Tissue box friends
Why settle for a boring plain box of tissues, when you can make it into an amusing personality? This McCall's article from 1969 tells you how!
I am digging the animal designs in this farmhouse craft from 1970.
There's something Chagall-ish about the horse and the cow. I'm not so fond of whatever's going on with that pig, though. Yikes. The weird cat-fox-sheep thing, though? I'm all in.
Want to know more about the craft? Here's the dense page of directions. Warning: Power tools are involved.
a costume classic
Last weekend I went to one of those pop-up Halloween superstores where you can buy an entire costume set (outfit, mask, props, makeup) for, like, $15. It's almost too easy. Why, back in my day, the only affordable "costume sets" were like this one:
I can't remember exactly where I bought this, but it wasn't a vintage store or a Goodwill. I think it was an old, fading discount store, like a Caldor or Bradlees. It was sometime in the mid to late 90s, and seeing as this thing was manufactured in 1982, it wasn't all that old to begin with. It just looks like it was designed in the 60's. And probably was.
If you're unfamiliar with this genre of costume, it's quite simple. You get a plastic mask, and a plastic shirt/smock with an image of the thing you were supposed to be — not an image of the clothes your character would wear, but a picture of the entire character. So, so disappointing.
I think the mask is great, from a design and graphics standpoint. But, come on: Would a witch wear a shirt with a witch on it? It doesn't make sense. The witch on the shirt is wearing a red robe, just make the smock out of red plastic! I'd even be ok with it if you threw the owl on there.
I actually wore this one Halloween back in my 20's, when irony was at its apex. Wearing this tight plasticky smock thing and some leggings was the closest to a "sexy" costume as I ever wanted to get.
For more drug-store costumes of this sort, check out Plaid Stallion's Collegeville Costumes catalog from 1983. It is a delight.
More Alkema print magic
The printmaking from scraps chapter continues from yesterday! Here, Alkema gets into more traditional print-making materials, before going on to recommend using a tin can for rolling a print onto a surface. Sounds good, but make sure you tape up the sharp edges inside or you might slice open a finger or five. Also, I assume his version of tissue paper is more like today's newsprint paper — sturdier than flimsy tissue, but still relatively lightweight.
I love this stuff. Lots of fun DIY Christmas gift ideas in here — for making cards and wrapping paper, but also for embellishing dish towels, placemats, tote bags and more.
Alkema's printmaking magic
Here's another excerpt from our friend Prof. Alkema, of Alkema's Scrap Magic (c 1976). This time, it's all about making printed paper with items bound for the trash heap. I dig it. There are actually a lot of good ideas here, for both what things to use, and how to use them to make various patterns and shapes. (However, it's much more difficult to get your hands on plastic hair rollers than it used to be...) Take a look.
But wait, there's more! Part two of Alkema's "you can print pretty much anything" section will be coming up in a jiffy.
Halloween is in just over a month, and crafty people who are on the ball are already planning their costumes. Those who are not on the ball sometimes end up throwing together something at the last minute. I'm not saying you should turn to 1967's Action Masks for Party Fun for eleventh-hour assistance, but I'm not not saying it.
Sure, the styling of these masks is crude, but yours needn't be. Use sturdy cardboard plates, cover them with felt and fabric, and you're already well on your way to making an Action Mask to be proud of. Just give yourself a few days to work on it, instead of, say, starting 90 minutes before party time. Want instructions? Sure:
These charming, colorful felt creatures are visiting us from 1967 — almost 50 years ago. Nutty!
As you can see, they're made without sewing. Use a fabric glue if you have it, and be sure to clamp the pieces together with clothespins as the glue dries. But for a more trustworthy seam, I think it's totally worth doing a simple running stitch instead.
Need templates and directions? I got you.
pets in prints in 1968!
Two notable things about today's i love vintage: One, there was a similar idea that was all the rage a few years ago, using vintage wallpaper and a simple animal silhouette. Those decor pieces are still for sale, actually. Two, this craft idea is by Marion Behr, a professional artist who appears to still be working. She had graduated from art school just a few years before when she sold this idea. In addition to painting, sculpting, and drawing, she co-invented a non-toxic etching method for printmaking. It also looks like she lives close to where I grew up in New Jersey. You go, Marion.
These big animal cut-outs are made by gluing fabric to mat board, and embellishing with felt features.
Need help with the animal shapes? McCall's has you covered. Remember, this is before photocopiers were in every office, so you'll need to use the grid enlargement technique to scale up.
Thanks for the groovy idea, Marion Behr! xo
Everyone's birthday party
If it's everyone's birthday, does it mean that it's really nobody's birthday? If everyone is special, doesn't that mean nobody is? These are the questions raised by this charming Zodiac Birthday Party plan, originally from a 1969 issue of McCall's.
I understand the appeal of having one annual birthday party for an office or club that would otherwise be having birthday events every darn week, but this idea reduces the whole concept of a birthday celebration to nothing. Better to throw a Zodiac Party as an addition to regular birthday recognitions, and not a replacement.
As usual, I love the color scheme for this party, and the groovy yet simple design. To help you throw your own swingin' cosmic soiree, here are the directions:
(There's a bit more copy on a later page about placing cookies and applying frosting and dragees, but just look at the photo — it's more helpful than the text.)
fifty-year-old flower girls
These ladies were truly in their prime back in the 1960s. Look at how shiny they are!
I have a vague tactile memory of this type of plasticky, crinkly ribbon, that's bright and shiny in a way that only spun polyester fiber can be. I don't even know if it's made anymore, but I imagine that a modern-day wired satin ribbon would give a similar effect.
Want painfully-detailed directions? Of course, who doesn't?
Enjoy, my flouncy friends! xo
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.