Friday, June 22, 2012

Duct Tape In My Hair

Last week the mermaids' cousin Q came to visit and he introduced them to the wonderful world of duct tape. He is a duct tape master and he demonstrated his abilities by making several amazing creations, including a duct tape hammock inside the mermaids' treehouse (mermaids like hammocks!). Q has also made hats, wallets, shoes, boats and many other items. Q has left our home, but his spirit of inginuity has remained and the mermaids are making their own duct tape creations, including some that I am pretty sure that even the amazing Q hasn't yet attempted. 

These, for instance: 

The red mermaid will demonstrate for us how it is done. 
First, pull out two long strips of duct tape and lay them, sticky side up, on your work surface, over lapping one over the other,
 like this:
Then, take a third piece and lay it, sticky side down, in the center of the first two.

Fold the exposed sticky edges over. 
Trim the edges. Now you should have a thick, floppy strip of duct tape with no sticky side. This is your "ribbon."  

Fold the "ribbon" over itself and pinch the center together. This is the tricky part, and it takes some practice to make it look neat. 

 This is how it should look when you've folded it correctly.

Now for securing the bow to the barrette. There are no glue guns needed for this craft! Why use glue when you've got duct tape?
Cut a small, narrow piece of duct tape. This will hold your bow together and it will also hold the bow to the barrette.

Stick the bow, front side down on the sticky side of the small strip. Wrap the strip around the center of the bow to hold the folds in place, but leave some extra.

With the extra, carefully tuck it and wrap it around the barrette, securing it, and making sure to keep everything straight and neat. 

All done.

Duct tape: versatile, useful, creative, strong,

and pretty.

Thanks, Q!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

First Craft of the Season

Hello to the three people who read my craft blog! I am so excited that it is summertime again and I can find every way possible to keep my kids from becoming summer screen zombies. 
You, too? 
Good--I knew we were meant to be friends. 

We have a tradition now of making the first craft of the season a tie-dye project. That way they can wear their creation all summer long. This year we had some western visitors (my sister and her three glorious children whom I would gladly adopt if she let me) and each of them got to make their own shirt. 

Here is the before:

And here is the after. 

The whole process is pretty easy:
1. Buy a white t-shirt (if you want your final project to look good, get a quality shirt that fits well) and tie-dye paints 
2. Dampen the shirts by putting them in the washer's rinse/spin cycle
3. Tie with rubber bands. 

4. Paint! There are lots of different techniques.

For instance, this is how you make a bulls eye:

Or, you can make a gradient or "fading" design by painting sections of your shirt with the regular, concentrated paint and then diluting your paint for the next section:

Several of us made spiral shirts by winding the fabric up in a tight pinwheel, securing the fabric with rubber bands and then painting:

Or, if you hate to follow directions, you can always just tie rubber bands where ever you want. The great thing about tie-dying is that almost anything looks cool...although with practice you can make it cooler.

5. Then you put each shirt in a separate plastic sack and let it sit for 6-8 hours to set.
6. After the shirts have set, and before you wash them, you must rinse each shirt to take out the extra dye. This is is an important step. If you skip this and you wash all the shirts together, there will be too much dye in the washer and your colors will be dull and greyish instead of vibrant.
7. Wash in washer on largest load setting and hottest water to help set the color.
8. Tumble dry
9. Wear and embrace your inner hippie. 

See you on the next craft....