Summer Festival: Kitsune Mask Barrette (Part 1)

kitsune mask diy mood board

Yesterday I squeezed in enough time to get started on one piece of my summer festival coordinate.  The DIY Plan: create a kitsune o’men (fox mask – 狐のお面) barrette.  I want to incorporate as many traditional elements as possible but give each one a twist.  The key is to keep it from going too costume/cosplay.  I am aiming for that fine line where wa + kawaii meet.  The first step was to find the right image to use as my inspiration.

shrink plastic sand-paper surface preperation

This painting really caught my attention.  I like the angle of the mask as it reflects how many people pull up their festival mask and wear it on the side of their head.  I only want to make one barrette.  So that angle I think is a nice way to mimic real life, but in this case a minature version.

I am a child of the 70’s, so the first material to come to mind when figuring out how to diy this was Shrinky Dinks!  Still a favorite after all these years.  I used the type that goes opaque once shrunk.  You start by slightly roughing up the surface, just a little bit, to help the colored pencil stick more easily.  I used an old nail file (because I couldn’t find where I put our fine sandpaper in the cellar.)

shrinky dink kitsune mask colored pencils

Step 2 is to apply your design.  I like to work with Prismacolor colored pencils as they produce a nice thick color and you can play with blending.  Extend your coloring a little bit beyond where you will cut the shape so that the color fills the full piece.

cut the shrink plastic with exacto knife

Next, carefully cut out your piece from the plastic sheet.  Your basic Exacto knife works best in my experience.  Go slowly and if there is an area you are worried about cut it larger at first and then slowly trim it down to the size or shape you want.  Very sharp scissors work well too but are difficult for sharp corners and indentations.

shrinky dink ready to bake

Next prepare your baking equipment.  I use my toaster oven.  I like that it is higher up so I can be comfortable watching as the plastic does its magic. Be sure to follow the instructions that come with your shrinking plastic.  My toaster over works best at 350 for just under 1 minute on this size piece.  I cover a small backing sheet in tin foil.  Try to not get too many wrinkles.  Big ones can be indented on the back of the shrinky dink. I also wrap a flat spatula in tin foil to press down on the plastic as soon as it is done.  This gives it a good flat finish.

Next step is add the hardware to convert it into a barrette… but I ran out of time.  So we will pick up with that next time in part 2.

Credits:   (1)   (2)   (3)   (4)   (5)   (6)

Project Kickoff: Summer Festival Yukata

japanese summer yukata essentials

Getting ready for my next big DIY adventure.  This project is going to require more of my sewing skills than my hot glue prowess.  I am ready to take a big gamble and create a summer yukata, but Wa Loli style.

The Wa, or traditional Japanese, style of Lolita fashion is hard to pull off.  It can go very wrong very fast.  So not only will I have to test my sewing aptitude but also ensure my taste level is in check.  A careful eye and attention to editing will be key to success.

The plan is to finish the yukata in time for the Mitsuwa Summer Festival.  I don’t have a pattern so I have invested more than some might into this project.  I bought a Bodyline coordinate that I will use to create a pattern from.  I wanted to get a pair of rocking horse shoes and another blouse anyway, so was worth the shipping fee, even if 60 bones for the dress might be a loss.  What could prove to be a challenge is timing.  Bodyline can take a long time to arrive.  I put my order in on the 1st of July and I believe the festival is on the 17th of August.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I need at least 2 weekends to complete the actual yukata.

pre-tied obi diy decoration project

Normally I like to have all the materials on hand before starting, but deadlines being deadlines will need to roll while waiting for the postman.  In addition to the yukata “pattern”, a pair of geta from Japan should arrive soon.  Most of the other fabrics and trims are ready to go.  A bolt of  traditional indigo yukata fabric has been waiting in a drawer for years so will be happy to finally be put to good use.  A few laces are also lying about that will coordinate well.  And picked up a pre-tied yukata obi last year that is screaming for some deco!  What was I saying about hot glue earlier?  Well I guess this project isn’t immune. (^_-)

 Wa Loli Inspiration

There are so many different sources of inspiration that come to mind. I’d like to pay tribute to each individually instead of collaging a mood board.  These range from an artist who sadly disappeared from the web, a little hime and gyaru, and good old fashioned festival fair like uchiwa fans and kitsune masks.

little apricot wa cute lolita chisami

lolita artist apricot8585

etsy keelyvh Keelys Cute Kimono

kawaii japanese festival masks illustrations

metamorphose kimono print wa loli

hime gyaru yukata coordinates

dream of lolita wa coordinate

Credits:  (1)   (2)   (3)   (4)   (5)   (Tsuchiya Chisami “apricot8585” illustrations)   (Keely’s Cute Kimono dolls)   (Anime illustration)   (Festival Mask illustration)   (Metamorphose kimono print series)   (Hime Yukata Sets)   (Gyaru scan)   (Dream of Lolita coordinate)