Though we do have a rather wide selection, sometimes we just don’t have exactly that stripe or pattern that you need.  But a steady hand and a little patience can take you a long way. I've got two quickie guides on adding your own drawn details to socks and there's a bonus DIY at the end too!


Drawing on nylon

Drawing on nylon is the easiest, so let’s start there.  Say your costume needs some sort of specific pattern on the legs. A good example would be Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. Her stitched-together legs are a huge part of costume accuracy (which maybe I’m a big nerd about).  Here’s what you’ll need:

• A good reference picture (I like this one of assorted Sally parts) •
• A permanent marker—they make Sharpies in about every colour now, which is awesome! •
• white or off white tights, like the Opaque Tights

Always test in an inconspicuous place, to make sure that what you’re using and what you’re using it on don’t hate each other. The Opaque Tights and Sharpies get along pretty well!


It is way easier to do this with the tights on, so suit up. Keep in mind there will be a little bleed through from the marker.


Now, keeping an eye on your reference image, start drawing! Try to go as smoothly as you can. Sometimes I found that the felt marker tip wanted to catch on the nylon.


Ooh, the detail really makes it. I wasn’t trying to get too-too accurate with the stitches, just going for the overall feel.


And, done! So easy! If you wanted to earn extra points, just add a blue-grey shade to ‘em with the skills you learned in DIY: Dyeing Nylon.


That's tights, but what about socks? Join us after the jump for more tips and tricks!

Drawing or painting on cotton/acrylic blends

Now, the textured knit of cotton and acrylic blends presents more difficulty than just drawing on tights. There are two ways to approach this, with paint or with pen. I decided that even though a permanent marker and a fabric pen look the same initially, I wanted to go the fabric pen route for permanence. Fabric markers can be hard to find, but plain ol' craft paint and the fabric medium that helps it seep into a sock's fiber is a lot easier (and you can paint on fabric without the medium, but just like using a Sharpie instead of a fabric pen, it doesn't work as well or last as long). I'm using blue paint and pen and white O Basics because I want to replicate the thin top stripes Fionna wears in Adventure Time.


Whether pen or paint, it is a lot easier to do this when the sock isn't lying flat, so put it over something like an oatmeal container or a salt box. It's silly, but it helps.


To keep my lines even, I wrapped a line of masking tape around the sock. It's a nice trick—and masking tape was made for masking things off!


I'll start with a pen first. I found a good reference image so I could keep the stripes proportional.


What drives me crazy about pens on cotton and acrylic blends is all the fuzz you ruck up. Be sure to clean the pen tip as you go, to keep your lines neat.


Remove the tape and touch up any lumpy spots. Remember, nobody is going to look as closely at these socks as you are, so don't stress!


Painting is just as straightforward. Remember to read the instructions on the fabric medium. Most tell you how much medium to mix with your colour and if you need to heat set it after it's dry. My fabric medium needed to be 1 part to every 2 parts paint and set with an iron after drying for 24 hours. Go slowly so the paint seeps in well.


Remove your tape and let it dry. If it needs to be heat set, don't forget to do that! It will help your hard work last longer.


So painting or pen gives pretty similar results for simple stripes (pen on the left, paint on the right, below). Think of all the things you can do and costumes you can finalise!


Bonus round! Make those tights into arm warmers.

Oh wait! So you have Sally’s legs, from the first part of this entry, but what about her arms?! Easy. Get yourself a spare pair of tights and a pair of scissors and let's go!

Cut off the toe seam and free the leg of the tights from the panty area.


Now just follow the outline of we showed you in DIY: Arm Warmer Basics! Mark where you want the thumbhole to be and cut it. Since these are just nylon tights, you don’t have to worry about unravelling!


All that is left is adding any pattern or decoration, dyeing if you need to and cutting the sleeves to the right length! But they're already pretty spoooooky arm warmers!

And you can match your arms to your legs if you're going as a cartoon character with crazy coloured skin, like grey or orange—and you can match any patterns or stripes they may be rocking on whatever limbs (I am pretty specifically thinking of Marvel's Tigra).


Okay, you’re set to go! And if you’re particularly proud of your costume, enter the Costume Contest on our Tumblr! You’ll totally make my day if you name-drop any DIY from the Sock Journal that you used.