OK, as promised, (about two weeks ago!) here is your quick and easy Tie-dye tissue paper tutorial. It’s kid friendly, and makes a really pretty end product.
First question: Why would you want to do that?
Well, it actually started as an accident. As I was transporting supplies to the group one Wednesday, there was… an incident. With my fizzy water. It spilled into the supply box and things got a little sticky. But, we later found that the moisture had caused our tissue papers (which we use to make jar lanterns) to bleed colour onto each other. They looked amazing! Later, I tried to reproduce the same effect at home–and ended up with a pile of soggy paper. Which brings me to:
Second question: How do you do that?
At this point, I did what any crafter does in their uncertainty: I went to Pinterest. From there, I found cool links like this one from Honest to Nod. She and her kids did an awesome Tie Dye upcycle with their leftover packaging tissue. The tutorial has great illustrations on how to fold the paper too.
Third question: What does this have to do with upcycling?
Ahh. Well. The tutorial above used food colouring and liquid watercolours to dye the paper. But then I had a handy flashback to my student days in the dorm and remembered what we used to make tie dyes then: dried up old felt tip pens! (This is awesome for us, given that my kids are terminally unable to remember putting the lids back on their markers.) Pair those old pens up with some used gift wrapping tissue and you’re set to make something pretty from a pile of old rubbish.
What you need
- dried up marker pens
- tissue paper
Step 1: Fold up your tissue paper
Honest to Nod gives instructions on how to fold into a neat triangle, but other shapes are just as good.
2. Pull the centre out of your markers
I used pliers to pull off the end of the marker. Then pulled out the dye-soaked wadding in the middle and the tip of the marker. Put those in a bit of water to soak.
3. Dunk your tissue
Soak the corners of your folded tissue paper in the coloured water. You can use different colours on different corners for a fun effect.
4. Try to avoid this:
If you allow the dye to touch your hands, they’ll be coloured for days. (However, your kids may think it makes you look pretty).
5. Put the dyed paper aside to dry.
Optional: Drink copious amounts of coffee while you wait. Also cake.
When the paper is dry, unfold it carefully and behold the glorious patterns you have made:
You can put them aside for funky gift wrapping, Or <drumroll>
Visit this tutorial on buttoneering.com to learn how to turn your tie dyed tissue paper into awesome jar and bottle lanterns like these:
Extreme close up:
So grab your kid’s old markers and go for it! And while you’re at it, don’t forget: 6 days left in our Annual Christmas Crap competition, and our current total is a whopping 132 Quality Street wrappers in one envelope! Keep that rubbish coming in!
OK, you may have noticed an increasing amount of cool stuff populating our shops over recent weeks. (If not, why not? What are you waiting for, an invitation from the Queen? Sheesh!) But there is one special creation of ours that you won’t be able to pick up online. You can’t even buy them in person at one of our craft stalls. Nope. None for you. I’m talking about these beauties:
“But, why?”, you ask. “I also wish to be a sweet and funky non-conformist type cheerleader person.” Well, it’s because this particular piece of awesomeness was an extremely limited edition, designed especially for this sewing-machine-snogging-vixen.
But don’t worry. We’re not entirely heartless. (Actually, I am, but lucky for you Jacqui isn’t.) We won’t sell you any, but we will tell you how to make them yourself and delight any small munchkins who happen to share your home.
It all happened kind of like this: It was late summer, and in the run up to #wedstival2012, me and the guys were churning out miles of bunting like this:
We worked around the clock, tying bunting until our hands were sore and eventually we were lashing together any random bits of fabric we encountered. Every surface in my house was layered in piles of fabric strips, so much so that random cats were inviting themselves in to sleep on them.
Around that time, Sheri (our bloggy bff from Awesomesauce and Asshattery) sent us a “cheer up” package of personalized T-shirts with our logo (also by Sheri) and names (we already had those) in sparkly, bosom-enhancing print!
I thought it was really amazing that we had happened across this Canadian expat powerhouse in Germany who was cheering us on with all the energy of a birthday party full of cake-high 4-year-olds. I remember asking Sheri if they had cheerleaders in Germany, and being really disappointed when she said no. In my sleep-deprived state, the idea of angry German-accented cheerleaders really tickled me.
Cheerleader: “Und now you vill give me un ‘A’!”
Crowd: “Yikes, ok. A! Just stop yelling.”
And somewhere around my eleventeenth cup of coffee, my mission revealed itself: There would be a cheerleader in Germany. But how? Luckily, my youngest was “helping Mummy” at the time.
And I realized that we were already surrounded by the makings of a kick-arsch cheerleader set. This is how we did it.
1. Cut strips of fabric around 2 feet long. (or twice the length you want the finished pom poms to be.) We used fabrics of different colours and textures for added sensory appeal. Lay the strips together in a pile.
2. Use a thin ribbon to gather your fabric strips in the middle, and tie the ribbon in a knot.
3. Grab a nearby candlestick.
4. Make sure it is the kind that is hollow through the middle.
5. Thread the ribbon through the candlestick from bottom to top.
6. Thread the ribbon through some pretty beads, to prevent it slipping back through the candlestick. Secure with a knot.
7. Submit the finished item to your quality control team for vigorous testing.
8. Optional Wait until quality control team is sleeping before sneaking the finished product into a box and posting to Germany.
And there you have it: a sweet surprise that will enchant budding cheerleaders everywhere. And for extra fun, check out A Couple of Craft Addicts Scrap Skirt tutorial and make one of these to go with it:
Get Scrap Busting! (Oh, and if you see copies of these projects floating around Etsy in a few months time, do feel free to link to this post and taunt the vendors about their super-original ideas! Hee Hee Hee…)
I know, I know. No blog posts in how long? Did we fall off the face of the earth (unlikely) or become mired in the Fenland Fog (quite likely) or take a break from upcycling over Christmas? (As if!)
Actually, we’ve been working our little fingers to the bone and attempting to tackle a couple of thorny issues in the process.
- We need more people to join the group.
- We need more local businesses and organizations to become our “partners in rubbish”
- We need to re-stock after Christmas and revamp our online venues.
- Whose turn is it to wash up the cups?
While we’re in the process of working these things out, here are some photos of the exciting bits we’ve been working on:
There were a handful of these:
And there were tons of these:
And there were quite a few of these:
There were about half a dozen of these:
And we’re just getting the hang of these
And starting to work on these:
On the other hand, there were also some of these…
But it’s probably best not to say too much about those.
So, in short, we’re still here and still upcycling. Next post will feature some ideas for what to do when your kids leave the caps off all their marker pens. How long the next post will take, more or less depends on how long the kids remain absorbed in their current game called “Flying Naked Barbie”. But I’ll tweet when it’s coming so you can assume the prime, edge-of-your-seat position.
And Don’t forget our Competition! Send us your rubbish or tell us how you upcycle your Christmas packaging and you can win some upcycled goodness of your very own! Mumsnetters have been on the ball, and our current winner sent in a whopping 132 sweet wrappers! But there’s still plenty of time, so get posting…
You may remember me showing off the egg carton flower lights that I made after spotting features like this one on Pinterest. But perhaps you aren’t keen on eggs. Or maybe you prefer flowers with a bit more variation in shape. Either way, we’ve got you covered with these:
- A clean plastic milk jug
- Pliers for gripping
- A heat gun
- A self-healing mat or other protective surface
- Some LED fairy lights.
First off, use the scissors to cut out some pretty flower shapes from the milk jug. It doesn’t matter how many petals the flower has. The main thing to remember is that you’ll need one large flower and one smaller flower for each light. Next, use your scissors to cut an X shape into the centre of each flower. (This is where the light will poke through)
Grip the flower with your pliers, using the tips of the pliers to cover the “X” and prevent buckling. Use the heat gun to heat one petal at a time, until they become transparent and floppy. The heat will help the plastic take on a natural, varied flower shape.
When the flower is transparent, quickly remove the heat. Then you can use your fingertips to shape the petal (if you’re a hardened crafter like me) or press the petal against your self-healing mat (if you’d like to keep some sensation in your fingers) as the plastic cools and regains it’s white colour. The petal will now hold it’s flower shape.
If you make a mistake, or aren’t happy with your flower, just reheat and adjust the shape as needed. When you are happy with the shape of your flowers, insert each of your LED bulbs through the “X” of the larger flower and then the smaller flower. (It’s best to use LED as they give off much less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs, reducing the risk of fire and preserving the shape of your flowers) The X shape should hold the flower in place naturally, while allowing quick removal if you wish to change the look of your lights at a moment’s notice. The finished result will look beautiful draped over a mirror or photo frame, woven through branches, or even just dangling in short strings as part of your eco-friendly party or wedding decorations.
And if you like the flowers, but don’t have any fairy lights around? Use hot glue to hold the layers together, and add a pretty button or bead to the centre. Attach your finished flower to a brooch back or hair clip for permanent flower accessory!
This week will be a continued effort to chip away at the massive amount of scraps that the group has built up while working on the wedding. If you’re anything like us, you may have a few bits of your favourite fabric lurking in the cupboard too. We’ve found a few great ways to put them to good use! Here are a couple of bits that we’re working on and several ideas we haven’t even started yet!
1. Think Christmas. (I know it’s August, but that’s one holiday with a nasty habit of sneaking up on us! Luckily, Zakka Life offer this fab, kid-friendly tutorial for turning your scrap stash into holiday cheer!
2. More wreaths. Whether its for Christmas or just a pretty decoration with some of your favourite fabrics, scraps can become beautiful wreaths. You can even use the same technique linked above! Handy tip: Follow Rod’s example and use some leftover pipe insulation as a wreath form. With some creativity (and electrical tape) you can create lovely shapes like his signature love heart. Rod would also like you to know that his wreath (above, left) will be available in the group’s Etsy Shop later today.
3. What, you still have more scraps? Don’t Panic! Over at The Cart Before the Horse, we found this amazing idea for a fabric scrap mosaic, created by Jo James. I can’t wait to try one of these.
4. And finally, if you still haven’t managed to bust your way through your scrap stash… Then it’s time to pull out the big guns. Uber genius Suzanne Zing at Notes from the Patch posted this amazing tutorial on how to create this gorgeous shag rag rug: It’s so fluffy, I just want to give it a hug! So that’s what I’m going to be starting on, just as soon as i can get my hands on some plastic fencing. Boy, and I thought my fingers were tired after tying the bunting!
5. Scrap busting doesn’t just apply to fabric, either! Remember these?
I know, we’ve been teasing you with previews of the wedding for ages. And now its finally time for some of the photos from Wedstival 2012 to emerge! The ones with the bride and groom are going to have to wait until they come back from honeymoon, but in the meantime we can walk you through the setup and shamelessly boast about all the prettiful things we made. What we love about this whole celebration and all the decorations is that it’s handmade, eco-friendly, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. The cost was more in terms of time and effort than money, so it’s an effect that anybody could achieve.
For starters, here’s the view as you walk up the drive towards the Pavillion:
Check out all that lovely bunting, courtesy of our very own nimble fingers! As you reach the top of the drive, you begin to encounter some funky signs put together by the bride and groom:And some helpful instructions about what you should be doing:
And then you might go inside to check out the Pavillion. And wow. The first thing to discover inside is the amazing catering display. I’m not sure which was more incredible–the smell of all the amazing tea and cakes or their collection of vintage teacups!
We had a few tables set up inside, complete with the group’s handmade chair garlands and table flowers.
Each of the flowers was upcycled from the same scrap fabric as the bunting and garlands, then attached to a brooch back or hair clip so they could be worn away as favours–beautiful and eco-chic! The Pavillion was also the place where guests could place their cards and presents.
I love the picnic blanket seating for the ceremony, and the “altar” made from apple crates that were borrowed from the awesome Ruth of the YouCanBike project fame. Exiting the Pavillion, one of the most noticeable attractions was Andy’s beautiful vintage photo booth.
It would have been churlish not to have a go! On the beautifully papered walls, you can spot a selection of frames that were sourced and revamped by the fine folk at the Wednesday group. And next there was a Polaroid “guest book” table where visitors could take photos of themselves with all the available props and pin them up with their advice and wishes for the bride and groom.There was a great under-cover chillout space next door where you could lounge underneath the fabulous bike-tire chandelier, and even more miles of bunting!
From there, you could watch the other partygoers try out some fun carnival games.
Or sit down to watch the ceremony with a lovely cup of tea.
And here are some of my favourite views and details from the day:
The Ceremony Spot
Andy’s funky leg planters
The garden party in the sunshine
The guitar-pick flowers we made for the groomsmen to wear, and
The miles and miles of upcycled bunting!
If you’re planning a celebration of your own and like any of the decorations or ideas you see here, there’s good news! Follow @buttoneering on Twitter or Pinterest for news about the launch of a spanking new wedding/events service with workshops, tutorials, prop hire, and custom-made swag for a party that reflects your own personal style. Keep watching–this is going to be good!
Did you think we were going to be having a rest, recovering from our creative efforts of the weekend? Yeah, we did too. But after a several-week-long upcycling frenzy, apparently one’s fingers don’t just switch off and chill out. Mine were twitching and I had to find something for them to do or take drastic action and resort to doing actual housework.
Luckily, I had plenty of Wedstival leftovers to work with. Despite making miles and miles of scrap bunting, we somehow still had some scraps left! Now, Thing2 had some big ideas for what to do with them…But I thought we could manage something a little more productive. So I grabbed a worn out bike tire I had lying around and about a hundred knots later I came up with this:
They were a huge hit. But I still had a couple of bottles hanging out in the recycling bin that didn’t make the cut for the wedding since they just weren’t as pretty as the spirit bottles. (Not yet, anyway) The answer? Stickers + Spray Paint = Awesome.
I really do like these. But now I have a new problem. I’m out of bottles. My fingers are still twitching and I’m minutes away from tackling the housework and polishing the floor to such a high shine that family members fall down when they enter. Any ideas?