Upcycle jars – using die cuts

Inspired by a sizzix promotion, I upcycled a plain jar into a rustic summer vase.

Assorted die cuts were glued on the clean jar with mod podge. I then used an old tester pot of emulsion paint to cover the jar. A light touch of metallic finish – gold finger by daler rowney – and a sealing coat of mod podge made it a useable vase.

What I learnt: (1) Three coats of paint were needed for an opaque finish. (2) Impatient as ever, I used a heat gun to dry the paint which lifted a couple of the die cuts a little. Actually a happy accident as it added to the rustic effect. (3) less is more with the metallic finish and you can’t take it away if you put too much on.

Made in the shade(s)

A cheapo basic shade from B&Q has been poshed up with monochrome stamping. I used a stamp set that came with a craft magazine rediscovered when I organised my supplies. Distress ink may not last as long as stazon but it works for now.

Inspired to continue I then used fabric pens on a discoloured old shade using the embossing on the fabric as the guide for my drawing.

Pillow to cushions – simple upcycle

Time to replace those tired pillows? It is a good excuse to use the old filling to create smart new dress cushions.

Just cut the (washed) old pillow in half and sew the open edges closed. I used my machine but hand sewing won’t take long.

I covered one with ticking style denim to match the recovered seat pad and the other with off cuts from an IKEA net curtain (which I decorated with fabric pens outlining the fabric weave design).

No buttons or zips for me just a simple envelope cover in both fabrics and job done.

Quick chair recovering

Before, fabric worn at front of seat
After, refreshed.

After my first reupholstering 9 years ago, these charity shops chairs needed refreshing.

Quick and simple upholstering involves removing the staples from underneath, using the old fabric as a pattern to cut new and then restapling.

I find the staple gun a bit fierce but if the fabric is pulled tightly and you work from opposite sides to avoid wrinkles this is an easy project.

Stamping and colouring fabrics

First of the custom size mats

I up-cycled a beloved old shirt into mats this week. The fabric was ironed on to a firm interfacing, then a rummage through old stamps unearthed florals suitable for creating this border image.

Stazon ink and Ikea fabric pens were used before the mat was trimmed to a neater rectangle. A backing fabric adhered with spray fabric glue was then sewn permanently with my machine’s decorative blanket stitch.

To finish I sewed another decorative stitch through the stamping then decorated with some Pebeo Perlen fabric ‘pearl drops’.

Once heat set with an iron this is theoretically washable.

So I made more!

Shirt conversion quickie

Blame me if the weather breaks … I have just converted his shirts (some of them) to short sleeved.

A simple chop and hem job using a ‘proper’ short sleeve shirt to get the length right. Just cut off an inch and a half below the intended hem line. Keep the chopped off bits for crafty projects.

Turn shirt inside out, press a hem along the intended length and then turn under the raw edge about a quarter of an inch. Press again, pin and stitch around the sleeve.

Tip: remove the bed from your sewing machine so you can turn the fabric as you sew. Tip 2: start stitching at the under arm seam so if there are any gathers (if the sleeve tapers) they can be hidden underneath.

Flip flop flip

My desperate purchase (no access to summer shoes or clothes this year) cheapo flip flops are so awful I can’t wear them even in the garden so I had to do a mini makeover.

I used a thin decor ribbon but could have wrapped with yarn or fabric strips as these are a bit big for me.

After 10 minutes wrapping, no glue just tucking ends inside, the job is done and once on they look ok. Until the shops open…

Vinyl records upcycle

What to do with a windfall of old records?

Unplayable, unloved and now upcycled into a fruit bowl.

Pre-heat the oven to medium hot then balance the record over an upturned bowl and bake it for about 4 minutes until it has draped itself over the bowl creating the folds and contours you see here.

As you take it out of the oven you have a few seconds to manipulate the hot vinyl a bit before it cools.

Ok, not food safe and there is a hole at the bottom but it is FUN and I used the album cover to make a presentation box. Yes, some lucky person is getting this for Christmas.

The lost art of the pillow box

With all these wonderful papercraft tools it can be easy to overlook the basic pillow box for those little (in size, not necessarily value) gifts.

Rescue a humble empty loo roll or paper towel tube from recycling, flatten it lightly and cover it with your choice of lightweight paper- wet glue is fine if it doesn’t soak your chosen paper. (Some people sterilise their tubes in the microwave before crafting with them)

Take a round object, such as the tape roll shown here. Lay it so you can score an arc from side to side of the tube on each ‘side’ of the flattened tube and at each end, four scores in all.

Gently push each scored arc towards the middle to create the pillow effect.

Decorate and maybe add a tag to finish.