Posts Tagged ‘diy’

Posted: September 30, 2014 in Uncategorized
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I haven’t posted here much lately, because I’ve been working on (drumroll with associated antici……pation)…



Here’s the cover:

darkartscoverfinal…seriously, I can’t believe it’s done. It was many weeks of writing, crafting, photographing, learning to edit things, fixing formatting issues, and now FINALLY IT’S DONE.

It’ll be for sale tomorrow, October 1, in my Etsy Shop. Just in time for Halloween, if you’re not the type to make creepy things year-round. Here’s a teaser of a few of the projects:

Top: Mourning Brooch. Bottom left: Fairy Gothmother Ear Cuff. Bottom right: Mercury Belt Bracelet.

Top: Mourning Brooch. Bottom left: Fairy Gothmother Ear Cuff. Bottom right: Mercury Belt Bracelet.

Are you excited? I AM EXCITED.


I have been watching waaaaaaaay too much Supernatural. If you haven’t seen the “Frontierland” episode from Season 6, I won’t spoil it for you– but this is one of Dean’s lines. It’s so good. Soooooo good.

Did this shirt with a freezer paper stencil. Image is below if you wanna make your own.


Scarves: What allow me to wear v-neck shirts year round, even when there’s snow whipping into my ears. Here’s a handful of DIY scarves to try out this year.

The creator of this snazzy scarf claims it can be made in just 15 minutes. That’s less time than it takes to boil a pot of tea, so why not try it?



American Apparel Circle Scarf Knock Off from Come On Ileen

Anyone who’s been paying attention to fashion knows about circle scarves (also called “infinity scarves”), as they’re super duper popular. So it’s no surprise that this made it on the list. I love that you can wear it looped twice, looped once, or as a shawl.



Downfall of most scarves: They fall off or get blown around just when you need them most. Maria Torti solved this problem by adding buttons, and she shows you how in this tutorial.



T-Shirt scarf from Ruffles and Stuff

I really, really, really like this layered, ruffled scarf.



Lace End scarf from Sea lo que sea

This is such a clever idea– adding lace to the ends of a scarf. I’ll take one in brown with antique handmade lacyness, please.



Winter Warmer Cowl from Coletterie

Not quite a scarf, but working on the same idea as the infinity ones, this cowl is just gorgeous. I especially like the gathering in the front. And it’s reversible. Say no more.

I live in Wisconsin, where a gal can never have too many warm hats. Or too much cheese. Wait, no, I’m allergic to dairy. So I can absolutely have too much cheese (e.g. “any”).  But hats? Oh, I’ll take ’em all.

Hat made from a t-shirt via At Second Street.

This one may not be super snuggly in its original design, but I’d imagine it could be made with an old sweatshirt rather than an old t-shirt. Either way, bonus points for creative reuse.

Another upcycled piece, this time using cozy sweaters. Isn’t that really what a hat is, after all? A sweater for your head? She lines it with fake fur, too. Mmmm.

Jill Sander Inspired Veiled Beanie from Crashing Red

I know. You’re thinking, “A winter hat with a veil? Whaaa?” And my answer to you is: Oh yes. And why not? No fashion is safe from a remix, and the beanie is long overdue.

DIY Brimmed hat from Tasha Delrae

A slightly different brimmed hat here, this time with a slightly girlier gathered top. I shall make one in skull print cuddle fleece.

Cupcake hat at Instructables.

Pie Popper at Instructables posted this tutorial for a cupcake hat. I’m over 30 years old and I still kinda want one. Imagine how fun it’d be to decorate!

Warm Winter Hat Pattern via From An Igloo.

From An Igloo is a Canadian blog, and Canadians know winter as well as we Wisconsinites do. So I completely trust that this hat will make my head feel snuggier than a mouse burrowed in an underwear drawer. AND there’s an option to add dinosaur spikes. I suppose I could make them for the kids, too….

No costume yet? Check the links below for some nifty Halloween mask DIYs.

Sew up a bat mask, thanks to Living With Punks.

These bat masks would be fun for kids, or for wearing while you ride your bike to school. Just sayin’.

Beak mask from SmilingSilverSmith’s Gift Ideas.

This paper beak mask makes me think of old plague doctor masks. And, y’know, birds.

Tulle/Paint masquerade mask from Sprinkles in Springs.

What a fantastic masquerade mask! It’s done with tulle and fabric paints. Enterprising artists could design their own, and everyone else can download her handy template.

Storm Trooper mask from Filth Wizardry (winner of my “Best Blog Name Evar” award)

Nerds on a budget rejoice. This Storm Trooper mask is made from a pair of plastic milk jugs.

This last mask is more for my own reference than anything else– my son, now 11, wants to dress as a ninja about four times a year. Who can blame the kid? Ninjas > Zombies any day (he likes to dress as a zombie, too, though. And sometimes a zombie ninja).

My daughter calls all animals “friends.” “Mom, lookit! A little squirrel friend!” So of course I use the same phrase. I decided I needed some spider friends for my bookcase, not least of all because my boyfriend is completely arachnophobic. You have not lived until you’ve seen a 6’2″ man jump a foot into the air, flailing his ball cap around him.

The pith helmet is required. We have big damn spiders.


You’ll need:
-Some polymer clay. I used a mix of translucent, neon green and glow-in-the-dark.
-Some wire. Mine was 20 gauge. That or slightly thicker (say, up to 16 gauge) will work, depending on what you’re after.
-A stamp or two. I used a flexible clear Halloween stamp from Joann.
-Pearl-Ex or other pigment powders (optional, but awesome)
-Acrylic craft paint to use as patina. You can use whatever color you like– black or brown will give a dirty look, red is more bloody, metallics can make your spiders look even more tech-y.

Step 1: Soften up your clay and roll two balls. One ball should be shaped into a sort of flattened teardrop. The other is just a ball. This is the spider’s body and head.

These can be any size you like, but keep the head smaller than the body.

Step 2: Press the head onto the body. If you like, use a pin to scuff up the places where the two bits will meet. After they’re pressed together, lightly press the entire thing onto the table to make it flat on the underside. Flip it over and use a tool (my version is a ball-headed pin stuck into a pencil eraser) to blend the seam.

This step is optional, but helps to keep the head attached.

Step 3: Chose a stamp. I used a clear stamp so I could see exactly where I was stamping. I decided not to use the acrylic block with mine, because it gave me greater control over how deeply I pressed the stamp, and allowed me to curl it along the edges.
Stamp the top of your spider. You can do the head AND body, or not. On one of my spiders, I did a separate stamping (of a miniature spider. Har har) on the head. If you’re using Pearl-Ex or another powder, you can add it now. I used a mix of Spring Green and Yellow.

Spiderweb stamp from Joann ($1)

Stamped spider.

Step 4: Cut 8 pieces of wire to be the spider’s legs. They can be any length you want, but it’s better to cut them a bit longer than you think you’ll need. You’ll lose some length during the process. Mine were about 3″ long.
Use one piece of wire to poke holes into the spider’s body where you want the legs to go. You’ll need four on each side. I like to do two in the front and two in back, but you can evenly space them if you prefer.

Step 5: Bake the spider according to the manufacturer’s instructions– usually about 30 minutes at 275 degrees.

Step 6: Apply your patina. I used black acrylic craft paint. I coated the entire spider in it, making sure to get it down into the crevices made by the stamp, and then wiped it off with a damp rag.

Patina applied.

Patina finished. This process can be repeated to get deeper colors, or to give different effects (I’d like to see a black spider with orange/green markings).

Step 7: Once the patina is completely dry, we’ll add the legs. I like to secure the legs with super glue. You can skip that bit, but the glue really helps keep the legs in (and pose-able).
Grab some superglue and put a dot on top of one of the leg holes. Insert one of your pieces of wire. Make sure it’s pushed in as far as it can go. Repeat this step with all the legs. Don’t glue your fingers to the spider like I did.

I poked my holes at the angle I wanted the legs to be.

Step 8: Once the glue is dry, bend all the legs up, toward the body.

This looks painful.

Grab a pair of pliers (needlenose work best) and bend each leg down, starting the bend a bit away from the body.

Use your pliers to curl the ends of the legs into tiny loops. This keeps the wires from being pokey ouchie.

You’re all done! Admire your spider friend. Name him, if you like.

Quick, everyone get to the branch! The flashing light monster is back!
(L-R: George, Raul, Sammy, Ginger)

I wanted some extensions in the front of my hair. My head is mostly shaved, but the top is long, and I wanted it looonnnngggerrrr. I figured the easiest, most flexible way to accomplish this was to use human hair (because I could wash it, curl it, and otherwise treat it just like the rest of my hair, and it’d look quite natural) and attach bits singly using the Micro Links system. For this, I’d need what are called “I-Tips.”

These little strands of hair (that have tips on one end that look like the ends of shoelaces) are about $25 for 20. Jeeeeez, that’s a lotta money. It’s especially a lot for someone like me, who is depending on the extensions for bulk and not for a random streak here and there. Plus all the ones I found were at 18″ long– waaaaay too long for me, so I’d end up cutting half of them off.

Instead, I picked up some human hair weft. (I went to Sally Beauty Supply for mine, but it’s available online as well.) It’s 12″ long, and was about the same price as the I-tip extensions. Since it was blonde, I was able to color it however I liked. So I did, using a variety of Manic Panic dyes that I use on the rest of my hair.

Tools of destruction. Kinda.

Once the dye had set (I usually let it sit overnight, just cuz) and been washed out, I let the hair dry and straightened it with a flat iron to work out any weird kinks.

Then I gather my supplies: A piece of freezer paper to cover my workspace, some E-6000 glue, little scissors, and the weft.

Before making I-tips, it’s a good idea to see a real one in person. The tips are shaped like shoelace tips, but are considerably smaller. Assuming you’re going to install these with metal links (more on that in another post), you’ll need the tips to be pretty small or they won’t fit. If you have the links already (click here to buy them from one of my favorite hair shops), set a few out to look at as you make the tips so you can compare the sizes.

Also, if you’re going to dye the weft, do it before making the tips. Since it’s not attached to your head yet, you can do all sorts of fun stuff– fades from one color to another, spots (hard, but possible), stripes (easy). I use Manic Panic dye on mine, but you can use your favorite dye. Make sure to rinse it really well and let it dry completely. Wet/dye-coated hair won’t glue well.

Okay! Make some I-tips!

1. Tape a piece of freezer paper, shiny-side-up, to your workspace. Sure, you can skip this step. I just figured you wouldn’t want glue and bits of hair all over your table.

2. Open up your E-6000. Now, to be fair, you don’t need to use E-6000 for this. Liquid Gold also works, and is usually what hairfreaks recommend. But I didn’t have any, so I used E-6000 and will describe my method with it. Also, you probably shouldn’t use your bare fingers like I did. Wear some gloves.

Anyhoo, squeeze out just a bit of the glue. It’s kinda tricky to do this while you’re holding loose hair in your hand, so do it in advance.

3. Grab a little section of hair on your weft. I used sections about 1/4-1/2″ wide. YMMV depending on the type of weft you have. Grab ahold of the hair a couple of inches below where it’s all stitched together. Carefully snip across the top of the hair, just under the stitching. Use your free hand to pull out all the tiny short hairs that will be on top of the section (weft is made with a shorter section at the top. We don’t want this in our tips– it’ll just mess things up).

Ignore the blackened fingers. I was rumbling with Voldemort.

4. Get a small dollop of glue on your finger (you’re wearing gloves, right? Of course you are). Use your thumb and forefinger to distribute the glue onto the top of the loose hair you’re holding. I did this by pinching my fingers together with the hair between them. Make sure all the strands are coated. Then start twisting the hair together into a tiny little rope. Keep twisting and twisting and twisting– the glue will start to set, which will keep the twist nice and tight.

Once the twist is set (watch to make sure it’s not unraveling), set the tipped hair aside to dry (on something the glue won’t stick to, like the shiny side of freezer paper. See? Aren’t you glad you did that?). Repeat the process for all the extensions you wanna make.

5. Once all the tips are dry, take your scissors and snip off the rough tip of the glued end. The tip– meaning, the bit with the glue on it– should be about 3/4 of an inch long. You don’t want it too big, or it’ll stick out funny once installed. You also don’t want it too small, or the hair will fall out. It takes a bit of practice. Again, it’s useful to have a “real” I-tip extension for comparison.

That’s it! I made mine and wore them for about two weeks. The tips stayed together just fine, and when I removed them I was able to save most of them for reuse (a few got too ratty because they were snarled around my dreads). Remember, using higher quality hair will mean your extensions last longer. My hair was pretty cheap, and though I didn’t mind the extensions looking a bit chewed up, they got that way FAST. Slightly more expensive hair will net you long-lasting, great-looking extensions that still save you a ton of dough.

Questions? Comment!