Friday, November 30, 2012

lolita blog carnival: 5 DIY gift ideas

It's that time of year again, everybody!  The time of year where stress is at an all-year high, relaxation is at an all-year low, and more money is being thrown around than ever before...oh yes, it is the winter holiday season.  Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, most people wind up exchanging gifts with at least a few different people.  Maybe your lolita community set up a Secret Santa exchange, or a meetup featuring White Elephant; maybe you signed up to participate in a world-wide gift exchange, like the one Lolita Tips is doing (and I am participating in!)  Buying lolita is expensive though, and most girls scrimp and save to purchase their own clothes and accessories, and might not have any extra money to buy something brand, or even offbrand, for someone they don't know very well or at all.  Luckily, there are so many cute DIY gift ideas out there, perfect for lolitas!

  1. A handmade book.  In my senior year of high school, one of my friends and I made a couple of hardcover books.  It's not easy to do, but the result is really nice and they can be very beautiful!  I think they also have a really down-home, quaint feel to them, which I think is a big part of the lolita aesthetic, especially old-school and classic lolita.  Make them with lined paper for a writer, or drawing paper for an artist, or even try your hand at making your own paper for a completely personalized feel!  (psst; see my tutorial below to learn more about making a book!)
  2. A deco'd picture frame.  Know you have to get a present for a sweet lolita?  I'll let you in on a hint: we love deco.  However, some girls just don't wear jewelry (I always forget to put it on!) so you could try something different, like a picture frame instead!  There are quite a few examples of sweets deco picture frames, but if you are not quite as confident with your deco skills as you would like to be, a little spray of rhinestones on a buttercream or pastel pink frame goes a long way.  Frames can be found for cheap at thrift stores and painted easily, and you could pop in a photo of her favourite print.  Or, if you two are good friends, a photo of the two of you together would be cute!
  3. A small book of recipes.  While not all lolitas like to cook or bake, I think a good portion of us like to dabble in it.  I think it would be really cute to give someone a small book of your favourite recipes.  You could put it in a handmade book for a really personalized touch!
  4. Facial scrubs in cute jars.  There are many recipes and tutorials for making your own facial scrubs, you just need to find one you think sounds good.  You can find a short list here, but there are many other variations that you can try.  My favourite is a mix of honey and brown sugar; it smells good, tastes good, and feels great!  You can make one of these and put it in a jar that you have decorated; maybe a swirl of silicone whipped cream, or just a cute ribbon bow around the middle.
  5. Homemade snowglobes.  These are so adorable!  Make a couple of figurines out of clay, glue them to the bottom of a jar, add some water and glitter, glue the lid tightly, and shake!  I'm going to try making one of these next week and I'm planning on making a tutorial for it, so be sure to check that out!
Didn't I promise you a book-making tutorial?  Read on to see it...

(open in a new tab to see a bigger view!)
Step 1: Get your supplies!  You will need:
 - one large piece of heavy cardboard
 - enough paper to make as many pages as you want in your book (I have 64 pages in mine; I folded a regular sized piece of paper into fourths, so I only used 16 sheets of paper.)
 - a drill that makes small holes
 - two different types of fabric
 - decorations
 - Scotch tape, masking tape, or any other light-weight tape (not pictured)
 - some kind of thick thread, like twine, ribbon, or chord (not pictured)
 - a needle big enough to use with the thick thread and small enough to go through holes made by your drill (not pictured)
 - Modge Podge, or any other lightweight white glue, plus a brush or sponge to apply it evenly (not pictured)

Step 2: Ready your paper!  You will need to bind your paper together tightly so that it doesn't shift around when you drill holes in the paper.  I used paper strips, as seen in the photo; this is really the best way to do it.  Just wrap a few strips of paper around your book pages and tape tightly!
Next, you need to draw dots on one side of the paper to indicate where you are going to drill the holes. If you're using big paper, you can do it how they're drawn in my photo; if it's smaller, then you need fewer holes, so look at the photo for step 3 for guidance.  If you need help, just ask!
Drill holes where you've draw the dots.  Be very careful with this step!  I cut my finger last time I did this and it hurt really badly, so make sure that your fingers are out of the way.

Step 3: Sew your book together!  There are many ways that you can do this, and many stitching methods, but pick the way that you think looks the nicest and is the strongest.  (This will be showing when you finish, so make sure it looks nice!)

Step 4: Cut your cover!  Grab the heavy cardboard and cut one piece that is slightly larger than your paper; about .25 inches larger on each side except for the side with the binding on it.  Cut another piece the same size; these will be your two cover pieces.  Now, cut a small strip of cardboard the same width as the thickness of your book, and the same length as your cover.  This will be the spine of your book.

Step 5: Tape your cover together!  Leave a little gap (1/8th of an inch is fine) in between the covers and the spine when you tape it together so that you can open your book when you're finished.  Put your papers in the cover and see if the proportions are right; if they aren't, don't be afraid to trim your cover!  It takes a while to get right.

Step 6: Cut out your fabric to decorate your cover!  The fabric used on the outer cover should be significantly larger than the cover itself (around 1" larger) while the inside cover fabric should be the same size or a little bit smaller.

Step 7: Glue fabric to cover!  Grab your glue and brush, put a thin coat of glue on the cardboard, and press the fabric evenly on it.  Be careful not to use too much glue, because it will soak through and leave ugly stains on your cover!  You will need to cut notches in the corners of the fabric, and then fold them over so that no part of the outer edge of the cardboard shows.  I've taken a few extra photos of this, as seen here:
 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 -

Step 8: Decorate your cover!  You will need to do this before you attach the inside cover fabric.  You can put anything on here!  Lace, ribbons, bows, iron-ons, painted designs, whatever you want.

Step 9: Attach the inside cover fabric!  This is a bit more difficult than the outside cover because you will need to fold each edge to hide the unfinished edges, so that it doesn't fray over time.  It's a bit hard to explain, so I included extra pictures here as well:
 - 1 - 2 -

Step 10: Glue the pages to the spine!  This is pretty straight forward; you just need a lot of hot glue, and you need to be very clean with it.  You want as little of it to show as possible when you're completely finished with the book, but you also don't want the pages to fall out after just a few uses.  There is a happy medium though, you just have to find it!

Now you're done!  Aren't you happy?  That wasn't too hard!

What is the Lolita Blog Carnival?

I am apart of a group of lolita bloggers, called the Lolita Blog Carnival who all get together to decide on a blog topic and then all post on that topic on a set date.  Check out what other bloggers have to say about this topic!

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