Category Archives: DIY & Crafts

Easy DIY Indigo Dye Textile Kit

Indigo blue is a top way to get the boho chic global look that’s so popular in fashion and home decor right now. Indigo dye has been used for centuries in Japan, India, Africa, Rome, everywhere, to color the world blue. And today, trend-setters in home decor are filling rooms with indigo blue:

Indigo

LuRu Home | Annie Sielke

If you want to try DIY indigo, here is a DIY Indigo Textile Dye Kit. Everything is put together for you, including gloves so you can try your hands at this without dying your hands!

Indigo Textile Dye Kit at Uncommon Goods

The kit includes a sizeable 27″ x 27″ white cotton scarf, which you could use as a scarf. You can also make a pillow, tote bag or wall art with the fabric. Of course you can use the kit’s dye to color anything you wish, like wall art canvas, jeans, tea towels, placemats.

I like that the indigo dye is in a dripless applicator bottle. You don’t have to boil water and dissolve dye in a pot or vat. Just use the bottle! So easy.

Indigo Blue Dye Kit at Uncommon Goods

The kit comes with a booklet that gives you instructions for tie-dye and shibori, resist dye techniques, painting and stamping. You could paint your indigo patterns with a brush, or use the dye as a stamp. All the materials and instructions are $30, a great deal.

INDIGO IDEAS

To get your ideas going, here are some things created with this kit, shared  at the #easyindigokit hashtag on Instagram by Christine Schmidt of the Yellow Owl Workshop, who developed the kit …

Beautiful blue patterned tea towels:

Indigo Tea Towels with Indigo DIY Kit from Uncommon Goods

A bold shibori tie-dye pattern:

Indigo Shibori Christine Schmidt Uncommon Goods Indigo DIY Kit

Couldn’t you see that on a pillow or tote bag?!

Pillows! Yeah, you can do this:

Christine Schmidt DIY Indigo Kit from Uncommon Goods

A little makeup/travel pouch. The “resist” areas, where there is no dye, were made by applying drops of gel school glue. When you apply indigo dye, the areas where you put the glue stay white. The kit’s booklet gives you instructions on how to do this:

Makeup Pouch with Uncommon Goods Indigo Dye Kit

Make your ideas happen with the DIY Indigo Textile Dye Kit. Must try, must dye!

And yes, I did try! I did a DIY dye project. I made an indigo pillow for my mom for Christmas, because my parent’s house has a lot of blue in it. I couldn’t share the project until after Christmas! That post is coming up next.

As a sneak preview, I played with the indigo dye, African tribal stencils and Annie Sloan clear wax as a resist.

Indigo Dye DIY

Here’s the thing. Dye is not as controllable as paint. I learned I have some control issues. :) I tell you all about that in the next post, where I share how to make a DIY indigo pillow with this fabric dye kit!



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DIY Glittery Christmas Tree Ornaments That Don’t Make A Mess!

I’m a huge Scrooge when it comes to glitter. Glitter is banned from my house. Yeah, even at Christmastime. All violators must eat fruitcake. Why? Because while glitter brings a festive spirit to a Christmas tree, it also puts the festive spirit in your hair, carpet, furniture, everywhere.

But now, I can put the festive spirit only where it belongs – on the Christmas tree! The solution? Glitter scrapbook paper. The glitter DOES NOT COME OFF. The glitter stays stuck on the paper, not on your hands! Yay! So, today I’ll show you how to make no-mess glittery Christmas tree ornaments.

DIY No Mess Glitter Ornaments

Project SUPPLIES

  • Glitter scrapbook paper
  • Flat ornaments
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue
  • Foam brush

OPTIONAL stenciling (DIY tutorial shared in part 2 of this post):

  • Stencil
  • Stencil brush
  • Paint

How to Find Glitter Scrapbook Paper

First, look for glittery scrapbook paper in craft stores like Michaels, JoAnn and Hobby Lobby. You can find single pieces of glitter paper, and you can buy books full of glitter paper. Most craft stores have aisles for scrapbooking supplies, and you will find these papers and books there. Here are some of my papers:

Glitter Scrapbook Paper Book

Glitter paper can cost a bit more. The regular price of single sheets at JoAnn and Michaels is $1.99, but you can buy scrapbook paper on sale or use a coupon. All craft stores will email coupons to you. And you can use iPhone and Android apps to pull up a coupon on your phone. So any time you want to buy, you should get 40 to 60% off. The price of books of papers is usually $19, but use a half off coupon or buy during a frequent half off sale, and for $9-10 you get a whole big pack of papers. Look at all the papers in this pack:

I’m sorry. I’m one of those people who forgets to hold the phone horizontal for videos!

Scrapbook paper makes affordable ornaments. You can make many ornaments with a single piece of paper:

One Scrapbook Paper Many Christmas Tree Ornaments

I used copper color glitter papers for today’s project, but glitter paper comes in many colors.

How to Find Ornaments with Flat Surfaces

You also need ornaments with flat surfaces, like the ones shown above. You can use paper mache, ceramic, wood or chipboard. You can buy these ornament shapes at Michaels, JoAnn and Hobby Lobby. Again, buy during their frequent sales and use coupons.

Also, search paper mache and unfinished wood Christmas ornaments on eBay and Etsy, under their craft supplies categories. I found there are a lot more choices of unfinished wood ornaments than paper mache.

HOW TO MakE the Ornaments

This is so super easy and fast!

Step 1. Paint the edge of your ornament with a color to match or contrast with the glitter paper color. I’m using copper papers today, so I painted the edges of my ornaments with metallic copper/bronze paint:

Painted Edges

Step 2. Trace an ornament on the scrapbook paper. If your paper has a pattern on it, you might want to center the ornament over the pattern. I usually draw cutting lines on the back of the paper.

Tracing Ornament on Paper

Cut Paper Shapes

Step 3. Cut the shape. Cut just barely inside your tracing line. Because your tracing lane will be slightly larger than your ornament.

Glitter Paper on Ornament

Step 4. With a foam brush, spread Aleene’s Tacky Glue over your ornament. You can use Mod Podge or other glues. I like how Aleene’s Tacky Glue is thicker and tackier, and less likely to wrinkle the paper.

Glue Paper

Glue Paper 2

Step 5. Smooth your paper onto the ornament. Press with your fingers from the inside out, to be sure all the paper adheres to the ornament. Pay extra attention to the edges. Sometimes you will need to press down on an edge for a few extra moments to be sure it adheres.

If any glue oozes out the sides, wipe it away with paper towel. Be careful to not get glue on the glitter paper, because it might make dull spots.

Glitter Christmas Tree Ornament

Now repeat the steps above to apply paper to the other side of the ornament. You can use the same paper, or a different paper, so you can flip the ornament around for a different look.

If any paper is sticking out beyond the edge of the ornament, you can cut it with scissors, or lay the ornament on a hard protected surface and slice the extra paper off with an Xacto knife.

TIP: WORK ASSEMBLY LINE STYLE FOR FAST DIY

Set up an assembly line so you do all the tracing, then all the cutting, then all the gluing, then all the paper-applying. You’ll make many ornaments, fast.

That’s it! You have made a no-mess glittery ornament!

No Mess Glitter Christmas Tree Ornaments

Now have fun decorating and enjoying the holidays, not cleaning up glitter!

OPTIONAL: ADD PAINTED STENCILS

The glittery ornaments are pretty just like this. The Christmas tree lights will bounce off of the ornaments, and make them sparkle. But if you want to add something more, how about painting stencils on the glitter paper? Come back for Part 2 of this tutorial, where I’ll show an optional step … adding stencil patterns with paint!

 

 



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DIY Saree Curtains and the Brightest Light Bulb in the World

Nothing like trying to sleep with a bright light bulb shining in your face. Imagine the bright bulb is not in your room, but it is in the NEIGHBOR’S house! And it’s shining into your bedroom through open windows. That’s what happened to us in India this summer.

If you’ve ever been to India, you know that flavors are stronger, sounds are louder, the heat is hotter, colors are brighter and … well, actually, light bulbs do not shine brighter in my experience. Except for that one light bulb the neighbors have shining 24/7, right outside our bedroom window. Of all places, why there?!?

This single light bulb had the power to render eyelids useless. And there are privacy issues of course. It’s hard to drift off to happy dreamland when you worry about someone peeping in the window only three feet away.

Light Bulb

The window was naked because curtain rods were not installed yet. So we draped a saree over an open ladder. Classy times. That blocked 60% of the window. It was enough for the weary to get rest.

The next day, a few guys hung curtain rods on all of our windows, and I turned that saree into actual curtains.

Sew a Saree Curtain

I know there are many readers here from India who wear sarees, and please forgive me. I do worry that what I’m about to suggest is like suggesting we turn my clothing into curtains. But it’s so tempting. Sarees can have 18 and more feet of fabric, about 3 feet wide. And many are so beautiful. I know people will drape them over four-poster beds, people will drape them down walls, so why not drape them over windows.

Here’s the saree I turned into curtains for the India pied-à-terre master bedroom:

Saree for Curtains

It’s a simple beige silk, with white, gray and gold block printing and copper metallic thread accents. I bought it at a Craftmark silk show in Chennai many years ago.

Silk Saree

First, I sewed white cotton into lining, We found the plain white cotton at Nalli saree store in Panagal Park, Chennai. Let me tell you, it is not easy to find plain unadorned non-textured white fabric in India. It’s quite the hunt. And you get interesting looks when you describe what you’re looking for. Like, why?!? Given the millions of colorful, patterned, textured choices in India … indeed, why, except curtain linings should be as plain as possible.

Sewing the lining is simple. You sew down the sides, sew the top, sew the bottom. I sewed on a vintage Singer machine stand we found in India (tailors have them on roadsides everywhere) and I brought my machine from the U.S. in a suitcase! We had to get an electrical transformer that weighs about as much as a rickshaw, to allow me to use the machine in India.

Sewing in India

The biggest problem is wrestling with such large lengths of fabric, and keeping lines straight over the long haul. Be vigilant to ensure straight lines don’t creep into becoming crooked lines. Measure with a ruler and pin all seams. Your eyes can fool you into thinking you’re folding straight lines over many yards of fabric. A ruler will keep you honest.

And also, boredom. This was about as much fun as sewing hospital bed sheets.

Pinning and Sewing

Thrilled to move on from this boring task, I didn’t want to spend any more time with it to iron it. So the lining is wrinkled, but they face the outside so this isn’t noticeable.

Curtain Lining

For the saree, sewing was simpler because the selvedges made the right and left sides. Seams were needed only at the top and bottom hem. The hardest part here was ensuring both pieces of fabric wound up the exact same length. Measure. Then measure again. Then measure again. Measure one more time.

You will probably have to measure yet again. This will happen when the first panel is sewn and the two panels are no longer the same length. They were before. But they’re not now. You may want to punch something. Don’t. Measure instead. Make it zen. Turn on 80s dance music. Whatever you gotta do to deal with it. Remove pins from the second panel, measure, pin again, then measure again. Then measure again. Measure one more time.

Measuring took more time than sewing!

This is what I did for a whole day of my vacation in India. Pinning, measuring, sewing. Great times.

But the final result was … no more brightest-lightbulb-in-the-world shining through our naked window, and fears of waking up at 3 a.m. to see a face peering in. One day of work, many nights of peaceful sleep. It’s a fair trade.

Saree Curtains

So to address the obvious issue here …

Saree Curtain

Leaving part of the pallu design on one side was necessary to get the right length. (The pallu is the part of the saree that hangs straight down when draped over a shoulder.) I thought it would be like an irreverent cast-all-rules-out-the-window kind of look. It says I’m willing to break the curtain molds that bind us. But it is bothering me now. I might replace the bottom of the left side with the blouse fabric. It won’t be the same design as the right side, but it will be a contrasting border, and it might help this situation feel more balanced.

Saree Curtain and Vintage Singer Sewing



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