Tag Archives: tutorial

Day 361- How To: DIY Flannel Lantern by Free People

24 Feb

Day 347- How To: Be Inspired

10 Feb

How-Tuesday: Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing

alrdesignStory by Noah ScalinPublished on Jan 03, 2012 in MakePhoto by Ted Dewan’s “road witch” project in Unstuck.

You’ve flipped the calendar to 2012 and opened to a fresh blank page in your sketchbook. Now what?

Are you feeling like you’re in a creative rut? Everyone gets stuck now and then, but when your livelihood requires creative output it can be truly devastating to hit one of these mental roadblocks. I know from personal experience: I’ve spent over 10 years running my own design and consulting firm, and a few years back I hit a wall. I was feeling completely uninspired, so the work I was producing for my clients and myself suffered as a result. What did I do to fix this situation? I decided to spend a year making skulls!

The Skull-A-Day project was a great long-term solution that has been giving back to me every since. Obviously everyone can’t drop what they’re doing and embark on a year-long path to get their creativity flowing again. Luckily, inspiration isn’t about waiting for your muse to show up – it’s about stoking the creative fires already within you. If often takes just a bit of lateral motion to change your perspective. Suddenly the ideas are flowing again.

So how do you get started? It’s really about committing to taking an action — any action — rather than just thinking about it. But that’s easier said than done, so here are six big ideas from my new book, Unstuck: 52 Ways to Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing, at Home, at Work & in Your Studio.

  1. Let Go of Preciousness. One of the biggest creative stumbling blocks is our need to get things right. Believe me, I’m a perfectionist myself, so I know how hard it is to let that go. The reality is that treating your creations as precious little things to protect keeps you from the world of possibilities the comes from trying new things out, making mistakes, and getting things wrong.
  1. Freedom Comes From Limitations. If someone were to give me an infinite amount of time and an unlimited budget to create something, I would be frozen. It’s only from narrowing down the options that creativity becomes possible, as you are forced to push against the walls that close you in.
  1. Get Out of Your Environment. No matter how inspiring your workspace, there’s only so much creative work that can be done within it. Of course, if you’re in a place that’s not so inspiring to begin with, the need to be elsewhere is even more urgent. Since most people spend the majority of their time inside, they’re missing out on the much wider world right outside their door.
  1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone. At some point in your life, you’ve probably been told not to make a fool of yourself, but the fact is that it’s one of the most effective ways to get creative inspiration! Fear of rejection and fear of embarrassment: these are the recurring enemies of creativity.
  1. Get Things by Giving Them Away. It may sound counterintuitive, but you get a lot from giving things away. If I had kept my own project under wraps, rather than sharing it as I went along, I probably would have had a fraction of the positive experiences. The more I gave away, the more people gave back to me.
  1. Collaborate. There’s no substitute for the benefits you receive when working creatively with other people. Some of the best things that came out of my own project were the friendships that blossomed from incorporating other people into my work. You get results that are exponentially greater when you don’t work alone.

So now it’s time to put a few of these ideas into practice. Here’s a project that you can try out today.

Meal Emotions:

Mealtimes are one of my favorite times for creative inspiration. Generally you’re away from your usual environment and you have pliable, interesting materials in front of you. This project was developed with a group of my fellow designers when we met up for lunch and wanted to do something other than chatting about our usual work woes.

Surprised by Juliette Oliva. Obsessed by Madonna Dersch. Bemused by Caryn Persinger.

How to do it:

1. Write out a list of emotions on slips of paper and put them in a small bag. Keep them in your pocket, purse, or backpack so you have them when the moment is right.

Suggestions: Silly, gregarious, maudlin, depressed, ecstatic, delighted, bemused, miffed, blissful, enraged, enraptured, expectant, surprised, quizzical, terrified, alarmed, despondent, resigned, bewildered, astounded, satisfied, unsatisfied,  excited, curious, anxious…

2. After you eat, choose one of the emotions from the bag.

3. Using only leftover food and other items on the table, create a face that shows the randomly selected emotion.

4. Take a photo so you can share the results, since this will be a purely temporary creation.

By Noah Scalin.

Bonus: If you do this at a restaurant, consider leaving the face as a surprise for the server. If you’ve made a big mess in the process, definitely clean up as much as you can and leave a nice tip!

Option: Invite a group to do this project with you. It’s fun to see how different people work with similar materials. Keep the emotion secret and then take turns guessing what each face represents!

Alternative: Instead of emotions, write out a list of animals or objects and use them instead.

Be sure to share the results if you give this a try! And definitely stop by Make Something 365 to find a ton of inspiring projects, as well as advice on getting unstuck from other creative professionals.

Day 251- How to: Knit

6 Nov

Many people have been asking me for knitting lessons lately.  However, I have been so busy with school and work lately that I haven’t even toughed my own knitting for a month now, let alone teach others.  I so promise to get a knitting lesson/party together soon, for those of you who have asked me.  In the meantime, here is a great website by Wool and the Gang with tons of great knitting tutorials.

First, start with the cast on:


Then start with a basic knit stitch:


I do both my cast on and knit stitches differently than in this video, but if you just wan’t wait to get started, these videos should get you going!

Happy knitting!  Respect the process!

Day 250- How To: Push It

5 Nov

For the past three years in a row, Alica Ryan (my accomplice in this 365 project), and I have dressed up for Halloween together!  Now she is a married woman, which means there will probably be less of these Halloween dress-up parties for the two of us.  Therefore, this year we went out with a bang and dressed up as…..

….wait for it…..

Salt n’ Pepa!

OOOO Baby baby, b-b-b- baby.

We partly chose Salt n’ Pepa for our Halloween costumes because Salt n’ Pepa are just awesome, and partly because I was able to find a tutorial on how to make the Salt n’ Pepa jackets from the Push it video!!  Please take a minute to watch the video.  You WILL thank me later.

Here is the fabulous and incredibly creative tutorial for these jackets.  This tutorial and re-creation of the jackets was made by “ms.sad” (who also happens to be from Seattle!).  She is a self-proclaimed “craft o’ nista,” which is a well earned title after you read this tutorial and her blog about all things crafts.

While I love this tutorial, there are a few notes I would like to share in my experience of creating these jackets:

Supplies: the materials listed on the original tutorial are not very specific.  So, to be clear her is a list of things you will need in order to make 2 of the Salt n’ Pepa jackets:

  1. 2 White jackets– I could not find puffer jackets, so I just bought white jackets from Danskin (Cotton/Polyester/Spandex blend).
  2. Fabric paint– The tutorial doesn’t give exact amounts of paint to buy, so I ended up buying way to much, which was a little sad because fabric paint is quite pricey.  Who knew?  But I was able to return what I didn’t use!  So, for 2 jackets, you will need a total of 1 4oz. bottle of Red, 1 4oz bottle of Green, 1 4oz bottle of black, and 3 4oz bottles of yellow.  Use sparingly.  It take about 4 hours for the paint to dry, so I suggest you cover what you can, let it dry, and then touch up where it needs it.  This way you will use minimal paint and save some money.
  3. 2-3 Sponge brushes- Small-Medium size is best.  The larger brush was very difficult to work with.
  4. One bottle of Slick Dimensional Paint by “Tulip” in black (as described in tutorial).
  5. Felt– The tutorial did not give exact amounts, so I just bought a yard in each color, white, black, red, and green.  However, I ended up having WAY too much.  So try maybe a half a yard for each color.
  6. One bottle of Clear Gel Tacky Glue (as described in tutorial).
  7. Sharp scissors– that felt is damn hard to cut without good scissors.
  8. Paper– this will be used to make the stencils as described in the tutorial.
  9. Blue painting tape- This is not mentioned in the tutorial, but it was the only way I could think to get straight lines….and it worked wonders.
  10. Garbage bags– I used these as a mat to paint on, as well as placed inside the jacket so the paint would not seep through to the other side.
  11. Ruler– for measuring, duh.

That should do it.

Tips about the process:

  1. This jacket is not as easy at it looks….DO NOT BE DECEIVED.  Much blood, sweat, and tears was put into this.  I am only thankful that I started very early, because it took FOREVER!  Give yourself at least a month.
  2. Surprisingly, the hardest part is actually the painting.  The paint does not glide like regular paint because you are painting fabric, which is bendy and difficult to work with.  Use the blue tape to help you make straight lines.
  3. The tutorial says to paint the front side, let it dry for 24 hours, and then paint the back side.  I did not have that kind of ease at all.  It took me many many days to paint the jackets because you have to paint each part in sections.  Start with the yellow paint, which is the largest part of the jacket, then move on to the details with the red, black, and yellow.  I would save the sleeves for last, as they are quite difficult.  Give yourself at least 7 days to paint. Take a piece of paper and fold it in half longwise.
  4. Elbow Patches (the most difficult part):
    1. Fold a piece of paper, longwise.
    2. Open it back up so you can see the crease in the center.
    3. Use your ruler to measure out approximately 5 inches wide and 9 inched long, depending on how large your jacket is you may want to increase that to 6 inches wide and 10 inches long.
    4. Round the edges.
    5. Cut out.
    6. Using blue tape and a lot of patience, use this stencil as a guide to place the blue tape.
  5. Take a look at these pics to see how my painting process went:


The stencils are pretty self-explanatory, just follow the tutorial as best you can, and have fun with it.

Here is our final product:

Oh, and if you are feeling extra creative, then follow this blog for matching rasta nails!

Day 213- How to: Homemade Chocolates

29 Sep

I’m a female.  So, naturally, I cannot get enough chocolate.  I sometimes hear people say that they don’t like chocolate…this is rare, but it does happen.  First of all, no offense, but that is just plain crazy!  How can you not like chocolate?  Second of all, I am sad when I imagine a life without this happy making confection.  I dream about chocolate and all its wonders; How does something so simple appease me in so many different ways?  Chocolate, you are utterly heavenly and I thankful for the bliss you bring to my life.

I If you don’t like chocolate, then do not go any further, because below there is a link from etsy on how to make sweet, delicate, delicious, homemade chocolates!  They suggest you add cinnamon, liqueur, or other fun spices for yummy flavored chocolate…..I say any and all of these will do!  Enjoy!

Yum!  Can’t wait to try these!

Day 182- How To: Typeset Nails

29 Aug

I recently found this great link through pinterest on how to create some fun nails.  And since nail polish and nail art is my new favorite hobby, I have to dedicate this blog to my friend, Francesca Nunez, who got me started on this obsession!

The original “how to” is in french, but thankfully the lady how first “pinned” this tutorial translated the very simple directions into English.  Here they are:

1. Pail nails with a nail polish of your choosing.

2. Dip your fingernail in vodka.

3. Place a newspaper strip across your vodka soaked fingernail.

4. Pull newspaper off slowly and let dry.

5. Cover nails with a clear topcoat.

Respect the process!

Day 139- How To: Robot Heads

17 Jul

For my birthday this year I wanted to have a Robot theme.  Now, most people were confused and little shocked about my choice, as I am a grown woman who turned 29 years old  this year.  But i just kindly replied that I love robots and I am only turning 29, which means I have one whole year to learn about sophistication.  Next year for my 30th we will do swanky and distinguished.  This year, robots!

So, some very good friends of mine threw me the best summertime birthday party anyone could ever imagine!  We even had a huge bouncy slide, which was a blast (and also dangerous- that thing was no joke)!

One of the best parts of preparing for this party was making wearable robot heads, which we used as decorations and for the photo booth at the party.  They were very easy and fun to make, and can be used for any costume occasion, for children or adults.  Follow these simple instruction to make your own robots:


– cardboard boxes

– box cutter

– spray paint primer

– silver spray paint

– pipes of various sizes and shapes (You can find these at Home Depot.  See photo below.)

– paper towel tube

– tin foil

– plastic or styrofoam cups

– duct tape

– garbage bags

– construction paper

– scissors

– glue or double sided tape

Basic instructions for each robot:

First you will take one of your cardboard boxes and, using the duct tape,  tape one end closed.  Then flip the box over, so the tape side is faced down.  On the others side, where the box is open, use your box cutters, and cut off all four flaps of the box.  Now you should have a box that is closed on three sides and open on one.  This open side will be the bottom of your robot, where you can place it over your head.

Next, choose a side of the box where you would like to place the face.

Now, the directions will vary depending on what you want your robot to look like.  Using the supplies listed above, get creative!  Here are the three robot heads I made:

For the eyes and mouth of some of the first and second robots (from the left),  I used the box cutter to cut large enough holes into the box to fit the size of each of the pipes.  Then I pushed the pipes through the holes and secured them with duct tape from the inside of the box.  There is no exact science to this; I just haphazardly cut holes and placed the eyes and mouth.  Start small and work your way out so that the hole will fit just right.

Robot #1 (from left):

Place pipes for eyes.

Then secure with masking tape from the inside of the box.

Then take two styrofoam cups and cover both of them with tin foil, securing them with a bit of duct tape.

Then place the cups on either sides of the face of the box, securing with duct tape.

Then cut a piece of tinfoil about 12″ long.  Roll it up lengthwise.  Bend it in such a way that it creates a zig-zag pattern.  Cut two small slits in the top of box and place one end of the zig-zag inside, and the other end of the zig-zag in the others side, so that it creates an antennae for the robot.

Then cut open two garbage bags so that when spread open they each make a large rectangle.  Lay both of them down side by side so you can create a large square.  Place your robot on top, so that the paint will not spray all over your yard or driveway.  Take your spray paint primer and, following the directions on the can, cover the entire robot with primer.  You may want to do this once more, to ensure that the robot is completely covered.

Once dry, begin to cover the entire robot with the silver spray paint.  You will want to use 2-3 coats of spray paint per robot, making sure each coat is completely dry before applying the next.

Robot #2 (from left):

Place pipes for eyes and mouth.

Then cover a styrofoam cup with tinfoil, securing with duct tape (as above).  Cut two pieces of tinfoil each about 12″ long.  Roll each of them lengthwise, so that you have two tinfoil antennae.  Then cut a hole into the top of your styrofoam cup and place the two tinfoil antennae inside, securing with duct tape.  Then place the cup on top of the box and secure it with duct tape.  For effect, you can roll each of the tips of the antennae down slightly.

Then place this robot on your garbage bags and cover with primer and spray paint as above.

Robot #3 (from left.  Modeled after Wall-E):

Cut a decent size slit out of the from the front of the box, so that when placed over head you can see out.  Then cut a hole out of the top of the box large enough to fit a paper towel center.  Stuff the paper towel center into the hole and secure with duct tape from the inside of the box.

Then, using left over cardboard pieces, cut out two eyes in the shape of Wall-E’s eyes above (Oval shape).  Using duct take, secure the eyes to the top of the paper towel center.

Then, using more left over cardboard, cut two 12″ by 2″ pieces, which will be used for arms.  Cover both of these pieces with tinfoil.  Secure the arms to either side of the box with duct tape.

Then place the robot on the garbage bags and cover with primer and spray paint as above.


Next you will focus on the details of each of the robot, using scissors, construction paper, glue or double sided tape (see pics for ideas).  Let dry completely.

Then put your robot head on and do your best robot walk, dance, voice, etc, and get your robot party on!