DIY Spray Paint Jewelry Update

 

Every fashion expert will tell you that if you can’t afford a new wardrobe, new accessories are an “inexpensive alternative.” But let’s be real; sometimes we can’t afford new jewelry either.

Upgrading old or used jewelry is one of my favorite past times! Whether you just change up the color of a piece or “Frankenstein” several together, the result is an inexpensive way to freshen up your wardrobe.

Changing colors of pieces is by far, the easiest thing to do- all you need is spray paint! I recommend Rustoleum paints: their metallics are amazing, their clear coat is amazing, plus they have a lot of heat resistant colors because they’re used a lot on hot rods. I actually discovered the brand from my dad when he was restoring his vintage Model A.

But anyhoo, I digress. Here is how I achieved the above: 

Supplies: Round jewelry pliers, metallic silver spray paint, crystal

STEP ONE: Used pliers to take apart the necklace.

Pro Tip: You can use tweezers or regular needle nose pliers if you don’t own jewelry pliers… but at less than $7 I strongly suggest investing in a pair. They come in handy for lots of different crafts!

 

STEP TWO: Spray painted the colored part of the necklace.

Pro Tip:  For a shinier finish, use metallic spray paint alone. To achieve the “gunmetal” silver pictured, just follow with a coat of clear acrylic.

          

STEP THREE: Used the pliers to put the necklace back together and then rocked my piece out on the town!

 

 

 

Quickie Papier-Mâché Tutorial

Papier-Mache-Projects

Over the last year I’ve done  A LOT of papier-mâché crafts.

These are my papier-mâché tips and tricks.

Papier-mâché projects are sturdy and have a nice plaster type texture. I rarely use it on balloons, elementary school style.

Instead I use papier-mâché technique to change the change the texture of cardboard or poster board shapes for cosplay props and party decorations. (Mostly Halloween decorations. Because obviously.)

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

The Essentials:

  • Newspapers (cut into 1-2 inch strips)
    • TIP #1: Finally a use for those useless phone books they won’t stop delivering. I’ve found that phone book pages work just as well as newspaper and are easier to come by. One phonebook will get you through several projects and the pages torn in half and/or quarters is a GREAT for covering large surfaces!
  • White Flour
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Water
  • Whisk
  • Bowl

My Handy Suggestions:

  • Latex Gloves
  • Trash Bags/Plastic Drop Cloth
  • Masking Tape

GETTING STARTED

Once you have your shape you should find an area you can get messy and keep messy for a few days. I personally have a large folding table that I set up in the garage when I’m in the mood to get my papier-mâché on.

2014-06-29 19.03.49
I mean REALLY MESSY you guys!

Cut open the trash bags and lay flat (or use your drop cloth) to cover your work area. Tape down a couple edges so it stays put. You’ll thank me later!

Also, tape down some plastic elsewhere (I use the floor) to have a place to lay your project out to dry. This is especially important if you’ll be working on multiple pieces.

2014-06-29 16.47.59-1
Don’t skip the gloves. You want to be able to take a potty break, don’t you!?
  • Tip #2: Stay Clean.
    • This project is REALLY MESSY, but the good news is the flour and glue are totally washable! HOWEVER, you should wear gloves because it can get really sticky and it will be impossible to do simple things like operate a door handle and use the restroom…
  • TIP #3: Crafting/Beauty Double Whammy.
    • This is the perfect time to try my Miracle Cuticle Fix before you slip on your gloves. Moisturize while you craft!

INSTRUCTIONS

pm-1

STEP ONE: Mix your paste.

Add approximately 2 cups flour and 1-2 table spoons glue to your bowl. Slowly pour in water, whisking the mixture together until it has a smooth “soupy” texture. You want your paste to be slightly thinner than pancake batter.

NOTE: I never actually measure this mixture, I just eyeball it. The most important thing is the consistency.

2014-06-29 17.02.37

STEP TWO: Dip your newspaper strips.

Gently dip your strip of newspaper or phone book page in the mixture. Use your hand to smooth the mixture over the entire piece. You want it to be covered, but not so saturated that it falls apart.

STEP THREE:  Apply your strips.

Lay your paste-covered paper over your desired shape or cut out.  With smooth, gentle motions smooth down the piece and press down the edges. Repeat steps two & three until all of your shape (except what is resting on the floor) is covered. Make sure your strips are overlapping generously.

STEP FOUR: Let dry.

Once you’ve covered every part not resting on the floor, let it dry to the touch and the repeat steps 2 & 3 for the part resting on the floor. When done let dry overnight.

Note: If you are working with a flat shape, let it dry to the touch and then weight down the edges so that it stays flat while it continues drying, Otherwise there will be warping…which can be a really cool effect if that’s what you’re going for.

TIP #4: Use a string for small pieces. Depending on the size of your piece you can hang it from string so that you can cover the whole thing at once (this will reduce warping and speed up your project).

(OPTIONAL) STEP FIVE:  Add a second layer for sturdiness.

Repeat the whole process (Steps 1-4) laying your strips/pieces in opposing directions to the first layer. This is good to get a really sturdy piece- especially if you’re doing something hollow or something that needs to be very stiff like a weapon blade.

Once your piece is completely dry it’s ready to be painted an decorated!!!

JoJo’s Note: This post was edited 10.4.14

Craft Tool of the Week: Crafting Knife

Hobby KnifeOkay, so there are like billions of gadgets, gizmos and tools out there aimed at crafters….and also some very handy items hiding in plain sight you may not have thought of for crafting.  Each week or so, I’ll share with you some of my favorite tools for crafting plus review new ones I’ve never used before.

My favorite tool of All Time Ever is the mighty glue gun (you can read more about that here) and if I had to choose a second favorite, it might be the crafting knife (a.k.a. Exacto Knife, a.k.a. Hobby Knife, a.k.a. Utility Knife, a.k.a. Boxcutter) …but who’s got time to go ranking every craft tool ever? Plus I don’t want to hurt any of their little tool feelings, even thought they’re like children: you say you love them all equally but you know you have a favorite…

So back to the crafting knife. Wicked sharp and extremely useful for

A) cutting detailed shapes

B) cutting cardboard & foam

C) cutting detailed shapes in o cardboard & foam.

If you’ve ever attempted to cut even simple shapes from cardboard with ordinary scissors, you know how difficult it can be to get clean edges without bending the stiff cardboard- never mind the cramping and occasional blisters because cardboard does not heart scissors. Like at all.

Not only are crafting knife blades super sharp, they’re also perfectly shaped to maneuver around curves and corners, they down on hand cramping (especially when you’re working with cardboard or foam) AND they have replaceable blades so you don’t have to worry about getting them sharpened or ruining the blade.

Here’s some things to remember when working with a craft knife:

  • They are SUPER sharp. Was I clear about that?
  • Always make sure the blade is locked in place
  • Never attempt to cut something without scrap cardboard or a cutting mat underneath
  • Children should be supervised unless you prefer your children with less than ten digits or otherwise maimed

TIP: When cutting cardboard or other tough/thick materials a “sawing motion” is often more effective than a “slicing” motion.

Here’s why:

  1. When you slice you are applying force in a linear direction. If you get stuck, have to apply extra force  and your hand slips, the follow through is likely to intersect with a surrounding person or object. When you are sawing you are applying force downward so that if your hand slips or you have to apply extra force, you are more likely to hit your mat or scrap cardboard.
  2. Cardboard, especially, has a grain. When you are slicing, it is very easy for your blade to get caught in the grain and stray form your desired cut.  Sawing eliminates this problem.

I recently used my craft knife this weekend, making some awesome creepy carousel unicorns for Halloween (more on that when they’re finished) and took the opportunity snap a quick video of my sawing technique, which you can check out on my Facebook page! Cuz I’m nice like that, 🙂

Now go get yur craft cutting on!

Ps. You can find crafting knifes (knives? Whatever…) at plenty of major retailers. I even took the liberty of picking out some good ones for you online at  Walmart, JoAnn’s Fabrics, and Home Depot. Michaels Crafts also has great ones… but their website is very nearly, almost entirely, useless. So they miss out on a link.

Let’s Be Online Besties!

Steampunk-Cutie-Mark

One of the drawbacks perks of being included in my inner circle of best friends and family is that I will obsess to the ends of the earth over every costume that ever touches your body. If we’re really close, chances are I’ve forced you to let me  offered to make you a Halloween costume at least once. I just can’t stand to see a good idea go to waste!  I pout for weeks when someone declines and then comes up with a crappy slapped together costume they made the day before a party.

The WORST is when someone asks me how to do something for a costume (the usual request being how to do something on the cheap) and then says “fuck it” and does the exact opposite; ending up with something more expensive and less effective then my original suggestion! ::cough:: Double Dragons 2012 ::cough, cough:: You know who you are…

But the worst is only occasionally. I’d say about 90% of the time (don’t worry no mathematicians were harmed in the writing of this post- its just a statistic I guessed at) it works out great. Fantastic ideas are given, people surprise me with their level of craftsmanship or I somehow end up on a costume bender going broke making 15 different costumes for various people. It’s that last one there that really takes the mickey outta me, so over the years I have learned to exercise some self control. Nowadays I still make costumes for people, but I now I always ask them to buy the supplies and sometimes actually pay me a small fee for the umpteen billion hours I’ve spent turning those supplies into something awesome.

In an effort to learn and grow (i.e. smack my inner perfectionist bitch into submission) this year I’ve decided to try something new. Simply designing costumes for other people. They give me their dream, I give them an idea with a hearty dose of how-to advice and then they are responsible for executing said idea. It’s been super fun so far, as my first request was for something very unique that I had to really put some extra thought into: Steampunk Rainbow Dash. Oh yes, you read that correctly. The science fiction sub-genre that combines steam powered machinery and the 19th century fashions of Victorian England and/or the American “Wild West” mashed up with… a flying, rainbow hued My Little Pony character.

Challenge accepted.

Thank you to Cat Fernandez for this amazing challenge! Making the Steampunk Rainbow Dash Cutie Mark was super fun, I can’t wait to finish designing the rest of this costume!

Do you have a challenge for me? Message me on Facebook or leave a comment on this post!

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

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