Bean Bag: Week 3 (and a half) + Final reflections

We took the glued parts (eyes) to Abdul Kader (tailor in Fashion Design) so that he could stitch the black parts of the eye on it and stitch them together. He told us to cut and  glue the black bits of eyes where we wanted to on the fabric, so that he could just stitch over it:

 We left the cutouts on his table when he wasn’t available at the same time as us and left a thank you note. We should have also written a note reminding him what was needed because he’d forgotten and unfortunately had to reopen the stitches and restitch the cuts.

We went and got the eyes stuffed as soon as we got the chance (at the upholsterers place). They weren’t as round as we’d imagined, but we didn’t get it stuffed extra because then it could get heavy and lose it’s softness.

Next came attaching magnets onto the bean bag. We had to drop that step because the eyeballs had become too heavy, and the magnets didn’t hold. We also found that most people that walked into the room were more interested in tossing the eyes around, instead of placing them on the bag.

The final step was to get the cover over the lining part and fill it some more. And we were done.

Final Result!
interactiveblobbeanbag interactiveblobbeanbaguser

The blob turned out to be far larger than we imagined. It was also a much larger success with the people than we’d anticipated. Because of it’s huge size, sitting on it felt like sitting on a cloud, and then getting hugged by the cloud, because it would fluff up on the sides. The critique made me see the ‘product’ potential of the bean bag. We’d made it for a very personal purpose, to fulfil our own wants, but then a lot of people said they were interested in buying it.  It now is a multi-people, interactive, playful beanbag/bed. Something very 3jeeb!

I entered this project thinking that I’d be learning a lot about sewing. Instead I learnt a lot about driving in rush hour in here.
I also learnt a lot about keeping tailors/people–you’re–relying–on on their toes to get the job done in time.
No matter how much planning and testing we’d done with the magnets, at the end of the project they didn’t hold. Some things just can’t be 100% tested.
I also learned that answers can come from the most unexpected of places (knowing where to buy eps beads from the upholsterer and not anyone in university).
I learned useful skills like breaking magnets and cutting fabric…and making a mess effectively filling eps beads into something.

Most of my struggles were to do with the amount of time that was spent in getting materials and navigating around the country to get those. Making decisions wasn’t very difficult since the physicality of our object guided a lot of the decisions, even the concept.

Making decisions was also simple because of the collaboration. Luckily for my indecisive self, Amreen is a quick-thinker and was able to make a lot of on the spot decisions. Other than that, working on a decision/solution together got us to a good answer, quickly (two brains deciding). The collaboration went smoothly. The only times things got a bit tense was when one of us simply wouldn’t understand what on earth the other was explaining. But somehow we were able to get our ideas across to each other (repeating the same thing again and again in kind of different ways). It works.

The only thing I’d like to ‘fix’/improve about the bean bag is how the eyes have a potential to get lost and don’t really have a secure ‘resting place’ when the bag isn’t in use (on top of the bag isn’t secure). Perhaps we could’ve designed a zip system where the eyes could be stored inside the bag or in a pouch on the outside? Although, opening the zip and storing inside could still work. But then that’s not as cool as the magnets would’ve looked (if they’d worked). I really wish I could find and try stronger magnets


Bean Bag: Week 3

Went back to the tailor (day after giving it to him) to check on process. He said he hadn’t started yet. We went back the day after (during class time):

upholsterybeanbagliningblackout copy
^ wow progress!

Went back the next day and he had the cover done as well, ready to be collected:
next came the messy/fun step of filling it in. And only then did we discover that we had WAY less filling than we needed. Filling that came from Dubai…The two huge cardboard boxes full of filling filled less than half of the bag. I hurriedly called the ‘upholsterer’ to arrange something (since earlier he’d said he knew where to get the fillings), he said he’d try to get them ASAP but it takes minimum of 4 days.

We moved on to thinking about the eyes. When we took our cloth (white and black) to the fashion design tailor he made a sample (using the softball sample we took to him):

Make a Baseball template


He suggested that for this to have a good finish, we should by a faux leather kind of fabric called ‘rexine‘. He told us where we’d find it. After a while of driving and walking around in a seemingly shady area, we finally found it. And then of course (like all the other times we left during class time) there was the 2-8 traffic to deal with.


Atleast now that we had our rexine, we worked on cutting it out, so that all the tailor had to do was stitch it together. Our initial plan was to do the stitching ourselves, but after seeing him stitch the sample, we realised we wouldn’t be able to do a very good job by ourselves (especially the stitching part).
 We planned how we would attach the magnet in the eyes. We considered gluing them on directly to the inside of the rexine, but then decided that using a patch to create a supporting pocket for the magnet would be the best solution. The problem came when we had to attach the pocket fabric to the leather fabric. Super glue didn’t work. Fabric glue didn’t work. We didn’t want to stitch it because the thread would show on the outside of the eyeball. In the end it was a liberal amount of super glue that did it.

That weekend our second batch of filling had arrived at the upholsterers:epsbeads
 This batch was twice the total of what we had earlier, 4 times one of the full cardboard boxes. Filled the entire back and middle passenger seat of a land cruiser. Entire.

Bean Bag: Week 2

Beginning of this week I picked up Amreen (plus bean bag filling) from the airport…Because we couldn’t find it here (despite even asking online) and she had to buy it from Dubai. We’re dedicated people:

EPSbeads5-10kgs worth of EPS beads…

next came the step of buying the fabric (and magnets). We couldn’t find magnet strips, so had to buy regular, round magnets.

^ settled on complementing red and purple velvet (good that I didn’t make the decision alone!). Bought a zip as well, in anticipation that the tailor may need it.


 got back and clarified our design. How we would explain it to the tailor. We’d take images as reference (to explain the type of bean bag = flat = two layers of fabric with a thickness) and our design of the cross-section. We even planned where we’d have the handle (in an area where the blob is ‘convex’) so that the stitching and seams aren’t stressed. Finalised our idea for the eyes. Initially the plan was to have them patched on, or stitched on flat. We even considered painting them on with fabric.

The final idea was to have the eyes as round plushies, that would connect to the bean bag via magnets. Other things we considered was that they could connect with velcro or buttons.

  • Velcro – ruins fabric/hair/velvet.
  • Buttons – feel hard and don’t look very aesthetic.
  • Magnets – don’t see them, barely feel them (flat), more fun, cooler…

So to carry out this plan, we had to break some magnets

(used the fabrication labs wooden vices)

took our designs to a sofa upholstery tailor – upholsterer? Explained it to him using images we’d printed out beforehand. We’re prepared people:
 such nice materials. We could’ve bought rainbow materials from here! Except, we can’t afford rainbow colours of such a high quality

Before we even mentioned, he suggested himself that he should make a lining for the velvet from ‘blackout’/curtain material, to give it shape and hold. He also told us that the zip that we’d bought wasn’t long enough and that he’d use a zip that was sufficient.

We tried to make it very clear to him that we needed it by the coming Wednesday (to give ourselves a week of final touches and preparing the magnets + eyes before the final. He said he’d try…


Bean Bag: Week 1

We decided on using magnetic strips because we figured that using actual magnets would hurt when someone sat on the beanbag.

Researching where to get materials needed:

materialshoppingblob00002 materialshoppingblob00003  materialshoppingblob00005

And then, since I barely know the basics of sowing, researching templates and techniques:

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 6.03.49 PM Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 8.13.57 PM materialshoppingblob00001 Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 8.18.04 PM

^ Round for the eyes.

Consulting with professionals…:

We went around asking Richard (materials library), professors and Johana from the Design shop if they knew where to buy bean bag filling (and the fabric).


Decided on a bean bag shape. We could do a blob, popcorn, donut. If we made a blob it could be stacked, connected with velcro or it could be like a steak…We settled on the steak.IMG_6637

Next came deciding on the size we wanted it to be, so that we could figure out how much fabric we needed. Used the tiles on the floor as a reference (they’re 40x40cm) and figured that we wanted the blob to be about 160x160cm. But since we wanted a blobby shaped bag, only the widest part would be that length, so we planned to go bigger, 2x2m. Multiple people can chill on it at once.

Translating the scale on illustrator to experiment with the shapes:

We both agreed on the one on the far left^

We took it to the tailor in Fashion Design who helped us calculate how much fabric we’d be needing. He explained that if we didn’t want to have a ‘joining’ area then we’d need to find fabric that had a wide width.

Fabric searching (later buying):

So I spent this weekend searching around for good places for fabric. We still hadn’t decided on what fabric to buy. It had to be thick for strength (so that it holds all the beads and bodyweight without bursting/beads showing through). But it should also be soft for comfort.  And then we also had a colour preference. Preferably we wanted 2 shades of blue, or red. Or colours that complemented.

I found these, a thin kind (nope because it’s too thin), velvets and a stretchy kind of fabric (Amreen later enlightened me by telling me it’s ‘lycra’…).


I didn’t buy there and then, because I wanted to confirm the decision of the fabric with Amreen (she wasn’t in the country at this point).

Bean Bag: Last project

So the last project had to be about anything we wanted, to put it simply. We had to be able to relate it to design technology and Graphic Design. It could either be a continuation of one of the projects we’d done, or something else that we have in mind (that we can relate).

Ideas I had:

  • Stop motion, using clay?
  • 3D printed blob – eyes pop out
  • Plushie

Initially decided on a plushie. Later I got together with a friend and we planned to do a collaborative project where we made a beanbag.

Things we need to keep in mind:

Materials: Fabric, eps beads, magnetic strip, sewing machine

Idea: Making a beanbag based on a blob character. It will have magnetic eyes that can be attached to certain parts of the bean bag.

Why I’m doing this?

Will be learning something completely new. Never finished proper.  Never really used a sewing machine. Stop motion with clay, I find it annoying (I don’t think that clay will sculpt into blob shapes easily). 3D printing, I already have a prototype, know exactly what I want to do. Normally I’d prefer this (knowing exactly what I want to do), but since this is the only class where I feel like I can actually do anything without messing up, I’m going to go for the idea that I know the least about. So beanbag it is. We both had our different reasons for this project (she already seemed to know how to work with the medium).

Amreen’s plan:

Week 1: creating the blueprint+ buying materials+ process

Week 2: Assembling the outer structure of the bean bag+ learning how to stitch+ making the eyes+ process

Week 3: placing magnetic strips in the lining of the bean bag+ attaching magnets on the back of the eyes.

Week 3 and a half: Done!! (hopefully)

The one I made:

W1: buy materials (fabric ,beads, magnet) get used to sewing machine – talk to someone in fashion??

W2: experiment

W3: experimenting with final

W4 (finals deadline): finalising < try to finish in w3

^ Clearly she had made a better plan. This is probably why I never end up following my schedules. They’re never made well. If I hadn’t seen her plan I wouldn’t have even realised how vague mine was.

Why I’m interested in it:

Will be learning something completely new.  Never really used sewing machine. Stop motion with clay, I find it annoying (I don’t think that clay will sculpt into blob shapes easily). 3D printing, I already have a prototype, know exactly what I want to do. Normally I’d prefer this, but since this is the only class where I feel like I can actually do anything without messing up, I’m going to go for the idea that I know the least about. Because…I like plushies.

Links I’ve found for reference:

BETTER reference for ladder stitch:

We decided on magnetic strips because Amreen mentioned how using actual magnets would hurt when someone sat on the beanbag

3D – Reflection

The group is crowded around the display box:


Setting it up:

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As a whole we produced many different styles of characters. We had hanging ones, plant pots, heels, lipsticks, groups, keychains. Ones with exchangeable features:

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We had to name them at a last minute notice. I rushed through a bunch of name: bloop, gloop, blobby, blobster, wob, wobble.

And here it is:



Simplifying my idea. Kept trying to do too complicated things, had to simplify. Figuring out how to get the glossy finish was challenging (experimenting with different types of nail polish remover, how to apply the remover, how to use varnish, how to paint, which paint). There were a lot of tests I had to go through. And even though I went through all these tests, I faced problems that I may have anticipated (the spray paint enlarging the eyeballs), but had hoped wouldn’t become a big issue (unfortunately, they did).

The whole eyeball rolling thing worked…but not as cleanly as I had wanted it to. I wanted the eyeballs to roll smoothly, instead (especially after the whole spray paint, 480 thing, varnish scenario) they hiccup a bit (get stuck). I had tried to make sure that the eyeball won’t pop out (by making the sphere inset far enough that the thickest part of the sphere was below the surface), but then the physical prints had ridges. After sanding those ridges, of course, it began popping out (the larger eye) since I hadn’t embedded the larger eye far enough).

I sliced the blob cleanly in the software, but again, after printing, it just didn’t fit as cleanly. This was one problem that I hadn’t anticipated and planned for. If I get the chance, I’ll probably try filling the ridges with melted wax or glue and spray paint over it. Except it’s going to be displayed soon so I probably won’t get the chance. But I will. Whenever I get the chance.

Difference between 2D and 3D:

Honestly, even though it was more complicated and a bit frustrating at times, it felt really cool, creating something that I knew would be a physical thing. I didn’t struggle that much. It took a bit of time to get used to how scaling and everything worked, but most of my problems came post printing.

How did the process inspire you to develop the concept + story. How did the process inspire a concept. What is the internal logic?:

So I didn’t really think I have a concept. Since there is no story. But the internal logic is probably something close to how different blobs would look and behave. A blob started off as a gumdrop. But then a blob can also drip slowly. And if it were alive, it would most likely panic before dropping on the ground from a height. It can make a sloshy sound. And of course, the eyes of a blob are unlikely to be fixed in place. They roll around in the slime that is the blob. Or drop out (I never did make the eyes drop out, but I wanted to, might do it for the last project).

Next step?

I will probably try filling the gaps with some wax or thick paint, and spray paint over it again to reduce the ridges. Or maybe not. The look that it’s been in some accident has kind of grown on me…

3D – Post printing experimentation and working on final

Post production work!

Started with filing:


^ This smoothed out the ridges

Then tried a nailpolish remover:


It didn’t make anything smooth or glossy, but it made filing easier:


So…I came across this:

Enthusiasts have been trying to smooth their printed parts for years by submerging them in acetone or brushing the liquid solvent on by hand — both of which led to unhealthy amounts of chemical exposure and less-than-impressive parts. Now, makers Austin Wilson and Neil Underwood have developed a process that can approximate the results of professional molding machines with only a hot plate, mason jar, and a few ounces of acetone nail-polish remover.

ABS-based printed parts are placed in the jar with the acetone and heated to 90 degrees Celsius on the hot plate. Acetone has a low evaporation point, but is heavier than air so the process creates a small cloud around the model which melts the surface, slowly smoothing it to a mirror finish. After a couple hours, the parts solidify, can be removed, and be displayed with pride.

“Acetone has a low evaporation point, but is heavier than air so the process creates a small cloud around the model which melts the surface, slowly smoothing it to a mirror finish.”


Anyone interested in trying this should take care. Wilson says points out that acetone isn’t especially dangerous, but it has to be handled carefully since the vapor can catch fire if exposed to sparks or flames.

“handled carefully since the vapor can catch fire if exposed to sparks or flames.”

So. Since I’m a very careful and crazy safe person. I totally went and preheated my microwave. And placed this totally safe thing in there:


^ Vaseline to hold the thing under the nailpolish remover, it kept bobbing up like a boat.

Don’t know what I was hoping for, since technically the print needed to be in acetone vapours and not the liquid. But yeah. I did that and left it there. The one thoughtful thing I might have done was unplug the microwave, so that random sparks don’t happen and I don’t end up setting the house on fire.

I must have left it there for 40-60mins

Result? Nothing happened. Literally. No glossiness. Not even a fire.


I give up on that and decide to try painting with nailpolish for a glossy finish:


Not bad, but I didn’t like the uneven finish of the nailpolish. I also tested the nailpolish to see if I could remove it from the print. I could:


But that wasn’t the cool part:

I tried a different nailpolish remover as a final ditch at the glossy finish. And it melted the plastic as I started wiping the surface. I was so happy!!!!!!!



The problem was, the amount of nailpolish remover I had left and the fact that it was bought in a small store in India. Ugh.

Anyway, told mum to buy a cheap nail polish remover (high in acetone content [not sure how I expected her to figure that out]) on her next grocery trip. Cutex worked.

But wow, this one was so strong:

Lamsza? Lamzsa?


I submerge it and it MELTS SO FAST that I can’t even scoop the print out; it starts slipping from my fingers back into the remover, because of the layer of plastic sludge that had formed.

This was bad. The finish because of the sludge wasn’t glossy:


I found the perfect technique of wiping the surface with a nailpolish remover soaked piece of wool, with more pressure than you’d think is necessary.

Later I also applied a layer of glossy acrylic varnish over it. It made it shine like anything, but it also made the surface a bit sticky


Working on the final:

So after discussing it with my professor, we decided that the whole string idea was way too complicated to be completed by the project deadline. I decided to go along with the idea of a blob-container with rollable eyes. The design was already done, I had printing and the post processing to do.

When I went to print, the printing-helper there recommended that I use PLA instead of ABS plastic. I kept asking him why, whether it was because PLA dried faster? He said no, in fact ABS plastic dries faster. Eventually (after I’d decided to go with his advice, since he’s the expert), he explained that PLA had a stronger bond. He’d shown me a sample to help me choose. It had the ridges and looked exactly like my ABS, the only difference that I could tell was that if felt glossier and looked shinier (but the ridges were still there).

So last minute plan change to print PLA:

IMG_6510 IMG_6514 IMG_6515 IMG_6518 IMG_6519

Compared to other people, It printed pretty quickly (2 hours-ish) and without problems:


Wasn’t sure which parts were the base and which weren’t, I had to test to see whether I was supposed to remove the ridges part or not:

IMG_6522 IMG_6523

Immediately I noticed how the prints weren’t perfect. They didn’t fit perfectly (like the computer models) and I had to put extra pressure to push the gaps closed:IMG_6524 IMG_6525

Another big problem was how I had made the eyes the exact same fit as the socket. So now with the ridges, no way did it roll, it didn’t even fit without creating a visible gap:IMG_6526

So…sandpaper it was. This was where I said to my friends: ‘I’m sanding the blob’s eyeballs. Imagine sandpapering your eyeballs’, and watched them cringe.


Sanded it to get it to finally fit (and roll). Another problem was that the bigger eyeball wasn’t inset far enough, so after sanding it smooth, it was possible to pop it out. I tested this by temporarily gluing my parts together using all-purpose adhesive. Bad idea. It was a pain to wipe off:

IMG_6528 IMG_6529

Next came making the stuff get the same finish I was able to achieve with my test. Problem? Yes. The test was ABS. The PLA plastic did not shine or melt or anything. Ok I lied, it did a bit, but VERY little. AND sanding made the surface get very visible scratches. I was in a spot where I had to make the decision to live with the ridges, to avoid messing the surface of my plastic. Eyeballs are in a bottle to prevent them from rolling around and off the table and getting lost (that happened. A lot).

IMG_6532IMG_6537 IMG_6534

Testing paints:


Attached string to the base, so that the base could be popped off:IMG_6538

I decided on red (it looked far better than the murky blue and green was too cliched), so I had to experiment with how it looked with the varnish. I mean I couldn’t use nail polish remover, so I might as well use varnish to get an extra glossy look:

IMG_6540 IMG_6541 IMG_6542

I experimenting with painting over a varnished surface (because i thought that maybe that varnish would smoothen the the ridges a bit) and I experimented with varnish over a painted surface.IMG_6543 IMG_6545

The varnish over looked deeper, and using the varnish first didn’t really make a difference to the ridges.

Next came painting with acrylics:

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Looks like it has just murdered someone…^

I wanted to draw the pupils in such a way that rolling the eye in one way the pupils would be small and look shocked and rotating the eye another way would show a dilated pupil, making him look relaxed:


So i was told to use spray paint and not paint on using acrylics. That would give a smoother finish:

Testing out different colours and types of spray paint. Left to right: Florescent green, a crimsony red, blood red, dark blood red.


For me it was between the green ( boogers…) and the red that was not too dark and not too orange. I ended up picking the red, because again a green blob is too cliched. Although I could make it glow in the dark. But I wanted to keep the idea simple, it was already a container and a blob that had rolling eyes:


Decided to pray paint the eyes too, to give them a clean white finish (acrylic didn’t give an even finish:


Nature (ants, leaves, flying insects things) was testing me. By the end of it I had walked back inside with at least 3 small flying bugs dead on the plastic mat. I think they drowned in the spray paint.

This is a leaf:



The thing I suspect (and hope won’t happen) is that the eyeballs have increased in diameter because of the layer of spray paint:


The next day (final due)

Drew with a technical point pen:

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Acrylic varnish (so that the pupils don’t get smudged when the eyes roll). Figured out a way to keep the eyes in place while they dried:



The pupils totally smudged. AND the eye didn’t roll anymore (especially with sticky varnish surface trying to roll inside a sticky spray painted surface), it barely fit. It was like being back to square one:




^ this didn’t do anything apart from making the surfaces slippery to hold. What it did do was that it dissolved the layer of varnish. So I wiped the varnish and the pupils (which made them smudgy). It still didn’t roll with the varnish off. Main problem was spray paint. Sanded it off.

Used a sharpie marker this time on the eyeballs. This one didn’t smudge.

Small one rolled perfectly. Big one could be popped in and out. Changed concept…

Glued the side with the rolling eye using superglue. Glued the side with the popping eye, pulled the base out (to test if it opened) and it popped that side off. Considered not gluing that side(side with the popping eye) (so that it would open from the side). Tried gluing it again for a last time. Worked. I was able to open the base too…

And here is my Beauty:

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^ realised now that I should’ve spray painted the inside surfaces too. The lines between the eyes really annoyed me. But at this point I couldn’t do anything.

This blob has been through a lot.