Posts Tagged ‘tutorial’

How to Dye Your Hair Crazy Colors + Keep It That Way: A Guide

As you can see, I have had nearly every color under the sun. Also a mohawk. And this collage doesn’t even cover it all! One of my favorite color schemes was during a camera-less period - when it was very short with bangs, neon orange in the back, purple in the front, and a skunk-stripe of green in the bangs. At any rate, here it is now:

I get questions and comments on my hair all the time. I’ve had unnatural hair colors for nearly three years now, with a few periods of normal-ish hair. I of course can’t say it’s something I’ll do until the day I die, but I LOVE having it this way and it’s sort of become my trademark (esp. in a town as small as this one!). When I had to have “normal” hair, it just didn’t make the day as great, silly as it sounds. At any rate - this post is for those who love the candy colored hair too, and want to know how to do it to themselves (or inflict it on their friends/family…muahahaha!), or are just curious about the process!

(obvious disclaimer: I am not a professional and cannot be held accountable for any bleach and/or dye related havoc!)

How do you get it that way?

With bleach and dye, of course! For a bleaching FAQ, check here. (the other memories are also great reading!) She covers most of the basics including the color theory you need to know to work with hair, and does it well. It’s pretty basic: bleach hair, rinse out, shampoo (and condition, probably just for ease of combing, but nothing too intense, see below!), put dye on (using the same method as the bleach, to make sure you get it everywhere!), leave on for a while, rinse, tada!

Re getting hair white: It is hard, and will probably damage your hair. The first time I got any part of my hair white it was a total accident and I just kept it that way; the second time (with the green and white, where I’m making that oh-so-attractive face) I was bleaching out from purple, which made things a lot easier as it was already toned! If you’re bleaching out anything that is red or orange based (which will be almost everything except for like, an ash blonde or light brown), you’ll want to pick up some toner or make your own - I used a tiny tiny TINY (like, less than pea sized probably) of RAW purple in a bunch of conditioner and it worked great for me.

What do you use?

Mostly, Special Effects dye. I’ve always had great luck with it and found it to be the longest lasting. Punky makes a great turqoisey color (the picture with purple and green-blue mohawk? that’s Punky Apple Green) which lasted a decent chunk of time too. I’ve also had good luck with the RAW Purple Passion and True Blue. I don’t use Manic Panic a lot myself, but I’ve heard good things about After Midnight Blue. To be fair though, everyone’s hair is different - I’ve seen friends have Manic Panic’d hair wash out in literally two shampoos, but when I used it (in one of the reddish pink shades, forget what it was) it lasted a while, and I keep a tub of Vampire Red around for mixing.

Speaking of mixing - yes, you can mix semipermanent dyes! Doesn’t matter what brand, or colors (although of course there are bad ideas, like say, red and green, which will just make poop-brown). I myself really like to mix colors any more, it seems to make the result a little more multidimensional. But I also have a pretty crazy dye collection from 2ish years of this, so I know mixing is not as feasible for beginners. A note about mixing though; I’m not sure why but when you mix several dyes, the result tends to be VERY dark for the first few days until it fades a bit. See the top picture with red and blue hair? The purple on the side was mixed, and it appeared near-black for several days until fading to a rich purple. My theory is that there’s so much pigment it just takes a while for the real color to show through. That might be poppycock though.

About “permanent” and/or “professional” brightly colored dyes: I’ve personally found them to be overpriced and only last as long as SFX anyways. I’ve only seen a few in action, but there you go.

Doesn’t that fry your hair?!

Repeat after me: CANDY COLORS DO NOT DAMAGE HAIR ANY MORE THAN NATURAL ONES! Very common misconception! In fact, bleach is the only part of the process that actually damages hair - pretty much all of the dyes the average consumer can get their hands on are vegetable based semipermanent dyes, which means that they’re sort of like very very pigmented conditioner. You’ll notice that you don’t need to mix the dye with developer, meaning it contains no hydrogen peroxide at all. This very fact is why it’s ok to leave semipermanent dyes on for hours; I usually leave it on for 2-3 for maximum saturation. Some people say there’s no noticeable difference after 45 minutes, but I’ve done a few experiments and I definitely noticed a difference.

It is, of course, a great idea to invest in a protein conditioner or treatment just to make sure your hair is in tiptop shape after the bleaching (but use this AFTER the dye - you want your hair as porous as possible so that the dye will soak in well!), but unless you were trying to say, bleach out black, or are already dealing with very damaged hair, your hair will probably be fine.

How do you keep it bright so long?

It’s a pain, I’ll tell you. The main thing is not shampooing my hair in every shower - which is easy enough for me, but might be harder for some hair types. I will say that when I first starting doing this, it made my hair a little gross for about a week until my scalp adjusted to it. A lot of times, people overshampoo without knowing it, which just makes the scalp dried out, which makes it produce more oil. So when the overshampooing is stopped, the scalp is like “MOAR OIL PLZ” anyways, and it takes a while to get used to the new routine. Shampooing with dye-friendly shampoo (no sulfates for you!) also helps.

The second thing, which is not as easy, is washing your hair in cold, or at the least, lukewarm water. Hot water drains the color out like crazy. It’s a pain, for sure, but if you want to extend the life of your color, there you go! These tips work for “normal” hair colors too, and I’ve heard stylists tell them to clients who are getting red dye jobs (red is one of the hardest colors to keep in, since the color molecules are so large).

Finding a job with colored hair:

This can be tricky. As far as short term (i.e., you’re a student and just want something part time), I really liked working at Hot Topic, despite the various things you hear (”OMG dude yer a sellout!!!”), it’s on the Forbes Best 100 list, and is a fun environment. There’s also Target and Spencer’s Gifts, off the top of my head - and it never hurts to ask, either! If you’re in a bigger city, you’ll have a LOT more luck with this, especially if you’re a creative-minded individual - jobs in the arts seem to be much more accepting of funky personal style (candy colored hair, piercings, tatts, etc.). There’s also these memories in the dyed_hair community that have some suggestions. However, sometimes, unfortunately, you just have to play by the rules before you can break them (great post by Birdie!).

But you’re so pretty, why would you dye your hair THAT color?!

Because it’s my hair and I wanted to. Eff off.

Just kidding, hope none of you were planning on asking that question! My answer in person is usually a slightly more tactful “I like the color” and a smile. Unless the person in question is being intentionally rude,  in which case they might get the above answer. Or my personal favorite - “Well, THAT was rude! You must be so embarrassed.”. That works in a variety of situations, by the way.

People will stare at your new hair. I tell myself it’s because they’re not used to seeing so much concentrated awesomeness in one spot. But sometimes they just think I look dumb, which really, happens even when normal hair is had. It doesn’t bother me at all and writing about it makes me think of a situation at Target - one of my coworkers told me they loved my hair but they would NEVER be brave enough to do it. Why not?! Especially if your employer doesn’t care! Have pink hair! The happy stares and “Look, mommy, she’s like a My Little Pony/Rainbow Brite!” from five year olds will more than make up for the crotchety people who are probably just pissed off about something else and taking it out on you.

In that vein, I will share a heartwarming story, possibly my best crazy-colored-hair related one. A friend and I were at the food court in the mall; at the time her hair was light pink and mine was dark blue. A relatively “normally” dressed woman came up to us and asked if she could speak with us for a minute - we exchanged “Oh great, here we go” looks but nodded anyways. She pulls us aside and says, “Well, girls, my daughter LOVES your hair” - this is where we notice the little girl, probably around four, hiding shyly behind her mom - “but she is too shy to say anything, so she told me ‘Mom! Those girls must be rock stars, with hair like that! Can you get their autograph for me?’ ” And the mom hands us a little pink sparkly notebook.

CUTEST THING EVER. Of course we agreed. And things like that, my friends, are why having crazy hair is beyond worth it - even if I didn’t love seeing it in the mirror every morning.

So! That covered everything I could think of. Any more questions? I will be happy to answer to the best of my ability, promises!

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Making an Inspiration Board

No, not one with Polyvore or Picasa - those are for wimps! We’re talking a real, get your hands dirty (or at least, covered in rubber cement), paper-and-scissors inspiration board. Oh yeah.

This is great for two reasons:

1: If you’re a compulsive magazine hoarder like me, this gives you a chance to give them a second life. Aside from, you know, just flipping through them to read the articles from magazines three years ago.

2: GREAT way to get inspiration…of course. If you’re feeling blah, not sure where your style’s been going lately, etc., an inspiration board can totally help. Inspiration boards can be made for any reason, and one can be made for a specific style - “Retro 50’s” or “Fairy Tale”, for example, but I was definitely doing this as an exercise in seeing what colors, patterns, silhouettes, and such that I tend to be drawn to.

This is obviously not the only way to make one, but here’s what I did.

Go get your magazine hoard. I had super-cool mags like NYLON and BUST and Venus, which made it easier to find the off-the-wall things I like, but Cosmo or Vogue will work just as well! If you don’t have a magazine hoard, you can probably find someone who does, or you can ask places like the library to give you their old magazines. If you’ve got a cool local place that sells them, it could be totally fruitful to see what they do with the leftovers at the end of the month - at Eccentrix, they just end up sitting in the break-room with the covers ripped off. They’d probably be ok with giving some away, and that’s a fast way to get a few.

Flip through the magazines. Any time you see anything you like, whether in an advertisement, photoshoot, whatever, just rip the page out. Set all of the pages in one spot - I had a folder that I got from the $1 section at Target AGES ago and stuck ‘em all in there. If you have one lying around I highly recommend it, because otherwise the pages slide all hither and thither.

Once you’ve exhausted the magazine resource, go back through the pages. If you look at a page, and can’t remember what it was about the page that spoke to you, put it aside - you might be able to use it for another inspiration or mood board, but for the purposes of this board (which, like I said above, is kind of a “where is my style going”, “what am I drawn to” exercise), it won’t be of use. Cut out the item or part of the picture you were drawn to. While you’re at it, you might think about what your absolute favorite part is, it’ll come in handy later. For some items, if they take up most of the page, you might want to just clean up the page edge and leave the rest as is, because you probably won’t tons and tons of the posterboard showing. You can cut the item/person/thing of note closely around the edge, or leaving jagged edges, or just cut a rectangle around them - whatever floats your boat!

Once you’ve cut everything out, get your posterboard, glue/rubber cement, any paints or paintbrushes you might need, and your folder of images. Will probably look like this:

The loose magazine page is one that I ripped out right before I started and hadn’t trimmed yet. Note the tunes! Tunes are important, they will set the mood! So pick something you lurve.

Now spread out all of your images, and start sorting them into large images, medium sized images, and small images.

Start with the large images first, pick out your favorites and start laying them out on the board. You’ll run out of space faster than you’d think - be prepared to  pick and choose! Once you’ve decided on a layout, rubber cement those pieces down. Oh, and by the way, be prepared for it to take up a large amount of space:

That big empty space in the middle? That’s where I was! This is about three-quarters of the way through it.

Now sift through the medium pieces and do the same. This is where consciously thinking about what element of the photo/page you’re most drawn to comes in - you won’t want that element to be obscured. Last come the small pieces. Be prepared to end up end several layers in some spots - I think I had three or four in at least two places, and I actually ended up almost completely covering one photo because I decided I liked others better! I used the smaller pieces, including several roses I cut out from this month’s BUST issue (right before the Mother’s Day article), to break up the negative space left over between the large and medium pieces, and tie it together somewhat. Here’s the result:

Inspiration Board - zoomed out

Inspiration Board - zoomed out

Inspiration Board - detail shots

Inspiration Board - detail shots

Apologies for the not-so-great pictures - it’s really hard to take photos of a shiny object, as it turns out. For larger pictures, look here and here. And I really need to get a camera that doesn’t leave a timestamp on photos! Sigh. Anyways, it ended up a little warped because I left it on a shelf (with some overhang) before it was fully dry. Warning for those using rubber cement: it, apparently, takes FOREVER to dry! I finished this Friday evening around 6:30, left it sitting overnight, and put it on the shelf the next day at noon. Ten hours later it was warped. Lame. Also, for the other klutzes out there: How to Get Rubber Cement Out of Clothing.

Oh, and I have plenty of leftovers for the next time I want to do something like this:

Maybe I went a bit overboard with the page-tearing, hmm?

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Stencilling Tutorial

Yes, yes, I’m aware this is two days late…I’ve been a bit laid up with a head cold. But here it is now!

You’ll need an x-acto knife, freezer paper (you can purchase it at most grocery stores or butcher shops I think - it’s like normal paper on one side and has wax on the other), a piece of cardboard to put inside the shirt, fabric paint or screenprinting paint, and a brush (you can use the ones that are spongey on the ends, or the ones that are made of several stiff bristles in a circle shape - whatever floats your boat. I like the spongey ones myself).

First off, we’re going to start with a black and white image. Totally black and white, no shades of gray. You can use this method with most photos, but some level of detail will be lost (there are several tutorials online on how to make a stencil in photoshop, here’s one). I’m just using a simple nautical star, as you saw.

You’ll trace the image on to your freezer paper.

Then cut the image out with the x-acto knife.

Do this with all of the stencils you’re using today (if you’re using only one, congratulations, you’ve saved yourself some time, skip to the next step!).

Now put some cardboard in your shirt or item to be stencilled, so that it doesn’t bleed through to the other side. Take your stencils and trim them as needed if you’re trying to fit several in a tight spot, and then arrange them on the shirt or whatever in the way you like. If you ripped something while cutting, it’s not a big deal - just arrange it how it’s supposed to be. Then iron it, on the medium setting (or it’s the medium setting on my iron). The wax on the other side of the paper melts and stick to the fabric, which makes it a lot easier to prevent bleeding - one reason I much prefer this method over cardboard, even if cardboard is reusable.

Now you’ll put some fabric paint on a paper plate or whatever surface you’re using, and dab the brush in it. You don’t want to get too much paint on there, because that’ll make the stencilling uneven and make bleeding slightly more likely. Just do this until you get everything covered, trying to make it as even as possible.

(side note: this shirt wasn’t actually a very good example, the fabric has a slight ’slick’ texture that makes stencilling a little harder and bleeding a little more likely - as you may be able to tell. )

When you’re done, just pull the freezer paper off. It shouldn’t leave a residue or anything. Let the paint dry, then heat treat it by tossing it in the dryer or ironing it from the other side. This’ll help prevent fading.

Using this method, you can get REALLY detailed results. Here’s the best one I’ve ever done (on my uber-ponx vest, ages and ages ago)

Oh yeah. Mad skillz, I has ‘em. haha. Using this method you can even sometimes use ‘islands’ in your stencils, if you iron them down properly.

Anyways! I think that about covers everything. Questions? Comments? Rotten fruit?

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Petticoat/Circle Skirt Tutorial

Since I wrote it up for Craftster, I thought I’d post it here too :) This is a tutorial to make a petticoat (also called a crinoline) like I posted yesterday - one that can be worn as a skirt, as well as being worn under other items to give them poof and body. So I guess it could also be called a pettiskirt. Anyways, without further ado:

1. The first step is to construct the underskirt. I used satin, you can really use whatever you want as long as it’s opaque. Figure out how long you want it to be (I made mine a little above knee length) first, and then cut out the fabric. I used my favorite method for making a circle skirt which is this:

2. Since I was using satin, I immediately serged the edges, which if you have a serger and are using satin I HIGHLY recommend. That stuff frays like nobody’s business. Then, you’ll cut a piece of elastic a few inches shorter than your waist measurement, and a piece of fabric that’s about 2.5 times the width of your elastic, and several inches longer than your waist measurement!! This is important, because I was a ditz and made it only an inch or two longer than my waist measurement, and now it will only fit over my boobs if I’m not wearing a bra, and won’t go over my ass at all. Just sayin’. Keep it in mind. Then you’ll fold the fabric over, stitch along the edge, turn it inside out (or not - I just sewed wrong sides together since the bottom of the elastic is under the skirt anyways, so I saved myself a step), and put the elastic through it. It might take a while. I’ll wait.

3. Now, you’ll pin and sew the long tube you just made to your circle skirt and stitch! I just left the hem of the skirt serged and didn’t officially hem it because a. I am lazy and b. it’s under a freakin’ pound of tulle anyways, so nobody knows but me.

4. Here comes the fun part. THE TULLE. Woo-hoo. Okay, you’ll cut out two pieces of tulle TWICE as long as your waist measurement and several inches long (depends on how many tiers you want to do - I did three tiers, so I my top two tiers were 7″ long and the bottom was 8.5″, as you saw, this resulted in a skirt a little longer than knee length). There can be several variations from what I did at this step - if you’d like, you could do three times your waist length for a really poofy tullemonster. Or sandwich in a layer of lace betwen the two layers of tulle for some added fanciness and opacity, or just do another layer of tulle. And of course it’s possible to vary the length of the tier. At any rate, now it’s time to run it through the sewing machine on a basting stitch - I used a 4mm stitch. Leave longggg trails of thread at the end. Now go look at one of those ends, and tug on each of the threads. One of the threads should start gathering the fabric when you tug on it. Tug and tug and tug some more, even out the gathering as you go, until the gathered edge of the tulle is as long as your waist measurement. Set this aside for now, someplace where the damn cat won’t get ahold of it and break the threads, undoing your hard work. Luckily for me, he only got the last four inches or so.

ALTERNATELY: If you are a lucky lucky person who owns a ruffler foot and knows how to use it, just fiddle around with the settings until you get a setting that gathers to the needed amount (i.e., can take a 10″ strip of fabric and turn it into a 5″ strip of ruffled fabric). Or you can do as I did, which involved having trouble with the ruffler foot, swearing loudly at the sewing machine, and grumpily resigning yourself to hand-gathering. Whatever works.

5. Now, take the length of the last piece of tulle that was cut cut, pre-gathering, and double that (we’ll call the resulting measurement x). Cut out two 7″ by x” pieces of tulle, and do the basting stitch along one edge again. Now, you’ll gather it to the original length of the first piece of tulle. This would probably be a good time to put on some Buffy or something, because it could take a while. Once you get done gathering it, pin it and sew it to the bottom layer of the first tier.

6. This time, you’ll take the length of the second tier pre-gathering and double it (measurement x). Cut out two pieces of tulle that are 8.5″ by x”, and baste one edge. Gather it until the gathered edge is the same length as the pre-gather length of the second tier (this will take a WHILE - I reiterate my suggestion to put a dvd on or something), and pin it and sew it to the bottom layer of the second tier. Confused? Hopefully this will help:

Now you’ve got a nearly constructed skirt - all you have to do is sew up the side of all three tiers, and then pin the top gathered edge to the foundation skirt you made, right under the waistband. Sew that all up, and then bam! Put on your petticoat and twirl around!

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