Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Make a braided T-shirt headband & Drink gunpowder green tea

It's two o'clock in the afternoon and you're at work. Your lunch break ended an hour ago but it feels like it's been three. Your phone and inbox are silent. Your eyelids droop. Your mind wanders...

It's time for an afternoon pick-me-up!

My solution is a quick craft project along with a mini dose of caffeine and antioxidants. Why not make one of the free promotional T-shirts laying around your office into an awesome hair accessory? And while you're at it enjoy an invigorating cup of gunpowder green tea.

Of course this solution works great for a lazy day off too!

What you will need:
A T-shirt you don't mind cutting up

Gunpowder green tea
I ordered this tea from Upton Tea Imports. Their site is a great resource for premium loose leaf teas. I have ordered tea online before, but haven't found better product quality than Upton provides. Their prices and shipping are reasonable too. Their first grade Chinese gunpowder green comes in these awesome little balls that are tons of fun to soak and watch expand. Also, you know a tea is good when it smells amazing even in the bag!

First, cut three strips from the bottom hem of the shirt, about one inch wide each. I used a large promotional tee from one of our business partners, but I've made this work with smaller shirts too. For the first strip I went ahead and used the hemmed portion of the tee. Once it becomes part of the braid, the slight difference in thickness won't matter. I used some hair clips I had on hand to keep the edges of the fabric even as I cut them.

Cut each strip so that it is no longer a loop, and more like a ribbon.

Hold the three strips parallel and tie them together in a loose knot. Leave about four inches of material from knot to strip ends.

Start braiding! Be sure to keep tension even so that the braid will have consistent thickness. You can see if you're almost done with your braid by wrapping it experimentally around your head. You will want the ends of the braided portion of fabric to just touch.

Once your braid has reached the right length, untie the knot you made at the beginning of the braid. Make another simple knot, this time uniting the two loose ends of the braid. Make sure the braid isn't twisted.

Like me, you will probably have strips of several different lengths sticking out of a sort of lopsided and chunky knot. Make sure the knot is pulled fairly tight, but not too tight that you can't lift up the individual strips making up the knot.

Now the creative part! And, incidentally, the trickiest. Take the end of each strip and tuck it back into the knot to form a small loop. I used the tip of my scissors to push the ends under a strand in the knot. For the longer pieces I made two little loops. I tried to make the loops somewhat random but still evenly distributed around the knot. This should create a flower or pompom effect. If you don't like how it turns out at first, you can easily pull out the loops and rearrange them!

Now you're ready to wear you're creation! And hopefully you have a warm belly full of green tea too. I like to position the flower on the side of my head, just above my ear. It's a bit more flirty!