Hello!

It’s been over a year (!) since updating this website, whoooops! I’m still active, still here, still alive (kind of?). It’s been a hectic year, and looking up to be the same for this year.

You can still find me updating much more regularly on:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/makemonsterco/ (you will occassionally get pictures of my dogs, which I think is an added bonus)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/makemonsterco/

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/makeMonsterCo

Minimalist Wallets

I’ve spent the past few weeks furiously scrounging in as much time in the workshop as possible, in between all the other normal 9 to 5 responsibilities.

I love the Minimalist Wallet Pattern by NoodleHead because they are easy to piece into various parts (cut one night, iron one night, sew one night). They’re also a massive upgrade to the simple zipper pouch (and I get to use some weird pattern combinations).

Here are a few I’ve made recently. The mustard oilcloth one has sold but plans are in the works for making a few more– the oilcloth is SUPERB and really durable.

Etsy Shop – Cat Wallet

Etsy Shop – Camera Wallet

A Few Changes

You may have noticed a few changes around here and on the Etsy:

A new spectacular logo and theme from the lovely Letty Ly @ Letty Loy Designs!

Things are coming together with this new cohesive theme, and look waaaaay more professional than my secondary school-level Photoshop skillz.

The Brand Guide gives me everything I need to keep the style consistent and cohesive:

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When life gives you lemons, make some lemon cakes because you’re absolutely amazing

As the title maaay vaguely suggest, I haven’t been very on top of my game lately. But rather than focus on the negatives (throws glitter into the air): I have repurposed the Kraft-tex material I made a while ago into something completely new!

I didn’t really like the zipper pouches (the zips were meh and didn’t match), so I took them all apart and have let them sit on my desk for a while. Just sitting there. Some unsewn little bits. Wondering what to do with them…

So after a “bit” of time (re: 6 months or so), I have finally found myself with some key fob makin’ bits and a bit of free time. A few hours later, and I had some brand new key fobs!

So what is the lesson here? Hoard things for months and months and stress over them until finally you crack and tear them up (THREE TIMES!!!) and then finally understand their true calling?

Maybe not. But anyways, I’m out of wisdom so here’s a link and a pretty picture to the aforementioned fobs. Have a good holiday everybody and see you in 2018 where I may even get my crap together!

Paper Leather Key Fobs by makeMonster

Kraft-Tex (Krafttex) Washable Paper Leather Tips & Tricks

So, wow, it’s been ages since I’ve gotten around to doing… anything! I’ve moved to Perth, and really started gearing up my Etsy and working on that (finally), so blogging was put on the back burner a bit. I’ve also started getting more Kraft-tex (washable paper leather, to those not “In the Know”), and selling the surplus in Australia. Apparently it’s rarer than unicorn farts, but a pretty popular material!

1. So what is this mythical product and what can I use it for?

Kraft-tex (sometimes spelled Krafttex, or Kraftex) is actually a paper product that when washed and worked, turns into kind of a leather-y heard-wearing material. It’s manufactured by C&T Publishing, who are generally known for scrapbooking stuff.

From the horse’s mouth:

[Kraft-tex is a] tough, touchable new paper combines the best of leather and fabric. Wait until you get your hands on this rugged paper that looks, feels, and wears like leather, but sews, cuts, and washes just like fabric. kraft. · tex® is supple, yet strong enough to use for projects that get tough wear.

The jean manufacturing industry has been using this product for AGES, as a replacement to the traditional leather tags found on jeans:

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Please ignore the irony of Levis’ exclamation of quality right next to a broken belt loop on a nearly new pair of jeans– somewhat of a sore point…

You’ve definitely seen this material before, and felt it, and probably thought it WAS leather! Or am I just speaking of myself and my horrible realisation? Anyways, onwards on how to deal with this interesting stuff…

Lovely, you say, but other than jeans labels, what on earth could I use this for?

Lots of stuff! Kraft-Tex can be used anywhere you would use leather, or want to use something a bit stronger than fabric. Since it can be cut, sewn, glued, painted, punched, ink jet printed, embossed (amongst other things), you can use it for:

  • Making handbags, clutches, pouches
  • Wallets, coin purses, card wallets
  • Strong handbag straps
  • Key fobs
  • Notebook covers
  • Decorative accents (applique, embossed accents, etc.)
  • Storage bags
  • Flower pots

This is not an exhaustive list… I’d have a look at Pinterest, google, and all the like. There’s a lot of information out there from a lot of cool people! I’ve mainly used it for making bags and accessories, like this zipper clutch:

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I’ve used three things on this clutch: hot pink Sharpie, black laundry ink, and copper Lumiere metallic paint. All of these materials have proved really well for durability when used on treated Kraft-tex.

2. Where to Buy Kraft-Tex (i.e. shameless plug)

I couldn’t find this stuff in Australia (apparently Spotlight had it at some point, but it’s long gone), so I started ordering rolls. I currently sell meter sections in my Etsy shop, as well as some A4 size sample packs and swatch packs. Link to the shop below!

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Various versions of Kraft-Tex I have available, and I’ll soon have the stone colour as well! Muahahahahahahahahaaaaa

3. Making Kraft-Tex feel like leather

So you’ve just got a roll or section of Kraft-Tex, and it’s pretty tough. More like flexible cardboard, less like leather. Don’t panic! This is okay. You just have to treat it a little bit to get the leather effect*. Don’t forget that you can use it straight out the package for straps or feeding it through your ink jet printer.

I’ve successfully used two methods to work the Kraft-Tex into a pliable, scrunchy leather-y form, which I’ve outlined below:

Method 1: Hand scrunch, aka Old School

  1. Take a the piece of Kraft-Tex you want to work with, and run under warm water, scrunching it up as you go. Remember to cut a bit more than you need, because it will wrinkle and stay like that! You don’t want it to scrunch too much that it no longer fits.
  2. Scrunch, rub, roll– work it just like a hard leather you’re trying to make soft.
  3. Soak the Kraft-tex in HOT water, scrunched up in a ball, for at least 30 minutes. You want the Kraft-tex to get really saturated and soak up the water.
  4. Once it’s done soaking, scrunch it some more and work it until you’ve achieved the desired amount of “doneness”.
  5. Flatten it out and let dry on a rack.

When the Kraft-tex is still wet, you can add pigment. That’s what I did with the zippered clutch when adding the blank ink; I wanted more of a ‘watercolour’ effect and the ink to spread through the wet fabric:

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I definitely had a good time making this!
 

Or you can let it completely dry, and then feel free to go whole hog with paints, pens, markers, etc.

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After it fully dried, I started doodling all over with some hot pink sharpie.

Method 2: Machine Wash, aka Laziness or Practical Approach

For this next approach, it won’t result in a too-crinkly Kraft-tex, so after it comes out of the machine you will may still want to hand work it a bit and then let it dry.

  1. Put the Kraft-tex in the washing machine. I stick it in with some other towels (not your delicates!). This helps to agitate it a bit more to get a bit of roughness.
  2. Run a standard cycle with gentle detergent. I use the ‘eco friendly’ stuff for this, otherwise there may be some residue still left on the material. Wash on hot if you can. Do not add bleach!
  3. Wait until the cycle is finished, then continue from Step 4 listed above. Simples!

*They now sell ‘pre-washed’ Kraft-tex from the manufacturer! But it’s easy enough to do it yourself.

4. Painting, inking, drawing, printing…

This will be under PART DEUX, coming soon!

But for a teaser, I marked on some white Kraft-Tex using 2 Sharpies and a standard Steadler felt tip pen. Then I washed them! Which medium will reign supreme with colour fastness?? Put your bets in below!

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Velvet Cactus Plush Keychain

Who doesn’t need a velvet cactus plush keychain? (Say that five times fast)

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Velvet cactus plushie keychain with flower!

I made these a while ago, hence the reference to my Etsy shop, but I really enjoy the little cactus dude 🙂 They’re now up on the MadeIt shop, with super awesome updated keychains that I randomly found while clearing out my craft room. Just click on any of the pictures to be taken to it!

velvet cactus plushie action shot, keychain

Button Earrings!

Okay, okay… I know they’ve been done 1,000x before… But I had such cute fabric, and they turned out so adorable!!!

Button earrings on button earrings!
Button earrings on button earrings!

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Close up of the vintage Japanese kimono fabric

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Navy striped and gold button earrings! (psssst, these are in my MadeIt shop)

Small update and miniature embroidery hoops!

Oh gosh, it’s been a while! My real job seems to have gotten in the way of doing anything on makeMonster, so I’ve had a backlog of things to write/update for a while now.

My meager efforts so far have bee building a Facebook page and uploading many random photos my Instagram.

So not a lot.

But but but! I have made some progress on this little pet project:

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This has garnered more effort in terms of sourcing supplies than I would care to admit… Who knew trying to buy tiny metric screws was going to be so frustrating?!

The hoops themselves have been cut using a laser by Online Laser Cutting, out of sustainable bamboo. They’re absolutely perfect and I have a few more projects in my head that I’d like them to do!

(As a side note, if anyone needs any assistance re: buying a particular type of screw, nut, or bolt, let me know because I am not a self-professed expert.)

So this one is just a prototype so I could see how I went with the Dremel and the initial screw sizing. Way too long. And I am terrible at using the Dremel.

I’ve got some different screws on order, and I think they’ll be much more appropriate. Looking forward to using up some of my beautiful fabric stash for these babies!