Friday, January 6, 2012

Henna for Hair: The Simple Way

Alright, let's just jump right in, because when you're researching henna (or anything for that matter), the last thing you want is a lecture.
I'm just going to show you, step-by-step, how I apply henna to my hair.
Pay attention to the following colors:
This is important.
This is how I do it.

BUT FIRST!! The henna basics:

  • Henna is messy.
  • Henna has a grassy, hay-like smell that will linger for about a week.
  • Henna is good for your hair.
  • Using henna on your hair takes a LONG time!
  • The more time, the longer the stain lasts.
  • The ingredients have nothing to do with the stain. If you bought good quality henna, you will get a good stain.
  • And henna turns things RED. Not black, or yellow, or blue.
  • Henna stains.
  • Henna will not dye black hair.

Step 1: Get Henna!
I use Seasons Dulhan brand. Click for Amazon

Step 2: Mix the henna.
This is THE most confusing part of mehndi. There are so many "Magic" recipes out there. What do I add? Which ingredients make the best combination? What color exactly do I want? How much do I mix?
The simple solution is: water.
And heck, just mix the entire box. If you have extra, you can give yourself a tattoo or something!
Acidic ingredients (lemon, vinegar) will make it more orangey.
But no matter what you add, the color won't vary much from the "henna red."

Plain and simple, just mix the powder with water. you will still get a good stain.

I use the whole box because I have a lot of hair. I add lemon juice for about half of the liquid needed (You can, of course just mix it all with lemon, but whatever.). Then I mix the rest with water.

Okay, now THIS is another part that trips people up. The texture of the henna mixture.
It should be like a thick pudding.

TIP: It's always safer to add less water than you need, mix, and then add however much more that you need.

Step 3: Wrap it.
I'm very picky about this step. Use plastic wrap if you can, and press it down so that you seal all air out of the container/bowl.

Step 4: Keep it warm.

Put it on a high shelf (because heat rises, right?) and leave it there for 3-4 hours. Just make sure it stays warm so that the dye can release.
I usually mix mine in the morning and leave it until night.

Step 5: Wait.

Step 6: Check on it.
If the dye has released properly, you may proceed to Step 7. Your henna should look like this. Two distinct colors.
If not, refer back to Step 5.

Step 7: Prepare to apply.
I need to break this down into a few sub-steps for you.
7a: Give the henna mixture a swirl. Make sure the dye has been mixed again before application.
7b: Collect the following items: wet washcloth, rubber gloves, sink (hopefully with a mirror), towel, crap-shirt (in case you drip), clips, comb, shower cap, and anything else you think you need to be careful.
7c: Get dressed for henna-ing! I have ONE designated shirt I wear whenever I dye my hair, just so I don't ruin lots of good pajama shirts! (Make sure you also wear some pants that you don't care about.)
7d: Set up the towel beneath where you will be standing to apply the henna.
7e: Put them rubba' gloves on and set the henna container close to the sink (maybe even IN it?).
7f: Keep the wet washcloth closeby, just in case you're a slob like me and tend to smear henna on your face, neck, and ears.

Step 8: APPLY!
Finally we begin the process.
Start with a straight part. apply a nice glob of henna at the roots of the part and rub it in on one side.
use the comb, or your finger and run it past your part about an inch away from the last part. Flip it over, slap a glob of that goo on the part and spread it.
Keep going until both sides of your head are sufficiently covered. And don't forget the backside of your hair. You know, that part of your head you never see, but know it exists?
TIP: Rub any extra into the rest of your hair and for extra measure, massage your scalp to make sure you've gotten all the way to the roots! In this case, more will definitely not hurt.
Put the shower cap over your gooey green hair. This prevents any unwanted staining of objects that are NOT hair. AND it seals in all of that precious heat. Henna likes heat.

Step 9: Clean!
Barney would have us sing a song while we clean up but I won't make you do that (unless you want to.... /=| ).
Use the washcloth to wipe any henna that is on your skin, because IT WILL STAIN. It's not called henna for nothing! Rinse, and clean up any, and I mean ANY blobs that missed your skin and you hair. Henna will stain toilets, counters, plastics, and floors! The sooner you clean it up, the sooner it will go away. And henna is a MEAN stainer. 
Clean ALL residue, do not leave slightly orangey water in the sink, because even that will stain.

Step 10: Wait. 
This is why I wait until night to do this. I can sleep with the henna in my hair and not have to worry about staining anything except my pillow perhaps.
If you choose to sleep with the henna and cap on all night, I suggest putting a towel between your head and the pillow. And make sure it's not a towel you love.

Step 11: Wash hair.
You want to wait a few hours. 6 hours or more is best. Rinse all of it out. Basically, until the water runs clear (or clearish). Then use shampoo and conditioner to make sure everything gets out.

Your hair will not be it's peak color for a day or two, but the color change should be noticeable.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Faux Metal Wall Art

Faux Metal Wall Art!!!

I needed something pretty on my wall, and since I had been saving my toilet paper tubes for another project (It would look better in the summer.) I wanted to try something creative.

I found this amazing inspiration:
Faux Metal Wall Art
You can also just search Google for more pictures of cool Wrought Metal Wall stuff.

These are what my imagination produced.

So basically, use toilet paper rolls, the straight frames are from paper towel rolls (I glued two pieces together for extra strength), hot glue, and creativity.

I'm going to spray paint them when I get a mask.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ball Jointed Dolls with Sculpey Clay

BJD-making has been on my mind for the past two years now, so yesterday I just up and decided to go for it. I found a good 5-10 different websites with various helps and thus spent the first hour stress-rubbing the clay through my hands. No step-by-step. No clear explanation.
Evetually I found the confidence to actually try. First I sketched the doll. (The only part of this sketch that I used was the face. lol) I used a round ball of foil for my doll's head, which was a pain but I'll explain that later. I made all of the body parts out of foil, but I only used the head.
I started with the calf-part of her legs. I shaped them and used my Sculpey needle tool thing to make a hole for stringing (Also a pain.) In retrospect, this worked incredibly well, but the holes weren't big enough to hold double strands of string.
I read on Dolly Daydream that it's much easier to fit the joints to the ball than vice versa, so I made the balls next. Medium-sized ones for the knees and larger ones for the hips. I made the thighs next. I made the balls separate, because I figured I could just glue them on later. WRONG! Make these parts together or it will be nearly impossible to string.

The next day I wound up making another set of calves around a very small paintbrush stick (I'm sure a chopstick would work.), balls small enough to fit the knee holes that were already on my thighs. In the balls I made nice big holes so that my string can get through both the calf AND the ball-joint.

I baked the calves and their joints, then fitted the thighs and joints and baked them.

After making the legs and their needed ball-joints, I made a torso, following the Noah Doll Tutorial. After playing with the darned thing for a while, I tried the Dolly Daydream way, where the torso has two parts. This worked much better. I hollowed out two sections for hip sockets using the rounded Sculpey tool. On the other end of this tool is a blunt point tool that I used to poke holes through the top. I also used this tool to hollow out the top half.

Use the pieces as a guide for other pieces. I used the bottom to figure out how hollow the top had to be. Here also make sure you make the neck longish so it will fit in the head. Now that I think about it, I maybe could have baked the bottom half and then formed the top half around it as well... xDD


I moved on to the head, which was very very hard. I'm not a great sculptor, so the face looks squashed and malformed, but yeah whatever. I didn't have any eyes, so I just made her face look peaceful with closed eyes.

To make the head, I rolled out the clay and wrapped it around the ball of foil. It is possible to use too much clay, so be careful. Leave a nice big hole at the bottom for the neck. (refer to Dolly daydream.)
When you've finished with your face, make sure you add ears and all the essentials. Then make a crease at least for an opening at the back of the head, or else it will be A) very hard to string, and B) very hard to get the foil out.

Next I made my arms and their joints. (separately, and I'm still kicking myself in the pants) I made nice little dents for the shoulders and made sure everything would fit.
Here is another helpful tutorial.

Lastly I made my hands and feet. (oops) I should have started with these, for the fit-the-socket-around-the-ball rule. My hands look silly and flat, but they're hands.
For the feet, you're going to need some wire for loops or s-hooks (Not sure why, If anyone can explain, that would be much appreciated!) It helps with looping your string back through, I guess.
For hands I used this tutorial.

After everything was baked, I realized that the foil was still in her head (ONOZ). So I grabbed my exacto knife, because I had forgotten to make the indentation and cut out a section of the head, so I had to do it now and pray that the head would not be ruined. Well, it worked, and I was able to get all of the foil out, after ten minutes of careful plying. BE CAREFUL! You do not want your clay to crack!

I went to the 100 Yen store and bought some "sanding sponges" because they had no sand paper! The sponges worked magnificently, though. Her skin is nice and smooth.

To thread her, I'm using some stretchy beading string. I used a regular bead inside the head instead of an S-hook.

I painted her head and I'm now working on a feather wig, since I'm too cheap to buy her a real wig.

I hope this was helpful!

Other Resources:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Takko Town Festival

Wow. I really haven't updated for about two months now. I'm such a horrible person! Boo hoo. Anyways, I'm really excited about Halloween and fall in general here in Japan.
I've been to a lot of different places here in Japan, my most recent adventure took me all the way to Takko garlic/beef festival. It smelled really good.
I bought myself some chocolate-covered bananas. The flavor was extremely mild. I was kind of disappointed, but hey, it was all for the experience. They had lots of open barbecue grills where you could cook your food outside and all around. There weren't very many stalls: a game or two, some bananas, steak, and most importantly garlic. The garlic queen was there all the way from Gilroy, CA, and she performed a couple of songs.
After that, we stopped at the Towada mall. I bought lots and lots of goodies, the larger portion of my time was spent in the Daiso(where else?). I bought myself a loud, annoying alarm clock so that my uncle doesn't have to wake me up every morning.
Well, I'll hopefully get some photos and some even better updates online soon!