Archive for the ‘crafting’ Category

First of all, I’ll recommend that you just get the color satin you want in the first place- it’s much simpler.

However, for various reasons, you may be looking to dye some satin garment at home.  In my case, I’m taking the white satin flower girl dresses I made for my brother-in-law’s wedding over the summer and making them into dresses to wear for Christmas and beyond.

white satin dress before  flower girls dresses before


Perhaps you have a yard sale find, something you have on hand, or you happen to really like the uneven dyed effect and/or want multiple colors for a wild dyed look.  Whatever the reason, here’s a process you can try.

This was done on white costume satin- nothing fancy- not silk satin or bridal satin.

Second of all, this is an experimental process.  It worked for me, but I don’t know how long it will last as the dresses are washed, and I’m certain there is lots of tweaking that could/should be done to improve the process.

I haven’t done those experiments- to see if the color can be darkened or evened or what have you.  I’ll pass along a few suggestions at the end, but it’s an untried process.

Thirdly, this is a very messy, smelly process.  The rubbing alcohol can be very overwhelming.  I recommend a well ventilated area and a place you can get messy, and time to let yourself have a breather as needed.  If you clean things up right away, it helps.  However, drying after dip-dying creates run-off.  Unless you really like those colored rivers on your bathtub, protect your surfaces (or use an area where surfaces can be stained).  If you end up with a stain issue, you *should* be able to clean up hard surfaces with some more rubbing alcohol, but please use careful judgement.

messy process

Because it’s a messy process- use tools and/or gloves or prepare to be the same color as your project!  It’ll probably be very drying to your hands as well given the alcohol.

And fourthly- this process has imperfections and is an uneven process.  It will not create perfectly evenly stained fabric.  It will not create deep, rich colors.  In searching for a way to dye satin online, I found the need to use specialty products, and still to expect nothing more than light colors.

close up of dry from dip dye  dry from dip dye   close it's still not even

I only tried this on white fabric.  I am fairly certain only light colors would work, and any color the fabric has will create an undertone color that affects your end result.

Use a scrap and trial your project first.  Some colors wash out differently than they begin (red and orange produced hot pink, dark green turned blue).

On to the process.  You will need rubbing alcohol and permanent markers.  I got my markers at the dollar store- so cheapies work fine.  The rubbing alcohol I used was 91%.  I don’t know if the dilution of the 70% or 50% would affect how the dye worked, but I felt the higher % was probably an asset to this project- for drying time and for dye concentration.


This is loosely based on the sharpie marker tie dye commonly seen in tutorials online.  I first tried fabric dye dissolved in rubbing alcohol and it didn’t work.  But a trial of rubbing alcohol  dripped onto a sharpie marker spot on a satin scrap did work and didn’t completely wash out.

Proportions:  I used 3 markers to 1-32 oz. container of 91% rubbing alcohol.  (it’s fine to use different color markers- I used blue, light green, and dark green in combination).

I mixed mine up in a pail (first an ice cream pail, then a 5 gallon bucket- obviously use a container that will hold your item if you are dip-dying).

First, get a pair of pliers and pull apart the marker.  Throw the felt (the part you write with) into your rubbing alcohol. Then pull the marker apart and take out the fountain- the part that holds all the extra ink that feeds into the felt.  It’s likely enclosed in a plastic tube/straw.  Some of these will pull apart easily- just take the inside ink portion out and drop it into the alcohol.  If it won’t just pull out, you have to cut off the plastic portion.  I used a seam ripper to rip up one side and then pull out the innards.  A small pair of scissors would also work.  Swirl it all around to disperse the color into the alcohol and out of the marker innards.

marker partly pulled apart          the marker innards in the alcohol

You now have finished making your dye!

Now for your garment.  Dip-dye or spray dye- these are the 2 methods I used.

dip dye in bucket     spray bottle of dye mix

Since I had tucked fabric rather than flat, my process was affected.  It altered how the alcohol evaporated and dripped/ran , so it left the dye unevenly.  I imagine it would work this way with most anything, but especially the tucked fabric.

I also couldn’t just spray the fabric, as it wouldn’t get into all the tucks evenly.  So I ended up dip-dying first, letting it dry, then spraying it (with some attention to get into the majority of the tucks, but not every nook and cranny).

So dip and wring and hang to let the alcohol evaporate (dry) or spray and leave it for the alcohol to evaporate.

just dip dyed       all spray dyed and dry

Repeating the dipping process will NOT deepen the color.  The alcohol dilutes and disperses the dye, so really all that is happening is the marker ink is left on the garment after the alcohol evaporates.  Re-dipping simply allows the ink to be moved into solution again and put into a different spot.  That’s why rubbing alcohol works to remove permanent ink from some surfaces.  But it’s also why this process will work on the satin while water-based dyes will not.

The spraying worked to increase the concentration of the dye a little at a time onto the garment.  A smaller amount evaporates more quickly, leaving more of the permanent ink more evenly on the fabric.  (One of the reasons why I think the higher % of alcohol is a better carrier in this process).  There’s still limits to the concentration achieved by spraying, as fresh alcohol on the surface affects the ink already there.

If you are dipping, then spraying, let the garment dry between applications.  Likewise, let it dry between coats of spray if you are trying multiple coats.  Once you have added all of your dye and let it all dry, you can do a rinse in water.  It should be pretty stable.  You will get some wash-out of the color in the rinsing, as in any dying process. Note below the changes.  The greenish dress on the far left has been dyed, but not rinsed.  The more blue in the center has been rinsed in the water.  So really, do a trial or you may be surprised.  The far right picture shows the completed dresses.

rinsing and magic color change      all done!  rinsed and dry

I’ll also repeat here that I’m unsure of the long-term staying-power of this dye- for all I know it gradually lightens with each washing and will be gone after a half a dozen washes.  If I ever find out, I’ll try to update.  So as a precaution, wash gently- perhaps hand-wash, and use limited soaps or detergents.

Variations to try:

greater concentration of color (=add more markers to increase the concentration of your dye).  Since there’s a limit to the color as it’s dipped or sprayed, your only ability to deepen the color will come from increasing it’s concentration before it’s applied.

“gel stain”- they have gel stains to make them “no drip” for applications like concrete.  To make a gel stain version of this dye, I had thought about trying hand sanitizer (check the % on the back of the bottle).  If the color wont disperse directly into the sanitizer, I would try a very small amount of regular alcohol to disperse the dye, then mix it into the sanitizer.  This would be more expensive, and I don’t know how it would dry.  It still probably dries unevenly and will leave a mottled effect.

You might possibly be able to achieve colors by mixing that you can’t get straight from the marker.  Example: the orange marker turned hot pink, but perhaps red and yellow markers would create an orange-ish color.

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My dear friend and sister-in-law pinned a T-shirt on pinterest- it says “Ask me about my T-rex” then you can flip the T-shirt over your head and it’s like dress-up pretend play for boys in a T-shirt.  (Boys-if any of you read my crafty posts- correct me if I’m wrong?)  The T-shirt can be seen here at Crazy dog t-shirts.

Anyhow, since she liked it for her little boy (aka my handsome nephew) I wanted to try to make one.  And since he had a thing for dragons when he visited last summer, I changed it up a bit.

I picked up a simple T-shirt from the dollar store.  Using some fabric paint and a brush, “Ask Me About My Dragon” went on the front.  I used a stencil for the lettering on freezer paper, then cut out the letters and did the freezer-paper stencil thing to keep it nice and neat while painting the letters on the shirt.  (Lots of tutorials available online about freezer paper stenciling).  If you can do awesome lettering by hand, you can skip this part!

Ask me about my dragon text  Ask me about my dragon freezer paper stencils and fabric paint

On the inside, I had to come up with the dragon.  Since he’s only 3, I opted for a cutesy only slightly scary looking dragon- freehand drawing with a bit of consulting to get some dragon look ideas from a few kids books.

I drew this on freezer paper as well.  Once I liked my drawing, I darkened the basic lines- keep it simple!   I transferred a little differently.  I cut around the outline of the dragon and a few larger details, like the eyes.  Then ironed it on the shirt.


1) upside-down

2) on the inside-out shirt

3) on the front of the shirt

so it comes out right when you’re done!


After outlining, I lifted more portions of the freezer paper and drew in the main lines as I went to get the basic outline onto the shirt.

Then the fabric paint and brush again.

Ask me about my dragon dragon

If I was going to do it again, I would go with my first instincts (that I later dis-regarded and regretted)

I’d use a scrap of T-shirt to insert the dragon on the inside to keep the bleed-through of the paint from showing on the front of the shirt.  Boo 😦

Ask me about my dragon bleed-through

One option would be to cut a block of scrap T-shirt in the same size and shape (except for the sleeves) as the front of this T-shirt.  Then paint the dragon upside-down at the bottom, and then stitch it to the inside of the T-shirt- along the side seam, in front of the arm, along the shoulder, and at the neckline, plus across the bottom.

The other option would be to cut a strip as wide as the t-shirt but that would fold in half (more detail following).  Re-work the seam at the side of the shirt – a slit on each side up most of the way to the armpit.  The T-shirt strip I cut would be seamed to the sides that were cut- the strip being twice as tall as the slit and folding in half.  It would fill in the gap- so the strip creates a new bottom hem of the t-shirt as well as a lift up flap with the existing T-shirt.  probably it would need to be seamed across the center of the T-shirt as well to keep it from sagging.  Then velcro on the sides to hold the flap down when it wasn’t being lifted to show off the awesome dragon (or whatever else).  You could do an opening mouth for all sorts of critters with the fold this way.

More work, but it won’t show anyone’s belly (if you’re modifying this for a girl) and it works for little kids who have heads that are so much larger in proportion to their body, or may not want to put anything over their faces that obscures their vision, or are sensitive to the cold, scratchy fabric paint against their tummies.

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These treats aren’t from scratch, but they’re pretty neat (and easy!)

an assortment of finished giant jolly rancher lolipops

an assortment of finished giant jolly rancher lollipops

I found them on pinterest last fall, you can see them over here at The Decorated Cookie.    There’s tons of tutorials out there now on how to make these.  There’s one here from recently that shows you how to make them into shapes (like hearts.  I think they put the crushed candies in a cookie cutter to make the shape, then remove the cutter before baking- but I didn’t see that detail in the directions).

Hard candies of your choice, placed on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.  I put my candies inclose together, but not necessarily touching since they meld together some as they melt down in the oven.  Oddly placed candies should still be okay, as long as there’s something within, say 1/2 and inch.  Melt in a 275 degree oven for 5-10 minutes (melt them, but don’t let them get too thin and runny, and/or bubbly around the edges).  Add a stick immediately when you pull them out of the oven, then let sit to cool.  (Roll the stick to cover it with the molten candy when you put it into the lollipop.)

candies in the parchment paper 'form'

candies in the parchment paper ‘form’

lolipops baked/melted with sticks inserted

lolipops baked/melted with sticks inserted

I used jolly ranchers.  I also made one from warheads.  Most any hard candy *should* work.

So here’s my spin:  I used round wooden dowels (3/16, about 12″long).  These are inserted after baking just like the original post.  They can also be put in the oven without a problem if you prefer to have that part done ahead of time.

I also used a lot more candies and molded my parchment paper to a lid to form about a 6″ circle- not precise, but enough to give it the basic shape.  (Remove the lid from the paper before continuing!)  Then I proceeded with the melting.  These took closer to 10 minutes with all that candy.  I didn’t chop/smash/grind up the candies in any way, just put them in whole and they melted together.  If you use crushed candy, don’t leave spaces or get the layer too thin.

forming the parchment paper into a large circle

forming the parchment paper into a large circle

I wrapped in plastic wrap once they cooled.

The result was jumbo lollipops (Christmas gifts- well received!  Need to see if my mom has a picture of some with theirs.)

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Here’s the beginning of a new segment- hopefully these will be short and sweet.  I’m going to call it “My Spin on the Pin” since they’ll be inspired by things I’ve pinned on pinterest.  However, since I rarely do anything exactly as presented, you’ll be able to see or get a brief description of the changes.

So without further ado…  my first “Spin on the Pin.”

Salt dough fingerprint ornaments- this takes 2 of my pins.


Pin #1 is a Cinnamon salt dough recipe that can be found at grouprecipes.com.  A basic salt dough recipe plus some cinnamon for scent/color.

Pin #2 is a cute christmas ornament using thumb prints for the ornaments on the tree, found over here at Home Life Simplified.  (Warning- no instructions, just a link to a pin, that will not load for me).

fingerprint salt dough ornaments

I added a manger scene in fingerprints (sides of thumbs for Mary and Joseph, sides of pinkies for baby Jesus).

fingerprint ornament close

This was my first (stressful!) attempt at making Christmas ornaments with my girls (twins 4+, little sister almost 3).  They got to help with most of the stages- making the salt dough, helping with rolling and cutting out the ornaments, adding their fingerprints, painting the tree green and the stars yellow, and painting in the dots (Q-tips, 1 color at a time, 1 child at a time helped here).  I served as project manager and quality control, plus baking, painting details, sealing, and stringing.

3 painters

(IF you want the fingerprints to be visible in detail, I think I’d go with a polymer clay, unless you have an excellent no-puff, detail-able salt dough recipe.)

They had lots of fun, and I think they turned out pretty cute!

There’s also some gingerbread men and stars waiting in the wings to be completely finished- I left the girls unrestrained in their paint application and I think they’ll need some Q-tip dots to give them a cleaner look- we’ll see what happens.

That cute little snowman has a bit of a tilt, but he’s SUPPOSED  to look like a marshmallow snowman on a graham cracker, if you’ve seen any of those cute little guys out there in the stores…

**** If you’re a relative and you get one of these, pretend you didn’t see it first here 😉

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Nothing too original with this one- I just followed the directions over at Somewhat Simple.

Cut the bottom off of a bottle and put a baby sock over the bottle (enclosing the hole you made by cutting off the bottom). Dip it in straight dish soap (in any container with a flat bottom that will accommodate your bubble snake).  I used the super cheap stuff from the dollar store.


For each kid at VBS, they got 5 minutes to color an infant sock with permanent markers (put the sock on the bottle, then color).  Then we spent the rest of the time blowing bubbles for our last night of VBS.  Each crew was different.  One group competed for longest snake, another group worked together to make a giant bubble pile/cloud on the ground, some just ran around and blew their bubbles.


Pre-school age kids are most likely to breath IN when they put their mouth on the bottle, so encourage them to only blow out, or they’ll get bubbles in their mouth.

These were super simple, but tons of fun for all ages!  They’ve seen a lot of use at my house this summer!

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These butterfly notebooks were the craft for day 4.  With school upcoming, this seemed like a fun and practical craft that should really be useful.  I made some other versions for my girls at home- definitely a neat back to school craft as well.

They are a bit time consuming to prepare, but it’s a neat craft that sticks nicely to the butterfly as a theme for the Resurrection (the bible story for the 4th day of VBS).

I got spiral notebooks at the back-to-school sales.  Clear re-positionable contact paper comes in a roll 18″x24′.  I think other sizes were also available.

My butterfly was really a simplified blown up version of a butterfly stencil.  The copier did all the hard work for me to size it, then I just transferred it onto a piece of cereal box to make a stencil.  Of course, any object will work, or letters.  Use your stencil to trace your shape, or free hand it.

Small scissors or an exacto knife work well for cutting out the shapes, but I had a free-form shape cutter that I’d used for one of my crafts last year (someday I’ll post about it) that sped things up quite a bit to make the number I needed.  I couldn’t cut them out completely with the free-form cutter since the base of the cutter wouldn’t go over the spirals in the notebook, but it was simple to cut the rest of the wings with scissors.  Whatever shape you use, remember to keep them simple if you have a lot to do!


Once the shape is cut out, you move on to the contact paper.  I put on the outside layer for each notebook and left the paper backing inside so that it wouldn’t adhere to the first page.  This stuff is forgiving and re-positionable, especially for the outside piece.  The size of  your piece will vary based on the size of your cut-out shape.  Just make sure it overlaps your shape by at least 1/2″ or so.  I cut the inside piece of contact paper and slipped it into each notebook for after the kids decorated them.


Regarding applying that piece of contact paper, you can take the whole backing off and set it on like a giant sticker- reasonably easy to do.  But for the kids to do it (and maybe adults, too- whatever you prefer), this is a better method:  Start to remove the backing from one edge of the contact paper.  Set it on the cut out shape and adhere the edge, make sure the whole piece sits squarely over the cut-out.  Then pull the loose edge of the paper backing from underneath the contact paper and smooth it down as you pull off the backing. I did “burnish” the surface to get it to stick better once it was properly placed, but only for the front- the kids didn’t burnish the inside.   To burnish I used the handles of my scissors to rub the contact paper and get it to adhere better to the notebook.


Now for some inside decoration.  I used shaped paper punches (butterflies, stars, helicopters, and planes) and fine glitter in the little shaker containers.  I punched a full 8 1/2″x11″ paper of each, and for 66 kids that was sufficient.  It also kept things simpler with only one color choice for each punched shape.  Adults handed out the shapes to the kids- a small pinch of punched shapes goes a long way.  I handed out the last of my stars and almost all my butterflies to the last crew that came through, but no one lacked any.  Stick the paper punch outs on first, then the glitter.  Don’t get too crazy with the glitter, or less of the contact paper will stick.  Also, be sure to brush off excess glitter from the inside cover before trying to put on the contact paper so it has more places to adhere to seal in all those decorations.

I tried crayon shavings at home and melted them with an iron after I put the contact paper on.  They turned out okay, but the melted crayons aren’t an appealing look where they seep into the notebook cover.  It’s most obvious around the clown nose below.

Once the decorations are in and the cover is swept clear of excess glitter, The inner piece of contact paper can be put on. (Review directions above for the easiest way for the kids to apply the contact paper themselves, or at least help.)


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So I tried yet another homemade play dough recipe the other day.  But this one was better than any I’ve tried before- as close to the “real” thing as I think you can get.  It even works in those silly play dough machines.  I saw it on pinterest and checked it out at Modern Parents Messy Kids.  Click here for the full post and recipe instructions.  Here’s what you’ll need:

1 c flour

1 c warm water

2 T salt

2T cream of tartar

2T cooking oil

1-3 oz pack of Jello


It all goes into the pot, gets mixed thoroughly, and cooked. Then cool and knead.  If you’ve made cooked play dough before, you know the drill.  If not, make sure you check out MPMK for the full tutorial.

I tried it with unflavored gelatin (like Knox) as well, and it turned out just as wonderful. Use 1-1oz package or 1 Tablespoon if you’ve bought it in bulk like I have.

This is now my go-to recipe!  Hope you like it as much as I do.

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