Upcycled Surfboard Car Rack Pads

Flashback Post!

Originally Posted 1  February 2013.

OK, so I broke down a bought a new car after 11 years and nearly 225,000 miles. It was about time. One requirement was that I had roof racks installed on this vehicle, of course. I had to get the Yakima permanent mount type, so I paid through the nose to get them installed. I at least could save a bit my making by own rack pads to go on the bars so it wouldn’t damage the boards. Ok, like $40 bucks, but hey, better than nothing. I thought a lot about the materials I could use to make the pads out of, and I decided on using an old yoga mat I didn’t use anymore since I got a new one. For the sides, I had some flag fabric, which is essentially heavy duty nylon cloth, used to make those outdoor decorative flags. It can be found at any fabric store, but I already had some in my fabric stash.

First, I measured the width of the bars across. I came up with about 27 inches. I decided to round this down to 26″ for my pads to leave a bit of room. You will have a different measurement depending on your racks.

Next, I took a pool noodle and measured the circumference using a tape measure. I came up with 8 inches. Since I’m going to use Velcro as a closure, I added 1 inch to each end, to make it 10 inches to make an overlap. This made the dimension 26″ by 10″. This is what I cut out twice from the yoga mat for each pad.

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I was going for pockets on each end of the yoga mat to fit the pool noodle into- therefore, I cut four squares of the flag fabric into 10″ by 10″ squares using a rotary cutter on a cutting surface. The width is the same, but I wanted some space inbetween to fit the pool noodle into.

I then overlocked each edge of both squares using a standard overlock stitch on my machine set at 5.0 width, and 1.0 wide. I used a J foot on my sewing machine, used for overlocking.

Next, I stitched the stitched the squares to each end of the yoga mat, placing the squares ON TOP of the mat. Here’s a diagram of the stitching pattern and the layout on the floor:


When you stitch, keep the edges *just* overlapping- try not to overlap too much. Use a straight stitch and preferably a roller foot to make the pass.

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When you’ve stitched both squares down, lay the piece down right side up and fold each half toward you.

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I acquired some blue 3/4″ Velcro from the store to use for this project. Laying it up against the long edge, STAPLE it (no pins, Ma!) along this edge to secure it for sewing. Sew lengthwise along the edge of one side of the Velcro, then sew another line along the other side of the Velcro lengthwise. Here’s a sewing guide for this stage, also:

FLIP the piece to the other side and do the same thing. Don’t forget that the Velcro needs to be on opposite sides since the piece will be wrapping around a cylindrical piece.

Finished!

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Now, I’ve got to cut the foam noodle. I’m cutting it to 26″ inches. I mark the point with a pen.

For cutting foam of any kind, I use a electric knife like for cutting turkeys. Yep, they work great. They cut though foam like butter and make a mean turkey sandwich (well, when I used to eat meat).

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I need to cut the foam noodle down the center (but not all the way through, just to the hole in the center). To help keep it straight, I chocked the noodle with a couple of heavy books:

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Once the noodle was cut lengthwise, it was placed into the yoga mat pocket.With the noodle cut side up, I tucked the flag fabric into the slit.

I did not close the Velcro yet until I got the pads over the rail.

Slip the pads over the rail slit side down and with the fabric tucked in. Close the Velcro around the rails. The nice thing about these pads is that they have a slight sticky quality, which helps to keep the board from moving around.

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Spiffy! Now my rail pads match my seat covers. I’m officially a total kook. Here’s to sorta keepin’ it real….kinda.

Say It Like You Mean It…Woo Woo

I will admit I’m a total kook. I don’t surf well consistently, I don’t look before I take off, I wipe out in front of people, etc. I’m a general hazard in the water to all who dare enter it. Even the sharks worry about getting nicked by my fins (that why this worked so well).

To celebrate this fact, I decided to make my own supa cool surf cred t-shirt. I started imageout with a blank one that was a medium blue, not really light or dark. And I washed the heck out of it. On hot, with the towels, no fabric softener. I actually put it through three cycles before even starting my little project. These t-shirts always have sizing all over them, so it’s best to get rid of any of that before trying to iron anything on to the shirt.

I found some iron on printable sheets at the craft store, containing 5 iron on transfers for light fabrics, and 5 for dark. I wanted to experiment with this, so I decided to use the transfer for light fabrics just for fun. This means I will need to mirror flip my image once I complete my edits.

imageFor a background, I decided to use a collage I made years ago using collected surf stickers, wood, and paint. I used my Scanner Pro app on my iPad instead of taking a pic, because I thought it would make it a bit sharper, even bring out some of the texture better.

I brought the image into the scanner app, adjusted it a bit using the controls to make sure the logos were fairly distinct.

I also wanted to make sure the colors were pretty strong as well, knowing that I’m using a light fabric transfer.

Next, I imported the scan image into ANOTHER app called Over. This is a pretty neat imageprogram that has a lot of cool fonts you can superimpose over photos. I chose one that was kind of stencil-y looking and used a deep blue. I did fade the background just a touch to make the font stand out, but kept the strong colors.

Like a Rube Goldberg device, I finally brought the image into iPad’s Pages, resized  the image to 8 1/2″ by 11″ size, and flipped the image backwards. I then printed it out on my HP Envy, which is an InkJet printer. I knew I kept it around for something.

I put the shirt on a hard stable surface (my cutting table), with a small square of cotton fabric covered wood in-between the front and back layer of the shirt, then ironed on high the front where I was going to place the iron-on. After ironing for a few seconds, I laid the iron-on printed side down and quickly began to iron back and forth over the sheet pressing down hard, making sure I really got the corners. It takes a few minutes to get the iron-on hot enough to melt into the shirt. Just keep moving the iron, and press down HARD.

Don’t wait too long to peel off the backing- if you try to peel it cold, it will be a mess. I thought the light transfer had a neat-o effect on the blue shirt!

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I wanted to vintage up the shirt a bit, so I got out a little 220 grit sandpaper in the garage and scratched some of the sheen out of the iron on, then sanded up the seams a bit for X-tra cred.

Kookarific kiddos!

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Maori Hook Loop Wrap and Cord

I’m an avid collector of Maori style hooks (matau), wood or bone, and general hook, tiki, or ocean life motifs. I actually wear mine often, and in the surf, so I need to know how to re-wrap my mataus with waxed cotton or nylon after a few years of regular use or hanging for display. Metal jump rings just won’t do.

imageCase in point, I have a hook I got recently from a friend who does AMAZING work, Captain Steve Bowman (Da Bonz Carver). He made this hook out of old surfboard resin from a local glasser. He wrapped it with black waxed cord, but I wanted something a bit brighter, like a pink, since the resin is so happy and colorful. The cord was also black, and the toggle was a button of resin to match the hook. The resin design idea of his was totally awesome, though!

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I trimmed off the black wrap to expose the carved hook neck. Next, I’ll measure out 3/4 to 1 yard of Linahasita cord thread on a needle. With the matau hook front facing me, I’ll kept a tail of Linahasita down and behind, came through the round top hole, and left a little loop space for a cord to pass through. I used the needle to pass the thread back through the hole to the front.

While holding the tail behind the matau hook neck, I started wrapping the cord going right to left, starting the wrap IN THE FRONT.

When I made as many wraps as I wanted, I turned the matau hook to the back and used the needle to go back up through the wraps. On the back, I had one cord end coming up out the top, and one out the bottom. I used my “Thread Zap” point heat element tool to seal the waxed cord.

Once the ends were sealed, the hook was ready for a cord. I wanted to make one that imagewas a bit different than most of my hemp colored roundish rope I have on a lot of my necklaces. I thought a color combo of cords that reflected some of the colors in the hook’s resin would be fun.

imageI decided to use a muted blue and rose together. I knotted the two 1 yard lengths of cords together and threaded on the button toggle. Once the knot’s in place, I used my Thread Zap again to melt the knot and to cut the excess Linhasita cord. You can see that the pattern I used was a lark’s head knot on one cord, then one on the other.

Once I got about halfway through the knotting (which was about 8 inches since I was making a choker) I slid on the matau hook. Once I got to the end, I knotted a bit more to make a loop that would let the toggle button pass through. Then, I made about two tight square knots joining the two ends together. Again, I sealed these ends off with my Thread Zapper and took the excess off.

There! It’s finished! One of my flashier ones- very hippie, I think. Now I need to make a proper place to hang all these treasured carvings… Hmmmmm….

Sea Sluggin’ it out

imageimageSo I’ve been obsessed with Sea Slugs, Hares, and various Nudibranches lately. They are beautiful creatures, and come in many varieties.

 

A few weeks ago, I talked a little about Sea Hares, and I mentioned the Sea Slug Forum. This is a really cool site, and I’ve been learning a lot from it. They are related to snails, but their shell has pretty much disappeared into a thin shell plate on the inside. I’ve snagged a few neato diagrams from the site to show how the Sea Hare folds over the shell “remnant”.

Essentially, a lot of them look like a little folded taco with antennae if you’ve been looking at them too long. I thought this might be a crazy project with a bit of leftover polymer clay. So, I had a bit of fun.

I got all my polymer clay stuff together, like my silicone mats, blades, texture tools, and even some antibacterial gel (gets the polymer clay color right off your hands and cleans everything up!).

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Next, I rolled out some wild, swirled clay I had leftover, and flattened it to about 1/4″ thick or less. I cut these into little squares with the corners cutoff.

Like I said before, they’re little tacos, so I’m going to make them that way by choosing a couple of squares with a nice pattern, and folding them into hollow tacos. We don’t want to put additional polymer clay inside, because that will take forever to bake all the way through, and you’ll probably burn the outside.

To give my Sea Hares a little cred, I used a ball point tool to create little undulations, making little parapodia. I added antennae (kind of creative license on that one), and added spots with other color polymer clay dots.

Finally, since I thought these would be fun as earrings, I poked a hole in the top of their foot….

I made made an even bigger version with some more scrap clay I had.

This was a mix of FIMO Soft and Sculpey Primo, so I baked these at 220 F for an hour, and that was probably a bit much.

I let these cool, and got out my paint pens to put some detail on the critters. I painted more dots, outlined them, added eyes, etc. Then I sealed each piece with sealant glaze in glossy. I used Sculpey’s Glaze.

When I was finished painting and sealing,  I needed to add jump rings and earring hooks to each of the little sea slugs using jewelry pliers.

Sea slug of my dreams…..image

DIY Costa Rica Style Surfer Bracelet

I grew up in Kentucky, so growing up in the surfing and beach lifestyle is something I’ll never understand. I still giggle at the “dude”, “brah”, “Yewwwww!”, and myriad other lingo thrown around. On top of that, you must know the correct things to wear, in and out of the water, the latest hot surfers on tour, AND where the best local sandbars are located during the full moon at high tide.
Yay! Surfing is fun! No wonder people find it a touch intimidating.

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Oh, ROXY, you make it look so easy…

I remember learning to surf in a bikini, like all the ROXY ads showed. Quickly, I started to put it together that surfing in bikinis only work if you are:

  • An experienced longboarder,
  • Skinny,
  • Surf tiny, sloping waves, OR
  • Have glue in your suntan lotion

Since at this point- being middle aged- I no longer sport a bikini, but it’s fun to be trendy sometimes to the surfiness. Even if it’s only for the Summer.

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I like the Pura Vida (meaning literally “Pure Life” in Spanish, but translates into more of a life concept) bracelets, which are popular with a lot of surfers. Duuuuuude. Their business model is that they provide jobs for Costa Ricans, and they also have charity bracelets that give a portion of sales to various groups, like Save the Orcas, Autism Awareness, and so on.
Most of their standard bracelets run $5.00 each. They’re made from a few strands of Linhasita cord (high quality waxed cord NOT in your standard craft store, but affordable). They also have a tiny charm. That’s a HUGE profit margin.
Please someone correct me, but as I’m aware, the company was started by ex-pats to employ Costa Ricans, but it is STILL a business first. The charity funds they disclose on their website total less than a million dollars. They’ve sold A LOT of five dollar bracelets. I have three- I’m kind of peeved that after more than 10 years no more than that has been donated to charity.
Then I remembered- the best way to give to charity is to give your time and money directly, not purchase stuff in the hope the business passes it along. The businesses end up looking like heroes, and you don’t really know where your money went.
Ok, I said all that to say this:
So you can free up real money to give to charity, here’s a much cheaper version of some surf cred for ya.
It took me a while to figure out that the company uses a special type of waxed cord called Linhasita. It holds up in water far better than hemp or regular waxed cotton, plus is EXTREMELY colorfast. It’s not very expensive, but I’ve never seen it at a chain craft store.
When I first ordered some, I got it from Etsy, but since it came from Guatemala it took three weeks and my cord was all tangled up from customs rifling through the package in transit. THAT’S why it was free shipping…..
Since then, I’ve ordered from Amazon, but I always check to make sure it says “Linhasita” cord. There’s also direct through their website, linhasita.com.
I studied my Pura Vida bracelets to see how they are constructed, and added my own spin.

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First, I wanted to incorporate a cowrie shell into the bracelet, and I had one that was cut so it had a flat back so it would lay flat against the wrist. I used several complimentary colors for the cord.
I measured out about 16 inches of cord, making 4 total lengths of cord. I cut the length in half, then took each half and folded those in half. I pinned these to my foam macrame board to make sure I had the lengths even.

 


Next, I looped one of the folded cord lengths from the back to the front of the cowrie shell, and did a lark’s head over to one side. I did this to the other side as well.

 


Next, I pinned the shell to the board, measured down one side about two inches down, and tied a square knot at that point. I did this on the other side.


I cut the green cord ends past the square knot and burned the end with a lighter, smashing the ends down into a little flattened end where the square knot doesn’t slip off. GO OUTSIDE to burn the cord if you do this. It’s smelly and bad for you to sniff. Duh.
I did this on both ends.

I pinned the bracelet back onto the foam board. I took the two cords used to square knot an end, and started twisting both in the same direction as the twist direction it’s already going in. Remember doing that with a string and a pencil during English class? Then the string wrapped back onto itself twisting the other way? That’s what I did. I twisted the two cords really tightly on their own, then by twisting them together in the opposite direction locks the cords. In spinning, this is called plying. A yarn can be 1 ply, 2 ply, and so on. I slipped a little seahorse charm onto one of the cords before plying it.

imageOf course, I did this to the other side, overlapped these cords, and made a few square knots to make a sliding knot closure like the other bracelets use. I used a short length of purple, then singed the ends off with my Thread Zap tool (outside!).

Here’s a side-by-side of my Pura Vida bracelets on the left, with the new one I made on the right.

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Originals on the left, my version on the right.

Here’s the same bracelet in fashion shoot mode….

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“So yeah, so bro, my gnar airs are improving after wearing this magic shell. I think it has, like, ocean powers and stuff. I think it keeps sharks away too, ya know?”

DIY Shark Repellent Band (*Results May Vary)

It’s amazing how many surf gadgets and gimmicks have come and gone. And I’ll be the first to admit I totally have given in to the sales pitch from time to time. The Turbo Tunnel fin with the hole in it, the Wax Grater, the bottled “Special Surf Wax Remover” from Ron Jon’s…..Guilty.

The latest one making the circuit is SharkBanz, which is based on an idea that was shown on a video during Shark Week several years ago. I thought the people in the video were aiming to sell some type of anti-shark cage, they put a briefcase-sized piece of neodymium into a small tank and baited a couple of sharks in crystal clear water. The sharks did turn away, but they had to get CLOSE. With A LOT of magnet.

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SharkBanz. Not for timekeeping.

 

Discovery Channel Video Showing Sharks and Magnets

So, essentially, the SharkyBands idea is if you pick up some of those neodymium magnets from the craft store or the hardware store, encase them in some silicone, you can charge $65.00. That’s it.

The problem is that 5, 10, 40 SharkBanz aren’t enough to deter a hungry shark. If YOU hadn’t eaten in two days, and someone barely pinched YOU while you were reaching for that last piece of Meat Lovers’, would it stop you? Didn’t think so.

But, if you need piece of mind, here you go. For a heck of a lot less.

imageI picked up a package of neodymium magnets, some 1/4″ ID clear flexible tubing from the hardware store,  and I already had a bit o’ leftover caulk from a bathtub recaulk recently.

So, I put the magnets in the tube sleeve, and sealed each end with a dab of caulk, so no water can intrude into where the batteries are.

 

 

Next, to make something that would be stretchy, waterproof, and could be attached to the magnet securely, I looked to my fad collection of those silly Rainbow Loom rubber band loom things. Confession day. Sad.

imageSince this is silly and stupid from the get-go, I’ll add a layer of crazy. I think it was around that same year that somebody found that sharks are fearful of poisonous sea snakes. That’s like the elephant and the mouse. So, the next gimmick was black and white striped wetsuits, surfboard stickers to cover the bottom your board, blah blah blah. So, I’ll use black and white rubber bands for this project to make snakey-poo.

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Ooooooh. Sooooo scared. Not.

I did a 5 pin fishtail on the Monster Tail loom (they’re cheap right now since the fad is kind of over- you could probably score one off a teenager in the family, or at a Goodwill. I used 8 white rubber bands, alternating with 6 black rubber bands. I made a imagelength of about 10-11 inches to go around my ankle.

Since this design is like a tube, I can insert the little sealed case of magnets inside, like  the “head” of the snake towards the end of the ankle bracelet.

I did a few more rubber bands to encase the magnets, then finished off the end, and attached it to the other end using one of those plastic loops that come with the bands.

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“It looks so….real…ly creative.”

Time to test!

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I went out, about 7:45 AM at the notorious Cocoa Beach Pier, at a spot that had a imageparticularly active bait ball of fish popping up like water fireworks. Yay! Maybe there’s something out there. I am wearing my shark covered swimsuit, and I painted my toenails a nice metallic green. The anklet held up just fine for about 2 hours of surfing little waves, and even with a lot of fish movement around me, I didn’t even get imagebumped. Well, can I sell these now? It’s not EXACTLY like the other guy’s, it’s just more stupid. One data point should be ok. As long as you haven’t gotten attacked, it’s 100% effective. Was this on Shark Tank? Please tell me Mark Cuban laughed at this.

I was more interested in whether or not the caulk held up and kept the magnets dry, so I cut the anklet open, and gave it a good inspection. I only let the caulk cure for 24 hours, and it held ok.

Woo Hoo!

The truth is, there’s sharks in the ocean. At least you hope there’s still some.

 

Deluxe Beach Changing Towel with Hood

Flashback Post!

Originally posted on Friday, March 18th, 2016.

Even though I’ve made a simple one of these beach cover-ups before, I wanted something a bit more substantial. I also wanted one that was a bit wider for getting into and out of my wetsuits easier. Wider. Yikes. I also wanted to put a hood on this one in case the wind is howling in the parking lot when I get out.
So, I procured a couple of big beach towels from the local outlet store. Outlet stores are the best for good towels- they’re as cheap as Walmart, but last longer since they’re made for a department store. Just don’t get picky about what color/print/etc. For the hood, I went to the clearance bin and found a single hand towel with a funky fiesta print.


For this project, instead of sewing down each long side (which is over 5 feet long), I’m going to make the side seams the short edges of the towel. 32 inches will be plenty

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Tagless, like Jordan’s undies

long enough to cover me, but not so long that it will be difficult to change with.
First thing, I cut off any tags on the towel- I don’t want to take the chance and sew over the extra bulk.

Nautica doesn’t make these cover ups!
Next, I pinned (technically clipped) one of the long sides together with the LOOPY SIDE OF EACH TOWEL FACING OUT, and the groomed, soft sides together,. This seems a little weird, but the loopy side is the most absorbent. The other long side will be the bottom opening of the cover up when we turn it inside out. I pinned/clipped all the way across, but the middle 12 inches I marked off on each side with a yellow butterfly pin to tell me not to sew this part. This section will be the head opening.

For my project, my middle twelve inch opening for my head started about 27 inches from the outer edge.
On a side note- if you are getting into sewing for surfing, I recommend going to your

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MORE?!? Yes, Please!

library and picking up Sandra Betzina’s More Fabric Savvy. It is a great reference for unusual fabrics, and since we’re not at a freakin’ quilting bee here, it’s VERY useful.
Also, please note that in the sewing pics below I was using a walking foot. A lot of people shy away from these, and I don’t know why. It takes about two seconds more to install than a regular presser foot, and, BOOM! huge difference in the feed of stuff like terrycloth, knits, neoprene, and other non-quilting-craft-cotton. Which leaves the fun stuff to sew. Try one!

So I used the finished edge on the towels as a seam guide. DO NOT try to sew or even fit this bulk of both finished edges under your machine! The needle WILL break, and you may do serious damage to the delicate machinery, or put an eye out, like Santa told you. I used a Heavy Universal needle (at least 90/14 or above) and set the machine for a straight stitch at 3.0 in length.

Remember to not sew all the way across, or you wont leave a head opening! Also, don’t try to sew the far edges together by machine. Either hand sew them together, or leave them as is, like I did. Don’t sew through that gnarly bulk! NOT worth it!

You don’t have to do this part, but I wanted those seam allowances sewn down. I went back and put a simple wide, long, zig-zag stitch down each allowance, stopping at my mark for my “headhole”. Remember, sew the part that’s towel, NOT the finished edge (the finished edge is light blue). Zig-zag down each side- as long as your thread matches, it won’t really show. When I did get to the head opening, I split off one side and turned a seam over that matched the allowance I had been sewing before the split.

Here, you can decide if you want to sew down each short side, leaving the top fold open down at least 12 inches for “sleeves”. Originally, I left mine open on the sides, but I liked it better sewn up the sides.
At this point, I was ready to add my hood. Of course, you will have wanted to have measured your hand towel to make sure this works. For me, the hand towel I bought eased just fine around the 12″ diameter neck. I folded the towel in half, the two pink bound edges together (loopy side OUT), pinning/clipping the top edge together. This top edge is what I’m going to sew, which will be the TOP of the hood.

I’m using the finished narrow edge as a seam guide when sewing.
Once that seam is finished, I pinned/clipped the bottom edge of the hand towel to the neckline of the big towel cover up. Make sure your seam will be on the INSIDE of the cover up once the hood is attached. Make sure you pin/clip A LOT, and SEW SLOWLY. It’s not a race. It’s probably flat out there, that’s why you’re reading this. No rush. Use a long stitch, and go back over it to secure. The bottom of the hood took up almost the entire neckline. Perfect!
Again, I don’t try to sew over the thick ends- leave them open, and save your machine. If the bound ends have enough of an opening, thread a LONG shoestring through them and you can pull the hood a little bit closed (not too much, depending on how thick the binding is). That’s it! With a hood, it’s easier to hang up to dry.

imageIf Star Wars was in an “Alternate Lifestyle” Universe, this is the Obi Wan special. NOT a man bun, thank you very much.