Crafting Tools 101

GlueGun_2

This is my glue gun. There are many like it, but this one is mine…

By far, the hot glue gun is my most favoritest crafting tool of all time ever. I use mine on almost every project and the love and good times we’ve had together are evident in the little community of crafting scraps making a home stuck to it’s side. Some  would say it’s gross, I prefer to think of it in the same category as a well-worn, dogeared copy of someone’s favorite book. It looks hideous because it gets a lot of use!

GlueGun_1

Anyways, glue guns generally come in 2 sizes (one for little glue sticks and one for big glue sticks) and range from obscenely cheap to fairly expensive. I prefer the small size, because they seem to fit my hand better, but in all honesty, I’ve been using the small ones for maybe 10 years now and maybe I’m just used to it. I think this is the one time where “size doesn’t matter” is actually true. Am I right ladies? Oh snap, I sure did just make a dick joke…on a crafting blog. Go me!

Back to topic: This little bugger cost me $3.99 and I’ve had it for at least 3-4 years, so in my humble all-knowing, all-powerful opinion, the expensive ones are a waste of money.

Besides my trusty ol’ glue gun there are other tools I like to keep handy. If you’re a veteran crafter you’ve probably got your own little arsenal of crafting weapons, but if you’re new to crafting you totes need to start your own crafting kit!

So here’s my suggested list for beginners:

  • Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
  • Crafter’s Knife (also known as an Exacto knife)
  • Sharp Scissors
  • A Hole Punch
  • Pencils
  • Ruler
  • Measuring Tape
  • Black Permanent Marker
  • Masking Tape
  • Scotch Tape
  • Cardboard Scrapes
  • Sewing Needles
  • Black & White Thread
  • Straight Pins
  • Multipack of Assorted Cardstock

DIY Vintage Harlequin Clown: Accessories Tutorial

HarlequinClown_IG2

Sometimes you just need a quick and easy costume. One of my favorite ways to whip up a costume in a jiffy is to make really cool DIY accessories that can be added to regular clothes. This is a DIY tutorial for my 3 piece Vintage Harlequin Clown accessories.

HarlequinClown_MeThis is especially awesome if you’re on a budget and have a bunch of parties or events to go to: it’s super versatile.  I LOVED the high waist short and contrasting striped shirt we dressed up my fantastic model Kelsey in, but you could slut it up (and I mean that in the best way) with a skimpy leotard, sexy dress, or maybe pair the shorts with a corset or halter bra for a pin up vibe.

I actually wore it to an early Halloween party while my main costume was still in progress, and it was a big hit.  (The top, skirt, tights and shoes are all direct from my closet.)

Included in this tutorial are instructions to make a cone hat, ruffle collar and ruffle cuffs.

Beginner level, low cost, and can be done in an afternoon; what’s not to <3?

Enjoy!

Supplies

NOTE FOR SUPPLIES: You want to get fabric 45″ wide or wider. The wider the fabric the more “ruffley” your collar will be (and yeah I just made up a word, so deal). If you’ve never shopped for fabric before, read this, then proceed.

HarlequinClown_Hat2

Don’t forget to download my cone template!

step-one

  • TIP:  I used the large size for my human-sized hat you see in the pictures and I used small and medium for doll sized  “party skeletons” that I used to decorate my “Circus of the Damned” theme Halloween party. You could  also  totally  use the small version and glue it to a headband for a cute mini-hat look.

step-two

step-three

step-four

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step-six

step-sevem

step-eight2

step-nine2

Repeat for opposite side of the hat. You’ll use these tabs to secure the hat to your hair with bobby pins.

HarlquinClown_Collar2

collar_one

Repeat step one with your second printed fabric- this time making a 6 1/2 ” fold.

NOTE: Save the excess fabric you trim off. You’ll use that to make the cuffs.

collar_two

collar-three

collar_four

TIP: You should end up with 15 inches marked off directly in the center of your ribbon and 12 1/2″ of ribbon left over at either end.

collar-five

collar-six

collar-seven

collar-eight

HarlequinClown_Cuff2

Start with your left over fabric from the ruffle collar.

cuff-one

TIP: Before moving on to the next step, trim edges so they’re nice and even like the photo in step one.

cuff_two

cuff-three

cuff-four

cuff-five

  • OH SNAP! Note on using snap closures: Each closure comes with two pieces (an “innie” and an “outie” if you will) that, uh, well, snap together. Cleverly named, these things are… but I digress. You will need to make sure that you keep track of which pieces are innies and which are outies as you apply them to your cuffs. Otherwise they won’t snap together, k?

cuff-six

cuff-seven

cuff-eight

 Repeat steps 4-8 for the other cuff and your done! Enjoy! XOXO

Love note from JoJo: This post was originally a 3-part post condensed and reformatted on 6/21/14.

Fabric 101 for Noobs: Beginner’s Guide to Buying Fabric for Cosplay

Maybe you finally decided to ditch the lame (and expensive, and ill-fitting…) store-bought Halloween costumes and make your own this year. Or maybe you’re just not immune to the Call of the Geek and you’ve finally caught the Cosplay bug. Whatever your reasons for making your own costume, if you’re a beginner you’re going to need some help getting started.

So, young Padawan, if you’ve never shopped for fabric before, allow me to drop a little knowledge on you.

The first thing you need to know about choosing fabric for crafting/costumes is what kinds of fabric to look for. Stuff that doesn’t fray is really great (unless you are willing to invest the sewing time or are going for a shredded look.) Also, unless you are just determined to sew everything you touch, you’ll probably be doing a lot of hot gluing so you don’t want it to melt. You can check out my favorite fabrics for crafting & costuming to get ideas.

Any questions you have about what a fabric is called, what it is made of, cleaning instructions, and size can be found in one place: the bolt label. (That’s also usually where the price sticker will be located.)

Unless you’re a textile expert, the bolt label is your best friend. Know it. Love it. Cherish it’s sweet, sweet wealth of information.

Here’s a shot of the bolt label of the polyester crepe fabric I used for my Easy No-Sew Cape:

bolt label

The second thing you need to know is how to get the right amount of fabric. Most fabric sold by the bolt comes in 2- 3 standard widths. The most popular widths you’ll see are  45”, 54” and 60”. Sometimes the fabric is folded. You will have to pay attention to this when shopping for fabric. If the fabric is folded and says 54” on the bolt label your total width will be 108”. (That’s 54 x 2, in case the math threw you.)

The fabric I chose for my cape project was 38” wide and folded so my total width to work with was 76.”

Wtf is a yard you ask? Oh yeah, that’s the super funnest part of fabric shopping: it’s not sold by the foot, oh no. That would be too easy. You gotta earn the right to play with fabric my friends! One yard is equal to 3 feet and 3 feet is equal to 36 inches.

(I’m not going to explain how I arrived at 36 inches. If I’ve lost you on the math at this point you probably need adult supervision.)

The third thing you need to know is that fabric is sold by the yard. So if the price sticker says $5.99 that means $5.99 per yard. That’s important when calculating cost. $12.99 doesn’t seem expensive… but buying 4 yards would be almost 52 bucks! Unless it’s some really great fabric, I say that’s way too much, but it really depends on your budget and the fabrics available in your area.

After you’ve determined how many yards you need (and can pay for), take the whole bolt to the cutting table. They will measure out what you request, cut it and give you a “receipt” with your total cost to take to the register and pay.

Be patient if you head to one of the big chains in the season leading up to Halloween (mid-August through October). Actually, August through November, because the little old grandmas really love to sew stuff for Xmas too. Anyways, be sure you have the fabric you want and have your measurements ready when you get to the cutting table.

Once they cut the fabric for you it’s super douchy to change your mind.

So now you know, and hopefully you won’t look like too much of a Sewing Tourist down at your local JoAnne’s.

Fabric Buying Cheat Sheet

  1. Love the bolt label

  2. Make sure you get the right kind of fabric

  3. Pay attention to width & fold

  4. Width= inches, Length= yards

  5. Price = per yard

  6. Try not to suck at math

  7. Don’t be douchy at the cutting table

Taking Pictures is Hard You Guys!

So I am quickly learning that the most difficult part about blogging is taking the f@#$ing pictures! DIY projects that take 30 minutes to actually do, take like a billllliiion hours to photograph! Big thanks to my lovely friends Natasha and Kelsey for coming over last night for manicures. I’ve got some awesome DIY Nail art that I can’t wait to share. It took like all night lol. Thank goodness we had sangria to make it through. My recipe is delicious and so easy even a Kardashian could do it.

Hopefully I’ll have the first DIY nails up in time for all you Lazy Sundays out there. XOXO

Easy NO-SEW Cape: How to make a cosplay cape for beginners.

AftersuppliesBefore

Level: Beginner, Time: 1 hour, Cost: Under $20

BEFORE YOU START:

Make sure your ribbon is at least 7/8″ wide.

The cape I made is 38” long and is knee length for the average height adult (5’5” to 5’8”). I used 2.5 yards of polyester crepe with 38” width, folded. So my total fabric size was 76” by 90.”

If you want a longer cape measure from the base of your neck to where you want the cape to end to find your “desired length.” (Hehehe. Get your minds out of the gutter ladies.) Consult Doodle 1 to calculate fabric size needed.

Doodle 1

IMPORTANT: Choose a fabric that will not fray because you are not going to be hemming this cape.
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STEP ONE: Unfold your fabric and lay it out flat. Iron out any major wrinkles and/or creases if necessary.

STEP TWO: Fold your fabric in half width-wise and pin edges together. Lay the folded fabric flat on the carpet. (Doodle 2)

Doodle 2

STEP THREE: Align the 0” mark of your measuring tape with an upper corner on the fold of your fabric and stick a straight pin directly into the carpet to hold it in place. If you don’t have carpet, find a friend to come and hold it for you. If you have no friends, put down the electronic device and go be social. (Doodle 3)

Doodle 3

STEP FOUR:  Starting at the edge of the fabric (Doodle 3), gently pull your measuring tape taut and place a pin at 45.” Make sure you pin the two layers of fabric together. Using your corner pin as the axis to rotate your measuring tape towards the folded edge and place another pin at 45”. Continue until you reach the folded edge. These pins will be your cutting guide. (Doodle 4)

  • Remember to gently pull the measuring tape taut each time to get accurate measurement
  • Be sure not to pull the corner pin out of place.

Doodle 4

STEP FIVE: Repeat Step 4, placing a pin at 7” each time instead of 45.” (Doodle 5) Then unpin your tape measure.

Doodle 5

STEP SIX: Cut along the pins. Make sure you are holding both layers together when you cut. You should have a quarter circle with a tiny quarter circle cut out when you are finished (Doodle 6)

Doodle 6

STEP SEVEN: Make sure you remove all the pins and unfold. (Doodle 7) Now you’re in the homestretch!

Doodle 7

STEP EIGHT: Plug in your glue gun and let it get hot while you measure out apprx. 52” of ribbon. Seriously, it’s no big deal if you go over or under an inch or two.

STEP NINE: Measure 15″ of ribbon and mark it with a pin. Lay your ribbon flat.

STEP 10: I’ll call the tiny half-circle cut out in Doodle 7 the “neck hole”. Starting at your pin and the edge of the neck hole, apply hot glue to half the width of the ribbon and attach the edge of the neck hole working in small sections.

  • Make sure your neck hole edge is only covering half the ribbon width as shown below.

step 9

  • When finished you should have apprx. 15″ of ribbon hanging loose from either end of the neck hole (Doodle 8).

Doodle 8

STEP 11: Along the edge of the neck hole, fold the ribbon over so that the edge of the fabric is covered completely. Glue in place.

step 11

That’s all. Wear it. Look awesome. Try not to spill too much booze on it. Mission accomplished.