Objects old, vintage, hand made or upcyled, and old techniques with a modern twist

Archive for the ‘Upcycling’ Category

Monday Mood Board- Vintage Ephemera

Some vintage finds awaiting use in a collage or two…

VINTAGE-EPHEMERA

I have a collection of small vintage finds such as these that I upcycle or use in craft projects. The interesting items range from keys, watch faces and tape measures to engravings, photographs and medicine labels. Some of the finds are worthless on their own (e.g. a key with no lock, or a single domino), but can tell an interesting tale in a collage, or form a useful part of an upcycling project (for example the domino could be made into a drawer pull/handle).

The downside of collecting these little things is that I sometimes feel that there are so many things to make, and too little time!

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Easy Christmas Decoration DIY

Preparing for Christmas has felt a bit hectic this year, and most of the crafting I have done has been making presents (so I can’t post pictures here or they won’t be a surprise!), with less time than I would like to make decorations etc. This paper garland, however, is a quick and easy project, and the same method can be used to make diamond-shaped decorations or delicate-looking paper stars.

MATERIALS:

  1. Paper (you could use coloured paper, wrapping paper, old sheets of music etc).  cardboard or tissue paper won’t work for this project.
  2. Thread or ribbon for hanging
  3. Scissors
  4. Glue

First cut the paper into squares- one square will make one diamond-shaped decoration, or six of these can be joined to form a star.

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Next fold the square in half to form a triangle, and then fold it in half again.

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Now make a series of straight cuts across from the edge with one fold, to the edge with two folds, stopping the cut approximately 1/2cm from the edge. The number of cuts required will depend on the size of the paper squares that you are using, and how you want the finished piece to look, so you may need to experiment first (the cut lines shown here were approximately 1cm apart).

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When you open up the paper square it should look like this:

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Now to start the gluing. begin by gently curving the two points in the centre of the square and gluing the tips together. Inserting a pencil whilst you glue can help to prevent the paper from creasing.

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Next turn the square over, and curve the next two points towards you and glue the tips together.

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Continue gluing the opposite points together- remembering to turn the paper before gluing the next section- until you reach the outside edge. You will now have a completed diamond.

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The diamonds can be hung as individual decorations, or you can make several and form a garland or a star. The garlands can have other decorations hung between the diamonds (I used gold baubles), or you could make lots of different coloured diamonds.

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The stars are easily made by gluing six diamond sections together in the centre. They look quite intricate and delicate but are in fact quick and easy to make, and fairly robust.

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I love these paper decorations, and the fact that they are made from materials that most of us have easily to hand: they are also environmentally friendly, particularly if you upcycle paper that has had a previous life (like the vintage music sheets I used to make this star). They are also easy to personalise, or to make in colours to match your other Christmas decorations.

Merry Christmas!

Monday Mood Board: Vintage Embroidery

Some more lovely vintage and antique embroideries, this time in neutral white and creams. I featured coloured embroideries a few weeks ago, but felt that these understated lovelies deserved their own post! Some are destined to be sold as they are, and some will be upcycled.

Vintage Embroidery and Upcycling

VINTAGE-EMBROIDERED-FLOWERS

I recently went through the various vintage and antique hand-embroidered fabrics that I have, in the hunt for some material to make bunting for a friend’s wedding. Due to the hours of work that these pieces represent, I am loathe to cut them up, with the exception of any items that are damaged or spoilt by a permanent stain (I remove and bin the damaged area, and use the rest of the material in craft projects).

VINTAGE-TABLECLOTH

Depending on the size of the material, the embroidered fabrics can be used in a variety of projects: I really enjoy giving new life to something that someone else has put so much time and effort into, but is now ‘ruined’ for it’s original purpose (e.g. a tablecloth with a stain in the centre).

VINTAGE-EMBROIDERED-TABLECLOTH

Using some fabrics that I already have (in this case by upcycling) also means that I am still managing to stick to my new year’s resolution to buy no new craft materials this year!  BLUE-EMBROIDERY

The few pieces that I have shown here are all undamaged items, and as I seem to have collected quite a few pieces in good condition, I have decided to sell a selection- after all, there are only so many tablecloths etc that one person can use!

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Easy DIY Project: Making Mittens from Socks

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After accidentally slightly shrinking some wool socks in the wash, I thought I’d give them a new life as a pair of fingerless mittens.

This easy upcycling project would also work using the sleeves from a wool jumper.STRIPY-SOCKS

All you need is a pair of wool socks (or a pair of jumper sleeves), a needle and thread, and a pair of scissors.

First cut your socks to the desired size- you will be using the leg section, not the foot section.

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I thought I’d take advantage of the length of these socks, and make cosy mittens with a long wrist/arm section- they can be worn long, or bunched up at the wrist. The original cuff of the socks will form the cuff of the mittens.

Next, using your hand as a template, cut a small horizontal slit where you would like the thumb hole to be.

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Now try the mitten on, and enlarge the thumb slit if necessary. Decide how long you want the hand section to be and trim accordingly, allowing approximately 1cm extra to turn under for the hem. Take the mitten off, and sew the turned-under hem in place.

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At this stage you could just hem the thumb hole using a blanket stitch, but I chose to add a thumb section using a piece cut from the foot of the socks. I sewed a small tube that comfortably fit my thumb, and then attached the tube to the mitten.

HANDMADE MITTENS

Now the mittens are ready to be worn… probably ensuring the swift arrival of warm spring weather!

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New Year, New Goal

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I can’t believe that 2016 is already underway! After a busy Christmas I have started to think a bit about New Year’s Resolutions, and future plans of the creative type.

First of all I plan to repeat a resolution I followed in 2014:

Not to buy any craft materials/supplies during 2016!

Unlike 2014 I will not allow myself to buy or acquire any second-hand materials either (I find a lot of my craft supplies at car boot sales), in an attempt to make a serious dent on my craft stash over the course of the year. In order to make this resolution slightly easier to keep, I will still be allowed to buy glue if required.

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I hope that this resolution will help me to be more creative with the materials that I have, and encourage me to complete projects that I have been planning for a while. I expect to engage in a fair bit of upcycling and Make do and Mend as well. I am looking forward to a creative 2016, and a smaller craft stash by the end of the year!

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Christmas Present Pom Poms!

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Pompoms can make great decorations, but are ideal for topping presents too…

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Big or small, and whether you buy them in a shop or make your own, pompoms can be used to add a bit of colour and fluffiness to any present! And if you make your own, then pompoms are an ideal stash-busting project: a way to use up lengths of yarn left over from knitting/crocheting projects. You could even upcycle yarn unraveled from an old scarf or jumper.

I’m off to add these beauties to a few more Christmas presents…

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