Category Archives: Studio

DIY Quick Hand Drawn Lettering / Typography

Hand Drawn Typography : Hand Lettering - 9000things

I use a lot of hand lettering both in my design work and on my blog.

It’s easier to control the mood when you DIY it, rather than trying to scour the web for hours looking for the perfect hand drawn typeface. Plus, I just can’t keep up with all the copyright options and when I can and can’t use a font for private versus public use… etc etc…….

And it takes way too much time to formally translate your handwriting to a useable font – one that you can type with in Illustrator or Photoshop.

SO, I have this quick and dirty method which I’ll share with you here! First, you should have a rough idea of the wording you want:

DIY Typography draft - 9000things

Looks terrible! I know! But at least I have an idea of what I want to say.

Now break out the iPad or other tablet, stylus ($10 – awesome investment) and a drawing program. I use neu.Draw, but I’m sure there are a lot of great options out there. You’re going to want a program that can save a vector drawing or pdf. If you don’t have a tablet, you can use your smart phone! If you don’t have either, then you may be able to get away with the brush tool in Ai, but it’s not going to be as easy.

Hand Drawn Typography in progress - 9000things

Here’s the fun part: Start writing out your text and repeating letters over and over until you think you’ve got one or two of each character that will look good. It looks weird – like how a ghost talks. “Disssplaaayyyyy!”

Now export that file as a pdf and get it over onto your computer and into Adobe Illustrator.

DIY Typography import - 9000things

Hello Ai! In Illustrator you can see all of the points that make up your vectors. These are very easily manipulated which can be fun, but mostly I just want to smooth out my lines a little bit.

See how many anchor points there are? Neu.Draw does this for some reason.

DIY Typography vector points - 9000things

Let’s simplify! From the top menu bar: Object > Path > Simplify

DIY Typography object path simplify - 9000things

You’ll come up with a couple of sliders, and you can push the curve precision to 98 or 99% and still cut the number of anchor point to about one third of the original.

DIY Typography simplify - 9000things

Those steps are optional. I just prefer the way that the smooth lines look and with fewer points, it will be easy to make small corrections in curves.

So now that we have nice looking single letters, making words is as simple as dragging the letters together! I kern by eye as I go – nothing special, just whatever looks right.

*Note that at this point that letters are probably made from more than one line, and each line is an individual object. To get the lines to bond together, select each linein the letter (“E” is made from 4 separate objects) and group them with the shortcut ⌘ + G.

DIY Typography nudge - 9000things

The word “JEWELRY” has two “E”s in it, so I used the same character twice. The shortcut to do that is hold Shift+Alt and then click and drag. That will make a copy and pull it over, keeping it in line with the rest.

Ta da! I didn’t bother normalizing the text sizes because I actually like the way it looks!

DIY Hand Lettering Tutorial - 9000things

Cool, no?

With this next one, we’ll even out the sizing. Here, I used hand drawn bubble text. It can be really difficult to maintain consistent line widths in bubble text. Here’s the cheat: In neu.Draw, first draw out your letters. As you can see, I’ve been using a thin and elongated alphabet. Next group the objects and lock the layer. Now you can trace the outside of the letters and when you’re done, delete the locked layer!

Back to it! Here all the letters have been dragged roughly into place:

DIY Typography normalizing size - 9000things

Looks sloppy, doesn’t it?

You can resize by eye, but you’ll likely end up with graduated sizes, either getting smaller or larger as you approach the end. Bad bad! Instead, drag down two guidelines to use as the upper and lower bounds for your letters.

To pull a guide line, click on the ruler at the top of the window in illustrator and drag your mouse down. A thin cyan line will appear. It’s perfectly straight and can be locked, unlocked and cleared in the “View” menu. If you don’t have rulers at the top and left of your screen, ⌘ + R should do the trick!

DIY Typography guide lines - 9000things

If you want to get fancy, switch the settings to “Snap to point” in the “View” menu and then stretch or shrink your objects one by one until they click into the guides.

Or you can eyeball it… I did this one freehand.

DIY Typography resize - 9000things

Looking better! The beauty in hand lettering is that it is implicitly imperfect, so you don’t have to fuss over the flaws. They add character!

When everything is resized, get rid of the guides, and voila!

DIY Hand Drawn Typography Tutorial - 9000things

Awesome handmade typography for any project!

Of course you can always do an entire alphabet so you have it on hand to use in the future, but I rarely think that far ahead…

At this point, if I’m using the lettering over a photo, I drag the vector into Photoshop and continue there. Add some stars, a few curvy things and you’ll end up with something like this:

DIY Hand Drawn Typography - by 9000things

For my Facebook logo, I used hand drawn 3D bubble lettering. Whoaaa… This is advanced stuff!

DIY Hand Lettering Logo - 9000things

And here’s a sign that I made for my SoWa booth last summer:

Shop Handmade | hand lettered signage | 9000 things

That’s all! If anything needs clarifying, or you have any questions, leave me a comment!

*This hand drawn typography lesson comes from an actual DIY Jewelry Display post on my blog that you can see here.

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Back To Work

After the craziness of my first serious holiday season as a business owner (that shi- is FOR REAL), I’ve really been enjoying taking a break. Enjoying it a little too much, really. Time to stop slacking and get back to life things.

Winter Vacation is OVER - instagram photo collage by 9000things

Spent at least two hours making this image about procrastinating as an act of procrastination.

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Using Every Part of the Animal

I have nothing against leather, but I don’t know if I would buy new leather for myself or as supplies for 9000things.

However, if it isn’t clear by now, I like incorporating salvaged materials into new designs. I saw a lot of potential in the beautifully dyed leather scraps leftover from other handmade artists.

I call this project: Every Part of the Animal, based on the Native American principles of reducing one’s impact on the earth and minimizing waste by reusing parts that might normally be discarded.

I get the leather scrap from other crafters in Boston. The larger pieces are cut into 8″ strips (1/4″ – 2″ wide), then punched and set with snaps to make colorful leather cuffs.

Salvaged Scrap Leather Cuffs - 9000 things

Now there are medium sized pieces left which are sliced into 3/4″ strips and cut repeatedly to make leather fringe. The fringe is layered and clamped and strung on coated steel for awesome necklaces.

Salvaged Scrap Leather Fringe Necklaces - 9000 things

The small skinny scraps that are left over are the perfect size for long fringe earrings.

 

Salvaged Scrap Leather Fringe Earrings - 9000 things

There’s almost nothing left as waste!

Shout out to sacAmain and Edie & Fin for making beautiful things and for saving their leather scraps for me!

Currently, these are one of a kind and only available in person at handmade shows. However, please feel free to contact me if you’d like to purchase a cuff, necklace or earrings.

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Laser Cut Wallpaper

Just got a bunch of pieces of beautiful wallpaper back from the laser cutter. They do my skyline cut for me so I don’t die of finger blisters.

I used to hand cut the skyline myself. There are a few originals out there that were done by hand. But it takes so long to do one cut that working a full day, I wouldn’t be able to make more than 2 finished pieces. Plus; what if I make a mistake, or slip and slice off half of the Hancock Tower? Disaster.

And seriously. The blisters.

Laser Cut Wallpaper Skyline of Boston - 9000things Laser Cut Wallpaper Skyline of Boston - 9000things

This is much better. I cut the wallpaper down to the exact size I want and give it to these awesome guys in north east Mass who run the cutters at Boston Lasers. I love the intricacy and detail that is allowed with laser cutting.

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Vintage Jewelry Revamp

Soooo excited about my current project! A customer who found me at SoWa brought me a big bag of old plastic beads that had belonged to her grandmother. We’re going to completely remake them into a collection of awesome modern jewelry for the women in her family as Christmas presents.

Custom Line Remake from Vintage Beads - 9000things Custom Line Remake from Vintage Beads - 9000things Custom Line Remake from Vintage Beads - 9000things

Happy Holidays! I’ll update when the pieces are finished!

UPDATE: Here’s a quick sneak peek of some of the pieces…

Custom Vintage Remake Sneak Peek - 9000things Custom Vintage Remake Sneak Peek - 9000things Custom Vintage Remake Sneak Peek - 9000things

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Obsessed with Wallpaper Pattern Design

I’ve been collecting all kinds of wallpaper for years now. I’m completely obsessed with the printing processes, designs and patterning and even though I put the salvaged wallpaper samples to good use, I have to fight the urge to just hoard all of the pretty for myself and never share!

I just sent a huge pile of wallpaper out to the laser cutter and in a week I’ll get back a few hundred Boston skylines in crazy colors and patterns. Here’s what happens when I get them back:

More on that subject here.

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Dia de los Muertos Costume DIY

Geez, it’s been an embarrassing amount of time since my last blog post. This fall was BUSY. Updates to come, but let’s get going with a last minute Day of the Dead costume!

It’s all about the flowers and the makeup. A little strapless dress with flashy tights is all you need for a base. But the accessories make the outfit.

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY tutorial - by 9000things

The wig is optional, but just an all-around good idea. The number of strangers who will take your photo is directly proportional to the height of your beehive. Fake eyelashes, on the other hand, are obligatory.

All that and the makeup aside… Here’s how I made the really simple accessories:

First, go buy a ton of fake flowers from the dollar store.

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

For this project you’ll want the flowers with plastic coated wire stems so you can bend them around the belt.

Supply list:
bendy stem fake flowers
belt with lots of holes (or punch the holes yourself!)
textured plastic headband (textured for hot glue to grab onto)
scissors (probably)
hot glue gun
hot glue sticks
wire cutters

Optional:
dollar store skeletons and twine
cheap plastic skull rings
sharpies

Separate the stems and clip them off close to the base.

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Having way too much fun with fake flowers…

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

I totally scored when I found this slotted belt at Marshall’s for 10 bucks. I was planning on doing a whole lot of wire wrapping and hot gluing, but I recommend trying to find a belt with holes, or buying a thin leather belt and punching the holes yourself. So. Much. Easier.

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

This part is as simple as threading the stems through the slots and wrapping the wire around the belt a few times to hold it in place!

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Keep wrapping more and more flowers! Where the stems are threaded close together, the flower belt will get thicker (do this towards the middle). To taper off the ends, leave more open holes between flower stems.

Optional: I found this hanging skeleton garland, cut them apart and loosely tied them over the flowers on my belt!

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Next! A matching crown of flowers! I opted for asymmetry though it’s customary to go the whole way around with huge multi-colored blooms. The key here is the headband with some texture so the hot glue has something to grab onto. Otherwise you’ll find the flowers falling off everywhere…

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000thingsDia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Use a generous amount of hot glue. Just pour it all on there.

And for a little bonus, I found these cheap plastic skull rings at the dollar store – 50 for a buck! – and with a little sharpie magic, made some Dia de los Muertos knuckle rings:

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Ta da! Dia de los Muertos accessories for the best Halloween ever!

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

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DIY: Cleaning Rusty Metal

Day One of my DIY Art Wagon Project was all cleaning and scrubbing! There’s a lot of rust going on here, and a bunch of different ways of dealing with it, based on where it is and what’s going on later.

First: The rust on the actual wagon body needs to be removed and the metal cleaned because I’m planning on priming and painting over it. Along the outside corners, there were a lot of large rough rust spots. For these I found that a wire brush was the easiest and most effective. In the after shot, you can see the metal shining through, but the red tinge is gone. (click photos to blow up)

Tutorial for Cleaning Rusty Metal - Wire Brush | DIY Art Wagon Project | 9000things

The bed had smaller rust spots uniformly across the whole surface. The wire brush was pretty much useless here, so I switched to 100 grit sandpaper, which worked beautifully! Again, you’re aiming to get rid of the redness, it will still look kind of crappy after you sand it…

Tutorial for Cleaning Rusty Metal - Sandpaper | DIY Art Wagon Project | 9000things

Finally, around where the wheels are on the wagon, there was some greyish oxidation which didn’t look like rust exactly but was texturing the surface of the metal. I had a hunch that Simple Green would scrub that right off, and it worked! You’re going to want to use that cleaning solution on the whole shebang at this point… We need the surface to be dust/oil/dirt free and bone dry before spray priming.

Tutorial for Cleaning Rusty Metal - Simple Green | DIY Art Wagon Project | 9000things

The last place that there was a lot of rust was on the wheel rims. I looked all over the internet and didn’t really find a great answer for how to clean it off. So I asked my bff’s bike expert boyfriend. He recommended spraying the rims with WD-40, letting it set for a minute and then steel wooling everything away.

Tutorial for Cleaning Rusty Metal - Steel Wool | DIY Art Wagon Project | 9000things

OMG, rust cleaning porn!

Pro tip. Do all the rust removal, cleaning and priming in one day. Otherwise rust starts to regenerate and you’ll find yourself fighting the dumbest battle ever. Primer info coming soon!

For my pinners out there! Here’s a compact graphic:

Kinds of Rust and How to Remove Them | 9000things

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MY [rusty, fixer-upper] BIKE WAGON!!!

I have a bike wagon. I am extremely excited about my bike wagon.

I got this amazing, well built wagon from a guy in Southern Mass (right near the RI border) – an engineer who knows how to weld and likes to build things. He made it himself and years ago he used to throw a lawn chair in the back and ride around with his kids, and then his grandkids towed behind his bike. Best back story ever? Yeah.

This man was kind enough to pass the wagon off to me, and I have grand dreams of transforming this well loved hunk of metal into a sparkly new mobile art shop.

Here are the before pictures, and I’ll continue to update as I make progress!

Imma DIY This Rusty Bike Wagon So Hard - by 9000things Imma DIY This Rusty Bike Wagon So Hard - by 9000things Imma DIY This Rusty Bike Wagon So Hard - by 9000things Imma DIY This Rusty Bike Wagon So Hard - by 9000things Imma DIY This Rusty Bike Wagon So Hard - by 9000things

Check out that rust! The rims need some love, the tires need to be replaced, the whole body needs to be cleaned, scrubbed, prepped, primed and repainted. BRING IT.

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Boho Necklaces Sneak Peek

Working on some awesome new mix and match Boho beaded necklaces… They’re not ready to share quite yet, but here’s a sneak peek. Just look at those colors!

Boho Necklace Sneak Peek | colorful beads | 9000 things Boho Necklace Sneak Peek | beads in progress | 9000 things Boho Necklace Sneak Peek | pieces in progress | 9000 things Boho Necklace Sneak Peek | almost finished | 9000 things

 

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