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Home Rockanomics: 54 Projects and Recipes for Style on the Edge

Home Rockanomics: 54 Projects and Recipes for Style on the Edge

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by Heidi Minx

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Feel more like a home wrecker than a home designer? Tired of 10,000 shows on HGTV that don't include decorating with spray paint or cooking for vegans? Only know the names of flowers because your tattoo artist inks them on you?

Then Home Rockanomics is the book for you. Never mind Martha Stewart, we're here to share recipes from punk


Feel more like a home wrecker than a home designer? Tired of 10,000 shows on HGTV that don't include decorating with spray paint or cooking for vegans? Only know the names of flowers because your tattoo artist inks them on you?

Then Home Rockanomics is the book for you. Never mind Martha Stewart, we're here to share recipes from punk bands, decorating tips, and even how to make your clothing cooler!!

Ms. Minx brings the online cult phenomenon Punk Rock Domestics into your living room---you know, in case you forgot to pay the cable bill or your computer bit the dust.

Inside there are tips on recycling your clothing as well as recipes from members of Sick of It All, CH 3, and Flogging Molly (and so many more!).

Plus, loads of home tips that can help you turn that white shoe box into a truly rock 'n' roll residence.

So get ready to get inspired---it's time for DIY!

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St. Martin's Press
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Home Rockanomics

54 Projects and Recipes for Style on the Edge

By Heidi Minx

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2009 Heidi Minx
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-6424-1



PUNK IS TRULY ITS OWN STYLE. Like everything in true punk, it's born out of DIY, distaste for the mainstream offerings, the 'anti' attitude–think Social Distortion's 'Anti-Fashion'–anti mall Social Distortion's 'Anti-Fashion' - anti mall 'rubber stamp fashion' and anti-mass consumerism.

From the Sex Pistols, to Duane Peters, to Rancid's Lars Frederiksen, deconstruction and destruction reign

My personal closet has quite a few items that I love, usually the ones I've found and modified, and said, "That is SO ugly, it's cool." Plaids, stripes, distraught textures, these are a few of my favorite things.

Patches, snaps, paint, bleach, safety pins, and zippers–all are staples of the punk look, but it is the wearer's unique ability to make something from nothing and to express themselves–and wear it with pride–that makes this style one that is truly unique.


Oversize sweaters can become simply sexy with shears, pins, and a little patience.

MY FAVORITE "CLOTHING STORE" was my father's closet. Much to his chagrin, I'd frequently help myself to his sweaters, especially the old worn ones. Unfortunately, I was a small and he was an XL. I can't tell you the number of times I'd solve that problem by washing his sweaters in hot water and putting them in the dryer. He was NONE too impressed. To this day, I love sweaters, but usually not the ones I see in the stores. I still prefer the older ones, a simple wool crewneck, but I don't always want to look like a boy wearing one. About two years ago I began to tailor my oversize sweaters so I could feel at least slightly like a girl, even in the New York winters.


• A sweater that is too big (one with a tighter knit that can be sewn with a sewing machine)

• Good cutting shears or pinking shears

• Straight pins

• Sewing machine

• Trim, if you're feeling decorative

• A friend to help fit the sweater on you

1. Put the sweater on and, following the seams, have your friend carefully use the straight pins to fit it to you — up the sides, along the bottom of the arms, anywhere it is baggy.

2. Once you wiggle out of it, check that the pins seem even and grab your scissors. Cut away the excess fabric, about ¼ inch away from the pins.

3. Then use your sewing machine to sew back up the sides. Personally I leave the sweater seams raw and exposed on the outside. I recommend at least three runs, to make sure that the edges are well put back together.

4. For this sweater, I decided to make a lower neck and used some trim to finish off the front. To stop it from fraying, I just sewed around the cutout neck several times.

I've washed this in the machine numerous times, and it has yet to fray past the stitching.


Save the stencils and go freehand.

Denim (preferably dark!) is your easiest fabric to modify.


• Clorox Bleach Pen (around $3.50 from any drugstore)

• Scrap paper

• Water-soluble marker

• Your canvas — a denim jacket or jeans

1. Sketch out your pattern or design with a simple water-based marker directly on the fabric.

2. Test your bleach pen on a piece of paper so you get a good clean line of bleach gel with no bubbles or blobs.

3. Once you get a good flow, begin drawing on your fabric. Depending on how dark your denim is, the gel may need to sit for a longer period of time. Just keep your eye on it; you'll notice as it is lightening.

4. Make sure to rinse with cold water when you are done (I usually let cold water run over it in the kitchen sink for about 5 minutes), and wash for the first time with rags or on its own, so you don't get bleach on your other items!

TIP: Once you've finished your item and it's been properly washed, you may want to consider using RIT Dye to overdye the garment. Red RIT works well on denim — especially when you've bleached in flames!


Two of my good girlfriends — the lovely Jenny Gunns of Dirty Mary and the inspiring Bif Naked — taught me these tricks. As Bif used to say, she didn't want to show if she was "shvitzing" on stage.


All you need are ...

• Scissors

• safety pins

• a T-shirt

When you want to modify a T-shirt, save the bottom edging, wrap it around your wrist a few times, and avoid wearing another trendy rash guard.

TIPS: Get a better fit by "darting" the bustline with 2 safety pins on each side Save that sleeve; it's an easy headband touse when you're washing your face.

For sweat-free simplicity, trim up from the armpit to the side of the collar diagonally.

Beauty: ON THE LAM!

* Keep Preparation H Pads in the fridge on a morning when your under-eyes are too puffy to bear — Cut one pad in half and put both halves under your eyes — they'll stick on their own. Leave them on for about 3 minutes & you're good to go. (Note: DO NOT put over your whole EYE!)"

* Save your old shirt scraps to make 2" x 6" strips. Take sections of hair & roll them around the strip, then tie off in one tie — quicker than rollers, easier to sleep in!


STENCILS ARE GREAT FOR ANYTHING–walls, furniture, sidewalks, and, of course, clothing. Their negative spaces and blocky designs are a project in themselves or a great starter for a blank canvas!


• I roll contact paper (clear is best; around $3 at any grocery store)

• I good X-Acto knife

• I bottle strong bleach (the stuff at the hardware store is often better than Clorox)

• I small spray bottle with a mist setting

• Paper towels or paper napkins

• Clothing you want to improve (denim works well; Dickies do not).

1. Choose a simple negative-space stencil design. Using an X-Acto, cut it out of contact paper. Make 2 or 3 copies of the stencil if you are going to use it multiple times on one garment.

2. Peel the backing off and place your stencil on a tee or jeans. (Cotton is easier to bleach than synthetic fabrics.)

3. Put some bleach in a spray bottle. (I find bleach from the hardware store is stronger than bleach you get for laundry at a grocery store.)

4. Mist your bleach over the stencil pattern. You can blot the excess bleach off the contact paper with a paper towel, quickly lift the stencil off the fabric and place it elsewhere, and mist again.

5. When the fabric lightens to the desired level, throw the item in a cold wash in the washing machine. Don't wash other items with the ones you've just bleached!

NOTE: Spray paint also works well with stencils. (Krylon holds up very well in the washing machine!)

Here's a pair of jeans done with a more complex stencil.


TOO SHORT? Bell bottoms? It's really easy to adjust pant bottoms to fit your current personal style. You don't have to be a sewing genius or spend a fortune at the tailor if you have a few fabric scraps and some hardware or zippers.


• Sewing machine

• About 1/4-yard fabric

• Straight pins

This project isn't too rocket science; it's pretty simple.

1. Take your fabric and hold it up to the bottom of your pants.

2. Cut the fabric wide enough to wrap all the way around the bottom of the pant leg, and long enough to make your pants the length you desire.

3. Pin the fabric in place with straight pins. I find it's easier to have the two fabric ends join on the inside pants' leg seam.

4. If you can, remove the tray on your machine so the sewing area is small enough to fit the "cuff" of the pants around the platen.

5. Just begin to sew. I don't stop; I just keep sewing in a circle, rotating the pants until I've sewed all the fabric on and closed up the ends of the scrap fabric.

If you want to peg your pants ('cuz let's face it, bell bottoms were NEVER punk!), then just grab some hardware.


• 2 zippers (between 6"--10", depending on your preference/measurements)

• Embroidery floss (1 packet; choose a cool color!)

• Scissors

• 1 strong needle

• Straight pins

• A sewing machine is helpful but not necessary

1. Start by putting your pants on and marking the outside seams where you want the tapering to begin (usually lower calf).

2. Hold your zipper up to that marked point to make sure it is long enough

3. Pants back off!

4. Using good shears, cut directly into the pants' outside seam, up to the point you marked.

5. Next, cut away some of the extra fabric, taking care to cut equal amounts on either side of your original cut. Your finished cuts should make it look like you've cut out a very long upside-down V out of the outside seam.

6. Using straight pins, pin your zipper on the outside of the pants to close that open area. Make sure to try your pants on to make sure they fit. If you have pegged them supertight, just unzip the zipper to get your feet through, then rezip to make sure the legs are sitting properly and are even on both sides!

7. Pants off again! Use your needle and embroidery floss to sew the zipper onto the fabric. I use X stitches and simple "under and over" stitching. If you do have a sewing machine, you can sew the zipper to the fabric that way first, then use the floss to reinforce it.

TIP: You don't just have to use zippers! Take a look at the fastener hooks I used on this pair!


Convert a boring button-up to a flirty crop.

THIS DESPERATE LITTLE NUMBER was given to me by the lovely pinup model, Heidi Van Horne. She had picked it up at Kmart of all places; it's part of the Kathie Lee line! She joked that she got it when polka dots were hard to find. I promised, as a favor for all her help on the PRD boards, that I would take it as a personal challenge to make it wearable!


• Scissors

• 4 safety pins (1" work best!)

• About 1 yard of trim (your choice!)

• Sewing machine

• Straight pins

• A button-up shirt that desperately needs a makeover

1. Put the shirt on and mark the length you want, anywhere from below the bust to just above the belly button.

2. Take the shirt off, lay it flat, and cut across that line, but DON'T cut off the button and buttonhole strip! (Those will be your ties.)

3. Next, cut around the armholes, just inside the armhole seam.

4. The trim is optional. If you have a sewing machine, use straight pins to put your ribbon in place — running from the bottom of the "ties" on both sides and up and around the exposed edges — then sew in place.

5. Chances are you're going to need to improvise some darts at the bustline. If there's extra fabric that's gapping, fold it over on itself. Safety pins are easy to use; just fold over the fabric to create a dart and pin. If you want to be fancy, you could sew it in place. Or just leave it!


Use felt scraps and embroidery floss to make simple, bright patches.


• Felt scraps in different colors (a 12" x 10" piece is usually less than $1 at a craft or fabric store)

• Fun colors of embroidery floss

• A needle you can thread with the floss

• Scissors

1. Create a simple design — a skull, stars, hearts, dice, a simple band logo (like, Black Flag simple!).

2. Use 1 piece of felt as your background and the other colors to create your design.

3. Sew the pieces onto the background, then sew on to whatever you want!

I just sewed a super simple skull onto a pair of gloves I had lying around.

Polish Docs to a Super Shine

*To get a high polish on docs, use a soft cloth to put a generous layer of matching kiwi polish an the boot.

-Then use a zippo about 2 inches away from the boot to lightly heat the wax into the leather - the flame tip should just *kiss* the leather as you pass it over the surface.

-Use an old nylon stocking to polish off the wax for a super "military" shine.


SOME THINGS just don't have the right belt loops — like Dickies (they're too small) — and some skirts don't have them at all.

It's supereasy to get around: Grab 4 large kilt pins and affix them to the outside waistband. The larger kilt pins can even fit a 3-row pyramid stud belt!


THOUGH THERE ARE GREAT SITES like studsandspikes.com, it can still get a bit pricey to add metal to a jacket. Found items can be just as fun.


• Old Bic Lighters

• Pliers

• Sandpaper (fine-grain is OK)

• Bottle caps (not bent from opening)

• Awl and hammer

• Thread and needle

1. You can easily sand the logo off a metal bottle cap.

2. Using an awl and a hammer, poke two "button- style" holes in the tops (like buttonholes) and sew on to a garment.

3. The silver tabs in lighters are an easy way to get a "bound" metal edge on cuffs and lapels. Using pliers, pry the silver part off an old lighter. Then clamp it over the edge of the fabric.

TIP: The lighter tabs work well on hat brims as well!


MollyPop from the PRD boards posted this tutorial. I loved it so much, I asked her if we could include it in the book. All pictures and instructions are from her!

THIS IS AN EASY WAY to make a non-leather studded belt that's cheaper than buying one!


• A bicycle tube*

• Scissors**

• Studs

• A marker that will show up on black tubing (optional)

• Something to push down the prongs of the studs with (a screwdriver or scissors work)

*To find a busted bicycle tube, you could probably go to a bike shop near you and look in the dumpster or ask if they have any unfixable tubes lying around.

** If you don't have a pair of heavy-duty scissors, buy them.

It's an investment.

1. First, take your bicycle tube and cut it across so it's not in a circle.

2. Now cut it along one of the lines so it turns into a flat length of rubber. The lines are a really good guide for cutting a straight line. It'll probably be pretty icky on the inside.

3. Next, trim the rubber so it's the width you want for your belt. But beware: You don't want to have to stud around the nozzle. Make sure that it's not in your width.

4. After you've done that, you can wash off the ickies if you want.

5. To make sure your width is how you wit, try it on and pull it through your belt loops.

6. Mine is a little big for my loops, so I'm going to trim it down a little.

7. After you've gotten the right width, while it's still through your belt loops mark where you want your studs to end/start and also where you need to trim it if it's too long. Remember to leave enough room at each end unstudded so you can tighten and loosen it. You can always add more studs at the end after you've dealt with the buckle.

8. And now, once it's marked and trimmed, you can start to stud. It doesn't matter how you arrange your studs.

9. Now try it on.

10. From here you should be able to tell where you want the holes to be to tighten/loosen it. If you have a belt buckle, you can add that on there. If not, you can use studs as buttons.

11. So, add studs down the middle of one end like so: I did three to start.

12. Try it on again: I already had one huge hole, which was why the tube was unusable, so I decided to make that my first hole.

13. Take it off and line up the non-button-stud end to the button-stud one and mark dots so when you cut the holes, they'll line up with the studs.

14. Cut little crosses where you marked the dots.

15. And the studs should go in like this.

16. Line them all up: It works! Now you can make any minor adjustments, like adding more studs, trimming the ends, or adding more holes.


Excerpted from Home Rockanomics by Heidi Minx. Copyright © 2009 Heidi Minx. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Heidi Minx is a poster child for DIY. Whether through her one-woman charity, Built on Respect, or her past designing career for her eponymous clothing line, Franki&Minx, she embodies the DIY spirit. She lives in New York City and Dharamsala.

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