Wednesday, December 15, 2010

seeing spots - a DIY

it is no secret that i am obsessed with tights. they are one of the few things i really love about winter, a so-called accessory that basically take the place of pants for me for a couple months of the year (when paired with a good pair of seamless thermal long underwear.) i've spoke of my admiration for bebaroque before, and today i decided it has been way too long since i posted a DIY on here. which, i guess, brings me to thing two i love about this time of year - being cooped up in the apartment leads to forced creativity. i've thought for awhile i'd like to try my hand at a pair of modified tights, and i thought this would be an easy way to test out the idea.


one pair of tights (i used some old ones of my mom's, passed down to me a couple years ago; i know they've held up for 15 years or so, so they have to be pretty resilient to the elements)
some embossing powder
an embossing heat tool (a hot hair dryer might work. . . i haven't tested it, though, so i make no promises.)
stamps or an embossing pen

i'm a major craft nerd, so i have all this stuff just lying around my apartment, leftover from my major card-making days. my original idea was to try some stamps, but when i looked through mine they all seemed way too card-specific: a christmas tree, a star of david, the words "you're invited," (which would just be wrong on tights, i think.) i may try to scout some cool stamps and try again on another pair soon.

start by finding something to pull the tights over - something approximately the size and shape of your leg. i put a lot of my pantry ingredients in big glass jars, so i had a nice long one that was pretty much the exact shape of my thigh. stretch one tight leg over this, paying attention to how far down you pull it, and making sure to draw on the front side of the tights.

so, i just used an embossing pen and drew a really simple design down them - vertical stripes, about 3 or 4 at a time. draw it over a few times, then stop, pour some embossing powder over the ink, and snap the tights a couple of times to free the extra powder - make sure you do all this with a piece of paper underneath, so you can save and reuse the reserve. i swear i've had the same little jar of embossing powder since i was about 12.

continue until you've got it as long as you want, doing a few inches at once, stopping, adding powder, loosening the extra and using the heat tool to emboss it. be careful not to leave the heat stationary on one part of the tights - they are pretty resilient (at least, mine were,) but they'll burn little holes if you give them too much.

and voila! clearly a first-time effort, and far from perfect, but i'm pretty happy with the results. very hand-drawn, to be sure, but the possibilities seem endless. i want to try stamps, and sewing on them - maybe this weekend if it stays this cold.

worn with

marc my marc jacobs tunic, nordstrom's (courtesy of stylefind*)
shorts: mary meyer
tights: DIY'd
shoes: nine west
necklace: blueberi (small store in DUMBO)

(* stylefind is a new site that is kind of gilt group meets net-a-porter: a wonderful selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories, carefully chosen by the editors of instyle. they also offer a daily exclusive discount, and collect special offers from around the web for you to check in one place: what online stores are offering free shipping, discounts, etc. a highly recommend from me.)

i have another idea for a DIY i want to try later this week, so stay tuned!

stay warm out there!

xo audrey


  1. awesome idea! crafting supplies are cheap in korea, I need to find me an embossing tool.

    also, please tell me what kind of insane magical concoction you've been taking that has made your hair grow so fast. beautiful!

    finally, the word verfication thing today is "splersly"

  2. super cute, I just don't have all the crafting supplies you do! I think doing it with stamps would be awesome, you should definitely give that a try, would love to see!!

  3. love the color combo and the polka dot tunic is so cute!

  4. such a neat idea! i'm definitely going to try this out myself. i wonder how the embossing powder will hold up when being washed?

  5. dear homerunballerina!

    i think the tights embossing is awesome although i am not supr crafty. i love your blog and remember seeing posts about thrifting in chicago. am headed there for NYE and was wondering if you have some recommendations for good shopping spots.

    thanks :)

  6. AMANDA! I MISS AND LOVE YOU! the magical concoction is called "milk." i drink it by that gallon. that or "wine," which i also consume copious amounts of on the daily.

    hi rebecca!! there are a couple of spots that i used to visit in the city proper - dovetail vintage and the very best vintage, which are slightly more pricey than your average goodwill but have some really awesome finds. i also recommend what i do just about anywhere now - if you have an iphone, use your map app, otherwise just google before you go - type "goodwill" into near an address where you'll be, call to verify that they are actually goodwills and are open, and go! same thing with salvation armies, of which there are several that i remember in the city itself. again, though, the more central they are, the more they've been picked over, so venture as far as you're willing.

    veronika - i *think* it'll hold up great, since embossing powder (as i understand it) is basically powdered metal, and once embossed it's basically melted onto whatever you put it on. i'll probably hand wash them to be safe though.

    thanks to everyone else! sam bought me a paper source gift card for christmas (among other things) so a stamp DIY is definitely coming.