Saturday, April 7, 2012

Stamp Socks to Eliminate Pairing Nightmares -or- How in Heck Did I Not Think of This Sooner?

We all have it.

The pile of unmatched socks that we keep next to the dryer, hoping that one day they'll all be miraculously reunited with their mates. It doesn't happen. The pile grows, and if you're organizationally OCD like me, starts to haunt your dreams.

We've tried family sock-pairing parties, where we bring the pile upstairs in front of the TV and barrel through, hunting down the estranged couples. This consistently results in my mom and I doing all the work, cursing the men of the house and watching way too much Lifetime Movie Channel. Mom has threatened to just throw them all away, but my eco-conscious mind won't go for that.

Obviously I am extremely blessed, since mismatched socks is the primary dilemma in my life right now.

After weeks of contemplation while folding laundry, I've realized that the root of the problem is that we have seven people living in this house, all of whom tend to wear white socks of various sizes and styles. Different enough that you can't mix and match, but similar enough that they all look the same fresh out of the dryer. I came to the conclusion that we needed some kind of code to be able to tell each other's socks apart and quickly pair them up.

One extremely long introduction later, allow me to introduce you to....

The stamped sock!

Sock salvation? I'm hoping.

I'm hoping that stamping each family member's socks with a shape or color just for them will make it way easier for my mom and I to fold laundry, and will keep that hideous pile to a minimum. Read on for the tutorial!

You'll need:

*Stamp (I used an acrylic I had for paper crafts, but you can use rubber, foam, or even a stencil. Also, simple and blocky is better...details won't show up anyway.)
*Fabric paint
*Sponge brush for applying the paint to the stamp (you could use a regular paintbrush too)
*Bowl or plate for squeezing the paint out on

First, if your socks are brand new, you need to wash them. Here's a good tip for fabric painting in general: if you flick some water on to the fabric and it beads up, that means you need to wash it. If the water beads up, it means it isn't soaking in because of the way the fabric is treated, meaning the paint won't set in either.

See the water beads? No es bueno, must wash.
 Once your socks are washed and dried, lay them out, soles up.

Bottoms up!

Squeeze out some fabric paint. This amount I squeezed out was actually way too much. You need just a tiny bit of paint.

Using your brush, swipe a layer of fabric paint onto your stamp. This is a rare case when less is not more. Because sock fabric is pretty cushy, you won't leave much of a print if you only put on a thin layer of paint.

Stamp that sock, baby!

Here's what I mean about not putting enough paint on the stamp.

For my next try, I was more generous with the paint. The design is less detailed, but that's okay for my purpose.

Here you can see the side-by-side difference of more and less paint.

And, we're already done! That was pretty quick, right? After I had my supplies together, this seriously look me less than 60 seconds.

VoilĂ !
I've only done my gym socks so far, but my mom and I are planning to get everybody's done in a different color. I'll let you know if this solves or at least alleviates our problem!

First of all, tell me I'm not the only one with this problem in the first place, right? And then, how do you keep your socks paired up?