Category Archives: Crafting

DIY word shirt for dad

My parents used to print t-shirts. This led to a stash of white t-shirts in large sizes that none of them knew what to do with years later. After saving them from the dump, I stenciled a shirt for my dad. There are tons of ways to do this, but my (rather messy) way involves:

Scrapbooking stencils

A sharpie

Black fabric paint

A ruler

A small paintbrush

A graphic shirt to measure

A shirt to paint

And some cardboard or a file folder.

Lay your shirts flat, and measure the distance between the design and the collar. Also measure the distance between the armpits and the center line of the shirt. Use this measurements as reference for centering your design on the new shirt.

Stick some cardboard (or half a file folder) into your t-shirt underneath where the design will be. This will ensure your design doesn’t bleed through to the back of the shirt.

Trace your letters, one at a time, onto your shirt using the sharpie and stencil. Use the ruler to ensure your letters are level and spaced evenly.

Use the remaining cardboard or file folder as both a palette and a straight edge. Paint along your stencil tracing, covering the parts your don’t want to paint.

Continue patiently painting until your design is done. Let dry.

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Tentacles? Tentacles.

So one of the great things about knowing how to make things is that you can make things you otherwise couldn’t afford. For example, animal-themed jewelry.

Fortunately, I have some gold paint and sculpey on hand for various creations.

For this project you will need:

Jump rings,

Some sculpey,

A straight pin,

And sharp knives.

First, pinch and roll the sculpey into a carrot shape.

Save your excess and roll it into a skinny sausage. Later, you’ll cut this into little discs for the suction cups.

Using your sharp knife, shave one side of the sculpey carrot.

Think of this as like peeling the skin off a carrot, if you enjoy thinking of craft dough as food. One side will now be flat, like this:

Curl and twist your tentacle into a cool shape. Really have fun with this one. Using photographs for reference will help.

Using your straight pin to pick them up, stick your little clay discs onto the the flat side of the tentacle in two rows. Use smaller discs near the tip of the tentacle, and larger ones near the base. This doesn’t need to be perfect, as long as it looks right to you.

If you want to attach your tentacle to a chain or finding later, add a jump ring by making a small slit in the base of the tentacle, partially inserting a jump ring, and pressing the hole closed gently. Adjust the shape of the tentacle and round out the suction cups as you like.

Now you can stick that sucker in the oven and bake according to the package’s instructions. Once it’s fully cooled, paint it if you like and enjoy.

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Stay or go? Part 3: Lazy Sunday

I’m exhausted.

I just spent several weeks rehearsing and finally performing in a stage production with Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands. This show brought together dozens of awesome people that I want to be friends with forever. I saw (and heard) some amazing works of art, and got to cross “Perform on stage” off my list of things to do before I die. This adventure culminated in a three-day show, for which I ended up making my own costume from scratch in less than a week. I played the main character’s sinister toy lamb, one of the characters to comfort her throughout her fairytale-like ordeals. Now that it’s over, I can finally relax and be a lump for a little while. But what  to wear?

Sweatpants are sad, lifeless garments. You wear them in bed, or working out, or possibly to school. If you’re short like me, you probably have to scrunch them up and leave marks on your ankles, and yet you wear them anyway. Even though they’re generally too hot, people claim they’re comfortable. Look at this:

They’re like deflated stuffed animals. Dead, deformed beasts found in Montauk would look away. They possess about a tenth the majesty of two mating slugs. So I propose that we replace them with yoga pants. They’re more comfortable, easier to hem, and make it look almost like you plan on doing something with your day.

See these? They’re like sweatpants in disguise. The swingy velvet ones are borderline cute.

Yes, you may have to hem them. But with fine knits, a zig-zag or overlock stitch will be all it takes.Most sewing machines include at least one overlock stitch, which requires a special foot. The stitch will usually look like a cross between a zig-zag and a straight stitch. Slash your pants to the desired length, stitch around the edge and bingo, they’re perfect.

Go forth and be lazy.

(Incidentally, the shirts I’m wearing are a teaser for my next post. Stay tuned.)

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Stay or go? Part 2: Old-n-Busted vs. New Hotness

I like dresses. They’re fancy, quick to put on, and still allow for a nice breeze now and again. Unfortunately, they also get caught on things, stained, stepped on, or ripped. Pretty as they are, the dresses on this list have been heavily worn, and it shows. I’m sure I’ll accumulate many more, but for now I’ve pared it down to a choice few.

Going:

This one I’ve had for so long I broke the straps twice. This could be attributed to the flimsiness of noodle straps, but I like to think it’s due to my TOTALLY HARDCORE LIFESTYLE. Ahem.

This one has belonged to my sister or I for over six years. The knit fabric is thicker and sturdier than most. I thought briefly about keeping it and adding modifications, but the neckline is warped and the material has been bleached a little more than I would like.

This one, believe it or not, is fine. However, my rule for keeping clothes is that I have to be able to style it three ways I would actually wear, and a sheer purple tunic can’t deliver for me.

I am not fond of tunic tops. They possess the inconvenience of dresses, with the added benefit* of requiring pants. Eeevil.

I liked this one while it lasted. Its thin material showed off every jiggle and bump in bizarre ways, but it was thin and pleasant in the hot North Carolina summer. Now it’s threadbare, and feels revealing and childish at the same time. Ew.

I adore the cut on the strapless bodice here. I modeled the bodice on this dress after it. However, the skirt’s too high and cannot be walked in without its sky-high slit. I can appreciate turning heads now and again, but that’s just too much.

This dress has been a nineties nightmare. It’s stiff and shapeless, has a giant, zippered kangaroo pocket, and cannot be taken in without looking worse. Also, why on earth was I so obsessed with military olive?

I got this dress at 7, and was still wearing it at 15. Eek. I wore it so much I drew myself in it when I wanted a self portrait. Now that I’m three years older, I’ve decided I don’t want people thinking I’m an early-blooming elementary schoolkid. Who’d have thought?*

There’s not much to say about this one, really. It didn’t fit anyone in the house, and yet we clung to it in case we suddenly radically changed body type. Not worth it.

This one was alright in cut and color, but the material was strange in a bad way. I also had another I liked better.

Now let’s see the ones I’m keeping.

Staying:

I’m not sure what distracted me.

Well-fitting, suitable to wear for most of the year, and it has pintucks and pockets. Win.

Why yes, this is a mumuu. It’s also buttery-soft, lightweight, and blousy but short at the same time. Excellent.

Do I even need to say it? I paid $2 for a close-fitting, 100% cotton, in-your-face eighties piece of magic. I rated the dresses above on a scale of one to this dress. Wonderful.

(*) Denotes sarcasm.

Coming up next: Things to replace those old sweatpants, followed by the big reveal of everything I’ve gotten rid of so far.

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Fabric scrap earrings: For when feathers are too mainstream.

I'm wearing a shirt with the sleeves pushed down. It didn't match.

I made these using scraps from a ribbed, tie dye t-shirt, and a broken necklace. For earrings like these, get some ear wires, 18-gauge wire, any long, jagged fabric strips, and two pieces of chain. Stack the fabric scraps in a manner you like and poke your 18-gauge wire  through the top of each strip. Make a short loop for hanging, and wrap the wire a few times around the fabric, tucking the loose end of the wire underneath. String the chain onto another piece of wire, and add your fabric tassel onto that. Stick the whole thing on the end of an ear wire, and repeat.

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If liking it means you should put a ring on it…

… I must really like my right hand. Heh.

jewelry

I have been playing with wire and hot glue quite a bit lately, and thought the results were worth sharing.

I found a ring base design on one of many, many fashion blogs, and will link to it  when I find it. It used a flat wire spiral and a loop of doubled-over wire. I will link to it when I find it. I would suggest using a marker or other round object the width of your finger for sizing.

For the bell ring:

  • Get a bell ball. There should be plenty around at the end of December in craft shops. If necessary, rip one off a cheap drugstore toy your dog ripped apart.
  • Before finishing the ring base, string the loop at the top of the bell onto the wire. Adjust the bell to the front of the ring.
  • Close it up, and add a bead of hot glue to the bell loop where it meets the ring base.

For the spike ring:

  • Make a loop at the end of some unbent wire. After bending the wire into a ring the right size for your finger,  bend the loop outward. Wrap the remaining wire around the loop in a flat spiral.
  • Get a two-pronged hollow cone stud ready.
  • Cover the spiral part of the ring base in hot glue, and quickly stick it into the cone. Add more hot glue if necessary, and bend the prongs around the ring base.

For the dolphin ring:

  • Get a charm from a store, or harvest one off a broken necklace. Remove any loops or jump rings.
  • Using very thin wire, connect the ring to the base.  Try to show as little wire on the outside as possible.
  • Shock of shocks, the next step is to add hot glue.

For all rings, metallic paint is useful if your metals don’t match. It can also disguise visible glue. Let dry (I mean it) and spray with clear coat. I would avoid putting on your rings before the glue is cooled, regardless of how excited you are about them.

Enjoy!

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Men’s button down to ruffly dress (And crochet flower hairclip)

Hi everyone! Hope you’re having a good summer.

My dress, made entirely out of one of my dad's shirts.

I’ve had some free time. Badly-illustrated tutorial to come!

Also, in that picture up there I’m wearing this thing on my head:

This.

The flower is the rose in the middle of the Anticraft‘s Asphyxiation choker, which I then stitched onto a scrap of blue fabric, beaded in the middle and tacked onto a large barrette. I have thick, unruly hair, which easily explodes or covers any smaller, wimpier scalp-jewelry.

See you guys soon!

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