Saturday, December 11, 2010

Feliz Navidad!

Aka - How to make a duct tape cactus wreath.

I know quite well that no one will have a use for this craft, but I'm from Texas & I deeply miss it especially at the holidays. As such, I decided to make something that reminded me of home (South Texas), something that's uniquely Texan & that I wouldn't see at the local Evil Empire for $3 made in China! Thus I hit upon the idea of a Nopale wreath - or more correctly for me: a nopalitos wreath.

Nopale is the Spanish word for a Prickly Pear cactus leaf, usually indicating its in an edible form. I wouldn't advise you chop it up for the fruit & put it in your salsa or soup, but I think it came out looking pretty good for no pattern & no plan outside of "Can I really make one of those?" & "Ooooh, sounds like White Trash Craft time!!".

The answer to that question, and I'm learning EVERY question in life, is DUCT TAPE!! :D

Step 1:

Duct tape in (AT LEAST) green, white & red

Plastic shopping bags

Pen/Pencil/Marker to draw out a Nopale leaf

*OPTIONAL* Stiff paper or card for making a Nopale leaf pattern, I free handed most of them, only using my pattern 2 times.

SHARP Scissors

Nopales have yellow flowers & their pears have been seen in reds, oranges and yellows as well as a light pink color so run with it!

Step 2:

Make a duct tape fabric sheet. Complete instructions can be found here. You're going to want a sheet at least 12 inches long, and a minimum of 8 inches high to have plenty of leaf area to work with.

Step 3:

Time to put on your shopping bags! You can wad them up, ball them up, fluff them a bit with air, whatever you want to do with them. Make sure that you leave about 1/4" of tape on the outside of each edge to give you enough edge to tape your next sheet down to. Duct tape bonds best with itself!

Step 4:

Lay another fabric duct tape sheet on top of your bags. Make sure to cover the sticky edges to the best of your ability

If it isn't all covered that's okay, but the glue of the tape will make cutting much harder if the scissors are constantly exposed to 1 sticky side.

Step 5:

Now its time to draw your Nopales! If you're making a pattern, trace it on & cut it out for use. If you're free handing it, go with the gusto!

I tried to place 2 leaves per cutting area to make as many leaves with as little waste as I could. If you don't think you can get 2, that's okay. You may just need to repeat some of the steps.

Step 6:

Now get to cutting! Cut 1, then make the next drawing or fill the whole sheet with leaves & cut out all at once. Totally up to you.

Step 7:

Taking a small strip of green, wrap the cut edge. Overlap the pieces to ensure full coverage. When you're done you'll have 1 nopalito leaf.

Step 8:

Now you've got several (I got 9) leaves of different sizes. That's exactly what you need! If you have more that's fine. If you have less, you may need to repeat the previous steps to get enough to make a wreath shape.

This is a rough mock-up of what the wreath will look like when done. If you don't like the shape now, CHANGE IT. Tinker with it, move the pieces around. Get it to where you like it then take a few small pieces of green (an inch or so square is plenty) and tack them together.

Once you've got the wreath shape you like, you're going to tape it together. I flipped mine over (after tacking with a few small pieces of green) & taped it together well. You won't see the back so it isn't as important to keep it perfectly clean & pretty but don't go overboard.

Step 9:

Time to make your pears! They're simple. Take a piece of red (or other color of your choice) about 4 inches long. Take a small piece of waste pear sheet (or plastic bag, or even duct tape) & roll it into a ball. It doesn't have to be perfectly round, you're going for a natural effect and nothing in nature is perfect.

As you can see I use as much of the duct tape as possible, even the "trash" pieces from previous steps & projects.

Fold your pear color over the waste piece (or whatever core material you've chosen to use).

Fold & wrap your pear a little at a time, until you end up with roughly a diamond or pear or even tear drop shape. Feel free to add extra layers of tape if you want to make sure its totally smooth looking.

Now add your fringe (if you want to). Take a strip of white about 2 inches long & tear it in half down the center length so you have 2 long, narrow strips. Now fold one of the strips over, leave about 1/8" of glue along the bottom.

Next you want to make it into fringy petals. Cut from the folded edge, down to the glue line. You don't want to cut all the way to the bottom, only to where the glue is to ensure that you have something to bond the fringe to the pear with.

Size it down to your pear's head & tape so that the small strip of glue is below the top of your pear, providing a 3D look but hiding the back of the tape strip. Repeat for as many pears as you want to make. Cactus have anywhere from 1 to 5 (sometimes more) pears per bunch per leaf. I went with 1, 2, & 3 pear bunches.

Step 10: (*OPTIONAL*)

Now you want to use your permanent markers to draw in your prickles. Just make 2-3 quick flicks per area to mimic the needles. You can go back in with a darker color (or lighter) and draw in a few circles to make your cactus look more authentic.

I've taped all my pieces together, but you could also use a hot glue gun or contact cement to bond the leaves & pears.

TADA! You've got a finished, embellished Prickly Pear Cactus wreath! Good job!

Not that I expect many people to have a use for this craft, but I had fun making it & I hope you have fun if you give it a try. It makes a great decoration for your door or your wall or just wherever you want to stick it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to repair, or extend your duct tape dummy

Per my previous instructions, I taught you how to make a duct tape dummy

You may not know it, but this thing is MUCH smaller in the chest than I am. It was wrapped a little too tightly, and I wasn't wearing the proper undergarments. So Houston, we have problem. My clothes wouldn't fit right if I used this dummy.

All is NOT lost! I'm going to show you how to repair the issue. Of course you can just make another dummy, but that'd be sorta dumb. :)

Instead, we'll just use MORE duct tape! That's what being White Trash is all about! Duct tape can fix anything given enough of it, and enough time and inventiveness to get it done!


Shopping bags

Sharp scissors

Sharpie markers


Step 1:

Make a ball off several bags, 1 inside the other. You want a breast shape so don't make a big ol' cantaloupe if you're more of a tear drop. You're going for as close to your own size & shape as possible.

Step 2:
Tape your ball onto your dress form using small, short pieces of tape on the edge. When its in the right position, begin taping down with longer pieces until you've got the correct size & shape.

No, I've never had a mastectomy. This is to show you before (left side) & after (right side).

As I've said previously, perfection is NOT possible. It does NOT exist. This form isn't perfect, even when repaired. However, its a heck of a lot better & much more usable. I'll be tweaking it a bit, here & there to get it more even but you can at least, I hope, see some improvement from the starting point.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Duct Tape Dress Form

These are the quick & dirty instructions for making your own dress form. If you sew, if you just want to play with duct tape & try making clothing, if you just feel like it, its simple!


Long tshirt, past your hips if possible (you're going to cut it, don't plan to keep it)

6 rolls duct tape (you probably won't use them all, but better prepared than not)

spare material to protect your neck/throat area (duct tape on skin is NOT pleasant)

Cotton batting, aka quilters stuffing - lots & lots & lots (to stuff it when complete *IF DESIRED, not necessary*)

Sharpie markers (I'd suggest 2 or 3 colors)

A SHARP, STRONG pair of scissors

A willing accomplice/helper

Helpful Hints

You're going to want a fan, the ac or a cool day. Duct tape does NOT breathe, you're going to sweat.

Make sure you're wearing a GOOD supportive bra (if you're female - or if not & that's your thing {I don't need or want to know}). A push up one is great, you're going to need the boobage!

This can take a couple hours to do so be prepared to stand there & be bored for a bit.

Step 1:
Put on your tshirt. You also want to take this time to wrap your spare fabric, or extra tshirt, or other means of protecting your neck. Duct tape in your hair is cringe inducing to both you & the person(s) helping you.

Step 2:
Starting with small strips of duct tape, 3-6 inches long, begin wrapping your body. I start by going horizontal on the 1st layer, then vertical on the 2nd and back to horizontal on the 3rd. You need SHORT strips of tape because you want to make sure it holds well & is strong. I'd suggest starting at the shoulders with longer pieces, then down the length of your backbone, then work on the abs, or the hips & slowly work your way up.

Make sure your strips are SNUG, but not too tight that you can't breathe. It may sound silly but its easy to not get it tight enough, or get it too tight. You want it somewhere in the middle & this is a learning experience so make sure you have good communication with your helper(s).

When you get to your bosom, you want to use 2-3 inch strips, curving them slowly to fit the shape you have. Some will go side-to-side, some will go up & down, some will go in curves above & below your bust. This will be the slowest, most tedious part.

As you can see from the photos, I was NOT wearing a good supporting bra that pushed up & out. I will teach you how to fix this, but its better to just learn from my mistake the 1st time around.

You may do arms if your shirt has long enough sleeves or you have extra material to put between you & the duct tape. I've seen some with only 1 arm down to the wrist for long sleeve products, I've seen them with only a couple strips past the shoulder. Do what you think you'll need & use it for.

Remember that is is not a PERFECT dummy. Your body is NOT perfectly symmetrical, nor will your dummy be. Also understand that there are limitations to duct tape.

Step 3:
Go back over your dummy with a 2nd layer of tape. If you went horizontal on the 1st, go vertical on this one (minus the boobs, follow the same rules as before).

Step 4:
Make a 3rd layer, again alternating directions. It actually serves to make a stronger, stiffer form that can stand up to being hung on a hanger, placed on a stand & stuck with pins if you'll be sewing with it.

Feel free to bulk up an area if you think it needs more tape. The shoulders & the bust are usually where you'll want that reinforcement, but if you feel as though you need it elsewhere do it. Better to use more tape than not enough, I say!



Step 5:
Have your helper mark the middle of your back with a sharpie. You can use what ever color you'd like, I go for black for base measurements like that. Now its time to begin cutting you out of the form. You'll know you're ready when you look & feel like you're wearing a 40lb piece of duct tape armor. Feel free to ham for the cameras, might as well enjoy this goofiness while it lasts!

Your helper wants to cut that sharpie line down the middle of your back. Do it slowly & as straight as possible. Chances are they're going to have to take breaks, cutting that much duct tape isn't easy on the scissors or the hands that wield them. GO SLOWLY so as not to cut your undergarments or your skin! That's about as unpleasant as ripping hair out with a strip of duct tape.

Once its cut through, slowly slide out of the form. Your help will have to hold up the form & it will be heavy! You'll want to tape that cut edge on both sides with several vertical strips of tape (inside & out, fold them over, however you want it).

If you're leaving it open to put on a hanger, you're done!

Step 5B: OPTIONAL!!!

If you're going to stuff it, now is the time to tape it closed! Tape the edges together. Reinforce it with several more strips of horizontal tape. Double the amount of tape on the inside. If you don't, it will pop the seam when you try to stuff it.

If you're stuffing it you want to tape in the neck hole. You'll probably need an extra piece of material. Run a basting stitch, draw it closed, then sew together. Repeat for the arm holes. If you've got enough material at the bottom of your tshirt, use it to close in the bottom edge. If not, get a new piece of scrap & run the basting stitch then sew closed.

Step 6:
Using different colored Sharpies mark out your lines. Your bust line, the natural waist, your hips at high & low positions. Add in dart lines if you think you'll use them (even if you don't think you'll use them, the may be useful at a later date).

Tada! You've got a duct tape sewing dummy! You've got a PERSONAL duct tape sewing dummy! Sized just for you! Never knew duct tape could help you sew, did you?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Duct Tape Flower

Okay, today I'll show you how to make a duct tape flower. Its pretty easy compared to the rose, mainly just cutting versus folding.

Start by gathering your

Duct tape in at least 2 colours (green & floral but I'm using 4 colors on the flower)
Stem material (I'm using a bamboo skewer but its up to you as to what you use)

Step 1:
Pick your petal colour(s). I'm starting with a bright orange. Cut, or rip off, a 10-12" long strip of the tape of your choice, then fold it back upon itself so the sticky sides connect. You want to see colour on both sides.

Step 2:
Accordion the piece together, so you end up with several layers, each folded one on top of the other.

Step 3:
Cut out a semi-oval from one of the folded sides, making sure not to cut all the petals apart.

In this example, you're going to cut the black portion out. It also shows what I mean by accordioning in the previous step.

You want to end up with 3-5 double petals so you may need to repeat steps 1-3 to ensure you have the right size.

(*OPTIONAL* If you're using more than one petal colour, repeat steps 1-3 with each colour you want to use, making sure to make each progressive petal set slightly smaller to ensure you'll be able to see all the colours of your flower.

Step 4:
Now you want to stack your petals together, largest on bottom to smallest on top (IF you used different colours/sizes). Make sure to center the petals as much as you can to end up with a better balanced flower. Push your stem, your choice which one, through the flower, leaving about 2" sticking above the petals if you want to make a contrasting stamen.

Step 5:
Take a small strip of your contrasting colour for your stamen, about 2" long. Tear, or cut, it in half down the center length wise. Take one of the slender pieces and wrap it around the top of your exposed stem so as to make a stamen. Press your stem/stamen down through the petals until only the stamen is sticking out above the flower.

Step 6:
Take a piece of your green, or other colour of your choice, for your stem, making it roughly the same length of your stem. Wrap your stem in this piece of tape, rolling it tightly as you go along.

Step 7: *OPTIONAL*
To add leaves to your flower, take a piece of your stem color tape, about 4-6" long, & fold the sticky sides together as you did in step 1. Cut a leaf shape out of your folded piece. You can also fold this strip in have, short ways, to end up with multiple leaves all the same size & shape.

Take a small, 2" long or so, piece of your stem/leave colour & tear it in half lengthwise so you have thin strips. Weave the thin strip around the stem & bottom of each leaf, so the leaf stays attached but blends in.

Tada! You're done. You've got a duct tape flower of your color(s)! Easy & fast is what White Trash is all about!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Carpet Refresher

A quick, easy recipe for making your own carpet refresher. It uses my wonder item - Baking Soda. I don't know anything that it can't do, or at least I haven't found anything it can't do.

Borax (find it in the laundry supplies)
Baking Soda
Essential oil (your choice, I use Lavender)
Vanilla Beans (found in the herbs, but OPTIONAL)

Step 1:
Mix equal amounts baking soda & borax. The amounts are up to you, I do a large batch of 3 cups of each when I make it, but it will keep for a while as long as stored in an air tight container.

Step 2:
Mix WELL. Borax has a tendency to clump as does Baking Soda so make sure you work them together, breaking up any clumps. When you add the oil it will increase the risk of clumping so you want as few problems as possible.

Step 3:
Time to add your smellies. I'm using Lavender & Vanilla as they're very calming, relaxing scents but use ANY scents you like. Make sure its high grade oil that can touch human skin & you'll be fine where your pets are concerned as well.

Step 4:
Mix it again! Do it 2 times to make sure. You want to get a nice, even mix of the oils, the plant matter (if you're using it) & the powdered ingredients.

Step 5:
Dispense. I use a disposable plastic food saver (Gladware) that I punched some holes into the lid with (hammer & nail work fine).

Step 6:
Use. Shake onto any carpets, or even upholstery, you'd like to refresh. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before vacuuming up. You can use a stiff brush or broom if you'd like to work it into the carpet, but it isn't necessary. Repeat as needed, or desired.

The Borax will work wonders in keeping down household pests like ants, flies, spiders, mili & centipedes, fleas & ticks. It is safe for animals & people - just don't let them eat it. It also helps prevent staining of carpets because it is a laundry aid.

The Baking Soda helps capture & remove scents so it will work wonders to making the house smell fresher & cleaner.