I can promise you this is the last 4-H related craft project this year!
For those of you not in the youth ag loop- animals are bought at a relatively high price per pound from our children by local businesses and individuals to support the learning experience of the future farmers/ranchers/veterinarians/etc. The animals are expensive because they have been bought at a premium- there is a huge price hike within fair rearing season as the breeders like to make money too- and the feeds the kids have to use are not commercially viable. Just to cover the cost of buying their kid our meat goats would have to sell at $3.00 a pound for the live animal when the meat you can buy at the supermarket has been sold from the farmer at around $1.80 per pound for the live animal. So when a buyer at the fair pays $5.50 per pound for a 4-H or FFA animal the child is only just covering the basic cost of buying and rearing the goat. Admittedly we live in California where everything comes at a premium, and I know in some states 4-H kids cost $150 less than they do here.
When the animals are purchased at the fair auction it is expected that the child will give the buyer a pre-prepared gift and then a more personalized gift at a future date. We were advised by the manager at our local Rainbow Ag (which is awesome btw) to give initial buyer gifts that are easy to carry and can be useful while sitting for hours bidding on animals.
I had been working on stickers for the girls to hand out to visitors to their goat pen. Those came out great and I really wanted to make something for our buyers which was a little more personal than the ubiquitous wine and food basket or flowers that are often presented.
So I took the sticker design and made it up in vinyl. Vinyl appears scary at first but it is so easy- and you dont need a fancy machine to cut it- though it does make it easier! At the bottom of the post as usual will be the SVG files and JPEGS . Also if you want to do printable iron on stuff that works great and is easy-peasy the JPEGs would work good for that too.
So for this project you will need:
- a canvas tote (similar bags are at Walmart for a little over $2), hat, t-shirt or whatever
- heat transfer vinyl (I love Siser Easyweed available here or on Amazon) but there are vinyls at Michael’s and Beverly’s and JoAnn’s too.
- transfer paper- the sewing department always has some
- craft scalpel
- Graphic of your choice printed in reverse
- baking paper
1: Print your graphic on regular paper IN REVERSE and trace it using your transfer paper onto the matte side of your heat transfer vinyl or just tape the paper to the vinyl if you are good at juggling cutting through two layers accurately. My graphic is below.
Alternatively you can freehand draw on the transfer paper for you uber-creative types. Just don’t use Sharpie which will run when ironed (yes I’ve been there) bic style pens are much more reliable.
2: Cut any fine internal design work with your craft scalpel. Its absolutely ok to cut through the glossy backing plastic but try to leave all the pieces attached to each other by a little bit at least. It wont matter in the end so long as you can weed out the bits of vinyl you don’t want and then get the backing off the bits you do after ironing it on. I am a bit of a masochist so I had to try cutting the vinyl by hand with all the lettering: obviously the simpler the design the easier it is but the scalpel work is not hard, it just take a few goes to figure out the right pressure. While cutting the lettering I used a metal ruler- it made the process much easier and if you mess up and cut through a bit that shouldn’t be- like I did- when the vinyl is ironed the line disappears. Cut around the outside of your pattern with you scalpel or scissors.
3. Once your pattern is cut from the vinyl wipe it with an almost dry cloth any residue of the tracing material. Then you can go strait onto fixing it to your fabric item following these instructions:
Just as an aside I would suggest after the final 2-3 second blast of heat that you leave the item flat till it cools. Vinyl will sometimes look a little wrinkly if moved to quickly.
Our buyer’s gifts are these totes filled with a matching t-shirt, an icy bottle of water, a bag of sunflower seeds, trail mix and jerky and a cold bottle of Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Summer Solstice (a favorite beer from a local micro brewery).
I hope the folks who are generous enough to sit through the heat to bid on our kids like them!
Happy fair season y’all.