SMP Craft
12 Nov


I’ve yet to meet a Nerddom hobbyist who doesn’t make really cool stuff. There must be some scientific explanation for it.

Desirae May Friesen, Tor & Forge Books Associate Publicist, whose special guest post you’re about to read, is no exception.

Inspired by the visuals at New York Comic Con and compelled to cosplay, yet faced with the challenge of not being able to sew, she designed an amazing sewing-free painted costume!


New York Comic Con: the largest gathering of creators and fans of all forms of nerdy entertainment on the East Coast. I attended this last fall and quickly realized the highlight of the convention is all of the amazing and creative costumes–or “cosplay.”

Anachronistic Black Widow and Winter Soldier (WOW). Flickr Image by Steven Leung via

I was awed–and inspired. Here was something that could unite two of my biggest hobbies: nerddom and crafts!

And I immediately knew what costume I wanted to start with. Spider-Man has always been my favorite superhero. Recently Marvel created an alternate universe where Peter Parker’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, is the one who gets bit by the spider, gets powers–and becomes Spider-Woman (aka Spider-Gwen).


Lowe, Hine & Latour Take Readers to the ‘Edge of Spider-Verse’: Dave Richards via

Now the question was, how? See, there’s one problem: I don’t know how to sew. I can sew on a button, but despite my mother’s patient tutelage (she’s a professional seamstress) I never really managed to finish any projects. But I would not be stopped!

I already had black leggings and I found a plain white hoodie for the top.

This is where it got tricky. Since cutting out the design and sewing it together was beyond my meager skills I decided to try creating the design with fabric paint. I have no experience with fabric paint. But I am nothing if not daring.

I outlined the pattern with masking tape, checking first that it would stick to the fabric and come off easily without leaving a mark. So far so good.

I read the directions for the paint and then used the entire bottle of black paint for the front. I started out using spray paint, which clearly worked better as a splatter design–it was challenging to get a thick, even layer. So for the rest of the design I switched to liquid fabric paint and painted it on with a foam brush, again outlining it with the masking tape to get the clean lines of the costume design.


Use LIQUID Fabric Paint

Once the black paint dried completely, I painted the inside of the hood with red paint. The red paint bled through the thin white fabric so I improvised a fix by buying a bottle of white paint to coat the outside of the hood (and fix a few mistakes in other places).


WHITE Fabric Paint Touch-Up

Now I had to figure out how to do the design on the inside of the hood. Once the red paint had dried, I used glow-in-the-dark blue raised paint to make the web pattern.


Use GLOW-IN-THE-DARK BLUE RAISED Paint for the webbing

I don’t recommend making a project up as you go along. It is definitely easier to do your research ahead of time and plan out your steps. But I DO encourage you to try out a project even if you’ve never done something like it before.



Figuring out how to create something new was a lot of fun, even if it didn’t always turn out the way I expected. And even if I have the worst costume at the next convention I go to, I know that I will have as much fun wearing it as I did making it!

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11 Mar

How-To Tuesday: Use an Overripe Apple to Make Stationery!

My sister’s birthday just passed and I want to make her a belated something. She’s a second grade teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District and the mother of two gregarious affectionate children—a five year old and an eight year old. Her professional and domestic domains are Germ Central. Runny noses, sticky paws, slobbery kisses. No wonder whenever we talk, she’s almost always “getting over a cold.”

Which gets me to thinking…

Inspired by her occupation and ailments, I decide she needs an apple-themed gift—something playful. Apple

The Challenge: my apples. Baking is out. They’re not just bruised but nearly rotten. I’d neglected them and they’ve turned on me. Gone bad. Ah, but I have a plan for my rotten little apples. Our intern at work told me about Johnny Appleseed Stamps: cut an apple in half, dunk it in paint, and voila! An apple stamp.

Challenge No. 2: The Paint. The only paint I have in my apartment is nail polish and leftover black paint from a summer weekend spent salvaging an old desk. Rotten apples + Black Paint? AppleBlackPaint

Working in book publishing, I’m certainly a nerd for words and living in Williamsburg Brooklyn, I’m surrounded by artists. I channel their spirit and, being my mother’s daughter, I improvise.

So what’s my plan? Johnny Rotten Appleseed Stamped Stationery Cards. The text? Familiar apple sayings. And since I’d be using black paint, there’d be a hint of the macabre!

So what’s in my arsenal? After some mulling over, I decide against dunking (too much paint, too messy) and instead use an old paint brush. So I use: a rotten apple cut in half with a knife on a cutting board, paper towels to wipe my fingers, black latex paint, paint brush, white paper, black sharpie, scissors.
LayoutMy first attempts turn into rorschach-like blobs. BlackApple AppleStampToo much paint (I seem to recall one of my fellow crafters experiencing something similar while stenciling). But with less paint, I’m pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The indented core has left a somewhat sweet heart-shaped center and within a few minutes, the paint dries and I’m able to start designing.











I think I did alright with the rotten apple and black paint. Less than 45 minutes start to finish. I hope my sister likes them!

Check out our new March and April titles:

 3D_Serger's 3D_75Flowers 3D_Quiltopedia  BrightBazaar (2)

23 Sep

Meet the SMP Craft Team!

So pleased to see you here at SMP Craft!  SMP Craft is run by a group of craft-enthusiasts who are excited to try out, talk about and share photos of new craft projects (and who also just happen to work at St. Martin’s Press).  We hope you’ll visit often (or subscribe to the SMP Craft RSS feed) to get the inside scoop not only on what projects we’re working on but also:

–   Interviews with our awesome “Authors of the Month”
–   Free projects from our best-selling craft books
–   Regular sweepstakes to win copies of hot-off-the-presses craft books
–   Cool ideas, tips, tricks and how-tos for knitting, crocheting, beading, jewelery-making, quilting, sewing, origami, felting, paper-crafts and much more!

And now, to introduce our regular bloggers:

mitali 1Mitali Dave, a crochet-er at heart, hails from Mumbai, India and now lives in good ol’ New Jersey.  When she isn’t reading books or scouring through used bookstores, she can be found collecting first edition hardcovers and dabbling in photography. And, just in case you weren’t impressed before, she once managed to injure herself by dropping an iPhone on her own eyebrow – she sported a giant bump for a week afterwards!

sarah's headshot


Sarah Goldstein, a WV-country-gal-turned-savvy-Brooklynite, enjoys dabbling in decoupage, origami, paper crafts, found object art & (as a regular babysitter) crafts that are fun to do with kids.  If she could be any amalgamation of people, it would be Harriet Tubman, Betty Boop & Deb from Smitten Kitchen.



Courtney Littler now lives in (the cool part of) Bushwick, Brooklyn after having grown up in (the really hot part of) Tempe, AZ.  Her crafting passion is repurposing old book pages into cool hand-made objects (poem-collaged journals, jewelery…)  A woman of many talents, she once won an acting award for “Best Disgruntled Teenager” in a video contest… when she was 27 years old!

CAUGHT CRAFTING: SMPCraft’s Spotlight on NYC Crafting

SMPCRAFT #CAUGHTCRAFTING Thursday morning, Astoria, Queens. Accessorizing with a lovely temporary floral tattoo she learned to make from DIY Temporary Tattoos: Draw It, Print It, Ink It by Pepper Baldwin!



Father's Day is less than three weeks away -- Sunday, June 19th in the U.S. -- just enough time to start prepping for what would make dear old pops feel loved....What dad, what MAN, wouldn't want to get a bright red tool box full of homemade BBQ, bacon, and chili flavored chocolate? Or a handmade Paracord hammock? Does he play golf?--hand dipped tees? Does he like to hike? Enjoy nature and the great outdoors? How about homemade beef jerky? Or does he enjoy watching sports--Remote Control Cookie? What about beer? One of the coolest new items coming out of Japan is a Frozen Beer Slushy Maker by Kirin Ichiban that perfectly pairs with the DIY black and tan soap! Scroll and click for more homemade DIY Father's Day gift ideas sure to make pappy happy! Hashtag #SMPCRAFT #DIYFATHERSDAY!

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