Constitutionally Modern DIY

Modern, funky craft/DIY creations. Good for gifts or yourself.

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WHAT:
Making things. Affordable and accomplishable things.

WHO:
Suitable for amateurs, average Janes/Joes.**

**Particularly useful for urbanites lacking power tools or even a kitchen table.

WHEN:
Whenever I goshdarn can. Lay off me.

WHY:
Because looking at other people's ideas is awesome fodder for my noggin so shouldn't I share a decent idea that someone else can make perfect? Send me a pic if you make something similar to what I post!

WHO'S THIS "ME"?
I am Lynn. I'm an urban planner by training, and a maker of random items by vocational calling. I do my projects in my apartment in Brooklyn, or on the stoop or roof. If you see a 5' 3 7/8" female breaking concrete blocks out on your street, you probably live on my block.

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5 posts tagged baby shower

Yet one more iteration of the hand-painted onesie.  This one I call the FEED ME Monster Series.  See past tutorial for steps.

A new approach to an old thought, hand painted onesies.  This time I just kept it simple and quick, though I think to good effect.  See my previous post on painting on some squares.

Just the cost of the fabric paint and the onesie…could be as low as $6.  And they’re cute!

Hand-painted geometric onesie…<$12

A while back, I posted Mer Mag’s t-shirt project with her kid.  Loved the geometry, got me thinking.  This is my first venture into fabric paint, definitely not the last.  I call this project Abstract Notre Dame Baby Jersey #1 (go Irish). 

You need:

  • Onesie or t-shirt
  • Plastic lid from take-out
  • Xacto knife or box cutter
  • Marker
  • Fabric paint
  • Paint brush
  • Iron
  • Paper bag or piece of cardboard (i.e. from a cereal box)
  • Sponge
  • Foam brush

Want to see the steps?

 

Read more

Hand-stitched chevrons, sashiko-style…$25

It’s official, I love hand-stitching in the Japanese sashiko style.  It’s surprisingly easy/forgiving and doesn’t take long, yet has a really sweet handmade look.  I made this chevron-inspired piece to welcome a friend’s new baby.  No pattern necessary for these simple geometries.  Special thanks to Tamara of the wonderful Brooklyn Mercantile for first introducing me to sashiko.

You need:

  • Sashiko embroidery thread (I used 2 colors)
  • Linen (or similar) fabric (cannot be stretchy)
  • Embroidery circle
  • Embroidery needle (doesn’t necessarily need to be sashiko-specific)
  • Fabric marker/chalk pencils
  • Ruler (one that is 1” wide makes your life much easier)
  • Mod Podge/really any adhesive or glue (not pictured below, sorry)
  • Foam brush or your finger (not pictured below, sorry)
  • Scissors

Costs = $25: 

  • Sashiko embroidery thread = 2 @ $3.40 each
  • Linen (or similar) fabric = $6.90
  • Embroidery circle = $.99
  • Embroidery needle = <$2
  • Fabric marker/chalk pencils = $8.50 for a pack of 6
  • Everything else = free or already available around the house

Want to see how easy it is?


How to:

  • Handmaiden and Studio Aika have great online sashiko tutorials that I read through before starting.  Or, if you feel more comfortable with a pattern or want to go uber-gonzo geometric style (which sashiko is known for), there are plenty to buy.  As I noted in a guest-blog a while back, Susan Briscoe and Purl Soho offer great sashiko kits for getting your feet wet. 
  • I wanted to make sure I could pull of the chevron pattern, so I sketched it out on paper first.  You may want to do this, but don’t necessarily have to.

  • For sashiko, you can’t use fabric with any stretch.  Linen (not too loose of a thread count) or other sturdy cottons work well.  I chose a charcoal colored linen because I like the traditional sashiko look of lighter thread on darker fabric.
  • Cut out your cloth and place it in the embroidery circle (which is for display only).  Using your fabric chalk, mark where the circle will end so you have a rough idea of where to stop stitching.

  • Using a ruler that was itself 1” in width, I started marking dots in 1” intervals at roughly the middle of the circle.

  • So on the top edge, you’re making a dot every 2”.  Same for bottom.  But each dot is only 1” from the next on a diagonal.  Probably over-explaining this one…

  • Once you get your zig-zags sketched, choose where (if) you’ll be adding another line.  Then just measure 1/2” at the chevron points, and sketch it in.

  • Using sashiko thread is actually important because it’s more twisted than normal embroidery thread - therefore it holds its body better and doesn’t separate (more appropriate to this simple stitching style).  I did not use a sashiko-specific needle - they’re slightly longer than regular embroidery needles.  I did not find it to be a big deal. 
  • With sashiko, you stitch with just the fabric, no embroidery circle.  Start in the corner and make your way across and down (don’t forget to knot at the back!).

  • Pull the needle through the fabric, trying to make your stitches fairly even in length.

  • At the back, you should allow the thread to have some give, particular at corners.  You don’t want the stitch to pucker the fabric, so allowing this give prevents pucker.

  • Here’s another look (you get the idea):

  • After I completed the white stitches (which I did with just a single length of thread), I tackled the pink in the same way. 
  • Then I put the fabric into the embroidery circle and added (in tiny little stitches) the new little baby’s initials and date of birth (yes it’s a rather late gift, thanks for being a dick about it).  No instructions here.  I just totally winged it free-hand.  looks half-decent, guess I was in a groove. 

  • To solve the unseemly bulky-ness in the rear, use Mod Podge or any other adhesive to glue down excess fabric to the wooden ring.

  • And there it is.  Kinda pretty, isn’t it?  I think next time I’ll experiment with smaller stitching, but I’m happy with the way these look too.

Strung out typography with stripes on wood…<$34

I love typography “written” in thread or string.  There’s something about the texture and depth of it that’s very appealing.  Spring is undoubtedly baby shower season, and this technique struck me as the perfect idea for a newborn’s room.  Customizing according to the colors of the baby’s room is so easy when working with a wood board and adding painted stripes. 

Obviously there are a billion possible variations and applications of this basic idea.  Go wild.  I can’t wait to make one for my husband and me - some funky retro colors underneath our last name aligned vertically (post upcoming).   In the meantime, here’s the steps for the newborn-specific incarnation.

You need:

  • A wooden board
  • Small-ish paint brush and/or foam brush
  • Assorted paint colors (I used 5 painter’s acrylics to create my colors)
  • Yarn and/or string
  • Brass escutcheon pins (I used 3/4” size)
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper (if your board already has a smooth finish that must be roughed)
  • Painter or artist tape
  • Ruler and tape measure
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Scissors and Xacto Knife
  • Super glue or Gorilla glue

Costs = <$34 (a little high, but only due to paint - which you may have lying around)

  • A wooden board = <$5 from building supply store like Home Depot
  • Assorted paint colors = $3.19 each (x 5 = $15.95)
  • Yarn and/or string = $5.80
  • Escutcheon pins = $1.49 for a pack of 18
  • Sandpaper = $1.47
  • Painter or artist tape = $3.99
  • Everything else = free or already available around the house

Want to see how easy it is?  Click to keep reading.


How to:

  • First, my inspiration: I was strolling the top floor of Liberty (uber-quirky upscale department store) in London and saw random letters on the wall done like this:

  • My notion that typography made with thread is completely awesome was further cemented by blog posts I came across in subsequent weeks, such as Colossal’s posts on Martin Pyper and Iwona Pryzybla.  Seemed like a must try (even on my rudimentary level).
  • Step 1: a wood surface to work with.  Lucky me, I got a bunch of free (and good-lookin’) cast-off wood boards from a friend, Josh Aronson, who makes gorgeous furniture at his studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  Thanks Josh and Monika for being so awesome and carting me and these extra boards home, you guys are the coolest.
  • Measure your board, marking the middle with a pencil.  Based on that line, you can plan where you are going to situate your letters (depends on if you’re doing a 3-letter monogram or a last name or whatever).  Draw the bounding lines in pencil.

  • Pencil in your letters.  I winged it, using a ruler of course.

  • Using an Xacto knife, trace the outline of the letters.  Don’t know if this is completely necessary but it worked for me - made it easier for me to sand within.

  • Sand where you want to paint if your board has a smooth finish already on it like mine did.  I sanded within the outlines of the letters and the several inches of wood board on either side of my letters, as I wanted to add a series of stripes on each side.  Just rough up the wood enough for paint to stick.

  • Tape off the edges of the board where your stripes will be.  I learned throughout this project that artist tape and painter’s tape work better than regular masking tape!  Apply 2 coats of white paint (or whatever your selected base color may be). 

  • Free-hand paint your letters with 2 coats of your base color paint.  With a small brush, it was easy.  Plus, no need for it to be perfect.  The thread/yarn on top cover small mistakes beautifully.

  • Now it’s just a matter of taping off stripes to paint the various colors of your choice, and making sure you systematically repeat your actions in order to make both ends symmetrical.  2 coats.  Let your stripes dry in between colors.  I randomly selected the width and placement of my stripes, but often made decisions based on stripes that weren’t perfectly crisp (to cover my own mistakes).  As stated earlier, artist tape or painter’s tape makes for crisper lines.

  • Once it’s all dry and you’ve removed the tape, you’re ready to work on the letters.  Hammer the pins into your board at points along the letters.  I tested several different nails and nail lengths, and I found that these crafting pins were not only the most beautiful but also the most functional.

  • I elected to use a combo of a pink yarn with a dark brown thread because I love the contrast in gauge and the depth created by the contrasting colors.  Knot the threads together around one of your pins at the end of the letter.

  • Add a dab of glue onto the knot so you can cut off the excess without worrying about an unravel.

  • Start wrapping.  I think that first wrapping the yarn/thread outside the outline of the letter, and then zigzagging across the middle worked well.  But whatever.  The randomness is part of the charm.

  • I did “full wraps” around some of the pins to make it more secure - as shown in the top left pin picture below.  I added dabs of super glue to these spots because I’m paranoid.

  • Finish the thread how you started, by knotting and adding some super glue (then cutting off excess).

  • Here’s how it comes out:

  • And some more pics of greater detail just because:

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