Friday, July 31, 2015

Glittering 101 Workshop - September 12, 2015

Exciting news!!! I have set a date for the next Glittering 101 Workshop!

We had so much fun at the last one, I absolutely cannot wait to spend time glittering with more of the creative ladies of Carnival!!!

The workshop will be 2.5 hrs long (2-4:30pm) on Saturday Sept. 12th. We're going to cover the basics of glittering shoes, including covering shoes with glitter, using the transfer technique for "glettering" (glittered lettering) and various types of embellishment. We'll cover the whole process start to finish, but I'll provide shoes at staggered stages of completeness so we don't have to wait for glue to dry between steps. At the end of the workshop, you'll leave with some partially completed shoes, at least one completely finished ready-to-throw shoe, and some extra materials for finishing up your partial shoes at your leisure. The workshop fee also includes a 23 page packet of useful write-ups (including a detailed step-by-step guide to glittering shoes with photos at each step, all the tips and tricks I've picked up in 5 years of shoe glittering, a guide of useful resources, etc.). Everything you need will be provided - you only need to sign up, pay up and show up!!

I originally assumed it would only be useful for beginners, but we had an even split last time (half total newbies, half really experienced glitterers) and everyone seemed to enjoy it. It's  mostly geared towards shoes (which is where most of my experience is), but I did have a Nyx Goddess with us last time and a lot of the info transfers well to other handcrafted throws, so if you're in another krewe that rocks out hand made throws, you could certainly consider attending to. Basically, I don't want to give anyone the hard sell, I'm just saying I promise I won't chase anyone away...if you're interested, you're welcome regardless of your experience level, affiliation, skill set, etc.

Photos from the last workshop:

Boy, were they ever!! 
Shoes at different stages of completion let us work through the entire process start to finish
How I pretty much like to be whenever possible- wearing my black glittering gloves and holding a Mardi Gras cup full of wine in one hand while I glitter shoes with the other. Does it get better?
Everything I know about shoe glittering organized in one handy folder
A participant's finished shoe at the end of the workshop - her first shoe ever!

Feedback from the last workshop:

"The workshop was fantastic. I took away such great information and so appreciated the resource guides."

"We really enjoyed the workshop, it was fantastic...the write up was very helpful and has great detail."

"I think another awesome technique that you have is the transfer. I am not a good artist, but I feel like I can trace anything, so thank you :)" (PS- I saw her very first finished shoe, she most certainly is a good artist!!)

"I LOVED the workshop! As a first time rider, I was at a loss as to where to begin to make beautiful shoes, and it is very important to me to create shoes worthy of the krewe. From the pictures I saw online of your gorgeous and creative shoes, I knew you had put in the sweat and tears of figuring out the best processes. So instead of reinventing the wheel, I thought why not ask you to teach us? Your guidance and mad skills have given me the foundation I was looking for. I can't wait to get started on my own originals to hand out in 2016!"

If you're interested or have any questions, drop me an email at drnoripants at gmail dot com and I can give you more info (including pricing)!! YAY GLITTER!!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Finished Lisa Frank Shoe (plus tips and tricks for ombre, leopard spots and decorating with confetti)

After seeing all the 90s-tastic graphic design for the Nola Mom's Blog 90s Prom Mom's Night Out, I was inspired to do a Lisa Frank flavored shoe. I was a pretty typical 90s girl in my coveting Lisa Frank school supplies: cute animals, psychedelic night skies and everything RAINBOW all the time always.

This was also a good opportunity for me to play with some new decorating techniques: ombre (which has been rattling around in my head for a while) and free handing animal print (I've traced cheetah print before, but wanted more practice flying without a safety net).

The "trick" to an ombre (besides having an absurd variety of glitter in your stash #sorrynotsorry) is understanding that only iridescent/sheer glitters blend...opaque glitters will of course mix (they won't separate or anything) and you can get some really dazzling effects by combining them (stay tuned - more on that in a later post), but the color isn't going to look like a blend between the two starting hues. For that, you need to be using iridescent/sheer glitter. After doing a couple of custom blends, I also advise that you work with reasonably close colors for a blend: green + blue will give you a nice teal (see the Tiffany Box shoe), or a pale pastel iridescent + white will give you an even paler pastel (which is what I've been using for Birthday Cake shoes), but if you mix white with a really bright or dark color, even another iridescent sheer, it just isn't going to blend as nicely.

So, first up I picked out my base "rainbow," which for me was Recollections "fairy dust," Gary's glitter by the pound sheer pink, then Gary's orange, then Gary's yellow, then Martha Stewart "limeade," then ArtMinds stackable sheer teal, then finally Martha Stewart "blueberry slush." All the Martha Stewart glitters in there are found in the iridescent 12 pack and you could make a very nice rainbow just from those colors, but whenever I had anything else that would work I used it instead as MS iridescent is pretty pricey (I find Gary's yellow iridescent glitter to be indistinguishable from Martha Stewart "lemon drop" and it's an eight of the price by the ounce). There are a lot of other sheers that would work in a rainbow (I have some nice neons from ArtMinds that I think will make a really nice retina-scorcher of an ombre), so I'd encourage you to use what you have in your stash. Also bear in mind you don't have to do a full rainbow (though for Lisa Frank, it's nice).

So after I picked out my colors, I transferred a bit to lidded 2 oz Jello Shot cups (not strictly speaking necessary, but I was running low on a few and didn't want to accidentally use it all up in blends and not have enough left of the original for my rainbow). For each color transition (i.e., purple to pink, pink to orange, orange to yellow, etc.), I shook out approx. half of each color into a 2 oz cup and shook to mix. Now I had a bunch of little cups spanning a reasonably smoothly transitioning rainbow. If you're working with fewer colors and some of the transitions are a little jarring, you may want to consider having some additional transition blends besides half and half (for example: purple, then 2/3rd purple + 1/3rd pink, then 1/2 purple + 1/2 pink, then 1/3 purple + 2/3 pink, then pink).

Because your glitter is sheer, your shoe needs to be white for this to work. I used a primed a basic pump with white spray paint. I have some white shoes in my stash, but not enough so I do a fair amount of priming. I added Mod Podge to my primed white shoe and carefully shook the colors on in stripes one at a time. Be careful when you pour off the excess glitter that you don't pour onto wet glue (pay attention to the direction of your pouring basically). If you're nervous, you could do it a few colors at a time, it's not a one shot deal like some other techniques. I would say two layers are recommended for opaque glitters, and essential for iridescents: I just don't get the same depth and intensity of color out of an iridescent sheer unless you do two (and maybe even three) coats, even if you've primed in white. You might get away with it if you've primed in a really similar colored spray paint, or if you've used the trick of putting a similarly-hued opaque layer down before your iridescent, but I generally do at least two layers. So after the first layer of glitter dried, I did another pass of glue and rainbow stripes to intensify the colors. The added bonus effect of this second layer is, because you don't exactly perfectly trace the stripes you laid down the first time (even if you wanted to you couldn't), another layer helps make the blend from color to color more...blendy, so to speak. When the glue dries, the first layer will show through a bit, so you don't want to stray too too much from your initial stripes, but a little blurring of the edges is great for the final effect.

Here's my shoe after the base of sheer iridescent rainbow ombre was done:
A little blurry, sorry about that.
You can see not all the transitions are perfectly seamless (the yellow is a little more abrupt than I'd like), and if this was all the shoe was going to be I might think about adding a third layer to try and smooth them out a little. But it doesn't need to be perfect because the cheetah print that's going over it will obfuscate imperfections.

Step 2 - leopard print time! My "formula" for leopard print is: pale background color + black spot outlines + darker shade of the background color inside the spot outlines. This works for doing both natural and the, shall we say, not-exactly-found-in-nature leopard prints:

A few examples of different leopard prints (for a "naturalistic" leopard I would recommend Recollections champagne or Martha Stewart "smoky topaz" for the background and a copper glitter for inside the spots)
And, as you can see in this reference image, it's also the Lisa Frank approach to rainbow leopards:
Lisa Frank Hunter the Leopard Cub notecard. That etsy seller has a ton of Lisa Frank if you're feeling nostalgic.

The reference images also give you an idea how the black spot borders should look: roughly circular blobs forming a vaguely oval ring that's open in a few spots. I free handed these with Tulip Scribbles and Martha Stewart onyx. Here are a some shots of the finished spot outlines:

After the spot outlines were done, the last step (other than glettering and glittering the rest of the shoe of course) was to fill in the spots. Using the "fill the spots in a shade slightly darker than the background" rule I picked out a corresponding rainbow of Martha Stewart opaque jewel tones:

Jewel tone rainbow: purple spinel, tourmaline, carnelian, orange topaz, fire opal, yellow barite, golden beryl, verdelite, amazonite, lapis lazuli

These are a combo of selections from the "Essential Glitter Set" and "Rich Essential Glitter Set" 24 packs (see here), but I'm sure you could make do with one or the other, especially if you had other opaque glitters in your stash.

If you're curious, here are the exact details of how the jewel tone rainbow for the spot centers aligned with the background iridescent glitters (including blends) from toe to heel:

Recollections "fairy dust" paired with "purple spinel." The pink + purple transition blend paired with "tourmaline." Gary's pink paired with "carnelian." The pink + orange blend paired with "orange topaz"

Gary's orange glitter also paired with "orange topaz." Orange + yellow blend paired with "fire opal." Gary's yellow glitter paired with "yellow barite." Yellow + green blend paired with "golden beryl"

Martha "limeade" also paired with "golden beryl." ArtMinds teal paired with "verdelite." Teal + blue blend paired with "amazonite." Martha Stewart "blueberry slush" paired with lapis lazuli

Using a crystal Tulip Scribbles, I carefully filled in the spots and added the corresponding opaque jewel tone glitters:

And here's the finished exterior with all the spots filled in:

Phew!! A grand total of 23 different shades of glitter in, and you haven't even tackled the interior, sole, heel, platform or glettering! But you're starting to get that awesome 90s vibe, right?

For the rest of the shoe, I was picturing a Lisa Frank style night sky. I blended some dark blue Jefferson Variety glitter with Martha Stewart iridescent "licorice" glitter and glittered all the other surfaces of the shoe. I used silver trim to pick up on the metallic star and moon sequins I added to may the night sky background.

For the glettering, I used the jewel tone opaque glitter rainbow to make ombre lettering (I didn't try to do the colors one at a time, I just shook out a teeny bit of each and lost a smidge).

A word to the wise: skip whichever color is too close to your background colors (I should've started with pink and ended on green) because it won't show up as clearly once you transfer

Glettering transferred
Finally, I added silver moons and golden stars all over the dark blue background, including the bottom of the shoe (no, it's not practical...what are you, new here?)

Side bar - note that you can use metallic confetti just like you'd use sequins (i.e. as a cool little accent on your shoe) and they come in better shapes (sequins are pretty much mostly just round). I have bought many many little packets of metallic awesomeness from Chico Party, including the night sky sequins I used here. They have a huge selection - prepare to get lost in that website imagining all the cool shoes/purses you could do. Just now, when I looked up the URL to link to, I saw these guys  and my mind started to wander to a Jurassic Park shoe we were just talking about on Facebook....and ooh, these dolphins would be awesome on another Lisa Frank shoe and...wait...what were we talking about? *Cough.* Anyway, I use E6000 to attach them to the shoe, using a toothpick to both put a teeny dollop and pick up individual sequins and move them to the shoe.

Here are lots of pics of the finished shoe:

Ready to go to its new home in just a little under 200 days!!! I'm going to try a few more ombres and will, as always, share any and everything about it here in excruciating detail. Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Too Funny!!

I'm dying

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sale Round Up

I was starting to think that the President had opened our strategic glitter reserves or something (we totally have those, right?) because I was seeing a lot of sale prices on glitter, but maybe it's just that people aren't doing glitter crafting as much in July, compared to Christmas (but remember: glitter is for life, not just for Christmas!)

Here's a round-up of deals going on at the moment that I know of:

- From what I've heard, Gary's is going to try to keep the glitter by the pound price down around $8.50. I also hear they've added some new colors! I will be checking it out again in August, so I will update at that time. Don't forget to like/follow Gary's on Facebook for coupons!

- (one of my favorite sources for buying craft supplies in bulk) used to sell glitter in these little 1 ounce tubes, and now has started also offering glitter by the pound. It's even a wee bit cheaper than Gary's ($7.70/lb plus shipping vs $8.50/lb). I still prefer Gary's (buy local!!), but wanted to share the news. I've bought the little tubes before and, assuming it's the same stuff, the color and fineness are excellent.

- If you're so hard core you're looking to buy 5 lbs of glitter instead of merely purchasing by the pound like us mere mortals (or, more likely you have some glitterers to split up a big order with you) Kit Kraft is offering free shipping (on orders over $99) and 10% off glitter until the end of July (promo code GLITTER10). They've also reduced the prices on some of their higher end glitters. It's pricier than I'd usually recommend (~$3/ounce if you get the 5 lb size), but again...I like y'all to know your options. It's also really nice quality (this stuff haunts my pretty) and comes in a way wider range of colors than any other vendor I know of.

- I'm a fan of the Oriental Trading fine glitter Halloween four pack, and it's currently on sale ($5.78 instead of $8.50 for four 2.5 oz bottles). If you're on their email list you get their coupons (right now the coupon is $10 off and free shipping on orders of $69 or more).

- Today and tomorrow (7/8/15), Michael's has a special on flip flops (3 for the price of 1, so right around $1/pair). Even if you miss that sale, they'll start to have flip flops that (not coincidentally) ramp up as flip-flop season ramps down. If you want to do any flip flop shoes, I would start checking on them whenever you're at Michael's for the rest of the summer. When I see them for $1 or $0.50 a pair, I pick a pair or two up. Personally, I'd recommend white (since you can layer any color over it) and extra-smalls (they're cutest). I'm obviously really devoted to the classic high heel, but alternative shapes can be a lot of fun. I did a Shrimp Poboy shoe for 2015, and I've been playing with a Muffaletta shoe and S'mores shoe in the same style.

My "research" (i.e. fooling around on Pinterest) has also informed me that the Old Navy $1 Flip Flop Sale is evidently a thing. It looks like it's passed this year (appears to be annually end of June), but now that I know about it I'm going to try and catch it next year. Judging by the website, even when they're not on sale the plain flip flops are pretty cheap at $2-$2.50/pair.

I've started compiling ideas for flip flops here and will continue to add to that board.