100 Yen DIY: Zoo Pillow

So I've decided that I'm going to craft a 100 yen D.I.Y. project once a week. Why? Because there are so many things accumulating in my craft/sewing corner -- pillows from IKEA that need cases, glue sticks (I counted 3!), beads, ribbons, yarn, and so much more. And hopefully some of you out there will be amused at my attempts to stretch a 100 yen into something stylish (I hope) for my home.

I'm only going to make useful things, so this should be a real challenge. No Pups In A Cup (long story) or tchotchkes made out of pipe cleaners. And my budget is ¥400 per month. That’s the challenge, so here we go...

First up in my D.I.Y. marathon is this Zoo Pillow (that's useful, right?). We go to Ueno Zoo a lot and I thought this would be a fun way to make use of the dozens of photos I take there. This is actually the second Zoo Pillow I've created. The first was made with a rhinoceros image. I thought it would be funny to keep on our livingroom couch, but my 19-month-old daughter quickly swiped it for her room.

Here's a little rundown of what you'd need if you feel a burning desire to make one for yourself:

1. a white pillow case or, if you can sew a basic cover, white fabric (you can get pretty decent cotton canvas at the 100 yen store)
2. a pillow (I used an IKEA pillow, cut it in half and used the rest for another project)
3. a photo of an animal
4. iron-on transfer paper
5. a computer and printer (or head to a print shop)
6. scissors
7. an iron (the heavier the better)
8. a nice hard surface to iron on

Now here's the how-to:

1. Sew your case if you don't already have one. I’m not the best sewer, so you're better off searching elsewhere for sewing how-to's.
2. Using a software application for photo imaging (I used iPhoto), adjust your photo to black&white. I over-exposed my image to make it brighter.
3. Enlarge your photo to a size that will look good on your pillow case (you don't need to silhouette the image)
4. Print it onto your iron transfer paper and cut out your image. You might want to use an X-Acto knife to get to the hard-to-get spots.
5. Place your image face-down on your case. With your iron on the hottest no-steam setting, start ironing in a circular motion, pressing down firmly. Keep ironing for about 5 minutes.
6. Let transfer cool completely (that’s important) before you remove the backing.
7. Stand back and admire your little Zoo Pillow! Awww. Isn't it cute?

Total cost for this project: ¥0! I already had unused 100 yen fabric, pillows, and transfer paper sitting around. Hope you stop by next week to see what I'm whipping up on a budget. And if you like to craft on a budget, please, please, please, tell me about it!
(photo by me)


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