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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Bunka Rug Tutorial

There's another day of shingling ahead. Bah Humbug!

I ran across some bunka rugs this morning. I thought you might have fun making them while I am plugging along with shingles.

These rugs have been around for a very long time. Everyone has a different way of doing it. This is just my preferred way. The first photo shows a couple of them that I have made. The one on the left is a pattern that I got out of a book on real rug hooking. The other one, I designed by looking at a rug catalog and drawing it myself.

If you want to try one, I suggest that you put "rug hooking patterns" in your search engine(I use either MSN or Google) and search "images". That will lead you to some really nice rugs that you can trace the outlines of and have at it. I get a lot of my patterns out of old books about rug hooking. Many times they have the patterns as line drawings just the right size for minis.
OK....Now for instructions.

The supplies that you need are:

medium weight non woven interfacing like Pellon(not the iron on kind),
bunka in colors of your choice,
a Sharpie or other fine point permanent marker,
sharp scissors,
white glue,
tweezers and a straight pin.

For those of you that don't know about bunka, it is a Japanese embroidery thread that comes in a "chain". You can pick at the end and it will unravel into a lacy looking thread. You can get it at miniature shows and on the net. I get some of mine from shows and I ran across this website this morning. It looks interesting for ordering. I can't say that I have tho.

I actually like a little heavier bodied glue that I can put in the glue syringe. Pick one that is not fast drying. You can use plain old Elmer's if you have the fine point for the bottle. You can get them in a three pack at most craft stores. Elmer's does tend to soak into the pellon a bit and you have to keep applying it more often.

Now down to business. The first step is to trace your pattern onto the pellon, that is at least a half inch bigger all around,with a permanent marker. Don't worry if it isn't exactly perfect. It will all be covered up with bunka.

Next you tape down the pellon down to a work board . If the board is something that you are afraid the rug will stick to be sure to put some waxed paper between the rug and the board. I usually use blue tape. I couldn't find it this morning so I used scotch tape. About anything will work. You need the rug stable and turn able. It is much easier to work on if you can turn the whole thing around to get to some areas.

Here is a close up of the first few threads I glued down. I started with the dot in the center and worked out from there. I don't cut the bunka until I have an area filled in or I come to a line that I have to cross over. Now here's the confusing part.....If you are going to an area that is more than one line of bunka wide, start at the outer edge and work in. It is easier to fill in tiny spots than whole lines. The light purple was put in from the top of the photo and going left and down, I spiraled it until I filled in the area around the dark spot.

Next I started the darker purple at the top of the diamond and worked to the right. I kept going and held the point with a pin so that I could go back towards the center of the design. When I got to the bunka that I had already glued down I cut it off and started again on the other side. You don't want to lay bunka over bunka or you will have a lumpy rug. Where I stopped at the bottom of the photo I cut. I will then start on the other side and work up to where the lines cross again and repeat the procedure.

The last photo shows me filling in an area with the yellow. I guide the bunka with a pair of pointed tweezers. That area is filled and ready to cut. I will keep on filling in lines and areas. all over the rug like this. I cut the bunka as little as possible.
Some people like to do it in short pieces. I think it is easier to manage the bunka in one piece. Just one woman's opinion.
When you finish out to the edge, simply run a line of white glue all around the edge as close as possible and let it dry. Cut the edges off close to the last line of the bunka.
Now put the rug in your mini house and admire your handiwork.
Back to shingling....See you tomorrow.


Debora said...

Never knew how 'bunka' worked, silly me, but now I know, THANKS Casey, another mystery unraffeled haha. Don't think I'll ever try though... I'm afraid I would get caught by the twisted bunka ;-))

Deni said...

I would so love to try this, I have a ton of bunka I bought at a garage sale and thought what can I do with that
I have been searching through your blog Casey from the beginning, goodness I have missed a lot of the incredible tutorials you have posted
Not getting a lot done on minis here though huh? but having fun all the same!

Deni said...

OH Man how hard is this to do, yikes the bunka is sticking to my fingers and hooking on and coming off with my tweezers, oh dear how much glue do I need! It seems I have to use a heaps then it looks messy Casey I need you lol

Caseymini said...

Deni. First, either get a glue syringe or a needle nosed bottle. Only do an inch or two at a time. You don't mention which hand is your dominant hand.

I use the glue syringe with my dominant hand and the by bunka in my off hand. That way, I can switch from the glue to a toothpick or a stylus to guide the bunka to the line of glue. No fingers involved. Start at the outer edge of a section and spiral towards the center. When you finish the section, cut the end.

Reading back, I realized that on the large areas, I do start at the edge and work to the center nowadays. And I sometimes use a toothpick or stylus in place of the pin and tweezers. Sometimes, as we work, we find easier ways to do things. I hope this helps.

E mail me if you are still having problems. I may go back and rewrite this entry. I am sorry that you are having problems.

Caseymini said...

I also should have said an inch or two of one row at a time.

Deni said...

Oh Dont mind me Casey I have a hard time with any mini! Just not as clever as you, but I will get it ! thank you for your help!

elly in amsterdam said...

Thank you for this post, Casey, I just finished my first bunka. I found it helpful to have a spray bottle ( with water) and some babywipes next to my gluey right hand, as well, both to keep babywipes wet and finger plus tip of nozzle clear from glue.