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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.