DIY Ninja Costumes.

Maybe you’re getting a little bit anxious because Halloween is right around the corner and you don’t have a costume for your little ghoul yet. That’s where I was at this point in the month a couple of years ago, but lucky for me Luke and Levi wanted to be Ninjas! You know I’m all about making things EASY.  The most popular post on my blog is my DIY Superhero cape tutorial which requires no sewing at all.  Apparently there are other moms out there who likes things easy too because it has been pinned thousands of times!  I thought I’d share another super easy costume idea with you all (and it’s no-sew too!)…

My boys love ninjas, so when they asked if we could buy ninja costumes I said what every craft blogger would say, “No…but we can make them!”  So I set out to find the pieces that I would need, black pants and black shirts (because ninjas are stealthy).  You can sew the shirt or pants yourself if you are so inclined, you’ll find a great pants tutorial here and an awesome shirt pattern here.  For the sake of time, I went to Walmart and bought the shirts and pants super cheap.  I spent about $13 on each boy’s costume… not bad compared to store bought ninja costumes that will run you well over $20 each!

All you need to make awesome ninja costumes is a pair of black pants (soft and comfy is the name of the game) and two long sleeved black t-shirts.  What makes the outfit is the “hood”.  It’s created by one of the long-sleeved t-shirts, by tying it around your child’s head like so…

This could not be easier to do.  Your boys will think you are the coolest when you show them how to make a ninja hood out of a t-shirt!  Paired with the black pants and black long-sleeved t-shirt you have the perfect ninja outfit.  I would suggest putting the clothes on first, then the doing the hood.  If you want to you can create a throwing star to accessorize!  I cut two out of cardboard and painted them with a few coats of silver spray paint.

Here’s Levi, my littlest ninja!

DIY Ninja Costume Tutorial at

DIY Ninja Costume at
DIY Ninja at

Levi thinks he is the absolute coolest in this outfit!  I love that it’s an easy dress up play outfit and that he can wear the pieces by themselves any day of the week!  Bonus! One thing to remember is that if this costume is being worn on Halloween, and you trick or treat after dark, you will definitely need to add some reflective tape.  I think it would look cool integrated into the outfit by adding some to the bottom of the shirt and a stripe down each side of the pant legs.  That way your little ninja will be visible while he’s out knocking on doors.

Thanks for reading!  Have a great time with this costume and don’t forget to check out more Halloween projects at The Southern Institute.

DIY Ombre Ties.

I’m so delighted to have an old blogging friend here!  Please welcome Julie from richardsonshine.  Julie and I have known each other for awhile now.  Her blog is a place that I often visit for design inspiration (and pics of her adorable children).  I think you’re going to love her.  She has a great tutorial for us today for DIY Ombre Ties!  

Hello, Southern Institute readers!

When Jenny and I first “met” through our blogs, I think we quickly realized we liked or enjoyed many of the same things: fun fashion, sewing projects, etc., but most of all, putting family first. It’s been fun to follow Jenny at The Southern Institute and get to know her darling family.
Now…I’m sure you’ve noticed the world’s ombre craze. Yes, of course you have! From clothing and accessories to shower curtains, furniture, walls, wedding cakes and even hair (!), the fashion, craft, and design world is eating it up. Well I decided my boy needed an ombre tie. Or two.

After searching far and wide for easy little boy tie tutorials, this one by Sharing the Wealth is my favorite. She mentions the sizing is best for 1.5-2 yr olds, but I think it’d be just fine for a 3 or 4 yr old as well. My son just turned five and it’s short for him, but we made it work!
So. Before you read on, go download the tie pattern here.

There are two ways to create this ombre tie:

1) sew the tie first, then dip in the dye, OR,

2) dip the unsewn tie pieces first, then sew the tie together afterwards. 

We’re doing the latter method, but remember I’m dyeing two ties here, not just one. If you’re a bit nervous about dyeing fabric, start with just one color and one tie.

You’ll need:

your dye of choice,
your large tie pieces,
(front and back for two ties shown here, 
and not the piece that goes around the neck)
(if your dye calls for it)
rubber gloves, 
and buckets or large bowls.

Depending on how concentrated your dye is, you may want to use more than one bucket or bowl. The yellow wasn’t too dark, so I kept it to half a bottle of dye in one bowl of water. The navy blue (which turned out slightly purple) was super dark, so I poured some into smaller bowls, diluting the dye more and more each time. It just takes some experimenting!

All right, wet your fabric before you dip.

Taking the top of your tie pieces, dip them in your dye very quickly, 
as far up as you’d like the color to go.
Then dip again, submerging less of the tie in the dye.
Then dip again, submerging even less of the tie.
You get the idea…
Eventually, you’ll get to the bottom of your tie pieces!
The tips will have already been dyed longer than the rest of the tie,
but hold the tips in the dye for a bit longer anyway – maybe just 30 seconds or a minute.
I’m not exact around here, and this dyeing literally took seconds!

Now this is where you might want to have more bowls with diluted dye.

The blue color was so dark and the dye was so concentrated, 
it was basically like tie-dyeing the fabric (no pun intended),
and was NOT the look I was going for.

So, divide the one bowl of dye into two or three others 

and dilute them with more water,
Dip your tie pieces in the MOST diluted or least concentrated bowl of dye first.
Submerge the fabric as high as you’d like the lightest shade of color to go.
Then submerge not quite as high in the next bowl.
Then submerge again…
You get it, right?
Hold the tips in for a bit longer…

…then rinse and hang them up to dry!

You can see my first attempt (far right),
where the dye was way too concentrated.
Once I divided and diluted the dye,
it was easier to get the ombre effect (far left).
That yellow tie is just hanging out in the middle, 
cheerful and happy. He was the easy one. :)

Once your fabric pieces are dry,

iron them and continue on with 
the tie tutorial!
(Again, found here. Download the pattern here.)

It was super fun to experiment with ombre dyeing,

and as you can see, my son’s delighted!

Happy dyeing,

and cheers from Richardsonshine!

Perler Bead Bangles

Perler Bead Bangles

I’m sure many of you remember playing with perler beads as a kid (at least I know I do). I’ve fallen in love with them again after seeing so many awesome ideas floating around online lately. So I got inspired and picked up some supplies to make these fun perler bead bangles–I even made a Vine video at the craft store.

Perler Bead Bangles

To make your own bangles you’ll need some beads, a circular pegboard, parchment paper, an iron, and a bangle for sizing.

Perler Bead Bangles

Pick out your colors and set them in something so they won’t roll all over the place.

Perler Bead Bangles

Use your original bracelet as a guide for the perler beads, placing your beads outside to make sure it’ll fit.

Perler Bead Bangles

Perler Bead Bangles

Set your iron to medium and no steam, then place the parchment paper and iron over the beads until you can see them melting together.

Perler Bead Bangles

Perler Bead Bangles

I made a hexagonal bangle too, just to see how it would turn out.

Perler Bead Bangles

Flip the beads over onto the flat side of your pegboard and iron again to make your bangle stronger.

Perler Bead Bangles

And there you have it–perler bead bangles! You could make just about any shape you want, and having shaped pegboards on hand makes it easy.

Perler Bead Bangles

Perler Bead Bangles

My four-year-old loved modeling the bracelets for me. These make a great accesory for big and little girls alike, and they’d be a perfect DIY gift.

Perler Bead Bangles

What color would you make your bangles?
Fallen in love with any other perler bead crafts?
I’d love to see what you’re making!