04/27/13

Tutorial: oilcloth & inner tube shopping pannier

by Jessie Kwak

I’ve been excited about making another bike pannier for some time.

Oilcloth & inner tube shopping pannier | Bicitoro

Something functional and fun, with plenty of space for commuting, or a grocery run.

Oilcloth & inner tube pannier in the lilacs | Bicitoro

To be totally fair, I don’t think this is going to be a hardcore grocery run sort of bag—I think it’s sturdy enough, but I’m not sure I’d stuff it full of heavy produce or canned goods. Rather, it’ll be a good bag for all those light-but-voluminous items like lettuce, bread, and bags of marshmallows. (You know, for camping only. Not for eating straight out of the bag—I would never do that.)

Oilcloth & inner tube shopping pannier - tulips | Bicitoro

Think of this as the final project in my inner tube tutorial series. It’s a culmination of a lot of techniques we talked about, like cleaning, cutting, gluing, and machine sewing. I can’t promise I’ll never post about inner tube crafting again, but I can tell you that I’ve got it out of my system for a little bit.

A week, at least.

If you’re still not sick of inner tubes, stick around. Let’s make an oilcloth & inner tube shopping pannier.

You need:

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04/17/13

3 ways to hand-sew inner tubes

by Jessie Kwak

Inner tube craft tutorials | Bicitoro

This is the fifth part in a series on crafting with inner tubes. You can find the introduction, learn about how to choose and clean inner tubes, how to cut inner tubes, and how to glue inner tubes with contact cement by following the links.

Today I’m going to show you a couple different techniques for hand-sewing inner tubes, using inner tube laces.

I’m taking a lot of inspiration from leather stitching, where you punch holes for the laces, then stitch your pieces together using sinew. Using inner tubes makes it a 100% vegan craft.

Use binder clips to hold your pieces securely, then punch through both layers at once so all your holes line up.

Use binder clips to hold your pieces securely, then punch through both layers at once so all your holes line up.

Cut the laces about 1/8"-3/16" wide.

Cut the laces about 1/8″-3/16″ wide. I used a yarn needle to sew with.

Tandy Leather Factory’s Leathercraft ABC’s has a great collection of tips on sewing leather, as well as other stitches you might want to try.


Baseball stitch

To stitch two edges together so that they meet, insert your needle from bottom to top through the first hole. Do the same on the other side through the second hole, then back to the first side through the third hole, etc. Keep crossing over, lacing every other hole bottom to top. (Like lacing up shoes.)

Sewing inner tubes - baseball stitch 1 | Bicitoro

Once you’ve gotten to the end, repeat the process to lace up the skipped holes.

Sewing inner tubes - baseball stitch 2 | Bicitoro


Whip Stitch

The whip stitch is a great way to join two edges with wrong sides together. Either do a single whip stitch:

Sewing inner tubes - whip stitch 1 | Bicitoro

Or double it up by whipping through all the holes from the opposite direction.

Sewing inner tubes - whip stitch 2 | Bicitoro

Triple Loop Stitch

This was a really fun one to try, and I love the decorative way it looks. Head on over to Kingsmere Crafts for a really detailed tutorial on how to do it.

Triple-loop Stitch | Bicitoro

Enjoy!


Want more inner tube crafts? Check out my ebook Crafting with Inner Tubes.

Crafting with Inner tubes | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

04/12/13

Tutorial: reflective recycled inner tube mudflap

by Jessie Kwak

This tutorial originally appeared in Momentum Magazine’s Winter 2012 issue. It’s a good way to play around with the gluing techniques discussed in Wednesdays installment of the inner tube crafting series, how to glue inner tubes.

I’m a big fan of reflective bits whilst cycling. My obsession hasn’t quite reached the heights of Tin Lizzie’s, but I try to add some reflective pizzazz wherever I can. That’s mostly because I rarely wear cycling-specific clothing, nor do I wear a lot of attention-getting neons.

Kwak_DIY mudflap-finished (flash)

Reflective accents can still look classy, while providing that “look at me!” flash when you need it.

In that spirit, I present the recycled inner tube mud flap. Here in Seattle, we’ve still got a few months of fender weather left. Do yourself (and your riding buddies) a favor and add a set of mudflaps.

(Not into stars? Check out this printable shape guide.)

You’ll need:

  • A punctured mountain bike inner tube (one tube makes 2 flaps)
  • 2″ reflective tape
  • Contact cement
  • X-ACTO knife
  • 2 Zip ties

1. Cut four 6″ lengths of inner tube, then cut each open at the inner curve. Wash and dry each piece thoroughly.

2. Choose the nicest-looking piece for the outside. Trace your stencil your design 2-3″ down from the top edge, and cut it out with your craft knife.

Kwak_DIY mudflap 1

3. Apply reflective tape to the top of a second piece, in the same spot where the design will show through. Spread contact cement over both pieces, being careful not to cover the tape—you can always tack down any loose edges later.

Kwak_DIY mudflap 2

4. Spread contact cement over one front and one back of the remaining pieces.

5. When the contact cement on both sets of flaps has dried, carefully press them together. Then glue your new double pieces together. Press the whole thing under a stack of books for at least 30 minutes.

When attaching the stenciled top layer to the layer with the reflective tape, lay two sheets of waxed paper between them: one above and one below the design. That way you can place the design perfectly, then remove one piece of waxed paper at a time and carefully bond the rest of the rubber.

Kwak_DIY mudflap 3

6. To shape the flap, use an X-ACTO knife and a ruler to square the top and bottom edges. Making sure your design is centered, measure 2.5″ at the top and 3.5″ at the bottom, then cut at an angle to join the two points. Round the bottom edges.

Kwak_DIY mudflap 4

7. Attach it to your fender: cut a pair of holes in the top, drill 2 holes in your fender, and attach each side with a zip tie.


Want more inner tube crafts? Check out my ebook Crafting with Inner Tubes.

Crafting with Inner tubes | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

04/6/13

Tutorial: recycled inner tube bracelet

by Jessie Kwak

Over the past couple of days we’ve been talking about crafting with inner tubes. We’ve discussed how to choose and clean inner tubes as well as the various methods of cutting them up.

Today we’re going to take what we’ve been doing and make something fun.

It’s pretty straightforward craft: cut a strip of inner tube rubber, cut a design in it, add a fastener, wear it.

(There's no place in my apartment to take a photo without a bike in the background right now....)

(There’s no place in my apartment to take a photo without a bike in the background right now….)

Voila, recycled inner tube bracelet. Easy, right?

The only tricky part here is adding a fastener.

You could do any number of things, but what I like best is to use is anorak snaps (you can find ‘em in the fastenings section of the fabric store). The line drawing on the package can be a little confusing, so here’s a quick picture tutorial on how to insert them:

Anorak snap photo tutorial | Bicitoro

Have fun, and see you back here next week when we’ll be talking about gluing inner tubes, and I’ll have a perfect spring project for your bike.


Want more inner tube crafts? Check out my ebook Crafting with Inner Tubes.

Crafting with Inner tubes | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

04/4/13

How to cut up inner tubes

by Jessie Kwak

Inner tube craft tutorials | Bicitoro

This post is the third in a series on crafting with inner tubes. You can find the introduction and learn about choosing and cleaning inner tubes by following the links.

So you’ve cleaned and sorted a big pile of inner tubes. Now what?

In this post I’m going to cover the various methods of turning whole inner tubes into small inner tube parts for your craft projects—using everything from scissors and rotary cutters to tools co-opted from the papercrafting aisle.

Scissors

Good quality, sharp paper scissors are crucial when cutting inner tube rubber. Trying to mangle through with dull scissors will just cause you heartbreak.

It’s nice to have a pair with sharp tips for snipping into corners, but in a pinch I’ve used my little sewing snips or appliqué scissors to cut out small designs.

Note: Don’t follow my example and use your regular sewing scissors to cut rubber, obviously. If you plan to cut out small designs regularly, you should invest in a pair of snips or appliqué scissors to dedicate for inner tube use.

I’ve experimented a bit with using craft scissors from the papercraft section, but I’ve had no luck at all. Too bad–that could be cool!

X-Acto

A sharp X-Acto knife can be very helpful for cutting out designs, as well. Use a new blade—a dull one can drag on the rubber and can a) be hard to control or b) you might be pulling too hard on it and it will come loose suddenly and stab you. A thin layer of oil can help decrease drag from the blade, as well.

I like to use a Sharpie to draw the design on the inside of the inner tube.

Rotary cutter

A rotary cutter can be great if you want even strips, perfect angles, squared-off ends, etc. Again, use a new blade.

DSCN0571

Craft punches

I did a post a while back on using craft punches to cut designs in inner tubes. It’s still one of my favorite crafty things—probably because I get enjoyment out of repurposing papercrafting tools.

It can be tricky to extract the rubber from the punch once the design’s cut, especially if the design is more intricate. Just be patient, shimmy it back and forth a couple times, and feel free to curse at it a bit if you think it’ll help.

DSC05805

Steer clear of the little punches—they won’t cut rubber nearly as well as the more industrial-looking ones.

If your craft punch starts to get dull (and it will, you’re cutting inner tubes with it), just cut through several layers of aluminum foil a few times, then cut through several layers of waxed paper. That’ll do the trick.

Leather punches

I have an inexpensive set of leather tap punches that I use to make various-sized holes for the earrings and belts that I sell on Etsy. The taps are really easy to use—just put it in place and thwack it hard with a hammer.

You can also use a rotary-style punch to achieve the same effect. The downside of the rotary punch is that you’re limited by the depth of the throat. On the other hand, you won’t have to worry about your downstairs neighbors complaining about your incessant pounding (sorry guys!).

DSCN0574


Am I missing anything? What other tips and tricks do you have on cutting inner tubes?

Next week I’m going to cover various methods of adhering the inner tubes without sewing (that’ll be the week after). And don’t forget to check back tomorrow for a craft tutorial that uses some of the techniques I’ve covered.


Want more inner tube crafts? Check out my ebook Crafting with Inner Tubes.

Crafting with Inner tubes | Bicitoro bikes and crafts