Tag Archives: textiles

DIY Friday Vol. 6

Hey everybody, and welcome to the sixth installment of our DIY Friday series!  One Friday a month we do a roundup of DIY projects from around the web that we’re dying to try.  You can check out previous DIY Friday posts, as well as some of our own DIY ventures, here.  Now for this month’s inspiration!

From Katie:

I did an introductory workshop on silk dyeing at the university this week, and loved playing around with dye resist techniques.  This wall hanging DIY, using paraffin wax and RIT dye, looks like a wonderful version to try at home – I’m loving the rumpled texture and beautiful indigo color.

I’m in the market for a couple new hanging planters since the two I had in my upstairs bathroom were broken in a woeful accident (pro tip: hanging recently-watered plants from a tension rod is a surefire recipe for heartbreak).  This DIY planter made from painted rope is cute and cheerful and appealingly unbreakable.

From Mera:

Well I’d love to provide you with variety, but I’m inadvertently copying Katie with another coiled basket technique (most of the time I copy her completely on purpose). I’m still on the hunt for ways to conceal blah planters and I really like the look of these:

Deborah Needleman says in The Perfectly Imperfect Home that every place to sit should have a light, a place to put a book, and a spot to put up your feet.  I’ve had this clever ottoman made from a utility bucket tutorial in my DIY archives for a long time and I think it’s time to give it a try.

Thanks for reading along–have a great weekend everyone!

DIY Shibori Lampshade

Hi everyone! I’m back down in Eugene for a wedding this week, and I managed to (barely) squeeze in a DIY project that I’m excited to share with you.  A few years ago, Cameron’s dad gave us this lovely wooden lamp he built.  Unfortunately, the shade that was on it got smooshed in the move so it has been sitting bare-bulbed and unused for well over a year.  I’ve been keeping an eye out for a lampshade, but nothing was really speaking to me.  Well the other day I was doing what I do best – trolling Goodwill – when I saw this perfectly sized, but revoltingly stained, shade for about $2.  And an idea was born.

Lamp Shade Before

The lamp? Lovely. The shade, not so much.

Remember Mera’s post about experimenting with Shibori dyeing techniques?  I LOVED that post, and was so inspired that within five minutes of  reading it I had ordered the same dye kit she used.  I mean seriously, I could crawl into this photo and live there (but I’d like some cream in my coffee plz).  I decided a shibori lampshade was the way to go.


Photo by Mera

I found this very helpful video with instructions for recovering a lampshade in fabric on YouTube, and I’ve included some of the steps here so you can see how I did it.  The first thing I did was make a pattern for the shade.  I didn’t have any paper that was big enough, so I taped together a bunch of scratch paper.  Starting at the bottom left corner, I placed my lampshade with the seam in the middle and facing up.

making the pattern

Making the pattern 2

I then rolled the lampshade across the paper, tracing the bottom edge with my pencil.  Next, I returned the lampshade to its starting point at the bottom left of the paper and lined the shade up then set my pencil at the top of the shade and rolled it until I was back at the seam again.  The finished pattern and cut fabric looked like this:

Pattern and fabric

Because I wanted to place my dye pattern in a certain place on the shade, I cut the fabric before dyeing it.

I cut out two pieces of fabric and tied them in two different ways so I could decide which one I liked best (and just in case one went horribly wrong).  For the first I did an accordion pleat – similar to what Mera did in the photo above – and for the second I put dried garbanzo beans on the underside of the fabric and then wrapped a rubber band around them from the top.  From the side it looked like a bunch of little ghosties all in a line.

tying techniques for shades 2

I won’t belabor the dye instructions because Mera’s post covers it, but I will say that – though the process wasn’t complicated – I did manage to make a pretty remarkable mess.  As I was poking the fabric around in the dye bath, and inevitably getting it all over myself and everything else, I was reminded of a time in college when I called Mera in a panic because I was writing a paper at the 11th hour and my printer had broken.  She came over – she was no doubt a week ahead with all her schoolwork – and calmed me down.  She then picked up the broken – “broken” –  printer, dislodged popcorn kernels from it, and set me back to work.  This story is indicative of much of our friendship and also my life and did I mention that I was dyeing this fabric this morning?  Of course I was.  Don’t worry though folks, I didn’t learn any valuable lessons about time management because both fabrics turned out great.

tying techniques for shades

The accordion folded fabric is on the left, the garbanzo ghosts is on the right.

Choosing which one to use was HARD.  It required hemming, hawing, second guessing and soliciting opinions from Mera, my friend Kori and my mom.  There could only be one winner (though I’m tempted to find another lampshade so I can use the other fabric too).  And the winner is… pictured below 🙂

Once I’d washed, dried and ironed the fabric I took it and the lampshade outside.  I bought this spray adhesive at the hardware store and laid out a ground cloth to keep the fabric clean and the glue from getting everywhere.

Attaching the fabric to the shadeFollowing the directions on the can I sprayed the fabric thoroughly, paying special attention to the edges.  It was STICKY, but fortunately there was a short window before the glue set (short window – hence no pictures of this step) when I could still move the fabric around.  For next time, I will spray the adhesive in one area then move the gluey fabric to a clean spot  to actually attach it (the dyed fabric stuck to me, itself, the groundsheet and the shade, and I had to do some ridiculous contortions to get it in the right place).  Eventually, after I muttered and cursed and smoothed and fussed, it was on and pretty much wrinkle free.  I’ve put it in our bedroom, and love the way it looks against the soft gray walls.





Thanks for reading along!  Any other 11th hour types out there?  We hope you’ll check back on Friday when we’ll share our dreams of faraway places. Have a great day!

Floor Pillows: Using Thread to Make Patterns on Fabric

Well, it’s hot as Hades up here in Eastern Washington – around 106 degrees today – and I find my life is confined to the indoors in a way it rarely is even in the darkest part of our wet Oregon winters.  Once the heat dies down in the evening, Cameron and I have a new routine of a neighborhood stroll followed by a cold (usually adult) beverage in the backyard.  Prompted by the discovery of two large pillows at Goodwill for a couple dollars each, I decided to add some comfort to our evening repose.

Red House West - Lounge Pillows with Thread-Patterned Fabric_6

The pillows looked new and passed the sniff test (is there anything akin to the trepidation of the moment before you take a big inhale of a thrift store item?) so I brought them home, washed them in hot water, and hung them out to dry.  I have brought a small fabric stash up here with me, including remnants of black and natural-colored canvas from the diamond planter I shared last week, and the last of the cotton-linen left over from when I made my living room curtains.  It seemed a little plain though, so I decided to experiment with another item I already had on hand: thread.

Red House West - Lounge Pillows with Thread-Patterned Fabric_7

Red House West - Lounge Pillows with Thread-Patterned Fabric_8

I kept a neutral palette, because when we’re back home I envision these as floor pillows in my living room  and, though I haven’t shown you yet, my living room also houses an orange velvet couch and Beatrice – a six-foot tall vibrantly colored painting of a heavy-lidded and morose woman’s face next to a bird in a party hat.  Don’t worry, you’ll meet her soon.  Anyway, in deference to Beatrice and the orange couch (and in an effort to avoid full-on crazy), I have been opting for fairly subtle colors in the rest of the room – like the gray fabric on the bed chair.

Back to the task at hand.  I loaded my sewing machine up with thread and started stitching.  I tried a few different shapes, and settled on a couple to use for this project.

Red House West - Lounge Pillows with Thread-Patterned Fabric_4

I even made a video (well, Cameron did some sweet cinematography while I sewed).  I know this isn’t rocket science, but it does give a sense of how long each cross took.

This kind of easy, non-precise sewing is right up my alley.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but I am no type A personality.  More of a type C, or maybe even D.  Not that I don’t like things to be nice or done correctly, but I rarely strive for (or particularly appreciate) perfection.  Drawing these shapes with thread wasn’t at all complicated, but it did get a little tedious.  I just set my laptop – with a roller derby game that was streaming online – up behind the sewing machine and kept an eyeball on each.  A very pleasant way to pass a couple air-conditioned hours.

Sewing the now-patterned fabric into pillow covers was very easy; they are ‘envelope style,’ and I’ve used this great tutorial over on Little Green Notebook many times.  She recommends making the pillow covers a little smaller than the pillow itself – and for down pillows I agree – but for flat, non-malleable pillows like the ones I used here I prefer exact measurements so they don’t fold.

Sewing the cover - patterned fabric right-side up, with overlapping canvas pieces making the envelope in the back.

Sewing the cover – patterned fabric right-side up, with overlapping canvas pieces making the envelope in the back.

I’m really happy with how these turned out!  It was fun to come up with a new way to use materials I already had.  The only cost of this project was the pillow inserts from Goodwill, but even if I’d had to buy fabric and thread it still would have been a really inexpensive to do.

Gotta run - the ice in that Pimm's Cup isn't going to last long

Gotta run – the ice in that Pimm’s Cup isn’t going to last long

I’m already brainstorming other ways to use this technique – how about you?  Mera will be back on Wednesday with a post about her recent adventures – see you then!