Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lolita Life Hacks: Dollar Store Solutions

Yes, I said it: dollar store.

I am a frequent dollar store shopper. My favorite is Dollar Tree because they quite literally offer each item in the store for a dollar, and that's where all the examples in this post will be from. However, there are a lot of different dollar store options if you look.

And, while dollar stores may seem directly at odds with the way most of us see  fashion - especially Lolita - you'd be amazed how many ways they can help you out. It's a good way to keep your costs down, and you can get some pretty good products, too!

Prevent Ribbon Fraying with Incense

First note: this only works with synthetic ribbons.

Second note: I cannot vouch for the quality if incense for actual incense-y purposes. I can only vouch for it on the front I use it on. However, this is a good way to avoid wasting your good incense on craft projects and you won't need to buy much to do a lot of ribbons.

Okay, so ribbon. Fraying ribbon is a menace when you wear girly, ribbon-festooned fashions, and incense sticks are really one of the best (and cheapest) ways to finish the ends of synthetic ribbon. Unlike open flame, it will not catch your ribbon on fire. You also have greater control of the positioning and temperature of the heat you're applying. Really, the process is pretty basic.
  1. Cut the ribbon 1-2 mm from where you want the finished edge to be.
  2. Light incense.
  3. Take the smoldering end of the incense and bring it to the cut ribbon edge. If the ribbon is dark colored, bring it very close to this cut edge or touch the incense to the edge. If the ribbon is light colored, keep the smoldering end a little farther away from the cut edge and blow on the incense to increase the temperature temporarily; this limits discoloration on the ribbon edge.
  4. Let cool.
For safety reasons, I prefer to do this in a well-ventilated area and to douse the stick in water afterward.

Store Your Hair Clips

I’m a hair clip and barrette girl, first and foremost. I don’t wear metal or plastic headbands because they usually don’t fit well, and hats are a difficulty for me. Therefore, to get my noggin adorned properly, I clip flowers, birds, deer, and many other things to my head. The best comparison I can make is that it’s usually a bit like a Victorian hat, but without the hat. Hair storage, therefore, has to accommodate a lot of hair clips and keep them at least somewhat organized.

The solution I finally lighted on is a rubbery tote that looks a lot like a laundry hamper. This is mine, and it’s fantastic. I clip hair clips and barrettes into the holes in the basket and use the basket itself for soft hats, headbands, bows, and more. Here’s a picture of how it looks right now.

It's simple, it's cheap, and it's portable as all get out.

Hair Styling on a Budget

While I will not recommend mousse, hairspray, or other products from the dollar store - you have to find the products that work for your hair and your style - I do recommend getting your basics on the cheap.

I highly recommend these hair ties for little projects. I use them for small accent braids and tying back my hair at night when it gets long. I have found that the clear ones are the most durable, but you might not find the same things. It's also worth it to look at bobby pins and basic clips as a way to keep things in place.

Jewelry Dishes that Shine

I'm not a jewelry dish girl myself - I have too many oversized pieces - but if you like keeping your jewelry in a dish then I recommend picking up a glass dish from the dollar store. This one is barely a life hack.

Because you can find a variety of different styles, you really can tailor your dish to what you need. Want a small bowl for rings? Smooth glass candle holders, faceted glass bowls, and colored bowls are all available. Need something larger for bracelets? Plates aplenty!

But, if you need more space than one dish will provide, you can also make a tiered dish using dollar store parts. This tutorial will show you how, and you can get everything you need at the dollar store. Candlesticks, plates, and even super glue can be found on the shelves, which makes for a really cheap project.

As you can probably tell, I'm a bit of a cheapskate sometimes, but I really do love using everyday cheap things to bolster my fashion pursuits. Whether that's stocking up on basics or doing a bit of DIY, you pick up some unique solutions along the way. I hope these have helped you.

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