It’s bike season again, and when I pulled out my ol’ ride from the garage, I felt it needed a little more than grease on the chain.
I used spray paint to make my bike two toned: rust red on the left hand side, and baby blue on the right. I painted the wheels yellow. To do this, get someone to help you hold the bike up, and spray in one spot as you spin the wheel.
Note: Be careful not to get paint on the metal frame of the wheel, as this can mess with your brake pads! I learned this lesson the hard way. If you get paint on it, no biggie: just use paint thinner and a cloth or sponge to rub it off; or, as it was cleverly pointed out to me, the paint comes off just as easily if you scrape the wheel with a rock. To avoid painting the chain, use a towel or piece of cardboard as a cover.
These fabulous collars were worked on the runway at Miu Miu this spring. They cost in the hundreds, but as we all know, there are cheap and fun ways to get around that, and to make something a bit more unique.
White Lightning shows us how she made hers for only $6.99:
I can’t wait to make my own!
I found this great site all about feminist crafts. There’s lots of more cool stuff from Radical Cross Stitch, where I found this awesome dress.
iWorry about my iPod getting scratched. Instead of buying an iPod sock from apple for 30 bucks (ummm yea, I can’t even talk about that) or stealing one from a baby, I utilized my amateur knitting skills to create this sleeping bag shaped cozy to keep my mp3s warm and safe.
What you need:
- an iPod or something, otherwise this is pointless
- knitting needles
- a needle if you don’t have tiny agile fingers
I simply knit a long panel and stitched it up. I cast on a dozen stitches of wool yarn onto size 6 needles, to a length just slightly smaller than the ipod’s height when folded over. I decreased stitches at the end to make a curved top that would hook over the top of an ipod, like a mummy sleeping bag.
Stitch up the sides, flip that bad boy inside out, and slip your headphones through the yarn to plug them in.
This case does the job, but here are some awesome cases other people have made.
Gameboy case from Make zine:
Cassette from craziest gadgets:
Sneakmove's case made from my favorite gum:
Even wood, like these shown on unplggd:
For some time now I’ve been intending to make a something cool out of recycled plastic bags. I usually shop with my backpack or reusable totes, but alas like every other American I have millions of plastic bags in my pantry. There are lots of cool ideas on the interwebs for putting these things to use! Any although I don’t have any I’ve created myself to share with you today, here’s some awesome stuff some of our fellow-DIYers have created.
- Here’s a whole list of plastic bag crafts from craftzine:
"Hey, buddy, you’re not pretending anymore. You’re plastic. Cold, shiny, hard plastic."
Had to do it.
It’s springtime! That means it’s time for bugs and crafting with ventilation. I celebrated both these aspects when I made these hand painted butterflies.
What you need:
- Fake butterflies. I got mine at CVS for $2 in the seasonal section. They are tacky and sparkly, but this can be fixed!
- paintbrush; paints. I used acrylic.
- First, I wrapped yarn around the bodies of the butterflies so that they would have a different texture than the wings.
- Then I painted the wings with acrylic paint. I decided to go with brighter colors on the pink butterfly and darker, harsher colors on the orange one. I pulled off the googly eyes and painted them. I lightly brushed paint over the antennae so that they would match the rest of the butterfly.
I love how they turned out. Because the wings are formed with wire, you can bend the them so that the butterflies look like they’re in flight.
They look pretty if you prop them up in a window and allow the light to shine through. Can’t wait til the real butterflies come out! These will do for now.
There is lots of fun to be had with paper. I tried my hand at quilling, the art of rolling thin strips of paper and creating cool shapes with them, for the first time today. I learned how to create hearts in this blog post from craftzine.com.
What you need:
- paper. duh. There is such a thing as actually quilling paper, but I decided to use magazine paper.
- hair pin, or something of the sort
- pen (not pictured, but y’all know what those are)
- Use a ruler to draw a thin line, a 1/2 cm thick line lengthwise down your paper. Cut along the line.
- Pinch the paper with the hair pin. Wet your finger wind the paper around the pin, keeping the edges in line.
- Allow the coil to loosen, and remove it from the pin. Use the hair pin to even out the spacing of the paper if it looks all crazy.
- Glue the end of the paper to the rest of the coil. Pinch one side to create a tear drop shape. To create a heart, glue two tear drops together.
I have pens and pencils lying all around my apartment, so I decided to use my little quill heart to decorate a pencil holder. I used a cute glass that we don’t drink out of because it has a chip in it and cut a strip of paper from an image I liked:
I glued the band of paper around the glass, glued the quilled heart to the band and threw some pens in.
My mom used to get mad at me when I was younger for painting everything in my room with nail polish: dresser drawer handles, chairs, the bed frame, the dog’s nails… What can I say, sometimes these room accents just need a little pick-me-up. The light switch in my bedroom at my current apartment is white and boring. I thought about painting it but I know already that I won’t want to repaint it when I move out of this place. I also wanted to find a different solution to my problem. Here’s what I did and how to do it yourself.
What you need:
- Cool image, sized appropriately to fit over light switch
- tracing paper
- measuring device (straight-edge ruler is best for drawing lines)
- x-ato knife
- crazy glue
- Measure light switch plate dimensions
- Choose an image for your light switch. I wanted an owl because, well, I like them. I used this drawing by Chris Pottinger.
- Print image on tracing paper (available at craft and art supply stores.) Note: tracing paper is really thin, and your printer may want to eat it. My tracing paper was also too large for my printer, so I just chopped it down to a smaller size and printed the image. The paper got a little crinkled in the machine, resulting in a few ink smears. To print a neater image, I taped my tracing paper smoothly to a sheet of 8”X11” printer paper and got better results.
- Cut image down to the size of light switch plate. I found it helpful to trace the plate with a scratch piece of paper so that I had an idea of how much extra paper I should leave on to account for the angle of the plate to meet the wall. I needed an extra 1/2” both length and width-wise.
- Measure the size hole necessary for the switch to poke through; cut with x-acto knife; erase pencil marks
- paint crazy glue around the hole of the switch, press paper in correct place. Then thinly line all edges of the plate, one side at a time, and press paper down.
It’s a hoot.
I’m in love with costume jewelry. My current crush in this area would be oversize chain link necklaces, like this one by Michael Kors. I did my own little twist on this trend by creating my own yarn-wrapped hoops. I made them out of shower curtain rings, which are super cheap and great for the project because they open and lock closed, allowing you to wear them in a million different ways.
What you need:
- a pack of shower curtain rings. Smooth rings (no ridges or texture) work best.
- ribbon or silk scarf (optional)
You can use any kind of yarn you want for this. I chose to use a soft cotton variegated yarn (I think it was intended for knitting a baby blanket) because A) I like the cool stripes it created; B) It was lying around my apartment and I was never going to use it for anything else.
- To wrap the hoops, all you need to do is cast the yarn on as if the hoop were a knitting needle. It’s important to do this instead of just winding the yarn around the hoop because it is more secure. If you don’t know how to cast on, no fear! Here’s a quick demo I made that shows you how to cast yarn onto a needle.
- To cast on the hoop, make sure to use the “female” side of the ring as the point of the needle, because it’s smoother, therefore easier to slip the yarn over.
- Do this all the way around the hoop. Keep sliding your work down the ring as you go, until the whole thing is covered. I left a really long tail (a few feet) since I had to cast on a zillion stitches with this thin yarn. If you run out, simply tie more string onto the short tail and keep casting on. No one will be able to see it, and my lips are sealed.
- Tie off the string when you finish and snip with a scissors.
- There will be a knotty seam on the hoop. You can keep this on the outside for a more textured look or spin it to the inside.
- Repeat this on as many rings as you desire/can handle. I made mine over a few days as to prevent my hand from cramping up permanently.
There are so many ways to wear these! Here are some of my ideas:
Chain link necklace
If you have plugs you can slip them on. For the rest of us, they have just the right size gap when the rings are open to wear as clip-ons! I was surprised at how light they were and how well they stayed on.
Ribbon necklace with hoop charms
I tied the long ribbon in a bow in the back for an extra somethin’ somethin’.
Ribbon chain link
Silk scarf chain link
I have tiny hands, and this was still really hard for me to slip on and off. If you can find larger rings, they would work better for this. I also found these easy yarn-wrapped bangles from craftstlyish.
I stumbled across this old blog entry from the coveted about gradient tights. Living in Chicago, it goes without saying that I rarely wear skirts without tights. There are a lot of cool colorful and textured tights for sale in shops, but they tend to run at high prices—and get runs in them by the end of the night. I just knew I had to make my own pair of gradient tights.
Since I was already whipping out the ole fabric dye, why not try do a gradient on something else? I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics and picked up a bag o’ faux feathers for less than two bucks. Believe me, feathers have plenty of uses. It’s probably best to just keep some handy at all times.
What you need:
- Light colored tights.
- Fabric dye: try Rit, available at most grocery stores
- a bucket
- a hanger
- gloves (optional… but some of us like to keep our skin soft and un-blue.)
- Mix a dye bath according to the directions on fabric dye package. The kind in a box usually requires salt, the bottle does not.
- Rinse tights, or whatever you’re dyeing, in water. The dye takes better to wet fabric.
- Dip the tights in the dye bath as far as you want the color to go.
- Hang them up in the shower with a bucket underneath (your roommates will be glad you didn’t dye the tub). Gravity will make a natural gradient in your tights as the color drips down, saturating the toe more than the rest of the garment.
- Hang tight for a couple hours.
- Rinse the excess color out of tights.
- Hang tights to dry, hang tight once more
- say tight again.
My tights! They didn’t turn out as dark as I had hoped, but the gradient is more apparent in real life than it is in these photos. My apartment is very… dim. My legs kind of look like corpse legs, but hey, I can rock it.
The feathers turned out really well! They look cute if you pin them in your ‘do using bobby pins the same color as your hair, either near the top for a flashier look or as a subtle accent underneath.
I used a needle to puncture the ‘stems’ of a couple feathers and threaded black string through them. This made for a great invisible necklace over a black top, and was yet another way to put them in my hair. To shorten faux feathers, simply cut the stem and peel off as many plumes as necessary to give them the shape you want.