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There’s just something about impending spring that fires up our crafty itch. Time to make things! Conveniently, March is National Craft Month and just about everywhere online and in the brick & mortar world has lots of fun ideas to kick-start your creative juices.
I love doing our DIY posts here on the Sock Journal, but sometimes the themes can get a bit lost among all the other posts we do. So I’ll start you off with a more solid round-up of DIY posts than the gift-oriented roundup I shared around the holidays. Then! I’ve got one new quickie craft to share with you.
First up, before we really dig in, remember that our DIY Sock Style Pinterest board and our Tumblr’s “DIY” tag have awesome crafty ideas from both us and around the web! Plus, our posts in the Tips & Tricks category has more useful sock care and fit resources.
Modification & Mending
• Darn It! •
• Arm Warmer Basics •
• DIY For Fit: Tights •
• DIY For Fun and Fashion •
• Tips & Tricks for Cutting Socks •
• Lace & Bows, Thighs & Toes (quick way to shorten stockings) •
• Fit Your Shirt to a “T” •
Surface Techniques (painting, etc)
Now, after the jump, let me add one more idea to your mental craft basket: DIY boot toppers! Read more »
Last week I shared styles we carry that have that hand made touch. Now let’s look at some things you can make or personalise as gifts! We’ve got a big ol’ DIY section full of ideas, I’ll share some favourites from there and then point you other places on the crafty web that has more fabulous sock crafting how-tos!
Customising stuff for friends and family can be fun, either by cutting into some socks to make styles you can’t find off-the-shelf, in DIY for Fun & Fashion, or custom-dyeing styles to match the giftee’s wardrobe!
There are more fun things to try in the DIY category of the Sock Journal, but let’s look elsewhere for more inspiration. Our DIY Sock Style Pinterest Board is full of ideas, from a galaxy bleach tutorial at The Sun Was High to a sweet little teddy bear at The Meta Picture.
I think one of my favourite tutorials from around the web is this glorious draft stopper at Squawkfox.
image from Squawkfox
From catnip pillows from retired socks at Craftster, to DIY grippy socks at Cut-Out-And-Keep, there are tonnes of great DIY ideas for socks floating around the web. If you end up solving a last-minute gift emergency with crafty sock superhero skills, share the results with us!
Using diluted bleach on dark colours is like the bizarro-world version of dyeing light colours! You’re just taking away pigment instead of adding it. There are a lot of great bleach stencilling and painting tutorials out there and Google awaits you with open arms and a bouquet of options. But our lovely Rosalind, who you may know from our Facebook and Pinterest, had a genius idea: stamping!
Since it was her idea, I am letting her take the wheel with the words!
First off, general safety tips!
Follow precautions on bleach bottle and do this in a ventilated area! Craft safely!!
What you’ll need to start:
• Bleach •
• Vinegar •
• A plastic or glass container large enough to submerge tights in water •
• A small, shallow dish or lid (I used a yogurt lid) •
• Paper towels •
• Spray bottle •
• Tights (Foot Traffic’s Signature Cotton Tights are thick enough to not bleed through, even to the inside)
• Rubber stamp(s) – choose patterns that are bold, with no fine lines. Abstract designs tend to work a little better. •
• Newspaper •
• Gloves (optional) •
• A outfit that you can risk getting bleach on •
1. Keep it clean! – Cover your work area with newspapers or a dropcloth.
2. Mix neutralizer – in the large container, mix vinegar with water, about 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water. You don’t have to be super exact. This solution is to stop the bleach and make it safe to toss your stamped tights into a load of your regular laundry for the final washout. No need to run the machine for one item!
3. Make stamp pad – fold a paper towel down to the size of your dish or yogurt lid. You can cut or tear it down to size, but be sure that you do have a few layers in there. Pour a little bit of pure bleach onto the pad – enough to dampen the towel, but not to form a puddle around it. Basically you want it to be about as wet as a real stamp pad with ink would be.
4. Mix bleach spray – in the spray bottle, mix a little bit of bleach into some water. Since you want to be able to distinguish your stamps from the nebulous mist effect that the spray bottle creates, make this pretty well diluted, so that the bleach acts very slowly and can be neutralized before it gets as light as the stamps.
Lots more after the jump!
This has been a month of nylons, hasn’t it? There’s something really fantastic about them and how they visually smooth out your skin, making your legs look even more fabulous. Of course, that illusion works best if your stockings are a similar tone as your skin. People come in a lot of different shades, so it is rather frustrating that most companies that make the nylons we sell only offer lighter shades of beige. And some even call the colour “nude”! Which makes no sense and is why we use the word “beige” for those colours. We are constantly telling our suppliers that we want more shades and though we’re seeing a teeny bit of forward progress, we just don’t know when more than beige will be a regular option.
The Dance Theatre of Harlem dyes their dancers’ tights and shoes to match their skin, which creates that classic ballet visual of uninterrupted line. You can see some samples of their work in the picture for this LA Times article. To create the classic visual of nylon stockings that perfectly match and melt into your skin, we can do the same thing. I’ve gone over some basic dyeing techniques here before, so I know you know how to do it. But which colours? What dye?
For these examples and as a general suggestion, I recommend RIT dye. If you live near a craft store, they’ve got it, in all the colours. Supermarkets and Wal-Marts also often carry RIT dye and, more often than not, offer all the colours. It’s easy to use and not that expensive, plus their site is a great resource, with a Colour Formula Guide to reference once you feel comfortable enough to mix up some magic (and it is magic, there’s a warm brown there that is made of their Sunshine Orange and Navy, somehow, so cool!).
Like I said earlier, people come in a lot of different shades and, if you’re going to dye-to-match then you’ll want to get it just how you want it. I suggest picking up some of the pantyhose that come in an egg and experimenting with those, so mistakes can be made cheaply before you customise stockings you love. For the experiments below I used the Sheer Backseams with Lace Top, though, because hey, we’re fancy.
Those gorgeous shades are all straight-from-the-box, no mixing! I’ll give you the vitals and some tips after the jump.
This might be one of the easiest sock DIYs and I can’t believe that we haven’t shown you how to do this yet! You’ve probably encountered those little bean bag sort of packs that you can chill in the freezer or heat in the microwave. They’re fab because they drape so comfortably over whatever sore spot needs comfort. And they’re also a perfect sock craft, sewing optional! You really just need two things: socks and filler.
Sock-wise, all you need is a Crafty Bundle or a (clean!) old sock that lost its mate or got holey in the toes. We like styles that are little longer, especially if you want to make this a sewing-free project. If your sock is open on both ends, make a knot in one end, so you have a closed tube. If you want, you could also sew that end shut.
For filler, there are a lot of great options: uncooked rice, feed corn, buckwheat hulls, barley, oatmeal, beans! Rice and barley are the most common options. Keep in mind that their grainy smell increases when you heat up the pack, so if you prefer a less hot-cereal scent you might like to add dried herbs and flowers like lavender and rose petals or mint and rosemary. If you decide to add a scent, mix it in with the filler and let them hang out together in a closed container for a while, so the smell gets nicely infused and distributed.
Now, all you’ve got to do is fill the sock with the filler! You want to aim for half to three-quarters full, this leaves enough room for the filler to scootch around and drape comfortably. Sticking the sock in a large glass and cuffing it over the top makes the filling process easier. A funnel is useful too, but so is a heavy piece of paper folded in half to make a sort of slide. Whee!
The second and last (!) thing to do is close it up! Again, a knot works just fine, but you can sew it if you want. Cut off any excess sock.
To heat your pack up, microwave for a minute or two and keep an eye on it for safety’s sake. You might also want to stick a small glass of water in the microwave with the pack while you heat it, the moisture helps heat sink into your muscles and helps ensure nothing catches on fire.
All ready to relax! But, what do you do if you don’t have the leisure to sit still and let the pack do its work? Here’s where a long sock comes in handy. Slip your pack into a long sock and let it fall to about the middle. Then use that long fabric to tie the pack in place! This works particularly well for lower back stuff (tie it like a belt) and shoulders (tie like a sash).
Now you can relax on the go, all thanks to this quickie craft (and socks!).