Tuesday 16 July 2013

Bedroom Bonuses: 2 Sticky Tape

Part two of our hidden DIY treasures series takes you to the stationery drawer with the multi purpose essential that is sticky tape. With statement sunglasses a summer staple for 2013, it was Ray Ban’s Mondrian-esque take on their trademark square shades that captured my imagination and inspired the tutorial for this entry.
Henry Holland astutely pointed out that sunglasses cost a fraction of the price of shoes and handbags, yet make as big an impression. Of course, the Chic Cheat approach is to do everything on the cheap but it works out even cheaper to use and recycle items you already own, as is the case with this DIY exercise. So, how can the lazy repairer’s adhesive of choice create a meticulous masterpiece? Read on…


Pretty Easy

I’d say this tutorial required care rather than skill. Rush it and it won’t work but take care and it will pay off. Mistakes are also generally easy to rectify.


1 ½ - 2 hours (tops).

Total Cost

If you don’t already own clear sunglasses and the right coloured nail polish, I found the former at H&M for £4.99. The latter you can get for as little as £1 per colour but you may need to sniff around markets and look at kits from cheap shops to get the best deals.

They're unlikely to set you back £70 like the originals do – on sale!

You will need

Nifty shades of Ray Ban

Cut your sticky tape to cover up the lenses and areas on the frames that you don’t want to paint.

Paint your orange and yellow areas (or whichever other colours you want to use if you’re making a different version).

After the nail polish has dried, remove the sticky tape from your frames but not from the lenses just yet. Outline your orange and yellow areas in black, applying your nail polish with a cocktail stick.

Once the black outlines have become tacky, use your fingernails to tidy them up along the outside edges.

Fix your design by applying a protective coat of clear nail polish all over the frames. When it has dried, remove the sticky tape from your lenses.

Friday 5 July 2013

Bedroom Bonuses: 1 Nail Polish

I just thought I'd write this entry as a friendly acknowledgement that you may or may not own certain of my favourite DIY staples, such as a patternmaster, professional tailoring scissors and wood carving knives, which tend to add a fair bit more money to the total cost; I thought I'd surprise you by letting you know that the black nail polish you've got idly kicking around and a pair of clear sunglasses (available online here and here at the time of publication) are all you need. It also helps to have some clear nail varnish as a protector and fixative.

Chic Cheat is currently coveting:

A clear yellow pair is recommended for this one. Simply paint on some black leopard spots and fix with some clear nail polish.

Chic Cheat's Ray Ban vision: Take a pair of plain sunglasses, paint some thin stripes in red and yellow so that they're translucent, add some opaque black borders and finish them with a coat of transparent nail polish.

Monday 1 July 2013

Make your Marc – How to DIY a Marc Jacobs Stardust iPad Case

A case of Branding 101 for crafty technophiles

Image: lyst.com

Not wanting to give the ending away, the acquisition of a new tablet coupled with a need to celebrate the pleasure and convenience of using one inspired me to create a glamorous new home for it. The Marc Jacobs Stardust iPad case took the cake and not just because the brilliant neon and soft, squishy shapes meant it looked good enough to eat! No, it was the dandy digital-look logo pattern that recalled perhaps the only key 90s trend that 2013 fashion hasn’t yet referenced: The art of conspicuous branding.

The best example of the decade that I can remember? Once upon a time Victoria Beckham was seen as “Quiet, Aloof Spice” in the background (commonly shortened to “Posh”), while Mel “Sporty Spice” C ruled the roost in terms of fashion influence; she inspired a ubiquitous teen and pre-teen uniform of Adidas tracksuit bottoms – in particular, the ones with the random panelling across the mid-calves that made them look as if they had been shoddily lengthened rather than aesthetically intended. Their respective means of sartorial influence were completely different: People dress “Posh” now because of the clothes she is photographed wearing, people dressed sportily then because they already had been for the past half-decade or so. It was an auspicious time for Ms. C because it was all about the logos!

As a less nouveau riche, more sane person I would say label fetishes are among the fads best left in the past (along with cheesy, formulaic pop bands, but that’s another story!) unless they entail rewriting the logo in a novel, artistic way. Then, the logo doesn’t become the sole, stand-out design feature, rather a new design is incorporated into the branding, rendering the final product a bit less naff (yes, that’s a good 90s word, too!).

So, while that concludes my presentation on why I just kinda felt like replicating the Marc by Marc Jacobs Stardust case, keep the word “branding” in mind…

You will need

Also, all-purpose scissors and some means of tracing onto faux leather are a must, like a gel pen and…

A thin tea towel for ironing

The adhesive letters I used can be purchased here


Very Easy

That’s all there is to say. Also, it helps if you like ironing.


Okay, confession time: After 8 exhausting hours of trial and error, I finally came up with the solution. It then emerged that I didn’t have enough faux leather to complete the cover so this tutorial’s all about the tried-and-tested process.

I’d estimate it as being about 1- 1 ½ hours and easily doable in an evening.

Press on…

Use your iPad/tablet/laptop case to trace out the area needed to cover each side. Cut your pieces out.

Arrange your design using the letters M,A,R,C,B,Y,J, O and S. You might want to throw some star shapes into the mix if you have any appropriately-sized ones. Above is a single letter for demonstration purposes (see “Time” section).

Completely cover your material with your tea towel and iron over it for about 1 ½ - 2 minutes, pressing as hard as you can. The temperature can be a delicate balance to strike - synthetic fabrics burn and melt very easily but too low a heat won’t do the job properly. I’d recommend a two-dot setting on your iron or an equivalent setting (about ¾ of the way along) but I’d also strongly advise experimenting on some scrap first to avoid accidents. This technique fixes your letters in place permanently, even after the material cools down. It's also the reason you need to use faux and not real leather.

If you’re not lucky enough to find some faux leather in the colour you want, use some fabric paint (I used Pebeo fluorescent orange which is about £4 per pot). Make sure you use opaque paint for dark material.

Your paint will probably become tacky after it has dried so use a quick spritz of clear lacquer for a smooth, protective finish.

Repeat this process with the other side and craft mount your pieces in place.