Sunday, August 14, 2011

How to Stud a Leather Jacket

Got an old boring jacket that could use some sprucing up? Have some article of clothing you wish had some more zing to it, but you're not sure what you could add? Well, studds are a great way to add a nice little something extra to any piece of clothing. Best part is, they're washable and you'll never have to worry about them flaking off :') In this tutorial, I'm going to be studding a leather jacket with the Daft Punk logo.

- Jacket
- Refrence picture
- Exacto knife
- Metal tipped throwing darts
- Studs
- Pliers
- Double sided tape

Total cost estimate: $50
(based off what I had to buy)

Project Duration Estimate: 4-7 hours

Many of the things in this tutoral can be found at your local art and craft stores.

This tutorial is for adding studs to a piece of clothing. The recommended article in this case, is a jacket. Studding things such as sleeves, pants, or shoes may be difficult since you won't have as much space. Either way, once you stud one thing, it's very similar to stud something else.

An exacto knife is an EXTREMELY sharp knife, and should be handled with EXTREME caution! If you don't feel comfortable using an exacto knife, it can easily be replaced with a pair of scissors.
The steel tipped darts and studs themselves both have very sharp points and if mishandled, they can cause injury. Be careful when handling both!

Always make sure you read through the entire process before beginning to avoid mistakes and get a general idea of how the project will progress.
Now let's make get started:

Step 1: Making your stencil
Now the very first step to this process is making an accurately sized stencil of the design you'd like to studd onto your jacket. Since studding is more difficult and sloppy than tracing or sewing a design on, you're going to want a very accurate stencil so you can get the details perfectly. When you're deciding the size of the stencil, you need to take into account that if it's too small, you won't be able to get some of the details. For this tutorial, I decided to do the daft punk logo. If I had made the logo any smaller, I wouldn't have been able to create the curves of the letters as well, especially since the studs are usually not that small. Take the complexity of your logo into account, along with the size of your actual studs.
Anyway, once you get the logo you'd like, bring your article of clothing and compare the size to it. Try to think about the location of the logo as well. For instance, if it's on the back, don't allow it to get too close to the arms or it won't sit flat on your back and will curve. When you've decided on the size, screenshot the photo and print it out. In my case, the daft punk logo was much to colorful to print out and I didn't want to waste a gallon of ink, so instead, I simply placed a piece of paper over my computer monitor and carefully traced the silhouette, getting as many details and curves as I could. This is a ghetto way to do it, but it works.

Step 2: Cutting out the stencil
To cut your stencil, you can either choose scissors or an exacto knife. If you're doing the daft punk logo like I am, you're going to want an exacto knife to get all the inside spaces of the letters. If it's a different design, you may be able to use scissors. If you do end up going with the exacto knife, be sure you have some sort of cutting board or cardboard underneath so you don't scratch up the floor, desk, or any other workspace surface you're using.

Step 3: Tracing the pattern
Now to trace the pattern onto your jacket so that you can follow it while you add the studs. But hold on just a second. Before we mess with the stencil, take your jacket, pants, or whatever surface you'd like to stud and lay it as flat as possible. Take your double-sided tape and apply it to the bottom of your stencil, trying not to let any of the tape interfere with the outline. Once your stencil has tape in enough spots to keep it held down, press it down against the jacket in the position you'd like, making sure it and the jacket are as flat as possible. Once it's in a spot you'd like, trace the outline with a pencil. If you're using leather like I did, don't worry about the pencil marks showing through or staying after you've studded or anything, the pencil literally starts to disappear faster than you can stud, so make sure that you're darkening the lines as you see them beginning to rub off as you progress.

Step 4: Adding the Studs
And now for the longest, most tedious step~ Adding the studs. Depending on the material you're studding, this process COULD take much longer. If you're going to be adding studs to cotton, denim, nylon, muslin, polyester, or any other thin fabrics, you may not need to use the darts. Faux leather and leather may require the use of the dart, it depends on the article itself. The thicker the fabric, the more likely you will need to use the dart.

When you look at a stud, you can see that it is essentially a half circle above (usually)4 metal spikes. The stud's spikes have to pierce the fabric completely and then you will need to bend them inward with the pliers. The smaller the pliers you use, the easier this will be. Bend them toward the center of the stud, and then clamp the pliers down onto the spikes so that they point inward towards the inside of the rounded head of the stud. If you're studding a leather jacket as I am, the leather itself is not so hard to pierce as the inside lining is. You have to hold the stud tightly to make sure it pierces both, and then bend the spikes inward.
Sometimes, you may come across a lined area that will have 2 layers of leather, or possibly, your fabric may be too thick for the studs to pierce through by themselves. This is where your dart comes in handy. You're going to need a metal-tipped dart- very important. Take your stud and stab it into the fabric as hard as you can and then remove it. Take your dart and enlarge the small indents that your stud left behind from when you stabbed it. The dart has a fine and sharp enough tip that you will only really need to poke it through to break the fabric. Just a nick for each spike should do it, don't start tearing through. The exacto knife COULD work as well, you will just have to be extremely careful that you don't stab too deep or the knife will slice a large hole that you won't be able to fix. I'd recommend the darts.
Another thing, when it comes to studs, there are several different sizes. The size I went with was 7mm. Depending on how you'd like your jacket to look, you may want to use larger or smaller studs. When looking at my picture, just try to remember I'm a very small girl who's only 5'2 and I have a back that's approximately 13 inches wide, so the studs may appear larger on me. I would recommend 5mm for a small girl such as myself to make the studs appear more as they do on daft punk's actual jacket. For a larger person or a guy, I would say 7mm works pretty well. The smaller the studs or the larger the design, the less you have to worry about losing detail from the design.

And there you have it!
A spiffy cold-be-mistaken-for-a-brand-new-jacket!

For more information on purchasing jewelery and other props in my tutorials, requesting a custom item, or an idea for a new tutorial, feel free to email me at Kanti-Kane@hotmail.com (:

Monday, August 1, 2011

How to turn Diving fins into a Fluke

Do you have an old pair of diving fins you don't really care for? Are you thinking of getting a monofin but you just don't have the money? In this tutorial, I'm going to teach you how to crop an old or unwanted pair of diving fins into a fluke shape!

- Fins
- Duct tape
- Hot glue
- Caulk gun
- Liquid nails (weather-proof)
- Electric saw
- Silver sharpie marker

Total cost estimate: $15
(based off what I had to buy)
Currently selling for: $20

Project Duration Estimate: 2 days

Everything in this tutorial can be found locally. The liquid nails, duct tape, and hot glue can all be found at your local multipurpose stores.

This tutorial will teach you how to turn an old pair of fins into a nice looking monofin with a fluke-shaped cut. We will be cropping and reattaching the blade of the fin until we get a desired result. Since the finished product will be covered with duct tape and probably not look as pretty as most people would like, I'm going to suggest the use of these fins when using a mermaid tail.

This tutorial calls for the use of electrical tools. When using an electric saw or cutter, it can be extremely dangerous if percautions are not taken. Always wear splash-proof goggles to prevent any debris or dust from the cut to get into your eyes and gloves to prevent any hot plastic or rubber from getting onto your hands and potentially burning them. You should always ask an adult or friend to help you with the tools. If you're unsure how to use them, please ask someone who knows to help you out!
Liquid Nails is also a potentially harmful substance. When wet, always use gloves and do not inhale the fumes it releases. Always work in a well ventilated area.

Always make sure you read through the entire process before beginning to avoid mistakes and get a general idea of how the project will progress.
Now let's make get started:

Step 1: Test your fins
A strange way to start the tutorial, however, it's a necessary step. The very first thing you should do before finalizing your choice of fins and deciding to tear them up is to test swimming in them. Swimming in a monofin is much different than swimming with regular fins. The monofin forces your legs together and restricts movement, so it often takes practice to get the swimming part down. Not only that, but regular store-bought monofins are designed so that your legs point straight down, whereas when rigging a pair of fins together often causes your feet to point outwards. The width of the blade of the fin is what causes the outwards slant, so if your blade gets too thick towards the end, it may be too uncomfortable to swim in properly and you may need to try another pair of fins. Testing your fins can tell you alot about how your project is going to turn out, and I find it very necessary. Not only that, but its fun to do anyway!
Before we can test the fins, we need to tie them together somehow. Nothing permanent, just a quick tie will do, since we're only testing them out. To do so, we're going to use duct tape. Use the tape to completely circle your fins right below the toes, on top of your feet, and behind your ankles. Layer the tape at least 3 times to make sure it's on nice and tight. Place a couple lines of tape running the length of the inside of both flippers. Check the picture for a nice idea of where to do it. Before you get in the water, make sure the tape holds the fins stiff. There should be no individual movement from either fin, they should be stuck together pretty well. If they survived, reinforce the duct tape with a new layer, and you're ready to move on.

Step 2: Marking your fins
Once you're happy with the monofin you've made, it's time to write all over them. I used a silver sharpy marker for my fins and I really liked it, so I'd recommend that. If not, a normal sharpie works too. Now, what we're going to focus on right now, is the inside of the fin. For the fluke shape, the center comes to a curvy V shape, kind of like a { shape. We're going to be looking at the very inside part of the fin, though. Notice how a dolphin's fluke extends out a whole lot on each side. Don't worry about that, we're going to get to it later. So sketch the inward V and mark to the edge without worrying about sketching the tips of either side of the fluke into your fins.
HOWEVER, you need to make your mark close enough to the toe area so that you cut off a nice amount of the blade off. Reason being, you're going to need a decent amount of it to re-create the outside of the fluke. Don't worry if your fins look like they're going to be too short, it's more important that we capture the width of the fluke so it'll look more realistic.

Step 3: Cutting the fins
Now for the tricky part, we need to cut off the excess fin blade. For this, I used an electric hand-saw and it was very tricky. Even with an electric cutting or trimming device, you're still going to have to take it slow so you don't mess up. Try to get as close to your marked lines as possible and make your cuts nice and smooth. Most flippers are either made from plastic or rubber, so chances are, some molten stuff will be flying at you. Wear gloves and goggles for safety and if you can, get someone to hold down the fin still while you cut it, or vise versa.
Once you cut out the excess fins, you're going to be re-arranging them to make the length of the fin. It's sort of hard to explain, so I've provided a picture of what I did to mine. Sorry guys, I didn't take any pictures of the process, it was super tedious. It's not perfect, and your fins may be a little different, anyway, so it may take some playing around with. Simply take your excess blade piece and move it along your fin until you see an area you'd like to place it. Trace the area where your fin lies near it so you know where to cut so that it can be attached perfectly next to the fin and then crop off any extra that you need to in order to achieve your shape. I made 2 pairs of fins and I made them both using the excess a total of 2 different times. In other words, I cropped it once, and then I cropped the remainder again. It's just trial and error, really. Just sketch it out and compare it before you actually cut it to prevent mistakes and don't don't DON'T forget to label the pieces of the fins! Label them R for right side, L for left side, TOP for top piece, BOTTOM for bottom piece, etc.

Step 4: Attatching the pieces
Now that you've got all the extra pieces you need to attach, it's time to bond everything together for good. First, we'll attach the actual fins together, then glue on the pieces we cut. Tear the old duct tape from the swim test and attach your fins together with some hot glue down the center of the shoe area and all down the length of the center where the blades touch. The hot glue will not be the only thing holding it together, we just need it for now to ensure that the fins are held together temporarially while our liquid nails dries. Now that your fins are kept together, ready your caulking gun and add some liquid nails to the center areas where the hot glue is. If there is still a large gap inbetween the shoes, work with small layers of liquid nails rather than a large one. A large blob of liquid nails will dry on the outside much quicker than it will on the inside which will result in you thinking it's dry when it's really not and possibly messing it up, or it never actually drying at all since it will never completely cure on the inside of the wad. I've got personal experience on that one. Anyhow, add liquid nails down the center, where the fin blades meet. Next, we need to attach the extra pieces we cut. To do this, use the hot glue in the same fashion. Hot glue is great because it'll hold well and it dries quickly, but it's not the only thing we're using, so don't get scared. If you have a friend, you should REALLY convince them to help you out. Doing this part alone is hard. If you don't have a friend, get your parents or something. Anyway, start attaching pieces on one side at a time. First attach the tip piece that matches the end of your fluke and then add the bottom piece that reinforces it. It's important to make sure that the fluke shape is one solid curve rather than some uneven edges, so it's important to always put that piece on first. Hot glue EVERYTHING in place first, and then allow it to dry for a couple minutes. Once it's dry, set the fin flat on a bucket or table where the fluke piece can hang off the edge. Now, apply the liquid nails over the areas where the pieces are attached and spread it out along both sides of the fins. When the liquid nails dries, it has to be able to grab onto both sides of the fin to hold them well, so just kind of use the tip of the bottle to mix it around. Add liquid nails to every piece that was attached and allow it at least a couple hours to completely dry and cure. Once it's dry, cover the fins with duct tape in the same manner as you did before, over the parts where you slide your feet into the fins and down the center, and add a whole lot of duct tape over the extra pieces you added on as well. Press the duct tape down hard so that it sticks firmly and doesn't crinkle too much. Press down any areas that may stick up or collect water underneath them as well. The duct tape will reinforce our liquid nails and keep it together, so you must do it as well as you can to prevent the fin edges from breaking off. Once you're done, wait a whole day just to be sure that your liquid nails completely cures before our next step.

Step 5: Test it again!
And now for final and possibly most fun step. Test out your new fins! Don't test them lightly, either. This could be the best or worst step, but it's completely necessary. Swim in the fins as you would with normal fins, don't be gentle or scared to break them either, swim fast and kick as you would normally. If they do happen to break, then you may have possibly not reinforced them enough and you need to go back and repair them twice as hard so that they don't. What you should be careful of, though, is to bend the edges too much on the floor or walls of the pool. They can bend nicely, but don't slam them on hard surfaces or that might be what actually causes them to break. Just so long as you can swim in them normally, they should be good.\

(click the picture for a swim test video!)

And there you have it! A nice monofin with a realistic fluke shape! Now all you need is a nice mermaid tail to slip over it!

For more information on purchasing jewelery and other props in my tutorials, requesting a custom item, or an idea for a new tutorial, feel free to email me at Kanti-Kane@hotmail.com (:

Kanti has a Twitter

That's right people. Not really sure why, I was just suggested to get one. I'll be updating progress on tutorials, orders, sales, and anything else I guess I feel like mentioning. It'll probably turn into my "I'm not dead, really, guys" webpage where I can just say stupid stuff all day long.

I hope I can get some followers, but I'm sure I'll be expected to actually do something useful before then. So until that time comes, I suppose you all can enjoy the tutorials. They're much more useful anyway.

If you feel like messaging, following, tweeting at me, or whatever it is you do on twitter, check out my page here!

Using Rit Dye on Clothing

Do you have that old piece of clothing that's looking a bit stale? Do you need a different colored jacket but don't have the money to waste on a new one? Well you can easily make an old piece of clothing look completely different! I'll show you how, using Rit Dye.

- Article of clothing you want to dye
- Rit dye
- Bucket you don't care for
- Large pot (for boiling)

Total cost estimate: $2
(based off what I had to buy)

Project Duration Estimate: 2 hours

Everything in this tutorial can be found at your local arts and crafts stores and/or large multipurpose stores.

Rit Dye can cause irritation if contact with eyes is made. When handling the dye, wear gloves or refrain from touching eyes while your hands are/could be contaminated. Always wash your hands after handling.
We will also be boiling water, so make sure you have some oven mitts for when we transfer the hot water from the pot to the bucket.

Always make sure you read through the entire process before beginning to avoid mistakes and get a general idea of how the project will progress.
Now let's make get started:

Step 1: Boil a large amount of water
There are many ways to use Rit dye, but for this tutorial, since we have a very large article of clothing (or assuming that you do), we're going to be using a separate bucket to soak it in. For the first step, we need to boil water. The amount of water depends on the article of clothing you're trying to dye. For small items, like gloves or other accessories, you may only want to use half a packet (1/4 a bottle, if using the liquid version) and enough water to suspend the object yet cover it completely. For my jeans, I used a large pot that I assume could carry around 8-10 cups and an entire packet (or half a bottle for the liquid version) of Rit Dye. For now, all we have to worry about is bringing our water to a boil. It may take a while, depending on how much water you have. It took my amount of water about 15 minutes to lightly boil.

Step 2: Prep your article of clothing
While you're waiting for your water to come to a boil, you can begin to soak the clothing piece you're going to dye. If you're wondering whether or not you can dye your particular clothing piece, Rit Dye works on almost anything. It can dye plastic, vinyl, leather, faux leather, felt, denum, cotton, webbing, muslin, feathers, and much much more. Either way, to prep the clothing, all you have to do is completely soak it in warm water. Crumple the fabric together and then stretch it apart, making sure the entire piece gets wet. Once it's wet, wring it out lightly and set it aside.
Another step you may need to take depends on what you're dying. If you're going to dye from a lighter color to a darker one, you may not need this step. For example, if you're going from a light purple to a dark purple, you will not need to pre-bleach or color-treat your fabric. If you're crossing colors or going from dark to light, you will need to purchase the Rit Color Bleach. I don't remember what it's called exactly, but the process to use it will be the same as using the normal Rit Colors, but you will need to do it before you apply the colors.

Step 3: Dissolve the Rit Dye
Once your water has reached a light boil, it's hot enough to take off the stove and transfer into the bucket. Carefully transfer the water, since it is obviously very hot. Once you've done so, pour whatever amount of dye into the bucket and mix it generously for a couple of minutes, making sure that the salt/liquid completely mixes into the water. It's important that you mix the dye into the bath before you put the clothing so that the clothes dye evenly. If you pour the dye into the mixture while the clothes are inside, there's a chance that you will get a blotchy coloring rather than an even coat of color.

Step 4: Add your clothing
Aaand finally, put those suckers in the bath. Don't throw them in or anything, calm down. Gently set the clothing into the bucket and slowly poke it underwater little by little with either a stirring rod of some sort (I used a random PVC pipe), or your hands. If you use your hands, you should wear gloves, as the dye will probably soak into your skin (also the water is still pretty damn hot). While you're pressing the fabric down into the bottom of the bucket, bubbles will tend to escape from inside the clothing and may cause some splashing. Make sure you do this step inside a sink, tub, or outside. Somewhere your parents won't throw a fit if you get dye on the floor. Once you've got it all underwater, let the clothing soak for about 5 minutes and then come back to stir the clothing to a different position. Continue stirring the clothing in 5-10 minute intervals, changing the position and making sure all crevices or folds in the clothing get opened and soaked. The instructions on the Rit Dye specify to soak the clothing for 30 minutes to an hour, however, I let it soak for about 2 hours total. I'm a bit paranoid, though, so you can follow the packet if you wish.

Step 5: Rinsing the article
After an hour or two (however long you decided to wait), find an area where you can dump out the excess water. If you're outside, you can probably dump it in the crass, if you're inside, you can try to put it down the drain, but it will stain if it's not rinsed off immediately. Where-ever you decide to rinse it off, simply run water over the piece until the water that drips off it is clear and not colored. This WILL take a while, so be patient. What I would recommend is taking it outside and hosing it down or leaving the clothing in the bucket, filling it with water and replacing the water as it becomes black. Either way you decide, simply make sure it is as rinsed as possible.

Step 6: Air dry or Dryer
Once your piece is rinsed, you have the choice of placing it in the dryer or letting it hang dry. Putting the clothing in the dryer will prevent it from wrinkling up, but clothing such as leather, and faux leather should be left to hang dry. Also, if you ARE working with faux leather or leather, hang the clothing to dry, and pat it down with a damp sponge or cloth every 15 minutes or so. Sometimes, a film of greasy looking liquid will surface on the faux leather but it can simply be whiped off. If not, anything you wouldn't put in the dryer should not be put in the dryer for this step.

And there you have it!
A cheap and easy way to spice up an old piece of clothing or just change up that one piece that isn't quite to your liking. Hope this helped!

For more information on purchasing jewelery and other props in my tutorials, requesting a custom item, or an idea for a new tutorial, feel free to email me at Kanti-Kane@hotmail.com (: