabelle Rovero’s very first yarn, and Sandi Hicks taking raw fleece to spun yarn for the first time. And we also saw some extreme colours and textures. I was blown away by Anne Lies super fine lace weight, I can only imagine the time that went into spinning that, and the control of the fiber, and then she came with the other extreme of the super textured bulky with the sheep add ins! Amazing 🙂
I will let the images below speak for themselves and I hope you enjoy the gallery! Clicking the pic will take you to the info 🙂
Before we go however, I just want to thank everyone who participated in this challenge, it has been eye poppingly exciting to see the level of innovation and experimentation people are coming up with, and I am very happy to say that every single yarn you see below was spun on an Aura! We started this club because we feel the Aura is a unique wheel that really allows Aura spinners the range needed to spin anything they can imagine, and this challenge has proven that Aura spinners have some amazing imaginations. I wish I could offer everyone a prize in the draw! I am grateful for all who participated sharing their work and inspiration with us. But now, I will draw the winner…!
Congratulations Samantha! We will contact you for postal info very soon!
Now lets enjoy the amazing entries!
Last week we relaunched our Dynamic Heddle weaving loom, the Majacraft variation on a rigid heddle loom. We created this loom some years ago, and included innovations we are still very proud of such as the variable dent reeds (hence ‘dynamic!’) and the rare earth […]
September 2017 marks 21 years since the Poads started with Majacraft, and we have been making the best spinning wheels and tools we can make ever since! It is very rewarding to see some of the wheels made in those early days still out and about with their spinners, and just as rewarding to have been able to further develop and evolve Majacraft Wheels into our newest models, shipping all over the world!
We would like to mark this special occasion with something special and we have been busy planning some awesome anniversary treats this month. In fact, we are so thrilled to have reached this milestone, that we have decided to keep the celebrations going till the end of the year! Starting on the 20th of September and running through till 20 Dec 2017, we will be sending out free gifts with every Majacraft Wheel order you place with us! Keep reading for more details..
And what will those special gifts be? We would like to share with you two brand new products that will be launched during this celebration. These two products will be sent out initially as gifts with Wheel orders, but after 1 October we will also be making them available to all our customers via our wonderful dealers worldwide.
Firstly we are proud to introduce our new Niddy Noddy! This Rimu and Bamboo niddy noddy is lightweight, easy to use, and comes apart to flat pack when you’re out and about or when not in use. It will give you a standard 1.5m skein. The ends are made of curved, lightweight bamboo and they are easily fitted to the Rimu centre post with easy tighten bolts.
We also bring you a bonus bobbin! Lilac is a favourite of Glynis Poad, her grandmother grew Lilacs in her garden 🙂 And so we have honoured her with her own Special Edition 21st Celebration Bobbin colour, a gift to every customer ordering a new Majacraft wheel (except the Aura) during our celebration months! These will also be available to order from your local Majacraft Dealer from October 1st.
We will be offering a Special Gift with every Majacraft Spinning Wheel order made between 20 Sept to 20 Dec 2017
With your wheel purchase you will receive:
- With all wheels (except the Aura)
- The brand new Majacraft Niddy Noddy:
- 2 Special Edition 21st Celebration Lilac Bobbins
- With your Aura order:
- The brand new Majacraft Niddy Noddy
- The Majacraft Stylus kit (Stylus attachment and Bobbin)
This special occassion Gift offer is available on all spinning wheel orders made between 20 Sept to 20 Dec 2017. If you have been thinking about treating yourself and your fibre to a wonderful new wheel, this is a great time to make your order and pick up some extra goodies!
If you are a Majacraft Aura owner, or considering becoming one. then we have something new to share with you! This is such a unique wheel, from its beautiful modern styling and New Zealand native timber materials, to the amazing ‘modified double drive’ system that […]