Mittens and Hats for Year-Round Fun
By Judi Kauffman
I’ve put away my winter coat and boots, but not my Winter Hat and Winter Mittens die sets! Looking at shapes in new ways, thinking outside of the box, is lots of fun and I hope you’ll join me. They’re not just mittens, they’re birds and people and who knows what else. They’re not just hats, they’re cats and dogs and any number of other things.
All you need to do is die cut the mittens and hats from white cardstock (the solid shapes, not the overlays), turn them upside down and sideways and see what you see! Get the kids in on the act, too. They’ll discover all sorts of things that adults might never envision.
The starting point for all of this was the way the thumb on the mitten reminded me of a bird’s beak. Then I saw a man’s nose.
I decided that a guy with a flat-top haircut would probably be a referee at a soccer game so I used a second mitten for his body with the thumb turned into a mitten-shaped, simplified hand and gave him a striped shirt. The flower stem is one of the die cut ‘strings’ from the Winter Hat set, the bloom is a Glitter Flower peel-off.
When I turned the Winter Hat upside down a cat appeared. A second hat became the cat’s body. Six strings from the same die set made excellent whiskers. (Instead of The Cat in the Hat, this time it’s The Cat IS the Hat!)
Those same strings were just right as legs for the bird. She’s walking along, looking for dinner. If you want her to find a worm, cut one of the strings in half and color it brown!
If you want a bit of dimension, use foam tape beneath the heads as shown in the photos above.
1. Die cut some white cardstock mittens and hats. Set aside one of each to use as a template.
2. Use a pencil to trade around the templates a bunch of times on lightweight paper. Now start doodling! Start by making your own version of a bird, person, or cat, but branch out and see what else you can invent. Using the pencil allows you to erase and revise, always a good thing at the start of a project like this.
3. You can use the shapes singly or in combinations. Mix and match. Get out some other dies that you haven’t used lately and see if you discover new ways to use them. For example, a leaf could become an almond-shaped eye for a face, a rectangle could become the body for a dog.
4. When you’re feeling happy with your pencil sketches, start drawing on the die cut cardstock pieces. Continue with a pencil if you want, but go over the lines with a fine nib permanent pen and erase the pencil lines before getting out the markers, colored pencils, or another coloring medium.
5. At some point, consider die cutting cardstock in colors other than white to help you see more kinds of animals, plants, and such. (For example, a dusky green cactus, a gray airplane seen side view!)
6. Add your finished creations to Artist Trading Cards (ATCs), card fronts, an art journal, planner, or hang them as ornaments… Tip: Send some die cut extra mittens and hats to your friends, along with your card or ATC and the link to this blog post so they can get in on the fun!
7. Please leave a comment here on the blog to let us know how YOU envision using the Winter Mittens and Winter Hat and other die sets in unexpected ways. What do you see within the simple shapes??? And do share your projects on the Elizabeth Craft Designs Family Facebook page so we can see what you created.
Elizabeth Craft Designs –
Glitter Flowers peel-offs
Cardstock in white and other colors of choice
Sakura Pigma Micron pens 01 and 1 in black
Markers (shown: Winsor & Newton ProMarkers)
Optional: Foam tape, colored pencils
Hi Judi, These are genius !! you have a great ‘eye’, I love these !!
Lots of love from Patricia xx
I love how cute these are. And how easily (it seems) you can switch from elegant to cute to funny to lavish. Thanks for this great idea.
Thank you, Paula! It is always fun to switch from one style to another when I’m designing projects. I frequently end up going for silly and whimsical – it makes me grin when I’m working (and I think the general wisdom is that wrinkles don’t show as much when you’re smiling…
What? Mittens and Hats, Oh my! Judi, this is so clever. I just love what you did with these 2 die sets. I’d love to knock around in your head for awhile!
Many thanks, Kathleen. I think the key is to always look at things with fresh eyes each day. That doesn’t mean abandoning tried-and-true favorite techniques. Not at all! It just means having a willingness to experiment. If you have either of the die sets – mittens or hats – give it a whirl. If not, try it with an upside down or sideways vase, tag, heart, or something else that you DO have! (Can you tell I just put on my ‘teacher’ hat? Hope this mini-class was useful…)
Genius! You truly have the heart, eye and mind of a true artist.
You made my day, Lucy! I’ve never been called ‘genius’ before! My parents were both artists and that gave me a bit of a head start, but it’s also been a lifetime of fun, work, fun, and more work…And as I said before, I can’t think of anything better than teaching – unlocking OTHER people’s creativity. It’s always YOUR TURN.
Toooo clever! Love the craziness of the characters!