I made this kid’s art portfolio for my nephew several month’s ago now, but I couldn’t post about it because it was for his birthday that just happened last week!
I made his art portfolio from some large fabric samples, some offcuts of Thomas the Tank Engine fabric and some other leftover bits and pieces.
A version of this post also appears on our sister site Upcycle My Stuff.
My nephew is super in to Thomas the Tank Engine (in fact I’ve made Thomas themed gifts for him before!) as well as a being a budding artist (did I mention he’s just turned 3!).
Thomas the Tank Engine Fabric
When I saw someone on ebay selling offcuts of Thomas the Tank Engine fabric with some of his favourite characters I knew I needed to snap them up and figure out something to make for him.
Kid’s Art Portfolio Tutorial
I searched around for art folder and art portfolio sewing tutorials but it took me a while to find something that looked just right.
I wanted slots for crayons, paper and stickers or stamps and I wanted him to be able to carry it around with him using a handle.
So when I found this tutorial by Just Another Hang Up I knew it was the one.
I had two thick upholstery type fabric samples (yes I buy other people’s unwanted fabric samples too!), in bright red and navy blue check and I thought they would work well with the Thomas the Tank Engine scraps pieces.
The fabric samples were just a smidgen off the measurements recommended in the tutorial I used so I decided to just go with it.
I neglected to take a photo of the samples before I started but they were those kinds with the bit of thin cardboard stuck around the edges – very annoying for sewing!
You can see a bit of the cardboard in the photo above which is of me putting the interfacing on to give the art portfolio a bit of sturdiness.
Sewing with Fabric Samples
You can also see I tried to rip the cardboard off the back of the fabric samples rather unsuccessfully – anyone know any good tips for getting rid of that stuff?
Anyway as the cardboard was around the edges I thought maybe it was okay to leave it in to give it even more stiffness – it was a bit hard to sew through neatly but it worked out okay – make do and all that!
Novice Applique Technique
This project was done back in March, so I was even more of a beginner sewer then and I hadn’t done any applique so I was sort of winging it.
I didn’t use any heat n’ bond or anything like that as I would if I was doing it now. Instead I just folded the raw edges behind each scrap, ironed the fold and machine sewed it down around the edges.
I used a black thread and I like how it kind of gives each panel a bit of a ‘frame’. Beginner’s luck I guess!
Top Tip for Crayon Pockets
Probably the best bit of Just Another Hang Up’s tutorial for me was her tip about how to get straight lines when sewing the crayon pockets using tape – I used washi tape because it was what I had but you could use masking tape.
Make sure to visit her blog for all the details on this crayon pocket hack as well as the measurements and instructions to make your own kid’s art portfolio.
Extra Pencil Case
I had two extra Percy the Train and Fat Controller scraps that didn’t make it onto the Art Portfolio so I decided to put them on either side of an extra little pencil case to go with the portfolio.
Thomas the Tank Engine Themed Kid’s Art Portfolio
Here is the finished gift – reports are my nephew loves it! Phew!
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If you liked this post you might also like my kid’s wall hanging from a fabric remnant project.
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