Each month’s Loot Crate brings new and exciting nerdy gear to incorporate into my excess of nerd lifestyle. Subscribers know the theme, but don’t get to know what’s inside until the crate arrives on the doorstep (or until, you know, they watch one of those nifty unboxing videos). The element of surprise is partially what makes every crate such a fun treat every month. It’s an amazing way to discover new items, brands, and even interests. But with such a varied and unpredictable lot, there are bound to be an item or two that you just don’t know what to do with. Resale is, of course, one option, but I think there’s another choice. Especially with the things that you definitely want in your life but simply don’t know where it would fit. Thus, “Loot Crate Hacks” was born. Every month, I’m going to select an item that can be crafted into something new and unique. Let’s get creative! After all, nerdy shit and crafting are two of my ultimate favorite pastimes!

lootcrate tieJanuary’s crate featured a plethora of old school nerdiness, from a Voltron T-shirt to a retro Nintendo-esque figure to a pretty sweet pair of Loot Crate shades. It also included a black and white Space Invaders 8-bit skinny tie by Black Tie Geek, perfect for geeking up even the most formal of attire–or, for us ladies, perfect for keeping hair pushed back while making a retro statement. Personally, I’m not one to tie my hair back with ribbon or headbands of any sort and I rarely have the opportunity to wear an ensemble that needs a tie, but I knew that I needed this excellent patterned accessory in my life. It was time to get crafty.

I had seen a tutorial on how to make a necklace out of a bow tie on Pinterest some months back, and this tie presented the perfect opportunity.

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Grab your tie, a pair of scissors, a needle and thread (or a sewing machine), and some pins. Not too bad, right?

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Now for the pinning! This is really a matter of personal preference–it’s your necklace! Fold the fabric over to create slightly curved ruffles and pin them in place. Leave at least two inches from the tip of the tie to the first fold, since we need a little overlap for the two ends of the tie. You can also add an accent button, pin, or brooch to give the tie a little pop of color, so that extra space will be a perfect place to attach it later on.

I wanted to ruffles to go all the way around the collar, so I continued pinning and fitting until the tie was short enough to fall where I wanted my necklace to fall. You can always adjust the size of the folds to make the necklace the desired length. Tip: I pinned all the way around going one direction, but when I tried it on realized that I wanted to ruffles to match on both sides (going downwards), so I repinned the second half to go the opposite way.

Next, tack down each ruffle on the inner side of the necklace, right about in the places where the colored pin heads fall in the above images. You can do each one individually with a needle and thread or take it to your sewing machine. Since I’m lazy, it was the sewing machine for me. A few small stitches using white thread and the ruffles were in place. Running a low iron over the folds may help set them a little firmer, but they held up just fine for me.

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Here’s a few shots of the necklace after I finished tacking down the ruffles. Turns out, the collar lines up perfectly with the neckline of several dresses I already own for a fun and quick customization. Bonus!

20150207_173219Now to join the two ends together. I had planned on being lazy again and using my oh-so-handy velcro dots to attach the pieces, but searching for them ended up taking longer than just sewing the ends together. The velcro strips–mine have adhesive on the back so there’s zero sewing required, but any type would work–allows you to undo the tie and even adjust the length if you use a longer strip, so make sure to use this option if the piece will not slip comfortably over your head. At the length I wanted, mine fit over without a problem, so I headed back to the sewing machine and tacked the two ends together with a small but sturdy X. Don’t worry, we’re going to cover that up in the next step, since these necklaces look even cuter with an accent piece.

Your accent piece can be anything you want, from a button to a pixelated Space Invader. After much deliberation (as well as the realization that no, I could not get a laser cut Space Invader shipped to me quickly enough for this piece) I chose to make a small pixelated heart using some red felt and black fabric glue. Google provided a reference picture and I simply drew the design freehand on a sheet of plain white paper before trying it on the felt. After carefully cutting out each pixely edge, I blocked in the black border with fabric paint and waited for it to dry before sewing it in place.

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20150207_173150Feeling less ambitious? An oversized button looks super cute too!

Now get out there and wear your adorable new accessory with pride! I had a lot of fun working on this project, and I’m looking forward to many more in the future! Do you love to tackle crafty takes on accessories? What projects have been your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Writer. Cosplayer. Binge Netflix Watcher. Anime Dweeb. Book Enthusiast. Harbours inappropriately strong feelings about Shakespeare and William Blake. Once lost a whole day theorizing about Game of Thrones. The most motivated procrastinator she knows. Sometimes it works out in her favor. Mostly just causes widespread panic. It's all good though, because she never forgets her towel.

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