07 Jun

Printing onto fabric

A good friend of mine and I were talking about different ways to personalise shoes and apparel. So behind the scenes, I have been experimenting with different print methods. I have tried to get one-off print jobs done but I couldn’t find people willing to print just one t-shirt, so, I thought, I would just do it myself.  I can hand paint onto fabric and this does last a long time but it also takes me a long time and I wanted to offer something else, a little cheaper. If you’d like to have a go yourself, here is a summary of my research so far:

Did you know that you can print your own shirts and bags using your printer and freezer paper? All you do is reverse the image, print it onto freezer/greaseproof paper and immediately (it has to be immediately) iron it to the shirt.  It lasts longer if you use a fixative substance like Retayne.  So simple, and a method available to anyone with a printer, and iron and some non stick kitchen paper.

Again using the printer you already own, you can buy photo transfer paper which like the freezer paper you print onto and then iron onto your choice of shirt, or even shoe.  It helps here if you have a clear image.  I used an image of a pug and it worked ok, but the colours looked a bit murky and on a t-shirt, there is a definite stiffness, a coating on the fabric.  I don’t know whether that was my budget printer ink or the method itself, or even if I needed a bit more practice but I felt that method was handy to know but not what I was seeking.  It has washed well, but cracked over time. I tried applying the image to a shoe but it’s kinda hard ironing onto a small curved surface and I messed it up.

Photo transfer medium lets you print onto normal printer paper and transfer it to your  desired surface.  This is an interesting method, with no irons involved and it works really well but does leave too much of a stiffness on the fabric which is not ideal for a fabric such as a t-shirt. It has not cracked in the wash though and the design lasted through different temperatures.   It would work better on an already stiffer fabric like denim , or on a bag, or even a wood block maybe. It’s a bit like a glue, you put the stuff on, pop the printer paper on, (following the instructions on the product) wait for it to dry and then rub the paper off. Magic!

I have wanted to learn about printing for a long time and have been eyeing up courses locally but they are prohibitively expensive and require early and daily attendance which is just not possible for a single mother.  Then by sheer luck, I stumbled across an online course called Learn How to Screen Print.  So I dived right in.  It’s an extremely intense course and requires a fair bit of familiarity with Adobe Photoshop, but I figured I could handle that. The learning curve is steep but right from lesson one , I realised that screen printing was the thing I had been looking for.

Before I had finished all of the modules I had built my own press for less than a tenner (and some wood I had round the house, I’m an inventor, I hold onto useful things), ordered a couple of inks, a screen and a squeegee and printed my first t-shirt using the stencil method, with a less than cheap but still very useful and eternally versatile Silhouette cutting machine.

Screen printing by hand is so satisfying and the waterbased ink I use is such a wonderful smell.   Unlike other methods or other inks, the waterbased ink becomes one with the fabric and lasts as long as the shirt does, with no peeling or cracking.

I think I’ve made every schoolgirl printing error now, so, if you know of any fixes to common mistakes or have tips on how to avoid them, please, let me know in the comments below.  They will be gratefully received.

21 Feb

Custom Nikes, Doc Martens, and other lovely stuff

Custom Jordans, custom Nikes, hand painted Doc Martens or even your choice of leather footwear or apparel will make you stand out from the crowd this season with warm and dry toes.

ShoeTattoos can now boast a really decent stack of Angelus brand leather paints which are the very best paints available for leather customisation.

I can paint the leather, midsole, heel tab and bumper. The soles can be done but you’ll need a sole protector if you want the paint to last there.

All designs are my own except for the calf boots, which are fan art taken from a picture by the incredible artist Tom Lewis. He’s absolutely incredible, well worth a click through and browse.

15 Aug

Wild Bunny Arts


Don’t blend in, stand out! Blaze a trail for others to follow in your new hand painted, custom designed footwear and apparel.  Be sure that nobody else is going to be wearing the same outfit as you, by asking the Wild Bunny to work her magic on your favourite trainers, boots, jacket or bag.

  • Upcycling – your trusty denim jacket or leather boots
  • Treat yourself – to an unique hand painted or printed wearable work of art
  • Best gift, ever! Make someone’s day
  • Weddings – custom Converse/Vans
  • Screen printing – tees/sweats/bags
  • Graphic design – t-shirt & other design work

Check out what her delighted customers have to say on Facebook and Etsy.

Want to see what she does? Look upwards and click the Facebook or the Instagram icon, which will whisk you away to her latest projects and inspirations.  Check the Facebook albums, which are categorised for ease of viewing.  A short portfolio is available by clicking the Portfolio tab above.

The FAQ’s above are well worth a read because they contain all the common questions that get asked :p There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

Ordering:

The Queen of Shoe Tattoos (The Royal Connection on October 2017) and other awards:

Keep scrollin’ if you want the Blog…..

12 Apr

We all love EWE – the breathtaking wedding show

Whoever invented the name Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza is a marketing genius.  Killer name, and it turned out to be an even more spectacular event than I could have imagined.  Over two days my pile of cards and flyers (don’t get me started on the non arrival of my fliers from the printers!) got seriously depleted and I basked in the love of the amazing people visiting my stall.

I was bricking it a little, being a newcomer to the business and a first timer at the wedding fair game.  I’d also had three weeks notice, to invent a reasonable looking stall layout and add some wedding-related shoes to take along.  I needn’t have worried beause the organisers – despite looking a bit over worked – had planned the show with such extreme awesomeness that from my point of view everything ran like clockwork.

Every single exhibitor was amazing, kind, friendly and sold the most incredible stuff you have ever seen! You’d be doing yourself a great favour if you had a look at any category from the show ( exhibitor list here) that you’re interested in – every single product that I saw was original, perfect and insanely desirable.

Every visitor was happy and chatty and I overheard some amazing comments about how EWE is the only wedding show worth going to, and how it is absolutely the best in the whole of the universe since the beginning of time. Or words to that effect.

My most perfect and massive thanks go to Jo, Sassy and Yasmin.  You inspirational, creative and vibrant trio have lifted me from my doldrums and given me hope that I can make ShoeDoodles work for me and Malachi.  I felt so at home amongst the other people there, I was not the only wierdo with funny coloured hair intent on pursuing her dream to make the world a more colourful place.  I’ve got a little tear coming up now.  Sniffle.  Anyway, ladies, you know, thank you. I feel all sheep-ish now *laughing emoticon with tears*.

Here’s some of the great pictures that Jay Emme took of my little part of the spectacular Eclectic Wedding Extragavanza and a selection of Wedding Shoe ideas.

UPDATE: check out the official EWE blog piece here .

20 Feb

The Yin and Yang of life

Recently I have studied a little about the Tao Te Ching, just out of interest, and then had the most perfect example of Tajitu (yin/yang) happen in my own life, as if to prove the wisdom of the ancient Taoist text.

When people see things as beautiful,
ugliness is created.
When people see things as good,
evil is created.

Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other.

I’m not sure if this post is about Tajitu, or the evil of the English government, or the goodness of people.  I will let you decide.

It’s fairly well known in the UK that our current government has been successful in it’s campaign in conjunction with the mainstream media to demonise the poor and divide society so that it can dismantle the welfare state that Harry Leslie Smith and his generation of people fought and died for.  The current Conservative government  promised to not cut Working Tax Credits but in reality have done so by freezing the amounts that working families receive so that they fall in relation to inflation.  In  2014 rules were introduced to rule out people who were claiming that their hobbies were a business and then receiving Working Tax credits.  The criteria in brief was that the business must be HMRC registered and carried out with the aim of making a profit.

ShoeDoodles started in 2015.  Previously to this date, I worked as a blogger and web designer and had a limited company but a stalker tracked me down using this information and forced me to close the business.  I had painted a few pairs of shoes for friends to say thank you for help and support and somebody suggested I set up an Etsy shop, because my work was good.  So I did, and to my surprise I got some orders, and some more orders and here I am today, with many happy customers, all over the world and my painting is better than ever.

The income is variable and I have not found a way to predict when the next sale is coming through.  I use Etsy, Facebook, BigCartel, Twitter and Instagram and have only recently started blogging again after the horrific on and offline stalking campaign which resulted in the stalker being put into prison, but that hasn’t stopped him.  I am still being watched, and it is still traumatic.

I was, up until four weeks ago – and like pretty much every working parent I know in the UK – receiving  Tax credits to top up my low income.  Then they stopped.  No letter, no reason.  One week I had money to pay bills with and feed my son, the next week, with no warning, it was gone.  After a morning on the telephone I discovered that I had been overpaid and they had stopped my entire regular income to pay themselves back.  No figures were given to me, no criteria, no in-depth explanation about where I had gone wrong and what I had done to deserve this brutal removal of my financial lifeline.

As a survivor of domestic abuse  I was further abused for six years via the family courts, and during this time, also stalked, constantly online and offline too, with numerous breaches of non molestation and restraining orders.  I have PTSD and chronic anxiety from this that had just started to vanish after a year of relative peace and self care.  The savage and incomprehensible removal of my Tax Credits immediately triggered my PTSD, reminded me of when I lost my job and went hungry while I was pregnant, and I am still down that difficult hole right now.

Just as I thought I had managed to begin to make a secure and stable life for my son at last, the government swept it away from under my feet with no comprehensible explanation.  I can only guess – because nobody can tell me – that ShoeDoodles has been misrepresented as a hobby in the minds of one or two civil servants who have little business knowledge and the power to destroy lives at the click of a button.

My creative spark was wiped out immediately as I fought to convince a stranger that my intentions were not to mess around with shoes as a hobby but to build a sustainable business that my son and I could run together for the rest of our lives.  I certainly would not put this much effort into a hobby!  In the past, web design was my hobby.  I went to university and ended up doing an MSc in Computing because f this “hobby”.  I have taught e-commerce and BTec Business.  I am still learning now, I have t be because the online world is constantly evolving.  I have now done all that I can do, and I can only sit here and  wait until someone who doesn’t know me or care about me and my amazing son makes the decision to keep us in poverty or restore us some dignity.

But I’m not looking for sympathy, not for me.  I’m a warrior and a survivor and I am using this tale to urge you to help others.  My story is very common – I found out this almost immediate.  Families have been left without money, immediately and with little recourse by civil servants following orders from the cruel British government.  The rise in food bank use tells our stories pretty well and I was lucky to be eligible for a voucher this week and received a very generous gift from them that will keep us from starving for way more than the three days it was intended.

Thank you Trussell Trust and to everyone who donates too.  The British media have done a great job also of demonising food bank users as drug addicts or people who cannot manage their money properly but I can assure you that this is not true.  Nobody I saw looked addicted and I know – and you do too now – that when you live on the breadline,  one click of a key in an office far away can destroy you, one emergency can destroy you.

They are only following orders….In Mein Kampf, Hitler stated “This art is the sick production of crazy people. Pity the people who are no longer able to control this sickness”.  Is my art and online business model misunderstood?  Is England a fascist state? I would like you to consider and question this, and the artificially created divisions that are apparent in the UK in 2017.

In this period of deep dark despair though, rays of sunshine  have broken through the heavy cloying, irritating smog that has filled my body and brain.  My son’s Godmother was the first stroke of luck , offering cash to help her out with some work, so we ate for another week. Vicky, Jo, Paul and my Dad, all helped make sure my direct debits didn’t bounce this month.  Linda sent me a ton of oat milk and other vegan goodies, and I don;t even know her! Aurora, Divita and Patsy all offered invaluable support and advice and pointed me towards places to go so that I can feed myself and my son.  Elaine listened and bought us a meal and took my mind off things that first impossible weekend.  Lowenna offered me space in The Pretty Pigsty.  Mum, who bakes us home fresh bread every week and gives us food treats. I am humbled by the help and generosity of all these people, some of whom are mainly “internet friends” and people who I know are struggling badly themselves.  One, is a complete stranger, only recently off the streets himself.

I’ve also become an ambassador for an amazing food sharing app that connects you with local people – I’ve met some lovely people already and had the good fortune to try home made pickles and home grown squash! It’s amazing!  If you haven’t already, download Olio and help to share food “waste”.

Maybe, I concluded, you have to have experienced true darkness yourself before you can find the light in your heart to help others without judgement or hidden agenda.  Or maybe you are just born with it.  I am blessed to have the ultimate in human kindness in my son (aka Funny Funky Doodles – he can design you a bag or some shoes as well).  At age seven, he emptied his purse and made me take all of his coins.  He told me “I don’t need classes Mum, all I need is love”.  With an angel like this in my life, the light will always be present.

His words are so perfect, I made them into a backpack bag (34*43cm).  This natural cotton bag is an unique one-off item and costs £30 including free waterproofing and UK postage.




all i need is love bag