Monthly Archives: October 2012

Easy crafts for lazy people: Abstract bleach wall art and bandana

My second craft tutorial for lazy people will show you how to make a simple, abstract piece of bleach art and a matching bandana.

The story

I spent one bleach crazy day after being inspired by this tutorial by Stars For Streetlights. Bleach is a commonly used product that usually works wonders, but it can be quite a pain when you accidentally use too much of it or drop some onto your new black dress. The lightening effect is almost immediate and it is irreversible.

Basically, this means that you should only use it on fabric that you don’t mind possibly ruining.

I had an old dark blue skirt that I was just about to send to our local thrift store. Instead, I cut it up and made 2 bandanas and 1 piece of abstract art.

What you need:

– Scissors

– Fabric (dark blues and blacks work best for contrasting effects)

– Empty and clean spray bottle

– A canvas that is white or that you are looking to cover up

– A sturdy stapler and some staples

– A mask and some protective glasses (if you are doing this indoors and are sensitive to the smell of bleach, protect yourself)

– If you have cuts on your hands or sensitive skin, plastic gloves

Preparing the fabric: For the bandanas, if you already have some, take these as models for size by placing them on top of the new fabric and cutting around them. If not, find some measuring tape to measure the crown of your head, where the bandana will be resting. Then, creating a square form, measure a middle diagonal that is at least 5 inches longer than what you measured around your head, so you’ll have some fabric left to tie the bandana.

For the canvas, simply put the fabric against the canvas, leaving enough fabric on each side so you’ll be able  to fold it back and staple it into the sides of the canvas. Cut the extra fabric.

Bleaching it: This is best done either outdoors or in the bathroom (provided your bathroom has a window or some sort of ventilation system). In your spray bottle, mix 2/3 bleach with 1/3 water.

If you are doing this outdoors, place a piece of cardboard or something alike to protect both the fabric and the surface on which you are working.

In the bathroom, you can use clothes hangers and hang them over the bathtub so the bleach drops into it.

Once the setup is good, start the spraying. Go lightly first, so you can see the result. It takes a few minutes for the bleach to react completely.

Tip: Keep the fabric creased to create different lines and designs.

Wait for a few minutes to make sure the bleach has fully developed before throwing the pieces into the wash. Make sure to put it on ‘delicate’ because the bleach may have weakened the fabric by making it thinner.

After that, let them air dry.

The bandanas, are done, now you can set up your frame.

The following process seems a bit complex but is easy: simply put the fabric on top of the canvas and then turn it so it faces down (keeping the fabric straight). Fold some fabric from the top edge onto the back of the frame. Proceed to stapling. Do the whole top part, until you reach the corners. Fold over the fabric from the right side, covering the top corner that is already stapled. Thoroughly staple the full side, making sure that it is good and straight and that you don’t staple all the way down to the corner (fold the lower fabric over before stapling it).

The last side you staple is really important because this is where you have to make sure your garment is installed tightly enough that it won’t create folds on the canvas (though lazy me actually likes those folds provided they aren’t too obvious). Staple the final side and voila! It”s ready to hang!


Easy crafts for lazy people: Ikea Bekvam step stool hack

The title is a bit provocative but is every bit the truth.

I love crafting, but I’m lazy about it. If something becomes too complicated, I try to find another, easier way to do it, even if this means that it will come out mostly pretty but also imperfect.

When I was in art school, the art teacher’s assistant openly critiqued one of my pieces by saying that I always had good ideas but that my final execution of projects was often a little bit botched. I wasn’t mad at that assertion because I knew for a fact that it was true. I’m an impatient crafter, ready to sacrifice a perfect result to settle for pretty good.

All of  this probably has you wondering why you would follow any crafting tips and advice coming from me. Well, because like the T.A. said, I have good ideas, and if you are more of a perfectionist than I am, you might bring these art projects to another level.

Since we are visiting the living room right now, I will be posting 3 examples of simple craft projects that can make fun, unique elements of decor.

The story

Like many people, most of my furniture comes from IKEA. Most of IKEA’s creations are nicely designed but quite plain. I can’t have it that way, it’s not me.

It took me a while to find what I’d do with this Bekvam stool. It’s going to be used mainly in the living room but I need to be able to move it around and still have it fit well with the decor elsewhere. Yellow paint and Robert Doisneau photos make for a winning combination in that sense.

What you will need:

– White paint

– Yellow acrylic paint (I used Cadmium yellow)

– Mod podge  (gloss or matte, depending on your taste, I used matte)

– 2 black & white photos  printed on regular paper, measuring 7.5 inches wide x 9.5 inches tall

– 3 black & white photos printed on regular paper, measuring 3.5 inches wide x 5 inches tall

–  Extra photos just in case some surface is not covered

– Paint brushes

– Exacto knife

The easy process:

Start by painting the whole surface (except the top and the lower step) in a coat of white. Let it dry. Whilst that is drying, if you haven’t done so already, go choose the pictures you’ll be using for the steps. I printed out a bunch of summer themed photos by French photographer Robert Doisneau. Other suggestions of interesting black and white photographers: Henri-Cartier Bresson, Eugène Atget, Willy Ronis, Jacques-Henri Lartigue.

Once the white is dry, paint those same surfaces with the yellow shade. When you are finished that step, go have some tea, read articles on Bored Panda or watch an episode of Golden Girls while it dries. Depending on the thickness and texture, this process shouldn’t be too long. Now cut the photos and fit them so that each part of the desired surfaces are covered with photos (even the hole on the top, we’ll take care of that later).

If the photos fit, you’re good to go. Start by brushing a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the wooden surface. Then apply the paper, carefully, so it doesn’t create too many folds and bubbles. Once you’ve covered the two steps, go make some popcorn and watch The Red balloon. After you’re done with that charming short film, you should now be able to cover the full surface of the step-stool with a thin layer of Mod Podge. Just make sure that everything is dry before you apply that last layer. Once you are done with that, wait once again for it to dry, then use the Exacto knife to cut out the hole that is on the top step.

Done! You’ve got a fun, colorful step-stool!