Installing Ceramic Kitchen Tile

Hello, readers,

Today, I’m going to share the process of redoing our kitchen floor. We did this project almost exactly one year ago, a few months into home-ownership when we still lived primarily in our rental house. This is going to be a very large post, because I’m included all the prep work we did, too.

Our kitchen in general needed a lot of work, so here are some before pictures to give you an idea of what we originally had.

There were two different styles of green peel-and-stick vinyl tiles making some sort of pattern, but the vinyl tiles didn’t extend all the way to the edges of the room (and the pattern wasn’t centered!). Underneath the vinyl tiles were more green tiles made of a very strange material. I guess that they were clay of some sort? I know that they weren’t ceramic, and they were pretty brittle when we started pulling them up.

We were lucky that the peel-and-stick wasn’t attached directly to our subfloor because that would have been so much harder to remove. We were able to wedge a crowbar between the solid tile and the subfloor, which also removed the peel-and-stick with it. When we were trying to remove the peel-and-stick from the other tile, we had some moderate success using a heat gun, but it was still not easy.

Post-Demo Prep Work

By American standards, we have an absolutely tiny kitchen. It’s almost exactly 8 feet by 8 feet. I know that everything we need will fit inside, but the room somehow felt smaller without all the cabinets in it. Still, I was very grateful that it was so small during many of the labor-intensive portions of this remodel.

After some weeks away from this project (We were still living primarily at our rental and didn’t need a functioning kitchen yet here.), we returned to the floor. We vacuumed everything with the brush attachment to our shop-vac twice and started setting our cement backer-board down to test for the fit.

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The cleaner spot on the subfloor is from where our pipes started leaking…

This is what it looked like when everything was dry fit into place.
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We cut the cement backer board using a somewhat fiddly process. First, we would lay down the piece that needed to be cut in its place, directly onto the subfloor, using spacers to keep it separated from the wall. Then we lay the piece that was not going to be cut in its place, overlapping the first piece. We used twice the normal number of spacers between this second piece and the wall, to ensure that there would be an appropriately sized gap between the two pieces when they were both laying flat. We then took our carbide tipped scoring knife and scored the first, to-be-cut board repeatedly along the edge of the second piece. Once it was scored enough, we picked everything off the floor and snapped the scored piece along the line.

Once “cut,” we put the boards back in place with their spacers in the correct gaps. Every single piece we cut this way broke cleanly and lined up perfectly on the floor.

It was a little bit of a process, but I highly recommend cutting the backer board like this, with the pieces lying in place. There was a pipe that we had to measure around, and the hole ended up much too big. We even measured it twice, but you can see in the picture below that it just did not work. We were able to slide the backer board over the pipe, but the hole in the backer board was too large to cover up the hole in the subfloor.

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This was super frustrating.

Also, just do your best to make everything square. Despite being perfectly flush along our starting wall, the room itself is not square, which resulted in some gaps that the backer board did not cover along the walls.
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Eventually, these gaps will be covered by baseboards.

Now that everything was set in place, my boyfriend and I mixed up a full bag of thin-set mortar and applied it underneath the backer board. I’ve seen lots of comments in forums from professional tile installers saying that they just screw the backer board directly to the subfloor, but the backer board manufacturer’s instructions say that you must put mortar underneath.

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We had relatively big pieces to work with, so we just pulled up one board at a time and applied thin-sit mortar in the gap it left.

Now we split up our labor. My boyfriend went around attaching the backer board screws at every marking indicated on the cement board, while I taped all the seams with alkali-resist mesh tape. We bought self-adhesive tape, so that made things easier. We had just enough thin-set mortar left to fill in the tape joints, so we did that now.

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From my research around the internet, a lot of professionals leave the taping-and-filling of the joints until they are actively tiling to avoid creating little “speed bumps.” The bags of mortar we got said they would cover 55-65 square feet (we have slightly over 67 square feet), so we took the fact that we had extra thin-set in our bucket as a gift and used it right away. What we didn’t want to happen is to run out of thin-set with just two tiles to go because we used too much of the tiles’ batch on the tape joints. However, we did have a mild speed-bump problem. I guess you need to pick your poison.

We put up a piece of vinyl lattice against the door overnight to stop our cat from stepping in wet mortar.

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This is what not having finished rooms in a house looks like.

If you’re doing this project yourself and do not fill the tape joins as a separate step, you can start laying down your tile right away. If you fill in the taped lines like we did, then you should wait 24 hours for it to set.

Tiling

After some more (endless) cleanup, we measured and marked the center of the room using some chalk line. (We made this ourselves by dunking some twine into a $1.38 bottle of blue marking chalk rather than paying $13 for a fancy surveyor’s pre-chalked line.) We set the tile along one line and saw that our line was no good.

We decided to go with black and white tile laid out in a chessboard pattern because I’ve wanted that tile floor since I was a very little girl. We were going to have an intersection in the exact center of the room so that neither black nor white would be the predominant tile color for the floor.

Laying the tiles out according to our chalk lines would have resulted in this.

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You can just barely see our chalk guides in this picture.

The first tile just barely hung over the edge of the backer board and would have needed to be cut. This was unacceptable. Also, the two doors in our kitchen are not centered along the same axis. It’s not too noticeable if you’re just standing in the room (and not noticeable at all in the picture above), but it would have been horribly obvious once we put down a grid.

Since one of the two doors in our kitchen were doomed to be off-center, we chose to make that the outside door. We proceeded next to ignore our chalk lines and center the tile in the interior doorway.

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Laying out the center axes.

We then based all the other tile placement according to this first tile. It was a very fussy process to lay everything out based on a movable tile. I would highly suggest resnapping your chalk lines if you need to adjust your layout. At least that way you would have a line of reference to make sure everything was lining up correctly.

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Our lovely kitty decided that she would try out her camouflage skills on the new floor. Very sneaky.

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All laid out!

Our strangely centered-but-not-really layout resulted in many uneven cuts. You can see in the picture above that the tiles along the left wall will be much smaller than the just-barely-not-a-full-tile sized ones along the right wall. Technically, we should have reoriented everything again to make sure that there were no tiles that needed to be cut to less than a half-tile width. I believe that rule is about aesthetics and tile-cutting stability. We decided to ignore that rule of tiling since our left wall will be completely covered by cabinets and a fridge anyway.

We neither bought nor rented a wet saw or a tile cutter because my local Lowes offers to cut tile in the store. Since this floor is inspired by chess, we labeled each location according to chessboard naming conventions. This made sure that the tiles wouldn’t be confused and not fit properly because of uneven walls. After a trip to the hardware store and back, this is what our dry-fit tiles looked like.

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Please ignore the lack of spacers along the perimeter tiles. I was lazy.

The pipe in the corner continued to be a big pain. Originally, we bought a hole-saw drill bit made to drill holes in ceramic tile. The problem we ran into here was that it was only useful in the center portions of the tile. We needed the hole for the pipe to be close to the edge, and the drill bit’s suction-cup apparatus would not work. We had to use a carbide rod saw and drill bit set that we bought as a backup. My boyfriend drilled through the tile (I couldn’t put enough force behind the drill to make it work.) at the four corners while I poured a steady stream of water onto the tile to keep anything from overheating. He used the rod-saw portion of the set for one edge of our hole before just going back to drill all around the perimeter. It sounds absurd, but it took a really long time to be able to drill through this tile.


If you’ll notice below, the hole we oh-so-carefully measured again ended up sitting differently over the pipe than the underlying backer board. Also, it ended up being right up against the pipe and we should have made the hole larger. We were too tired of the whole process, though, and called it good enough.

Note: The piece we had to drill through was a corner tile with two edge cuts. I didn’t know if we were going to break the tile while trying to drill the hole, so we had the Lowes tile cutter people cut three identical white tiles for this corner so we would have spares.

Actually laying the tile down in mortar was done much in the same way as laying the backer board down. I picked up two – four tiles at a time and set them aside, filled the gaps they left with mortar, and put them back. The checkerboard pattern made it very easy to tell which tile went where. Once I wiggled them into place, I put the little spacers back.  Once I needed to start working quickly, I found that these plain spacers were more frustrating to use than strictly necessary, but the quick/easy spacers were more expensive.

I thoroughly sprayed the backer board with water before putting down any mortar to help keep the mortar from being sucked dry too quickly.

In this 2×2 square, I laid down a generous amount of mortar and then made sure it was evenly distributed.

It was important that I be able to set the tiles on the mortar, wiggle them down into place, clean up any mortar that squeezed up between the edges, and then leave the tiles alone. I charted a tiling path that made sure that I would not step on any of the mortared tiles as I made my way around the kitchen. This ended up being four steps.

The purple lines are the doorways. I followed the paths in numerical order.

After my first pass doing 2×2 areas, I scaled back and just did one row/column of tiles at a time, generally building from the walls. If I had longer arms, I might have continued with 2×2 squares, but it was just too cumbersome for me to reach over the fresh mortar to lay down the far tiles into place.

Unfortunately, since I sometimes laid the tiles from the outside of the room to the inside, a lot of the unevenness in the spacing between the tiles that developed as I worked ended up in the middle of the room where they aren’t covered up. Whoops. Next time I tile a room, I’ll make sure to tile from the center of the room outwards as much as I can.

Once I was done laying down the tiles, we put up the vinyl “door” to keep our kitty cat out of the room again.

Grout and Caulk

Technically, you need to wait between 24 and 48 hours before grouting, but I’m pretty sure we ignored the floor for half a week after we set the tiles in place.

I selected a medium grey for our grout color for two reasons: firstly, to coordinate with both the dark and light tiles, and secondly, to hopefully hide any staining or discoloration.

Before applying the grout down, I sprayed the tiles with water so that they’d be slick and allow the groat float to glide over them. Grouting was really hard for me. It required a lot more upper body strength than I have, so my boyfriend had to take over part way through.

The whole idea is to flop down some grout on the lines and shove it into the gap with the grout float. When going over the gaps, make sure to move the float in a way where it won’t get caught on a raised edge or sink into/nick the grout line. Going diagonally is a good way to achieve this. Make sure you don’t grout the edge between the tiles and the walls. If you do, then you might get popped tiles as the floor tries to compress when the walls move.

The cleaner you can work during this step, the easier cleanup will be. You don’t want globs of grout to dry on the tiles.

We made it about halfway through the room before I became worried that the grout on the surface was getting too dry, so we stopped to clean. This involved getting the grout sponge damp with clean water and dragging it lightly (with a slight scooping motion at the end) across the tiles and rinsing it out constantly.

After cleaning everything off with the grout sponge as well as we could, there was still some haze left on the surface of the tiles.

You can see the haze best on the center black tile.

There’s a product called grout haze remover that you could use, but we didn’t. Honestly, I don’t remember doing anything special to remove the haze except continuing to clean it up with a damp sponge while the grout was wet. We don’t have any sort of haze now on our tiles.

I don’t have any pictures of the process, but the next thing we did with our floor was apply some grout sealer. I applied the grout sealer using a syringe, and I was careful to not get any of the product onto the surface of the tiles. It was pretty simple, but tedious. We have a lot of product left, so we should be able to reapply as needed for several more years. I don’t have any pictures of the process, but it was very simple.

To finish this project, I ran caulk around all the ungrouted edges of the room to make the floor waterproof. I messed up during this stepped and just dived in without any preparation. You can see a little bit in the photo below that I had spill-over caulk getting onto the edges of the tiles since I didn’t bother applying painter’s tape. I don’t really care about how terrible the wall edge of the caulk looks since that will eventually be covered by baseboard, but it was frustrating to mess up the nice edges of my tiles. I halfheartedly tried to clean it by scraping it up with just my nails after it set, but that didn’t work and I’ve mostly ignored it. There’s cabinets and appliances in front of the grand majority of the edges now anyway, and I don’t notice this problem on the remaining exposed edges. Still, keep this nonsense in mind if you have to caulk kitchen or bathroom tiles.

* * *

Final Results and Budget

Honestly, I love the results of all our work. If I look carefully, I can notice the spots where the spaces aren’t entirely even or other minor mistakes, but I think we did a great job overall. I’m very happy with how the floor turned out.

[This would be where I will eventually insert a “grand reveal” photo of the kitchen, but not yet. There are too many other renovation projects happening with the cabinets and everything to take a good photo of the whole room, and a closeup of the floor just looks like all the other pictures. Check back in a while to see an updated picture here.]

In the interest of complete transparency and demystified budgeting, here is a complete financial breakdown for this project. I am not including any general purpose tools (like crowbars, levels, drills, etc.) that happened to be purchased at the time of this project.

Also, we bought a few tubes of white “kitchen and bathroom” caulk to put around the perimeter of the room. I honestly don’t remember how many of these tubes we used, so I can’t calculate them into the budget below. Sorry!

(5) sheets of 3ft x 5ft, 1/4 inch thick cement backer board $54.35
(3) 50lbs. bags of ceramic tile mortar $43.41
(1) 25lbs. bag of grey-colored grout $14.48
(1) 3-pack of grease pencils for marking tiles to be cut $2.48
(1) carbide rod saw $13.98
(1) 1/4 x 3/8 inch trowel $7.49
(1) roll of 2 inch x 50 ft alkali-resist mesh tape $3.58
(1) 8 oz bottle of blue marking chalk $1.38
(1) quart tile and stone grout sealer $8.78
(2) 200 count 1 and 1/4 inch cement backer board screws $16.54
(1) bag of 500 1/4 inch tile spacers $5.98
(1) gum rubber grout float $9.98
(1) carbide-tipped scoring knife $8.98
(33) cuts of ceramic tile at Lowes free*
(3) 15 count boxes of 12 x 12 inch black ceramic tile $44.07
(3) 15 count boxes of 12 x 12 inch white ceramic tile $44.07
Sales tax of ~7% $19.56
Total cost
$299.12

Our little kitchen is only 67.35 square feet. This project worked out to cost about $4.44 per square foot, even though our tile was priced at $0.99 per square foot. We plan on eventually redoing the bathroom with this same tile, but the bathroom needs a lot of work as well. Since we already bought the tools for the kitchen, the overall cost per square foot in the bathroom might be cheaper when we get to it. Only time will tell.

* The price scheme at my local Lowes was $0.25 per straight cut, with the first five cuts being free. The nice men working the wet saw didn’t charge us anything, but it should have been another $7.00.

* * *

I hope you enjoyed this remodeling post. We still have a long way to go before the kitchen is finished, but I’ll continue to post projects as we get to them.

Stay dreamy,

Raven

/cgl/ Roundup: “Lolita books, films and series”

Hello, readers,

In an effort to preserve some of the best content that appears on the wonderful (but unfortunately ephemeral) /cgl/ on 4chan, here’s a curated (and heavily edited) summary of the thread ” Lolita books, films and series” started by Anonymous on 06/07/17.

The recommendations are the left-most bullet point (bolded), and all the other bullet points are discussions from the contributors. It might be a bit hard to read this post, but there are so many good recommendations in here that it’s worth it to get through the information overload.

Disclaimer: While the thread was active, I made only one contribution. (If you think you know what that was, please let me know in the comments below!) The only claim I have on the words below is that I curated and edited them.

Original thread, with pictures (for as long as this link works)

OP, 6/07/17:

It doesn’t necessarily have to be about lolita fashion itself, it can be a gothic novel, art from a fairytale, a beautiful film, brand collab related etc…

Anon, 6/28/17:

I noticed the thread’s dying but I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who posted, this is a great thread! So many new things to look up!

Artists, Authors, Illustrators, Poets, People

  • Shigeru Mizuki [artist]
    • I’ve always wondered why Juliette et Justine did Shigeru Mizuki prints
    • because his work is absolutely gorgeous
  • Mihara Mitsukazu [illustrator, manga artist]
  • Any documentary with Lucy Worsley in it.
    • Fuck yeah. She’s always so chipper and into every subject she presents.
    • Lucy Worsley is the best.
  • Edgar Allen Poe [writer, poet]
  • Arthur Machen [author]
    • I’m a huge fan of the works of Arthur Machen, and I think a lot of lolitas would enjoy it as well. Weird fiction from the Edwardian era primarily, he was a big influence on HP Lovecraft
    • The White People is great, it follows a young Victorian girl encountering strange beings in the woods of Wales. Very atmospheric. Pretty much all of them are good with the exception of the one WW1 propaganda story of his.
  • Kaori Yuki [manga artist]
    • Almost anything by Kaori Yuki
      Gothic bliss
    • I absolutely love Godchild.
  • Edward Gorey [illustrator, writer]
    • I’ve been really digging Edward Gorey’s work lately. His silhouettes are definitely long and thin (mix of Edwardian and 1920s flappers?), but but I get massive gothic aesthetic feels from it. I finally got a copy of the Gashlycrumb Tinies (alphabet book) for my birthday, and it’s perfect.He was a nonsense writer, so if you like Lewis Carroll’s writing you might like his.
    • I am in love with his Amphigorey books!!
      the illustrations for Gashlycrumb had me in stitches. I was able to write a paper about his work for a children’s lit class I took at uni.
      I never thought of actually owning any copies until now. thanks anon!

Media

  • The Secret Garden [movie, 1993]
  • Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov [novel]
    • Everyone knows that Nabokov’s Lolita is the only book that matters
    • It’s good literature.
    • I know it’s bait, but I’ll address it since some newcomers might be interested: Good literature, yeah, but ironically Lolita is unrelated to the fashion and lifestyle as defined by the Japanese fashion and subculture Lolita.It lacks any of the key icons of the major styles in egl fashion: opulence, elegance, cuteness, whimsicality, beauty contrasted with horror, fantasy, gothic imagery, or escapism.
      Dolores is a regular girl her age, ironically enough nothing about Lolita (Dolores in the book) is Lolita (the Japanese style.) Dolores is a regular girl with regular clothes and a regular lifestyle, the book is not so much about her or anything particularly remarkable about her so much as it’s about what obsession looks like through the eyes of an already deranged and sick man who justifies acts of increasing mania by trying to build up his pedophilic obsession into some kind of transcendental love. We use the term monster to see deranged people as inhuman, Nabokov used Lolita to show how a deranged person is not inhuman, but far more terrifyingly, how a deranged person is a human who twists logic and reality in order to justify their acts, no matter how horrific those acts may be.
      Damn good reading, but not if you’re looking to get lost in the EGL aesthetic. One of the best books I don’t think I could ever read again.
    • It is pretty good, every lolita should read it, not because it’s related to the fashion but for general culture.
  • Brideshead Revisited [miniseries, 1981]
    • Not lolita but the original Brideshead Revisited miniseries gives me lolita feels < 3
  • Rose of Versailles [manga, anime, 1979]
    • Rose of Versailles, the only relevant manga
  • Farewell, My Queen [movie, 2012]
  • The Company of Wolves [movie, 1984]
  • Mirror, Mirror [television series, 1995]
  • La Belle et la Bête [movie, 2014]
    • YES. So much better than that recent Disney abortion.
    • Overall I liked the Disney version better but the French version had infinitely better aesthetics. The French plot felt more fairytale-ish in good and bad ways. The largest drawback for me was that I never cared about a single one of the characters, I didn’t care at all whether they had a happy ending or not. At least in the Disney movie I liked the characters even if the visuals were disappointing.
    • Belle in La Belle et La Bete was just unobjectionable to the point of blandness. I can’t say I disliked her or liked her because she was just kind of there.But I did prefer the Beast’s story in the French version. I loved the Greek mythological/old world (like Friedrich La Motte Fouque) tragic backstory, if only because I absolutely was not expecting it.
  • Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué’s Undine [fairy tale novella]
  • Goethe’s Faust [play, late 18th century]
  • Les Orientales by Victor Hugo [collection of poems, 1829]
  • Shimotsuma Story/Kamikaze Girls/Shimotsuma Monogatari [movie, 2004, novel]
  • A Little Princess [movie, novel]
    • I would go for the 1986 adaptation, as it follows the book more accurately. (And by that I mean follows it.. at all) It really nails all of the feels.
    • I hate the adaptations where the father lives. It completely undermines the point of the book.
  • Deka Wanko [manga, television series, 2011]
    • I saw deka wanko was posted once in a thread similar to this! The post convinced me watch it (plus it was pretty short already), and I liked it. The main character is pretty cute!
    • There’s a Japanese TV show that has a young girl detective that wears JFash that was posted here awhile back but I can’t at all remember what it is was called – hopefully someone does, because I definitely wanna watch it again.
  • Valmont/Dangerous Liasons [movie (1989 or 1988), novel]
    • Valmont for the movie but Dangerous Liasons for the book (Same story)
    • Dangerous Liasons – this one’s a given
  • The Way We Live Now [miniseries, 2001]
    • The Way We Live Now is one of my favorite period dramas…. it’s really long though. I usually only make it through the first half. Has Mathew Macfayden (Mr. Darcy in the newer P&P) and Cilian Murphy (played Scarecrow in Batman) in it, so for eye-candy alone it’s worth a watch.
  • American Girl [dolls, books, movies]

    • Any of the American Girl books or movies! The movies have great costuming and music, and the books are so nostalgic.These dolls and books are probably the reason why I love dressing up so much and why I wear lolita now.
    • Why am I so ooooold!?! I want to have a matching historically accurate doll with an overmarketed cross-media franchise that I can attend the posh dolly hair salon with!
      Maybe they won’t care I’m like 20+ years too old…?
    • I will make a Kirsten St. Lucia coord before I die…

 

 

  • Versailles [television series, 2015]
    • Versailles is fantastic.
    • I’m glad another anon likes it. I originally flicked through it for the outfits but now I’m hooked on the story.
    • Watched the whole series, and loved it. HATED the modern music score though. Totally took me out.
  • The Star of Cottonland [manga, movie, 1984]
    • The Star of Cottonland always gives me feels and the aesthetics are wonderful
  • Innocent [manga]
    • The manga Innocent is one of my favorites. Extremely gothic, outstanding artwork and of course the period it’s set in is gorgeous.
    • I hadn’t realized the series had completed and is on a spin-off now. Re-reading it and even with a poor quality scan I can’t help but want to share this with more people. I really hope there’s a few people ITT who check it out or have some similar manga to recommend!
    • anon, thanks for sharing this. i’ve just started reading–only on chapter 8–but already the exquisite art and the morbid theme have me hooked.
  • Mizterr Rokoko/Mister Rococo/Loliwrestler [short film, 2010]
    • Loliwrestler is best minimovie
  • Bleuette [dolls]
  • Perfume: The Story of a Murderer [movie, 2006]
    • the colors in Perfume are so vibrant. I love the wardrobe.
  • Tale of Tales [movie, 2015]
  • Casanova [miniseries, 2005, movie, 2005]
  • Quills [movie, 2000]
    • I actually think of Quills as really fun and kind of mischievous and it’s one of my favorites because of that. It’s a really playful take on Marquis de Sade’s erotic nature and the literature he wrote.
  • Jim Henson’s The Storyteller [television series, 1980s]
  • Pan’s Labyrinth [movie, 2006]
  • Jim Henson’s Labyrinth [movie, 1986]
  • Harlots [television series, 2017]
  • Fatal Frame/Gekijōban Zero [movie, 2014]
    • not nearly as scary as the games, but very spooky & also has a creepy lolita dame featured
  • Le Roi Danse [movie, 2000]
    • some good ol’ fashioned Louis XIV and his lavish fucking house
  • Livid/Livide [movie, 2011]
    • French horror film about a ballet school, also vampires.
  • Memories of Matsuko [movie, 2006]
    • musical directed by the same dude who made kamikaze girls, just as quirky but also terribly sad with musical numbers!! watch this if you need to rend your heart to shreds.
  • Gormenghast [novel series, miniseries, 2000]
    • BBC miniseries based on Mervyn Peake’s novels, a gothic ‘fantasy of manners’ type thing with a young and incredibly beautiful Jonathan Rhys Meyers in period costume. ’nuff said.
    • Can’t believe I forgot, but the Gormenghast series of novels is a must for gothic fiction. I haven’t seen the BBC television adaptation, but they are typically good about it.
  • Mala Morska Vila [movie, 1975]
    • beautiful russian adaptation of the little mermaid. the soundtrack is superb. spring to get a high-def version instead of watching it on youtube for the costume design.
  • Panna A Netvor [movie, 1978]
    • quintessential must-see for any gothic lolita, a czech adaptation of beauty and the beast. if you like gargoyles, crumbling castles, organ music and stockholm syndrome, this is the movie for you.
  • Return to Oz [movie, 1985]
    • if you liked ‘alice in wonderland’ but felt like it wasn’t creepy enough, try this!
  • The Affair of the Necklace [movie, 2001]
    • the real life drama for this was interesting enough, but now you get to watch it with extra fancy dresses.
  • Emma [manga, anime]
    • Emma starts off a bit basic, but Kaoru Mori really steps it up on textile details a few chapters in.
    • Emma is also highly historically accurate.
    • If only she spent half as much time on face and anatomy as she does on textile and backgrounds.
      I lover her backgrounds and clothes, but her stories aren’t interesting enough to carry her “How to Draw Manga Volume 1: Let’s Draw Expressions!” faces. I’ve tried to read Emma five times now but the character art is so bad so as to be distracting.
      It’s like she draws people like every stereotype and negative criticism of the manga art style. Tilt the eyes up or down or slap on a different hairstyle and boom, different character. Eyebrows up, ecstatic joy! Eyebrows down, soul crushing sadness.
      From someone who is so technically gifted I know she can do better, why she doesn’t is beyond me. Her stories simply aren’t good enough to say that she’s trying to have the characters be bland on purpose not detract from her backgrounds or clothes.
  • Secret of Moonacre [movie, 2008]
    • Secret of Moonacre was a terrible film but the costumes were really interestingly done.A nice mix of lolita, rococo, and victorian all over the place. I feel really bad for the costume designer’s lovely work was used in such a crap movie.
      Watch it for the dress porn only.
    • sets were pretty too.
  • The Knick [television series, 2014]
    • a medical drama set in the early 20th century
  • Penny Dreadful [television series, 2014]
    • just to look at Vanessa Ives
    • I think you mean Lily. Vanessa’s outfits are pleb-tier compared to Lily’s. She spent basically all of season 3 in a burlap sack too. Especially Lily’s end of season 2 outfit. Ooooohh those aesthetic feels.
  • Dracula [movie, 1992]
  • Anna Karenina [movie, 2012]
  • Musashino Sen no shimai [web manga, movie, 2012]
  • Bara no konrei [movie, 2002]
    • From Wikipedia: Bara no Konrei ~Mayonaka ni Kawashita Yakusoku~ is a movie released by Malice Mizer on March 22, 2002. It is a silent film with a storyline similar to Dracula and other vampire-based stories with Japanese and English captions for dialogue.
  • Crimson Peak [movie, 2015]
    • The dresses and hair were to die for.
  • Keeping up Appearances [television series, 1990s]
    • A really funny series, especially when watched from a Lolita point of view.
    • This thing is golden. I would also say Gossip Girl is fun when watched from a lolita point of view
  • Bizenghast [graphic novel series/manga]
    • I like the art and Diana’s clothing more than the story to be honest
  • Soulless [part of the Parasol Protectorate novel series]
    • cheesy but good cheesy.
  • The Young Victoria [movie, 2009]
  • The Supersizers Go… [television series]
    • ( Victorian, Edwardian, etc)
    • “A comedienne & a humor writer try their hand at living in different eras. They dress, eat, and live the past. Before and after, their vitals are tested to see how these lifestyles affect their health.”
  • Carmilla [novel, 1872]
  • The Phantom of the Opera [musical, 1886, novel, 1910]
  • Carmen [opera, 1875]
  • A Picture of Dorian Gray [novel, 1890]
  • The Turn of the Screw [novella, 1898]
  • The Night Circus [novel, 2011]
  • Interview with a Vampire [novel, movie, 1994]
  • What We Do in the Shadows [movie, 2014]
    • (very silly, but very gothic)
  • Sleepy Hollow [movie, 1999]
  • Fairytale collections
    • Andrew Lang’s “Coloured Fairytales” are great if you want a collection
    • Grimm’s fairy tales
    • The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
      • On the gothic side of things, I highly recommend The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. It’s a collection of fairy tales retold with a decidedly feminist bent. Pic is from one of the illustrated editions.
      • >It’s a collection of fairy tales retold with a decidedly feminist bent
        …With rape and necrophilia out the wazoo!
        Also, this thread convinced me to get a new copy of both the Bloody Chamber (the 75th anniversary edition) and the before mentioned DVD.
  • Anne of Green Gables [novel, 1908]
    • Road to Avonlea [television series, 1990s]
    • Anne with an E [television series, 2017]
      • Anyone started Anne with an E? It’s in my queue to start up this week.
      • I finished it all and Idk gull they made it kinda dramatic. I liked the aesthetic well enough if you look at it as something with a more goth veneer. And its woodsy and dreamy enough that I noticed girls in the Mori community like it. But for example, /spoilers that don’t work on this board/ the punishment for “losing” the brooch is not that she doesn’t get to go to the picnic and try her first ice cream but instead she gets sent back to the orphanage/
      • Anon, do not even get me started, I am so disappointed with that series. They even have her get her period in the third or fourth episode. I haven’t watched that episode, I’ve been avioding it, but if they’re not going to show her rolling rags or dealing with it historically accurately then I am so done.
      • some of that bit is fine and kinda funny, though imo the concept of a naive girl thinking she’s dying is a little tired. And it doesn’t really work since they tried to make her world weary… I mean she really must have learned from the older girls at the orphanage at least.
        Regardless you just have to get past one short but heavy handed speech from Anne about why you shouldn’t be ashamed of your body, and you can enjoy the girls gossiping about
        >becoming a woman
  • Jane Austen stuff
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty [part of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy novel series]
    • this leans slightly gothic, but its a more fantasy than gothic in my mind
  • Bright Young Things [movie, 2003]
    • slightly later time period than usually gets associated with lolita, but it really captures the infighting and bitchiness of all girl subcultures
  • Marie Antoinette [movie 2006]
  • Dolls by Yumiko Kawahara [manga short stories]
    • Dolls by Yumiko Kawahara has some great illustrations, I also love the corrupted kind of feeling the stories have. A bit like Pet Shop of Horrors.
      >Though the one-shots are strange.
  • Ikoku Meiro no Croisee [manga, anime, 2011]
    • Japanese girl comes to Paris in the 19th century. Really nice slice of life, too bad it’s not well known
    • Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth
  • Candy Candy [manga, anime, 1975]
  • The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio [collection of novellas, 14th century]
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks [book of essays, 1985]
  • The Loved Dead and Other Tales by C.M. Eddy Jr. [short story collection]
    • (Part of an H.P Lovecraft collection later, he did not get enough credit for his work in the story “The Loved Dead”)
  • Dellamorte Dellamore (AKA Cemetery Man) by Michele Soavi [movie, 1994]
  • Man Bites Dog by Benoît Poelvoorde, Rémy Belvaux and André Bonzel [movie, 1992]
  • The Man Who Laughs by Paul Leni [movie, 1928]
    • (My favorite movie of all time)
  • GeGeGe no Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki [manga]
  • So Pretty/Very Rotten [book of essays, 2017]
    • “In a series of essays and comics that are at once academic and intimate, cartoonists Jane Mai and An Nguyen delve into Lolita subculture and their relationship with it. Empowering and beautiful, but also inescapably linked to consumerism, the Rococo-inspired fashion is indulgent and sublime, pretty and rotten.”
  • Stepping on Roses [manga]
    • Stepping on Roses is a good manga with a lot of outfits inspired by Lolita fashion.
  • The Pearl [erotic magazine, 1880]
    • If you’re interested in something a little more adult… The Pearl is an entertaining read.
      https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Pearl
    • Thank you for linking this. I blushed all through the first story, so it’s a good read. Any more adult recs?
  • The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric [novel series]
    • A good classic/gothic Lolita book with that kind of winsome macabre, very much a dark Victorian style fairytale. Beautiful, almost singsong prose, and fans of mangas like Cardcaptor Sakura and Gakuen Alice might enjoy the characters.
  • Wonderful World End [movie, 2015]
    • kind of hard to find, but really good.
  • Russian cartoon adaptations of Cinderella and The Nutcracker [animation]
  • Alice in the Country of Hearts [manga, otome game]
    • The manga is based on an otome game and it’s pretty enjoyable, really nicely illustrated too!
  • My Fair Lady [movie, 1964]

    • >tfw ctrl+f and no My Fair Lady
      Please tell me I’m not the only gull who sees the applicability of lolita to a story about a common flower girl who learns proper speech and etiquette and also gets to wear really big hats
    • the lack of audrey hepburn films in this thread in general astounds me
    • As for Audrey Hepburn movies, My Fair Lady is lolita esque in story, but if we’re talking clothes, I’m torn between Funny Face and Roman Holiday for Hepburn’s more EGL movie.
  • The Borgias [television series, 2011]
    • The costumes themselves may not be egl (though the first season palettes for Lucrezias are pure sweet, where the second season jewel tones are perfect for classic, and the third season metallics good for classic/aristo) but Lucrezias journey from gentle and pure to ruthless and cunning seem pretty tonally right.
    • Lucrezia and Giulia’s gowns were always A+. Renaissance inspired lolita needs to be a thing. Detachable sleeves, high waist, and chiffon blouses already exist. It’d only take a bit of tweaking to get there.
  • Elisabeth [musical, movies]
    • Has anyone mentioned the Austrian (and Takarazuka) musical Elisabeth? A story set around a royal woman driven to ennui by her pampered royal life and growing increasingly obsessed with the personification of death and her own fantasies of being Titania in a fairy world as well as the ‘Death and the Maiden’ storyline seems perf for EGL.
    • In general, I would recommend the 1950ies movies about Empress Elisabeth with Romy Schneider, they are called “Sissi” and feature amazing dresses, drama, romance and the struggles of a pampered country girl having to become the empress of an empire.

    • Innocent world also designed a dress after Empress Sissi’s hen’s night dress, so even more lolita relevance
    • Sissi is so good. I’d also suggest the movie Ludwig directed by Luchino Visconti. Romy Schneider of Sissi reprises her role as Elizabeth, but she’s a lot more worldy and jaded.
      • ooh yes! Tortured, dramatic prince with a love for the opera and a tragic death – ideal lolita material
    • I have to say I like the movie Ludwig better than I like Sissi the series. Sissi tried too hard to make the narcissistic and selfish, if indeed long suffering, Elisabeth into Cinderella.
      What I love about Ludwig and the musical is they both point out the absurd hipocrisy of Sissi’s deep infatuation with herself and her alleged suffering. While yes, rigors of court life sucked, and her mother in law was a pain, this was Europe leading up to World War One: you had wars, famines, brutal winters, people losing their families and children, and here was the Empress whining endlessly about how hard she had it.
      And her lack of empathy didn’t just cover her adopted homeland, either. She bitched and moaned about the unfairness of her mother in law raising Rudolph then when Franz Josef caved and gave Rudolph to Sissi, she couldn’t have cared less for him. Sissi never cared much for Rudolph until after he’d died, when suddenly she became the grieving mother calling for her son, further playing into the narrative she’d constructed for herself as being the victim of the world.
      Even her efforts with Hungary had more to do with her power struggle against Sofie than any kind of genuine empathy.
      I swear, between Sissi of Austria and Alexandra of Russia, World War One can be quickly summarized as: when your mother tells you not to marry that crazy bitch, don’t marry that crazy bitch.
      Sissi is for great EGL material. Momoko in SM really seemed to channel that a lot.
    • I too like the musical better, out of the same points you listed. The movies are visually beautiful and nice to watch, but they are glorifying Sissi to no end and don’t deal with her really problematic character traits and decisions.
      • I swear that Bavarian royal line was cursed. Was it Helene who had been sent to an asylum for health issues then died when the asylum had a faire to raise funds for the poor and caught fire? That whole family’s story is nothing but the mixture of the beautiful and the morbid.
      • I didn’t even know that about Helene! But I swear, the whole Habsburg family had the best drama. Modern tabloids are nothing on them.
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell [miniseries, 2015]
    • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a really well done mini-series. The book is even better as far as story goes. If you like eerie faerie stuff, it’s up your alley 100%.
    • Love this series!
      Really dissatisfying ending though.
  • The Last Unicorn [movie, 1982]
    • Read the book too! Its a very sort of tongue in cheek modern fairy tale (sort of like the Princess Bride) by Peter S. Beagle.
    • It was one of my fav cartoons when I was a teen. The animation looks like both anime and a cartoon, pretty cool.
  • Fall of Eagles [television series, 1974]
    • Fall of Eagles is a good TV series from the 1970s about the three major European monarchies.
  • Wolf Hall [miniseries, 2015]
    • Wolf Hall is pre rococo but I found it visually beautiful at points.

Media with Lolita Characters:

  • Shiki [anime, manga, novel series]
    • Sunako from Shiki wears brand, too bad she doesn’t appear much
  • Nana [anime, manga]
  • Paradise Kiss
    • Paradise Kiss has Miwako. Damnit though, in Paradise Kiss everyone and anyone bangs. Show me the pretty fashion designs.
  • Death Note [manga, anime]
    • there’s some 2007-era Moitie/EGL in Death Note
  • Fruits Basket [manga]
    • Someone who wears cosplay and Lolita in Fruits Basket
  • X Cross [movie, 2007]
    • Horror movie, for the sake of hilarity.
  • Gothic Lolita Psycho [movie]
    • (actually kinda shit)
    • If we’re talking of those B-grade gorefests that are amusing and feature a lolita character, Gothic Lolita Psycho is one of those. Don’t go in expecting much, just enjoy the violence and imagine yourself in her place as a lolita who can deflect bullets with her parasol.
  • Livewires by Adam Warren [comic book series]
    • I cannot recommend the comic book series Livewires based on its own merit, fashion design or execution, but it is the only comic book series I know that features a gothic lolita in a main role.
  • 2good4me from Breakbot [music video]
    • I remember a couple of years ago there was this song made in a South American country where the music video followed the day of a teen lolita as she took her brother to school, went to a meet up, and got in trouble with some punks. What was that song called?
  • Girls x Battle [mobile game]
    • Girls x Battle has some characters wearing lolita-inspired outfits. There is also an item called “Lolita Dress”, which you can give to girls as a present to gain intimacy points.
      >buy her burando to secude her

Stay engaged,

Raven

Review: Horrorball

Hello readers,

I can’t be the only person crazy enough to look for reviews before buying a T-shirt, can I?

Horrorball is a new alternative/occult clothing brand based in the UK specializing in casual wear like T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies and sweatshirts. (Also, phone cases, mugs, beach towels, and other miscellaneous accessories.) In general, they give me a bit of a Killstar vibe. Some of their designs are just too aggressive for my tastes, but there are some that I really love. You can get most of their designs on any of their products, too, which is neat.

La Luna

Why am I not a vampire yet?

Ghost Buddy

Just look at that cute little ghost friend. It’s beyond adorable!

I tried and tried to find some reviews on Horrorball, but I couldn’t find any. I decided to risk it and ordered their Ghost Buddy T-shirt in black because I loved it too much to not have it.

Shipping

Shipping is always the least exciting part of ordering anything from overseas. According to Horrorball, “We use USPS for standard deliveries to US. Each package prepared in London and shipped (overnight FedEx) to our fulfilment office in Philadelphia, PA. Usually it takes 4-10 business days.” I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, just on the other side of the state from their fulfillment office, so I assumed that shipping would be quick once my shirt made it state-side.

Shipping for one shirt cost me £5.00 GBP.

I placed my order (in the very early hours, EST) on May 31, 2017.

It was “Accepted at USPS Origin Facility” in Los Angeles, California on June 9, 2017 and shipped out later that same day.

It arrived at my house on June 12, 2017.

All in all, it was eight business days between when I placed my order and when it got to me, which was within the time frame they listed on their site.

They shipped using a poly-mailer that was unexpectedly blue. The poly-mailer held up well to shipping and arrived without any holes, tears, or scrapes.

Inside the poly-mailer, there was my packing slip (a little crumpled) and my T-shirt. I was really surprised and pleased to see that the T-shirt was in a large resealable zipper bag. I’m quite used to merchandise just being thrown into poly-mailers, and it was really nice to see that my little Ghost Buddy was so well protected on its journey.

Also, now I have a large zipper bag.

T-Shirt

So cute! [Also, cat hair already managed to get on the shirt! My cat is a fiend.]

The Ghost Buddy shirt I got is screen-printed on an American Apparel shirt. It’s very soft, and there are no side-seams. The neckband is made of ribbing fabric and lays flat. I’ve had shirts made with American Apparel shirts before, and they’ve all been fantastic and durable.

I love that the ghost doodle looks like it was made using a tablet, from the varying line thickness to the softness of the actual lines.

Soft line quality

The brand name has some intricate lines in the Os, and there the print is really crisp.

The “fuzzy” areas of the logo are my camera not being in focus there. Look at the middle O for the example.

Based on how thin and delicate these pentagram lines are and how small the detail overall is inside the O, I’d say that Horrorball’s screen prints are very good. I wouldn’t hesitate to trust the pictures on their website now, even the ones with teeny details in the print. They also do sublimation prints, but I don’t currently have any experience with those.

I washed the T-shirt in cold water and dried it with “regular” heat in my dryer. I turned the shirt inside out to protect the print during the wash.

The shirt does not appear to have been made with pre-shrunk cotton, as it did shrink in the dryer. (The tag says “Machine dry low,” but my dryer’s settings are high heat, regular heat, and no heat.)

Before going into the wash, the the XL shirt measured:

  • 24 inches across the chest, measured right under the armpits and going across the ghost’s eyes
  • 25 inches across the bottom hem
  • 30.5 inches from the middle of the collar to the hem, measured along the center back of the shirt

After the wash, the XL shirt measured:

  • 23 inches across the chest, measured right under the armpits and going across the ghost’s eyes
  • 24 inches across the bottom hem
  • 29 inches from the middle of the collar to the hem, measured along the center back of the shirt

The shrinking width-wise is not that drastic, but you should still keep that in mind if you’re between sizes or generally on the upper-end of their sizing. I do miss the 1.5 inches of length that the shirt lost, though, because it was very long before and I liked that.

All their shirts are male/unisex sizes. I knew from experience that my size would be an XL, which is good because their sizing chart for shirts is pretty sparse. If you’re familiar with how you fit in US men’s T-shirt sizes, you should be set.

Horrorball has a lovely, spooky aesthetic, but it’s a bit too spooky to me that I wear the largest size available from a T-shirt brand…

Worn Photos

Here are some pictures of me in my XL Ghost Buddy T-shirt. It fits loosely, which is how I like my T-shirts to fit. I plan on adding some DIY embellishments soon.

My current measurements are:

Bust: 44.25 inches (112.5 cm)

Waist: 34 in (86 cm)

Hips: 44.25 inches (112.5 cm)

Height: 5 ft, 3 in (160 cm)

Horrorball Ghost Buddy

It was windy AND humid outside. My bangs gave up.

Ghost Buddy in motion. Nyooooom.

I hope this review is helpful for anyone considering ordering from Horrorball.

I’m very pleased with my shirt. I’m going to place another order with them at some point soon to get a La Luna shirt, and maybe a Love Potion one as well… I’m excited to see where this brand goes in the future. Their Twitter is here: @itshorrorball, and their Instagram is here: @itshorrorball.

Since I think we should all give credit wherever credit is due, I found Horrorball from one of Jake Munro‘s vlogs. Check it out! (Horrorball shows up at 16:18.)

Stay spooky,
Raven

My 10 Un-Gothic Lolita Confessions

Hello readers,

One of my favorite series of tag videos on Youtube is “My 10 Un-Goth Confessions.” I’ve included videos from some of my favorite goth Youtubers below so you can see what I’m talking about if you’ve never run across this tag before.

I felt inspired to share some un-gothic lolita confessions with you all as I refocus my priorities and really try to live a heavy-on-the-gothic lolita lifestyle.

  1. I love beautiful clothes and being fancy (or overdressed, depending on your point of view), but I will spend all day, every day in my pajamas unless I absolutely have to leave the house.
  2. I’ve never been to a convention, and I’m more likely to go to a board game con than an anime/lolita one.
  3. I’m terrible at accessorizing. Most of the time, I just don’t wear any accessories or jewelry because I forget or don’t think they’re necessary. I guess that’s better than wearing something awful.
  4. Despite wanting to look like a doll, I’ve never taken the plunge and worn circle lenses or false eyelashes. At least, not yet…
  5. I don’t own a single lolita (or even loliable) purse, bag, or wallet. Somehow, there just always seems to be more exciting things to spend my money on.
  6. I’m quite bad at keeping up with trends in lolita. Are underskirts still a thing???
  7. I won’t buy clothes with religious symbols (crosses, pentacles, etc.) unless it’s in a very specific context like a cross on a cathedral print. I just don’t feel comfortable wearing out-of-context religious/occult symbols at all, so I miss out on so many pretty things.
  8. I’ve never been into visual-kei music, and I’ve never really liked Mana-sama. (Maybe this isn’t actually a big deal, but I always feel unworthy to call myself a gothic lolita when I admit that.)
  9. I drink my tea out of mugs, not cups.
  10. Even though I have a fairly active local lolita community, I hardly ever do anything with them. Part of me wants to go to meets more often, but I just prefer smaller get-togethers with friends over larger meets with acquaintances/strangers. I’ve also never been to a goth night at a club, so I guess I’m just meh at socializing in general.

One of the things I hear the most in ungoth confession videos is how hard it is to come up with things that are “ungoth” when you think about it. Individuals make the subculture, and not the other way around, and you should never give up something you enjoy because it doesn’t fit a stereotype (or *gasp* a norm). All that aside, I still think it’s really fun to bask and revel in clichés.

For me, trying to think of things that were both “ungoth” and also “not lolita” was tricky. I kept thinking of something perfect and totally-not-lolita and then realize it was kind of gothy (or the other way around)… Oh, well.

Anyway, here are some videos because I think these sorts of things are much more fun in a video than a text post!

It’s Black Friday – October 1, 2014

I’ve been following Black Friday’s channel for such a long time. This video is back from when she lived in New Zealand, and it’s probably my favorite ungoth confessions video ever because the effort she goes through to set up an ambience and rack up some extra goth points before she gets started.

Macabre Goddess – September 9, 2016

I only found Blaze recently, but I thought her ungoth confessions were very funny and honest. (Spoilers(?): As you can tell from the thumbnail, her favorite pony from My Little Pony is Rarity, who’s my favorite as well.) It’s very much worth it to hang around and watch them to the end, because I laughed ridiculously hard at her final confession.

Toxic Tears – December 5, 2014

The thing I love most about Toxic Tears is how over-the-top excited she gets about things that make her happy. You wouldn’t necessarily get that from this video, but sometimes she just bubbles over with joy about the simplest things (like cute birds). Plus, there’s a bit about J-fashion in this video!

Readers, do you have any un-goth or un-lolita confessions you want to share? Comment below and link to your post or video!

Stay honest,

Raven