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

Posts tagged ‘DIY’

Small Storage DIY

Small, plain wooden trays are often used as packaging for small items such as tealight candles or craft items, and are useful for organising small items. The trays are very plain, and sometimes only roughly finished, but it is quick and easy to turn them into decorative and useful drawer or desk-top organisers.

PLAIN-WOODEN-BOXES

First use some sandpaper to smooth off any rough edges. I simply decorated these trays by cutting felt inserts to sit in the bottom of each compartment- this is a useful project for using up fabric odds and ends.

WOODEN-BOX-INSERTS

The compartments were measured, and squares of different coloured felt cut out and fixed into the bottom of each compartment using a small amount of glue.

The trays could alternatively be lined using leather or decorative papers, or be decorated using paint. I have these trays in the bottom of a shallow drawer in my jewellery bench, and they are perfect for holding jewellery making materials and semi-finished items.

FELT-LINED-TRAYS

Hand-Woven Cowl

hand-woven-cowl

I have finished the cowl that I started last week. I had planned to cut the ends of the warp threads once I had joined the ends of the cowl together, but decided instead to keep them as fringing, and I am really pleased with how it looks. I twisted the scarf before joining the ends together (like a mobius strip), to produce a crossed-over detail at the front when the scarf is being worn (this also helps it to sit nicely).

I have previously woven scarves, but am very taken by this cowl so intend to make another one soon- and to take the opportunity to experiment with pattern and texture a little more!

A Work in Progress: Weaving

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I am currently weaving a wool snood/cowl, using a mixture of mohair and merino yarn. The purple and grey yarns (the weft threads) are relatively chunky (Rowan ‘Cocoon’), but weaving rather than knitting means that the finished material isn’t so heavy/thick. I have previously knitted a cabled scarf using Rowan Cocoon and it is lovely and chunky, but too warm for all but the coldest of days!

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Simple Storage Box DIY

To start the new year as I mean to go on, I have been having a tidy up of any bits and bobs that seem to be without a proper home. I needed a box to store some papers and photographs (a kind of memory box), but didn’t want to pay the kind of price required to purchase a nice decorative one! I found a brown cardboard box of perfect proportions at the local bargain shop, and decorated it myself using (imitation) gold leaf to make rustic-looking polka dots.

I drew circles in pencil onto the box as a guide (I drew around the base of a small plastic pot), and then glued torn up pieces of gold leaf in place (they were leftover pieces from other projects). For a super simple DIY project, I am pleased with the outcome: decorative storage at a bargain price! I like storage to be attractive as well as useful (you do have to look at it after all), and this technique could be applied to boxes of any size or shape, and would also be a nice way to make decorative gift boxes.

For a few other storage ideas please see these posts:

gold-dot-box

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!

Christmas is Coming!

I don’t feel at all Christmassy until at least November, but have decided that it is definitely time to start thinking about making Christmas cards!

I am planning to use up materials that I already have (sample shown here), including some lovely creamy-coloured old music sheets. I just have to decide on the layout now…

handmade-christmas-cards

Vintage Knitting

VINTAGE-KNITTING

I came bought this humorous cartoon at a car boot sale earlier in the year. It dates from the  beginning of the First World War (1914), but anyone who has struggled with a knitting pattern will recognise the sometimes strange results that stem from ambitious intentions!

VINTAGE-KNITTING-CARTOON

“That looks easy enough…”

KNITTING-CARTOON

“I’m sure tension doesn’t really matter…”

WARTIME-KNITTING-CARTOON

“Well, I suppose that it’s the thought that counts!”

PUNCH-KNITTING-CARTOON

“I can honestly say that I did wear them…”

Friendship Bracelets/Knotted Weaving

I haven’t made a friendship bracelet since I was at school, but decided to experiment with the method as I have plenty of embroidery thread in lovely colours.

As you can see, I experimented with a few different colour combinations and patterns. The free-form pattern below I made up as I went along, experimenting with changing direction.

I wanted to use the finished piece as something other than a bracelet, so decided to make a short length to use as a zipper pull on a jumper.

As I had cut longer strands of thread than I required for the pull, I left a gap and then knotted a second section below the first to use in another project.

KNOTTED-BRACELET

I trimmed the ends and cut the top section free from the bottom section.

CHEVRON-PATTERN

The top section became the zipper pull, with the loop used to thread it through the metal ring on the zipper.

This was a good way to use up some of the odds and ends of thread that I had in my stash: now I have to decide on projects for the other pieces that I made…:-)

MULTICOLOURED-BRACELETS

If you fancy having a go for yourself (and didn’t learn how to make these as a child) then there are plenty of helpful guides and how-to videos to be found online.

Tassel Garland

This is a quick DIY project, ideal as a decoration for summer parties. It is also a great stash-busting project as small pieces of leftover yarn from other projects can be used.

MATERIALS:

Darning/tapestry needle

Yarn in various colours

Scissors

YARN-RAINBOW

First choose your colours. The tassels can be made in any size of your choice, for this garland I made 10 the same size, and one larger one for the centre of the garland. In order for the tassels to be the same length the yarn can be measured out by wrapping it around a piece of cardboard, or another flat object. The thickness of the tassel is dependent on how many strands it contains (therefore how many times it is wrapped around the card).

YARN-TASSEL-DIY

Tie the bunch of yarn together in the centre, and fold in half.

Next, using the tail of yarn from tying the tassel together, wrap yarn tightly around the top quarter/third of the tassel and tie off. Cut the tails of your tassel to make them even and to open up the closed loops.

Finally thread a large-eyed darning or tapestry needle with your stringing material (yarn, ribbon, cord etc), and pass it through each of the tassels. The top of the tassels should have been wound tightly enough that they remain where you place them on the string.

COLOURED-TASSELS

Et voila, one finished garland to be hung where you desire!

YARN-TASSELS

Easy DIY Project: Making Mittens from Socks

GLOVES-FROM-SOCKS

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.

UPCYCLING-SOCKS

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.

FINGERLESS-MITTEN-DIY

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.

STRIPY-MITTENS

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!

FINGERLESS-MITTENS

MITTENS-MADE-FROM-SOCKS

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