I can't explain it, but the paint samples at hardware stores tempt me every time. Even if I don't have a project in mind, I'm draw to that wall of colors like a flamboyant leprechaun to a shimmering rainbow. There I am, often with my daughter, languishing over ridiculously-named hues like 'Mulberry Nights' and 'Steel Blush'. The fact that the samples can be taken home is just icing on the cake. I've used them for scrapbooking, collages, and even bracelets.
That's right, the larger paint samples can actually be folded, like card bracelets, into stylish paper cuffs. These can't take a lot of abuse, but giving them a nice coat of Mod Podge helps to preserve them. They're a fun pop of color that take just a few minutes to make. I've got a step-by-step tutorial that will show you how to craft these chunky freebies.
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- Value: $134
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- Artist: Flora Bond | Etsy Shop
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- Value: $18
- Expires: 6.18.13
- Artist: Eura Lee | Etsy Shop
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Ohhh Yeah!! Well, yes and no. Really, I just wanted to bust through the wall ala the Kool Aid Man. Yes, because it will put some kind of coloring on your clothes, and no, because the color doesn't last and is not really worth the hassle. I wrote an article last year on the subject of dying clothes with Kool Aid, because this is such a popular question among my readers. Hey, everybody wants a quick fix, and I can't blame you for wanting to dye your clothes with the stuff instead of drinking it. Sorry, I'm just not a fan of the flavor 'purple'.
If you are out to dye a protein fiber like silk or wool, then Kool Aid will certainly work... but it's part of a hot water process that isn't exactly a fun day on the porch with your buds. I think what you're looking for is a cold-water process... you know, squirt the dye onto the clothes all willy-nilly, tra-la-la in the sun.
For this, you should just head on out to the craft store and buy a tie-dye kit. Bite that bullet. These kits are really so cheap and include everything you need, right down to the squirt bottles and rubber bands. They even include instructions for all the different ways to tie up a shirt before you start to dye.
I hate to rain on your Kool Aid parade, but the food colorings in the powder aren't made to stick to a cellulose (plant) material. Plant materials like cotton really need to bond completely with the dye... it's a molecular process that actually changes the structure of the fiber. Kool Aid just can't cut it.
Lisa Leonard creates beautiful hand-stamped jewelry for all occasions, and now, she's offering a $50 gift card up for grabs. Better hurry on this one, entries end on May 31st!
Just like crushing our slices of bread into a doughballs or the sound of my dad pounding out Oh Darling on the piano, the smell of printing ink is a sensation firmly engrained into my childhood. They say that smell is the sense most closely linked to memory. When I walked into the screen printing lab at Sinclair Community College last month, the smell of inks and solvents sucked my brain back to those early years of summer vacations. Vacations spent folding endless boxes of shirts for Dad, that is. For a good part of my elementary school career, my dad was in the screen printing game.
As a kid, the idea of a creative home business didn't quite sink in. Now, as I take calls from clients at my livingroom desk, I know exactly how Dad felt as we'd come screaming into his office. Now I, too, have mastered the art of turning my eyes into huge, threatening orbs from hell and pointing an ominous finger at the door.
Aside from the ability to silently scare children from a room, Dad gave me a love of screen printing. Whether I wanted it or not. If you watch someone set a press and print enough shirts, Stockholm syndrome will eventually allow you to be a part of the action, even at six years old.
So in the heart of Dayton at Sinclair's dedicated art building, I was struck with a sudden, overwhelming enthusiasm for printing shirts with Girl Scout Troop #31948. The air was heavily laced with deja vu as my partner-in-crime, Stacy, set up and showed the girls how to print.
Turns out, the process hasn't changed much since the early 80's. Screen printing on a press is a mechanical job, and the rig at Sinclair looked remarkably like my dad's. The technology behind the inks, additives -and even the dryers- has changed, but the basic process remains the same.
You may have a local community college or center that will allow you to train a bit and then make use of a screen printing press. It could require scheduling a short familiarization appointment, or taking a screen printing course for a semester, but it never hurts to ask.
If you can get your hands on a rig, I've got some tips for success, including instructions on how to screen print on a press.
I would love to wear a pair of these earrings by Lemone Rouge. Correction... I want to eat them. The bright, popping colors look like delicious little candies! Hand fired, glazed and turned into earrings, these little pieces of art are perfect if you like to wear small studs. They aren't edible, though.
Right now, The Art and Tree Chatter of Aquarian blog is giving away two pairs of beautiful Lemone Rouge earrings.
As I hack and slice my way through t-shirt transformations, I'm often left with these lovely little piles of sleeves and hems. Aspiring to be the hoarder my mother has always encouraged me to be, I've saved these scraps. For years. Well, the time has come for action. That and the husband is threatening me with a beautiful fabric-fueled bonfire in the backyard.
I've come up with a way to turn fabric scraps, like the sleeves of my new Trident Braided Racerback t-shirt transformation, into adorable baby roses. Or large ones, depending on the scraps you've got to work with. Check out the complete step-by-step photo tutorial, where I deftly turn scraps into beautiful flowers, before my husband has the chance to put the scrap box to the torch!
For my next trick, a t-shirt transformation that doesn't have to look punk. I love turning t-shirts into new creations, but let's face it. The jersey material doesn't exactly scream 'sophisticated'. Sometimes it even howls, 'I don't fit very well'.
That's why I've tried so hard to make all of my T-Shirt Surgery designs a good fit. I've seen way too many tutorials out there that proclaim to be a cool upcycled t-shirt project, but produce what I can only describe as hanging rags. Yes, that is a legitimate 80's look, and I have some t-shirt skirts that hang in the best of raggidy ways. But I don't always want to look like I've climbed out of the bowels of a White Snake video.
To make a T-Shirt Surgery project a success, or any clothing project for that matter, the fit needs to be right. This was my main focus for my latest t-shirt transformation design, the Trident Braided Racerback. Kind of a mouthful, but stick with me, here. Using a t-shirt braiding technique, this design pulls in all of the extra fabric cut from the arms and back of the shirt. This way, the shirt is sized to fit your body as you're working on it.
The three-pronged racerback is braided individually and re-stitched to the collar to further tailor the shirt to your body. This isn't sophisticated sewing, either. All of the sewing involved is a simple straight stitch. We won't have to hem anything, here, the braiding does the work for us.
Here you can see that we are cutting away a large chunk of the t-shirt. When we braid these edges, it will give the shirt a polished look, and prevent the edges from looking flimsy and unfinished. Get the step-by-step tutorial for the Trident Braided Racerback t-shirt.
Tomorrow I'll be posting more on my latest design that works with fitted t-shirts, the Trident Braided Racerback. Here is a preview of the before and afters:
With three textured straps at the middle of the back and braided sides to gather the fit, this is a t-shirt transformation that doesn't look like 80's punk. It has a smart, finished look to it. Stay tuned tomorrow, when I post the full tutorial for this shirt, as well as the t-shirt scrap rosettes trimming the collar.