Decoupage

A really easy way to transform any object is to use the traditional method of decoupage. It’s one of those crafts that is very relaxing and all-consuming: you can spend hours cutting out pictures from magazines. It’s also really easy and almost impossible to make a mistake – always good in my book.

I recently bought Homemaker magazine (I’m obsessed with magazines) and it had the most delightful pull-out that included lots of prints and patterns – prime decoupage material. There were six pages of vintage-looking seed packet designs that I wanted to use for my seed packet holder (which is an old PYO strawberry punnet). Decoupage is so versatile and you can do all sorts of things: boxes, mirrors, chairs, lampshades, the list is endless.

All you need to do is start collecting images, words, backgrounds, patterns from magazines and newspapers – anything will work. Have a look at the make-up box and mirror at the bottom of the post for ideas on what type of thing to look out for.

Here’s how you do it…

You will need:

How to decoupage

PVA glue, water. paint brush.

Vintage flower seed packets

A collection of images and words from magazines and newspapers and/or wrapping paper.

Strawberry PYO punnet

Something to decoupage – I’m using a PYO strawberry punnet that I use to store seed packets.

Tutorial:

How to decoupage

1. Mix the glue and water together in equal measures. Use the brush to paint the glue onto the surface you want to decoupage and place the picture onto the glue. 2. Then paint over it with the glue mixture too. Squeeze out any air bubbles with your fingers.

 

How to decoupage

3. Every piece of paper you apply should overlap another so there are no gaps. When you get to a corner or edge bend the paper over it so you get a smooth finish. Once it is covered allow to dry for a couple of hours. 4. Then paint over it again with the glue mixture. Allow it to dry and then apply another coat of the glue mixture. You can then do a coat or two of varnish if you want a gloss finish. Varnish will also make your decoupage last longer.

How to decoupage

Finished!

Other examples of decoupage that you could try…

How to decoupage

My 21st birthday present from my friend Agnes.

How to decoupage

It’s a make up box – still love it 12 years later!

How to decoupage

Decoupaged mirror that Agnes made for our friend Amy.

How to decoupage

Drill holes and thread with rope to hang.

decoupage card

My birthday card that my little sister made me. So much nicer than a shop bought one.

Have a go!

 

Liberty print apron

This is a really quick and easy sewing project that costs very little and makes a lovely present for a little person or make it for yourself. If you don’t want to make the apron itself, you can buy a really cheap, plain white apron and customise it with the pocket and trim, even easier and quicker. This is also a project that you could hand-sew if you don’t have a machine.

You will need:

1. 70cm x 60cm of cotton twill fabric for achild’s apron that I bought from eBay OR you can buy a ready-made apron that you can get from Amazon very cheaply.

2. 2m length of cotton tape for the apron ties, if you are making your own apron, that I bought from eBay.

3. 30cm x 30cm of your choice of fabric for the pocket. I used Liberty’s Lytton print from the Bloomsbury collection. I bought this from Fabrics Galore, which is a great haberdashery in Battersea but they also do online orders – very handy.

4. 25cm x 5cm strip of fabric for the trim.

5. Fabric scissors, chalk, ruler, pins.

Tutorial:

1. Fold your cotton twill into half and draw a template of half an apron. By folding it in half it will ensure the sides are perfectly symmetrical. If it’s for a child it should be around 70cm long and 60cm wide (adjust this according to how old the child is or if it’s for an adult).

Child's apron with Liberty print pocket and trim

2. Hem all round the edges of the apron.

Child's apron with Liberty print trim and pocket

3. Sew a 60cm length of tape onto each side of the apron (on the wrong side).

Child's apron with Liberty print trim and pocket

4. Sew a 60cm length of tape onto the back of the apron to make a neck loop. Notice I made the hem at this point of the apron a good inch.

Child's apron with Liberty print trim and pocket

5. Fold and press well a 1cm hem all round your pocket piece. Pin the side edge of the pocket.

Child's apron with Liberty print trim and pocket

6. Sew the hem along the top of the pocket.

Child's apron with Liberty print trim and pocket

7. Fold the apron and pocket piece in half. Match up the creases so your pocket is centralised.

Child's apron with Liberty print trim and pocket

8. Pin and sew the bottom side of the pocket onto the apron. Position the needle so you catch the hem.

Child's apron with Liberty print trim and pocket

9. Pin the sides of the pockets onto the apron so that the top of the pocket is 2cm further in than the bottom of the pocket. This will give the pocket volume.

Child's apron with Liberty print trim and pocket

10. Do the same to the other side of the pocket and it should look like this.

Child's apron with Liberty print trim and pocket

11. Fold and press a 0.5cm hem nell four sides of the trim strip.

Child's apron with Liberty print trim and pocket

12. Pin the trim strip onto the top of the apron. Top-stitch all round the trim piece.

Child's apron with Liberty print trim and pocket

Finished! I’ve instagrammed it for the Liberty Lifestyle and Instagram competition…fingers cross I win!

Baby blanket

I think sewing can seem very daunting and complex, which puts a lot of people off. There’s also that sense that unless you are an expert you can’t make anything of worth.

Today, I want to show you a really simple sewing project for those of us who have only recently begun sewing and yet you will end up with something really lovely and very professional looking. If you’re anything like me, everyone around you is popping out a baby at the moment (although, we’re popping out a puppy instead!) so I wanted to make something that could be a gift for a new baby. This baby blanket requires no complicated techniques and does not take more than a couple of hours.

You will need:

– Two pieces of cotton 110cm x 140cm (or change dimensions to suit – I made one a lot smaller for a friend’s child to use for their dollies and teddies). I have used Liberty’s Dorothy and Woolf prints from the Bloomsbury Collection.

Wadding 110cm x 140cm

– Pattern paper

– Pins/fabric scissors/sewing machine/matching thread for top-stitching

Tutorial:

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial

1. Make a template with your pattern paper 110cm x 140cm. Use this to cut out two pieces of fabric and one piece of wadding, all the same size.

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial

2. Pin the fabric and wadding together: The fabric should be on top, right sides together, and the wadding at the bottom.

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial sewing pattern

3. Sew the three pieces together leaving a 0.5cm seam allowance. Begin sewing in the middle of one side of the blanket and leave a 20cm hole so the blanket can be turned inside out.

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial sewing pattern

4. When you have sewn all four sides, and left a 20cm hole, go round the sides of the blanket and cut off the seam allowance.

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial sewing pattern

5. Cut off the corners too so that when you turn it inside out you can get crisp corners.

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial sewing pattern

6. Turn the blanket inside out and then hand-stitch the 20cm hole using a slip-stitch.

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial sewing pattern

7. Choose a thread for top-stitching that either matches or contrasts with the fabric you have chosen.

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial sewing pattern

8. Choose a decorative stitch on your machine and top-stitch round the blanket. I chose to use this cross stitch on the top and bottom of the blanket.

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial sewing pattern

9. I then did a straight stitch along the sides of the blanket.

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial sewing pattern

Finished!

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial sewing pattern

This one went to Isa.

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial sewing pattern

This is another blanket that I made using Liberty’s Betsy and Phoebe prints. This one went to baby Mimi.

Liberty print baby blanket tutorial sewing pattern

Thorpe and Phoebe prints. This one went to brand new baby Emilia.

If you try this tutorial I’d love to hear from you – please email me a pic to katy@apartmentapothecary.com.

 

Customise your own blind

This week on the blog it’s all about bargain-hunting. Today, I want to show you how to make your own bargain by customising a cheap blind.

Quality curtains and blinds are expensive, there’s no getting away from it, unless you’re able to make you’re own. I’m still not able to admit to anyone how much I paid for my own bedroom curtains! So, I want to show you an alternative, that won’t break the bank. The best bit? All you need is a cheap blind and your favourite fabric – the possibilities are endless. Anyone can do this; no sewing necessary, so no excuses.

I have lived in our flat for three years and I have not, until now, been able to find a blind for our kitchen. I have only been able to find plain roller blinds or very generic patterned ones. I decided to buy a plain white £6 Ikea blind in the interim and then realised that I could personalise it, without needing to spend a lot of money.

I saw a tutorial on the Liberty Craft Blog and fell in love with Cranston Liberty print that is part of the new Stile collectionI bought some and decided to attach it to my cheap Ikea blind. Here’s how I did it…

You will need:

– A very lightweight cotton fabric (if it’s too heavy or rigid the blind won’t roll smoothly). It must be pressed. You will need enough fabric to cover the width and length of your blind with 10cm allowance all the way around.

– Roller blind

– Fabric scissors

– Spray glue. I used Display Mount spray glue.

– Old sheet

Tutorial:

Making a no-sew blind

1. Unroll the blind and lie it on a flat surface (I did it on the kitchen floor) with the front of the blind facing upwards. Lie the fabric down with the wrong side facing upwards. You MUST put a sheet down as the spray glue will get everywhere otherwise.

Making a no-sew blind

2. Spray a layer of glue all over the front of the blind and the wrong side of the fabric. Make sure you spray right up to the edges. Leave the glue for 20 seconds until it becomes tacky and then place the blind onto the fabric. You must smooth the blind onto the fabric so there are no wrinkles. Do this quickly before the glue dries.

Making a no-sew blind

3. Use the fabric scissors to trim the 10cm allowance off the sides of the blind. Take your time whilst doing this so you get a perfectly straight edge. The glue will stop the edge fraying.

Making a no-sew blind

4. Spray more glue onto the bottom of the blind and the 10cm allowance of fabric. Turn the fabric over the bottom of the blind.

Liberty print blind

5. Once the blind is completely dry give it an iron and then hang (follow the instructions that come with the blind to do this).

I now have a customised blind for about £20. Bargain!

 

Baking sheet noticeboard

Make a magnetic noticeboard, that’s what.  This little project is so simple and inexpensive, yet really rather satisfying.

You will need:

1. A baking sheet that preferably has no lip (mine has a slight lip on one side only)

2. A piece of fabric that measures 5cm more than the baking sheet all the way around. I used Liberty’s new Pastel Woolf print from the Bloomsbury collectionI love this print as it is a clever mix of modern with a hint of the 50’s.

3. Spray glue. I used display mount.

4. Drill and four screws OR drill and ribbon.

Liberty print noticeboard

Baking sheet and fabric.

Liberty print noticeboard

Display mount spray glue.

Tutorial:

Liberty print noticeboard

1. Spray the front of the baking sheet and the back of the material with the glue. Make sure you hold the glue about 30cm away from both surfaces and do it outside or protect your table with lots of newspaper. Leave it for 20 seconds to become tacky. The glue can get everywhere but the reason I used this type of glue is that it does not mark the fabric and it bonds so quickly, securely and smoothly.

Liberty print noticeboard

2. Smooth the fabric onto the baking sheet.

Liberty print noticeboard

3. Turn the baking sheet over and cut the corners off the material. Spray the back of the baking sheet with glue and then fold the fabric over the sides.

Liberty print noticeboard

4. Don’t worry if your corners are messy, they won’t be seen! If it’s a gift, it might be a nice idea to cut a piece of fabric to stick on the back of the baking sheet to cover the corners.

Liberty print noticeboard

5. Nearly done. Now, to think about how to hang it.

Liberty print noticeboard

6. If you want to hang it with ribbon, drill two holes at the top of the board.

Liberty print noticeboard

7. Thread the ribbon through the holes and then this could hang on a hook or nail.

Liberty print noticeboard

8. If you don’t want to use ribbon, you can just screw it straight into the wall, which is what I did.

Liberty print noticeboard

Ta da!

I made this board for my new Crafty WorkspacePlease try it for yourself and email me pictures of the finished result!