Archive | DIY RSS feed for this section

DIY Totoro Highlights at Anime Boston’s Artists Alley

25 Apr Totoro Kimono

There’s never a shortage of Totoro crafts at Anime Boston! This years DIY Miyazaki highlights are featured below: A hand-painted (and home-sewn) kimono by Hanabi Kimono, and plushies by Sam and Rae Crafts.

Totoro Kimono

Handpainted on gingham nursery cloth. Note the soot sprites on the belt!

Totoro Kimono detail

Wonderful flair on the left hip.

Totoro Plushie

Totoro is my spouse's spiritual guide

More Totoro plushies

All of them eminently huggable.

Hey, Where’s Perry? Platypus Papercraft on Deviant Arts

14 Feb

Looking for a last-minute DIY Valentine’s Day gift for your favorite Phineas and Ferb fan? Limeth on Deviant Art has created a super-cool papercraft Perry the Platypus cubee toy for you to make:

Pair it up with Phineas and Ferb printable Valentines from the Disney Family web site, and you’re all set.

Disney DIY: Mickey-fying a Used Handbag

4 Feb

I’m a bit of a handbag addict, and I’ve been craving a fix lately. My recent trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World triggered an obsession with the Disney Dooney & Bourke line (especially the Disneyland 55th anniversary collection), but my checkbook tells me no. So what’s a frugal girl to do? Hit up the thrift shops, peruse the craft table inventory at home, and throw something together that makes me smile.

Amusingly enough, I noticed on my last trip to Downtown Disney that plenty of the stores have psuedo-DIY style bags these days, with patches and pins. So it’s really like I have my own custom couture. Who’s following whose trends now, Disney?

I hit my favorite local thrift shop last week, the Garment District. In particular, I arrived early Saturday morning for the weekly inventory refresh at Dollar A Pound, where slumming suburbanites, urban resellers, and thrifty chicks like me wade through an amazing assortment of used clothes. If you go, you’ve gotta be there 9:00am sharp on Saturday morning; the new shipment is released at that time, and the best stuff is usually snapped up in the first 10 minutes or so. I honestly don’t bother going if I’m gonna be 15 minutes late.

I scored a cute little handbag, along with several sweaters, sweatshirts and jeans for myself, an LL Bean fleece for my kid, and a wool sweater for my spouse, all for less than the cost of a steak at Le Cellier. Serious wardrobe refresh.

And of course . . . back home, my craft table was well-stocked with Disney goodies from past trips, for embellishing my bag.


Mickey Mouse pin on the front, from a Parisian flea market in 2009

Mickey pin close-up

A better look at that Mickey

Sideview of handbag

View from the side: Note the Disneyland patch?

Disneyland patch

A closer look at the Disneyland patch

Cute patch, eh? I picked it up at Disneyland in 2006, at the gift shop near Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s not intended to be a clothing patch; it’s one of the accessories that snaps onto those three-corner hats you can buy (are they still around?). Just grab an exacto knife, cut out the backing with the snap, and you’ve got something far more flexible for embellishing clothes and accessories.

Autopia license in handbag slot

And the final touch: An Autopia drivers license in the handbag's ID slot

Now, this is really just a 5-minute bling project I’ve displayed here. I’m still really proud of my Disney Couture jeans re-construction projects from a couple years ago, and a few other projects that relied heavily on those re-purposed patches from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Re-purposed Disney Couture jeans handbag

That re-purposed Disney Couture Snow White jeans handbag I'm so proud of

Snow White Disney Couture jeans handbag

I figure eventually I’ll probably pick up a Dooney & Bourke — I’ve got nothing against conspicuous consumption when the budget permits. I certainly do love my store-bought Disney bags. But there’s something special about knowing I cobbled something together with my own hands.

Free Print and Play Disney Board Games and More!

18 Jun

Thank goodness I’m married to a geek! Otherwise, how would I have ever found out about the free print-and-play Disney board games, greeting cards, etc at the Seite 42 web site? Mr. Broke Hoedown was kind enough to point me to Board Game Geek, which highlights a few of the games, and when I followed their link to the English language site index, I discovered there’s a ton more stuff too. All these originate from Mickey Mouse Magazine, a now-defunct German publication whose handicrafts are now preserved by fans and their scanners at Seite 42. A few highlights:

Calendar Robot

Calendar Robot

Car Racing Game, with favorite Disney characters

Car Racing Game, with favorite Disney characters

Build your own little Duckburg!

Build your own little Duckburg!

Snow White Disney movie game

Snow White Disney movie game

Perfect DIY fun for these bleak economic times, n’est-ce pas?

Matterhorn T-shirt Shoulder Bag

15 Jun

Based on anecdotal evidence I’ve gathered at countless thrift shops, I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people come home from Disney with t-shirts that made sense at the time, but quickly lose their appeal once the vacation is over. For some reason this seems especially true of Eeyore shirts, but I digress.

If you’ve got some t-shirts like that yourself, or if you’re willing to scavenge the thrift shops for other people’s purchases, there’s plenty of ways to transform a discarded t-shirt into something you’d actually like to wear.

Cashing in on the green and DIY aesthetic of books such as Sew Subversive: Down and Dirty DIY for the Fabulous Fashionista and Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt, Simplicity has a “go green” line of sewing patterns which incorporate re-purposed materials. I made the bag pictured below using Simplicity 2972, using a t-shirt I’d found in a local thrift shop, an old pair of jeans, and about $4 worth of interfacing and lining. Strictly speaking, it’s not a Disney t-shirt…but this girl grew up with Disneyland’s Matterhorn, you know what I’m sayin’? And amusingly enough, I just so happened to finish the project on the Matterhorn’s 50th birthday.

Matterhorn shoulder bag

Matterhorn Shoulder Bag Detail: Strap

Matterhorn Shoulder Bag Detail: Lining

Now, I do have a couple complaints about the pattern. For one thing, the packaging (of course) heavily stresses the “go green” angle, but only one of the five bags pictured is actually made from recycled materials. Also, while they tell you any men’s L or XL t-shirt will have sufficient fabric for the required pieces of the bag, this simply wasn’t the case. I don’t think even a XXL would have made it, as there simply wasn’t a long enough piece of shirt to cut the main front/back piece from. Instead, I needed to throw that old pair of jeans into the mix to have enough fabric, in large enough pieces.

But those quibbles aside, I’m quite happy with my bag. And actually I kinda like it with the denim in the mix, though making the straps was a little trickier than it would have been with jersey. (Also, the interfacing simply wasn’t necessary with the denim, which saved me a step or two.)

If I were to do this project over again, I’d likely use the t-shirt only for the flap, and perhaps use the rest of the t-shirt fabric as lining (more re-use, more better), using denim for the side pieces. I’m a bit concerned that the denim strap attached to the jersey sides of the bag may not hold up well over time, even with the interfacing to support the jersey. Or, I’d buy a couple t-shirts that color-coordinate and work well together thematically, and make the entire bag out of jersey (as Simplicity envisioned), but that would be a much slouchier bag than I prefer.

DIY: Make Your Own Jungle Cruise Playhouse

30 Jun

Jungle Cruise Playhouse

I’m not a big fan of the Jungle Cruise. I get so irritated by the “native” stereotypes that I can’t sit back and enjoy the cheezy audio-animatronics or the hokey patter from the tour guide.

Nonetheless, my hat is off to madhatter1138, who not only made this super-nifty playhouse for his daughters, but documented the whole process on Instructables! How cool is that? Now that‘s dedication. And hey, is it just me or does his name make you think he’s not only a Disney fan, but also a student of early George Lucas’ films?

Hat tip: BoingBoing.

DIY Tinker Bell Shirt Appliqués

1 May

I gotta admit, as much as I love Disney stuff, I often find the design and cut of the clothes available in the Disney Store lacking. Ditto for the clothes usually found at Disney Parks. And the stuff that I do like? Well, I’m a budget-minded girl, and since much of the stuff that appeals to me is from the Disney Couture line (read: $$$$), I end up just crafting a lot of Disney duds myself.

A couple months ago I bought several yards of flannel-backed satin Tinker Bell fabric for a project. Looking at the scraps of fabric left out after cutting the pattern, there were plenty of images left intact, and I figured that it would be an interesting experiment to try making appliqués out of them, and doing a little DIY t-shirt fashion.

At first I thought I’d just sew the fabric pieces to the shirt, but the more I read online (including this article on Instructables), the more I thought a more constructed approach would get me better results, so I decided to really make appliqués. Everybody seemed to suggest using fusible web interfacing, which kinda intimidated me . . . I’m a novice seamstress, and still don’t get interfacing right on a consistent basis. But the fusible web turned out to be pretty easy.

Here are the steps I took to make the shirt:

1) I took a scrap of the fabric to Target, and chose out a t-shirt to embellish. I’m always tempted to just get a plain black or white t-shirt, because then I don’t have to worry so much about matching colors. But it’s a whole lot more interesting to get a little pattern into the mix, so I chose a striped t-shirt, in the same color green as Tink’s dress.

2) I cut out a variety of shapes from the fabric. When following the natural curves of the image, I cut freehand. When cutting out a circle, I held a drinking glass or small tea-cup over the image I wanted to cut out, and used a disappearing-ink quilting pen to trace the circle, so I could then cut along the line I’d drawn.

3) I placed the fabric pieces on top of fusible web interfacing, ensuring that the rough side of the interfacing was against the wrong side of the fabric. Actually, I did this wrong the first time . . . so I’m glad I’d bought more interfacing than I needed. It’s cheap, about $3/yard, so just as well to pick up a little extra. I cut out pieces of interfacing that were just a little bit smaller than the fabric pieces, by about a 1/4 inch margin. I followed the instructions on the interfacing to fuse it first to the fabric piece, then to the shirt.

4) Using thread that matched the base color of the appliqués, I sewed a straight-stitch seam just barely inside the point where the interfacing ended. This was both to reinforce the connection between fabric, interfacing, and t-shirt, and to provide a little more visual interest. I could have used a contrasting color, but I was a bit insecure about getting a straight (or appropriately curved) line, and appropriately so . . . I kinda messed up the circle, but got it close enough to live with it. Next time I might try the contrast thread, now that I’ve done this project once before.

5) Using a foam brush, I teased the edges of the fabric pieces, fraying them a bit for visual interest. A toothbrush would have worked just as well. After fraying them, I used embroidery scissors to trim a few long threads.

6) Something felt missing, so I rummaged through my sewing table and, with the help of my fashion-forward 11-year-old son, chose out some purple sequins which matched the darker parts of the butterfly in the fabric. I sewed a line of sequins along the front, to give some balance to the appliqués. I didn’t want to do the whole neckline . . . that felt like a bit too much flash, perhaps a tad cliché. Something felt weird about having it just stop mid-seam, though, so I grabbed a blue rhinestone from my Bedazzler set, matching Tink’s wings, and hand-installed it at the top end of the sequin line. (I would have liked to use the actual Bedazzler, but my size 60 insert is broken, and it’s a pain to get replacement parts.)

And that’s it! The whole process took about 90-120 minutes, not including shopping for the t-shirt. The materials cost less than $15, including enough interfacing for a dozen more shirts.

If you’re interested in Disney DIY crafts, you also might want to check out the other projects I’ve posted about:

Doesn’t my BFF look totally mod with that purse?

Could Remy Be Any More Adorable?

11 Jul

Cute alert! Cute alert! Check out this adorable little felted Remy, courtesy of the Upcoming Pixar blog. (Hat tip to The Disney Blog.)

DIY Disney Project Ideas for Crafty Types

5 Dec

Sometimes it’s tough for Disney geeks to find the right wardrobe . . . there’s plenty of stuff out there emblazoned with our beloved characters, but perhaps it’s not quite in keeping with our personal aesthetics. Or maybe it’s out of our price ranges. Or, well, maybe we just like to spend a bit of time with our sewing machines, or with a tub of fabric paint.

I’m very new to crafting, but thanks to books like Sew Subversive and a wonderful lesson from a local sewing machine shop, I’ve been having fun customizing clothing and starting to design a few pieces of my own. Having caught the crafty fever, I’d like to show off a few of the things I’ve made and perhaps inspire you to DIY a few pieces of your own.


One easy way to get started is to grab a few patches and customize clothing you already own (or can obtain cheaply). I noticed this summer at Disneyland that they’ve got some great patches out for Pirates of the Carribean. Disney is selling these patches as part of the “make your own pirate hat or bandana” package at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but you can also buy them separately — and they’re a pretty good deal, running about $2.50 per patch. Because they’re not designed for use on clothing, you might want to carefully remove the snap from the patches using an exacto knife, and then you’re ready to go.

In homage to the city-ablaze scene in Pirates, I made a hat and scarf out of fleece, using this pattern. I swear, it’s totally easy to sew! Including the patch, it took maybe 90 minutes to make the whole set.

Pirates fleece scarf and hat

Close-up on fleece pirates patch(click this and other thumbnails for better view of patch)

Also in that same set of patches, there’s an awesome little pink girly skull! This time, I scavenged fleece fabric from a major fashion mistake, a pink fleece I picked up super-cheap in the Dollar-A-Pound section of the Garment District (home base for Boston-based bargain fashionistas — email me if you want advice on when to go!). I also added a Ramones patch to the scarf to complete the look.

Pink skull fleece hat and scarf

Pink skull patch

Another patch in this same series worked well on a black Banana Republic shirt I found that same day on the crowded floor of Dollar-A-Pound:

Pirates shirt

Pirates patcho

Pirates not your thing? Shame on you! But over at Animal Kingdom, the Expedition Everest gift shop is all ready for you with a set of patches, designed for your iron-on convenience (I tend to sew them anyway . . . holds up better over multiple washings). Here’s a vest (once again from Dollar-A-Pound!), with a lovely Yeti patch.

Everest fleece vest

Everest fleece patch

Fabric Paints

Want to create your own designs? Make yourself a fabric stencil, grab some paint and a t-shirt, and you’re on your way. I made a Mickey Jolly Roger, which I’ve painted onto a couple shirts and a pair of jeans. Now, beware of copyright issues here . . . you can’t even think about selling this sort of thing. But in many cases you may be protected by the first amendment, especially if your design is satirical, as is my Pirate Mickey below.

Mickey pirate fabric paint jeans


The piece I’m proudest of so far is the Mickey Christmas hat. Totally simple.

Mickey Christmas hat

This was very simple to make, if you have basic improvisational sewing skills (or are willing to pick up that Sew Subversive book, and get yerself some skillz!). . . use a stocking cap as a pattern, cutting two pieces about the same size and shape of the cap but with about 1/2″ added on each side for seam allowance. Cut yourself out a pair of Mickey ears from black fleece, two pieces of fleece per ear so you can sew them together and stuff ’em, then sew into the main seam of the hat. Stuff them firmly enough that they’ll stand up straight when the hat is pulled on snugly.

If you find yourself interested in crafting, there are tons of web sites out there that can tell you way more than I can about how to get started, and how to move on to more advanced stuff. I hope I’ve whetted your appetite just a bit.

%d bloggers like this: