Camp Lars: Summer Activities for Kids

Crafts

Crafts are at the top of our list of summer activities for kids. We’re all about crafts! So obviously we made some with kids in mind. And don’t limit yourself to this list! See our blog archives for more craft ideas. There are plenty we left off the list that your kids would love to try. Some are advanced enough that older kids will enjoy them more, but don’t fret. There are plenty for all ages to enjoy.

Here are our picks for best crafts for kids:

Matisse Felt Board

DIY block printing stamping art with potato

Courses

Another must-have on our list of summer activities for kids are our courses. Since your kids are out of school, it’s the perfect time to try a fun, easy course to keep their brains in gear! Our Great Artists courses are designed to get kids thinking creatively. They get to learn about different artists, with lots of great kids crafts to compliment what they’re learning. 

Another course that’s great for older kids is our Learn to Draw Flowers course. This course will teach your kids all about 31 different types of flowers and how to draw them. Once they’ve nailed this course they can move onto some of our other crafts, like these nesting eggs or our classic nesting dolls (here are the plain wooden nesting dolls to paint). 

Art Supplies

These art supplies made for kids are the perfect compliment to the courses we just mentioned! Not only are they a great way to keep your kids busy this summer, they’re also an important developmental resource to boost your children’s creativity and kick their imaginations into action.

Here are some options from our shop we love:

Other Kids Toys/Activities

Our shop is full of other summer activities for kids! From puzzles to bug hunting kits, we have something for every type of child, so take a look and see what suits your child’s fancy. 

Eeboo kids toys

back to school stickers on notebooks

 

For the Littlest Ones

We didn’t want to leave the littlest ones out of our list of summer activities for kids! While your older kiddos are off on a bug hunt or playing with puzzles, here are some things that are cozy and fun for even those who can’t walk yet. 

cute gifts for baby

Colorful, geometric paper shapes hang from a mobile in a green room.

Home Decor for Kids

Last but not least is our print shop. Summer activity, you ask? Hear me out: we have a shop full of kid-friendly art just waiting to be put to use somewhere in your home. Are your kids old enough to help decorate? Enlist them! What better way to decorate your child’s room than with art they love to look at? Even if your kiddos are too little to pick out their own art, consider it a great opportunity to decorate your baby’s nursery.

A print of a girl reading in a garden surrounded by trees, grass, and flowers against a golden background.

Four illustrations from fairytales hung above a child's kitchen toy set.

 

cheap art for kid's rooms

We hope we’ve given you some good ideas to keep your kids happy and busy this summer! Now we want to hear from you: what summer activities are your kids doing this summer? And what other kids crafts and activities would you like to see from us? Let us know in the comments below!

Customizable Father’s Day Portrait

A Customizable Father’s Day Portrait

We’re so excited to share this tutorial with you! What could be better than a fully customizable Father’s Day portrait in the form of a collage? It’s simple, promotes creativity, and keeps kids busy when it’s just too hot to be outside all afternoon.

No matter how many or how diverse the fathers in your life are, you can make a fun, playful portrait for them with this customizable collage!

 

Here’s how to make your own:

How to Make Your Own Father’s Day Portrait

  1. First, download our Father’s Day Portrait template found here.
  2. Note: If you don’t have a cricut maker, print and cut out the template with scissors. If you have a cricut maker (well worth the investment for this project), simply select the color of paper and shapes you want to cut out and go to town customizing your dad’s portrait!
  3. For our portraits, we chose a variety of colors. Let your kids make it as bold and fun as they want! No color is out of bounds here, but if you want, you can use our photos as a reference for some fun combos.
  4. When you’re done cutting out the pieces, assemble them onto a plain white sheet of cardstock (we’d recommend 8.5″ x 11″ or 12″ x 12″), gluing as you go.
  5. After you’ve glued all the pieces down, you can frame it if you want, or leave it as is.
  6. Done!

I love that this customizable Father’s Day collage is so versatile and playful. I can’t wait to see what you and your kids come up with. Let us know in the comments!

More Inspiration

For more Father’s Day inspiration, see our Father’s Day Gift Guide. Also try our Father’s Day tie and bowtie, Father’s Day lollipop prize ribbons, and our Father’s Day origami shirt gift bags.

 

Eight Crafts to do with Leftover Cardboard

Papier-mâché Vase

This Papier-mâché Vase we made recently is the perfect way to use up some cardboard and make something lovely at the same time. I think we can all agree a beautifully-painted papier-mâché vase looks better than a pile of cardboard in the corner.

DIY Cardboard Cactus

A DIY cardboard cactus is another great option if you’re looking for easy home decor! Of course some paper plants had to make it in here somewhere. The best part about paper plants? You can’t kill them. And these cacti? They’re helping keep our planet just a little bit cleaner.

2D Cardboard Vases

There’s no shortage of cardboard vases for you to peruse on our list of crafts to do with leftover cardboard. It seems that cardboard is just the perfect material for an easy DIY vase! These ones are lovely 2D options that are as cute as they are simple. I love how easily customizable they are with a simple coat of paint!

2D Cardboard Vase

Recycled Cardboard Sun

Speaking of keeping our planet clean and beautiful, why not try this Recycled cardboard sun? We made it in honor of Earth Day, but really, isn’t every day Earth Day if we love her? It’s also the perfect summer craft to do when kids are bored–a win win.

make a cardboard sun with recycled materials

Geometric Cardboard Piece Tower

Another great craft to do with cardboard boxes and kids is this geometric cardboard piece tower. We based it off this Bauhaus inspired mobile (which you could easily turn into another cardboard project). We love that it’s simple and fun for kids to do, and it doubles as a great puzzle to keep them busy when they’re done making it.

DIY Painted Cardboard Vases

Next on our list of crafts to do with leftover cardboard are these DIY painted cardboard vases. We painted them to match our lovely blue porcelain inspired tablescape, but you can paint them to match anything you’d like!

Jasper’s Viking Cardboard Box Costume

A real show stopper on our list of crafts to do with leftover cardboard is the iconic viking cardboard box costume. Now we know it’s not Halloween, but what kid doesn’t like an excuse to dress up, much less like a viking?! You could make it into a viking themed birthday party, or just do it for fun. Turns out it’s a great way to keep kids busy during those looong summer months before school starts again!

Papier-mâché Rainbow Vase

Another vase to add to your repertoire from our list of crafts to do with leftover cardboard is this lovely papier-mâché rainbow vase. We love that you can use it for your paper flowers, or as a desk organizer for pens, markers, and anything else you need to keep out of the way.

Paper Mâché Rainbow Vase

Bonus: Recycled Egg Carton Vases

Now we know egg cartons aren’t technically recycled cardboard boxes, but these egg carton vases are a great way to recycle your egg cartons, while you’re at it! Because egg cartons do no good in a landfill, either. Wouldn’t you rather have a lovely vase?

Which of these recycled cardboard crafts is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

Cyanotype Sun Prints

What is a Cyanotype?

Ever seen those iconic blue and white photographs and wondered how they were made? If cyanotypes are new to you, here’s a little background. Did you know that cyanotypes are where architects and engineers picked up the term “blueprint”? They are literal blue prints! That’s because of the traditional blue and white color of an exposed cyanotype. A cyanotype is a photo process where specially treated paper reacts to UV light (the sun’s rays) and exposes the paper. Specifically, our method involves placing foliage on cyanotype paper that turns blue when exposed to the sun, leaving beautiful white shapes of foliage behind.

Pressed Flowers

Remember this post on how to press flowers in three methods? Cyanotypes are a perfect way to repurpose your beautiful pressed flowers again and again! We love the delicate designs the pressed flowers make in a cyanotype.

In our cyanotype method, we use a simple sheet of clear acrylic to make our design first, then set it on top of the cyanotype paper. That way your design is set in place and you won’t damage your precious cyanotype paper trying to get the glue dots off.

How to Make Your Own Cyanotype Sun Prints

  1. First, create your pattern by arranging pressed flowers on one side of the acrylic. Make sure the design fits. Secure the flowers with glue dots (this is helpful to keep your design in place, especially if there is wind).
  2. Next, lay the cyanotype paper flat on the ground in a spot that gets direct sunlight.
  3. Now, position the acrylic on the cyanotype paper and set it in place.
  4. Leave in the sun for about 20 minutes, or until the design has set. Our paper was quicker than 20 minutes (closer to 5 or 10), but the time varies depending on the specific brand of paper you use.
  5. Last step is to rinse the cyanotype paper with water, and let it fully dry on a clean surface. Done!

If you’d like, you can frame your beautiful print or leave it on its own, whichever you prefer. Add it to your collection of art and put it somewhere that makes you happy!

More Inspiration

Loved this tutorial on cyanotype sun prints? Remember to check out our post on how to press flowers in three methods! Also see this post, where we compiled all our paper flower tutorials all in one place.

All Our Paper Flower Tutorials

Blooms for Bouquets

There are so many things you can do with paper flowers, but you need to make them first! Mix and match these flowers for bouquets or let them stand alone. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Paper parrot tulips in cream, yellow, and red.Paper peony bouquet held by a person in a striped dressIcelandic Paper PoppyPaper hydrangeas in a white vase against a floral orange backgroundThe Exquisite Book of Paper Flower Transformationspaper daffodil on a cream backgroundA pink and blue space divided down the middle with flower bells in each color

Find paper flower tutorials here: Sunflowers, Parrot Tulips, Peonies, Poppies, Morning Glory, Hydrangeas, Eden Rose, Daffodil, Paper Flower Bells, and Narcissus.

Lots of flowers have stamens, and here you can make your own floral stamens for paper flowers.

Bouquets

I’m a big fan of paper wedding bouquets because they are long-lasting reminders of your big day. There’s no wilting here! I have loved making paper flower tutorials for all these bouquets.

close up of a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.Paper Flower Wedding BouquetRoyal Wedding Inspired BouquetCinco de Mayo Wedding Bouquet

Find tutorials here: Spring Wedding Bouquet, White Peony Bouquet, Royal Wedding Inspired Bouquet, and Cinco de Mayo Inspired Bouquet.

Paper Flower Accessories

Flowers add delicacy and magic to your fanciest events, but I’m all for wearing them in between big parties, too! These paper flower crowns and this corsage will have you searching for events because they’re so fun to wear! You can find paper flower tutorials for the accessories below.

A paper shamrock and flower crown on a brunette girl's head against green and white wallpaperPaper Flower Bridal Hair PieceA little girl wears a paper flower crown and smells some little flowers.a floral crown on long, straight brown hairPaper Flower Corsage

Find tutorials here: Shamrock Flower Crown, Paper Flower Bridal Hairpiece, Flower Girl Crown, Spring Paper Flower Crown, Paper Flower Corsage, Paper Flower Graduation Tassel, and Paper Poppy Pin.

Home Decor Flowers

Wreaths

When I started adding paper flower wreaths to my doors, I made a huge discovery. Coming home to something beautiful makes a big difference! So add paper flower wreaths to your doors and start feeling OVERJOYED when you get to your home. I promise, it works for me!

Paper daffodil wreath against a pink backgroundCrepe Paper Lemon WreathBrittany holding a wreath with floral accents cut from wallpaper.A hand reaches into frame holding a rainbow floral wreath

 

Wreath tutorials here: Daffodil Wreath, Lemon and Blossom Wreath, Wallpaper Floral Wreath, Rainbow Flower Wreath, Paper Poinsettia Wreath, Palm Leaf Wreath and Pink Paper Blossom Wreath.

Chandeliers and Mobiles

I absolutely love what chandeliers and mobiles do to fill the empty space in a room. And come on, they look adorable. So do yourself a favor and hang one over your new baby’s crib! It will surely give you and baby some much needed delight amidst the lack of sleep.

A maidenhair fern hangs from a wooden hoopA floral upcycled chandelier with paper greenery hangs over a party table. A paper mobile hangs in a white room with a cactusA colorful chandelier with a hanging Dala horse is i

Mobile tutorials here: Paper Maidenhair Fern Mobile, Paper Flower Chandelier, Scandinavian Paper Mobile and Midsummer Dala Horse Mobile.

Centerpieces

Another way I love to incorporate flowers is through centerpieces. Because isn’t having company over the perfect excuse to make something with paper flowers?

Paper flowers and colorful candles on a branchPaper tulips in an arrangement.

Centerpiece tutorials here: Paper Flower Branch Candelabra, Spring Tulip Centerpiece, Rainbow Paper Flower Tablescape

Potted Paper Flowers

I love me a good potted paper plant. These little beauties are the perfect addition to any room, so what are you waiting for?

Brittany holds a paper easter lily in a terracotta pot in front of her facePaper Christmas cactus in a white potPaper Medinilla plant in a grey spaceColorful paper plants in a grey roomPaper pansies in a distressed terracotta planter. They're placed on a stack of colorful books on a chair. In the background, you can see some red floral wallpaper and blue wainscoting.Magenta and purple hollyhocks made of crepe paper against a dark grey background

Find tutorials here: Paper Orchids, Paper Foxgloves, Easter Lily, Christmas Cactus, Medinilla Plant, Pansies, Hollyhocks, Paper Flower Bells and more Paper House Plants.

Parties!

Cakes

Another impeccable excuse to incorporate some flowers, do yourself (and your guests) a favor! If I had to guess, I’d say these flower-centric party decorations will do the trick perfectly.

Floral Number Birthday Cake TopperPaper Kumquat and Quilled Flower CakeMidsummer Pole cake Topper

Cake topper tutorials here: Floral Number Birthday Cake Topper, Paper Flower and Kumquat Cake Decoration, Midsummer Pole Cake Topper and 3D Paper Flower Gift Toppers.

Backdrops

DIY Crepe Paper Peony tutorialTropical Leaf and Hibiscus BackdropBrittany stands in front of a paper daisy-covered wall wearing a yellow dress.

DIY paper poppy backdrop and pinPaper Tulip Backdrop

Backdrop tutorials here: Crepe Paper Peony Backdrop, Tropical Leaf and Hibiscus Backdrop, Paper Daisy Backdrop, Paper Tulip Backdrop and Paper Poppy Backdrop.

Garlands

Isn’t spring the perfect time for a floral garland? Well, for your convenience, we have some lovely options that transition right into summer, too!

Paper flower garlandPaper flower garland hangs over a rattan chair

Garland tutorials here: Paper Flower Garland and Summer Flower Garland.

DIY Daisy party hat

And don’t forget this Daisy Party Hat tutorial!

Holiday

Holidays are the perfect time to get making a few flower-centric decorations. To help you out, here are our favorites:

Valentines Day

Brittany looks over her shoulder at the camera while wearing a pink, red, and white daffodil crown

Wear this Valentine Flower Wreath on your head or decorate your door with it. Either way, you’ll be feeling festive and ready for the spring blooms that will pop up not too long after Valentines Day with this wreath!

Halloween

A mom wearing a paper flower costume and a daughter dressed as a mouse pose in their costumes

Chrysanthemum Mom and Kid Costume

Hannukah

Gold, blue, yellow, and pink paper flower menorah

Paper Flower Menorah

Christmas

This Christmas you can make holly large or small, as well as these really exciting poinsettia blooms.

Paper Poinsettia FlowerDIY Paper Holly boughsGiant paper holly and paper berries hung around a big banister

Poinsettia, Crepe Paper Holly, Giant Paper Holly Decoration and Amaryllis.

More From Our Shop!

Find more floral Lars materials on our shop. Here’s our Flowers Coloring Book, this sticker sheet, a whole collection of floral art prints, and more!

Our Learn To Draw Flowers Course

And don’t forget about our learn to draw flowers course! It’s the perfect companion piece to all these paper flower tutorials. And the great thing is, if you don’t have all the materials handy to make the tutorials right now, you can learn to draw them first! By the time your materials come in the mail, you’ll be a pro at drawing flowers and will be all ready to start making them.

Papier-mâché Vase

How to make a papier-mâché vase

Corrie Beth has been making the most amazing papier-mâché projects for years. We are honestly some of her biggest fans. Her creations are so gorgeous, we wanted to try our hand at making our own! Lucky for us, papier-mâché is one of the most versatile materials around. It can be transformed into almost anything, if you’re creative enough to think up how. We love how much a simple vase can add to your home decor. It’s simple and so effective.

Here’s how to make your own:

Prepping your cardboard

Get out your cardboard and scissors! Here’s what to do:

  1. First you’ll want to download, print and cut out the papier-mâché vase template found here.
  2. With your templates ready to go, you can now trace and cut out the shapes provided. You’ll also need to cut out two additional rectangles in the following dimensions: 21.75″ x 4.5″ and 2″ x 10″. Tip: It’s helpful to cut out the rectangle pieces so the cardboard fluting (the bumpy middle section) is parallel to the short width. This makes shaping the rectangles much easier.
  3. You should now have five shapes cut out: three “c” shapes, and two rectangles (one small and one large).

Constructing your understructure

  1. First, gently shape each piece.
  2. For the “c” shapes, bring the two edges together so they form a subtle cone shape. Secure with hot glue.
  3. Next, for the rectangles, bring the short edges together to make cylinders. Secure with hot glue. Note: For each piece, shape as you go by bending every centimeter or so in the desired direction.
  4. Now hot glue the individual pieces together, using the diagram in the template as a reference.
  5. Once everything is glued and the glue is cool, cover the entire thing in a layer of masking tape. This will make the surface nicer when you start to attach the papier-mâché.

Making the paste

  1. To make your paste, add 1 part flour to 2 parts water. Stir with a spoon and try to get out as many lumps as possible.
  2. Next, heat mixture for 40 seconds in the microwave, then stir again.
  3. Repeat the process a couple more times until the paste has thickened a bit. It should still be fairly runny and smooth when you’re done. If it’s thickened into a lumpy mess, you’ve heated it too much.

Applying the papier-mâché

  1. For the papier-mâché, tear up some newspaper or newsprint into narrow strips. I would recommend tearing up all the paper ahead of time so you don’t have to tear it with sticky hands.
  2. Next, fully coat each strip in the paste, then start applying them to the cardboard structure. Continue until the entire vase is coated thoroughly.
  3. Note: It works best if you apply the strips in a random formation, criss-crossing as you go. This helps them hold better when dry.
  4. Last, let your papier-mâché dry out completely for a few days!

Decorating your vase

  1. To decorate, simply paint your vase with acrylic paint. If you’d like, use our photos as a reference to paint it like we did! We drew out the design in pencil, then painted it in, but do whatever method you’d like. You can also skip the pencil if you’d rather.

Styling your vase

This papier-mâché vase pairs perfectly with many of our paper flowers! Make a bouquet and put it on your mantlepiece, kitchen table, or desk. I love that it stays bright and beautiful for months–you don’t have to worry about paper flowers dying, or the vase tipping over and water spilling out. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make five more.

What are you going to do with your vase? Let us know in the comments!

More Inspiration

Here are some paper flowers to go with your lovely new vase: Poppies, peonies, and posies, summer paper wedding bouquet, paper flower bouquet. We also have our new paper orchids and sunflowers!

Looking for more easy DIY crafts this spring? Try these other papier-mâché projects! Oversized paper mache flower, family costume reveal, and paper mache pineapple tray.

 

Inspired by Cinco de Mayo

Nadia Aguilar Cates

Last year I talked to my friend Nadia Aguilar Cates about Cinco de Mayo and some of her plans to celebrate it. She explained that “Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday that commemorates the battle of Puebla. It’s not Mexico’s Independence Day but a common celebration in the United States.” –Nadia Aguilar Cates, @Casa_Palomi

Two little boys dressed in Mariachi outfits holding cardboard instruments stand in front of a giant pink papel picado decoration

Last year Nadia and I worked together to make a COVID-safe drive-by Cinco de Mayo party. This party was complete with cardboard mariachi instruments for kids and a giant papel picado backdrop. If you missed it last year, it’s not too late to get ready for this year’s festivities!

We also interviewed Nadia last Fall. Everything she does to preserve and celebrate her Mexican heritage is so inspiring. Check out her interview here! Oh and definitely keep an eye on Ella Rises, the organization Nadia created to empower Latina youth.

Nadia Aguilar Cates stands in front of a giant pink papel picado decoration

History of Cinco de Mayo

As Nadia said, Cinco de Mayo commemorates an important Mexican victory in the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862 in the city of Puebla. The battle, in which the Mexican army defeated French troops, marked a turning tide in the fight for Mexican sovereignty. It also signaled Mexico’s strength to the rest of the world, which tended to underestimate their power.

Because The House that Lars Built is located in the United States, where anti-Mexican racism is still a pervasive problem, we’re using Cinco de Mayo to reflect on the importance of listening to and celebrating Indigenous and Mexican stories. In true Lars fashion, this means I’m highlighting some of my favorite Mexican artists and designers!

Lars Loves Mexican Artists

Frida Kahlo

Photograph of Frida Kahlo holding a small carved idol. She's wearing a black and orange woven top and has flowers and ribbons braided into her hair, and she's standing against a turquoise wall. Where would we be without our Queen, Frida Kahlo? She’s probably one of the best-known Mexican artists, and for good reason! Her work explores her Mexican Indigenous heritage in bright colors and with psychologically rich symbolism.

 

Painting by Frida Kahlo.
Self-Portrait on the Border Line Between Mexico and the United States, 1932

If you’re looking for more Frida in your life, check out our Great Artists course for kids, which will teach your little one (and you) more about Frida’s work. You can also look at these DIY projects inspired by Frida and this roundup of Frida Kahlo-inspired decor.

Luis Barragán

A woman holds a black horse's bridal in front of a tomato-colored wall at Luis Barragán's Cuadra San Cristóbal stables. There's also a flat blue pool and pink and purple structures in the background.
Photograph by Rene Burri

Luis Barragán was an incredible Mexican architect and designer, whose geometric buildings are breathtakingly colorful. His iconic San Cristobal Stables was one of the most memorable parts of my trip to Mexico City a few years ago. Brittany walks under a bright pink structure at Luis Barragán's San Cristobal stables in Mexico City

Michelle Franzoni Thorley

A black and white portrait of Michelle, who looks at the camera. She's wearing a white top and a chunky necklace, and she's standing in front of some plants

Michelle Franzoni Thorley is a local-to-me painter and family historian whose work explores her Mexican heritage and the power of knowing about our ancestors. She also is an anti-racism educator and all-around powerful human being. So make sure you follow her on Instagram @florafamiliar!

A painting of women in mountains, a desert, and a cemetery holding onto a red ribbon that connects them.
Ancestresses by Michelle Franzoni Thorley

Cinco de Mayo in the Archives

Paper Fan Garland

Along with last year’s drive by party, I wanted to share more Cinco de Mayo inspiration from years gone by. One of my earliest projects was this paper fan garland decoration.

Honeycomb fruit

Another early project was this collection of DIY honeycomb fruit ornaments.

paper fruits in the shape of grapes, an orange, a grapefruit, and a strawberry hang in front of a window

Cinco de Mayo Bouquet

I was also inspired by vibrant Mexican design when I made this Cinco de Mayo paper wedding bouquet! You don’t have to be a bride to make this, though! Putting together this bouquet would be such a great way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo while simultaneously gearing up for Summer blooms.

brightly colored paper bouquet

Fiesta

If you’re looking for full-on Cinco de Mayo party inspiration, look no further than the fiesta I threw a few years ago! You can find great decor, lots of delicious recipes, and links to tableware that will make your party a true fiesta! a festive Cinco de Mayo table set with Mexican food and decorated with colorful papel picado banners

Mexico City Travel Guide

Maybe I’m getting carried away, but I also want to share my travel guide from Mexico City. In 2018 I went to Mexico City and it was absolutely dreamy. In my Mexico City guide you can find my favorite places to go and things to see, as well as (perhaps most importantly?) where to eat. I can’t wait until I can go back and experience even more of Mexico City, because it’s truly a magical (and huge!) place, with so much to do and see.

a colorful papier mache man floats in a white museum space

I came home from Mexico City feeling so inspired by the color and design that I put together a roundup of fashion and design that reminded me of my trip! I’m itching to go back, but looking through these travel-inspired objects is satisfying a bit of my wanderlust…for now!

Viva México!

More Inspiration

Looking for Cinco de Mayo decorations, or just some spring decor to freshen up your home? Look no further than our shop for the templates to get you going! Try the Cinco de Mayo bouquet template and e-book to make it a lovely centerpiece. Also, here’s the template for those Cinco de Mayo streamers we mentioned. You’ll probably also love this paper flower garland or this boutonniere! You may want to check out this house plants e-book as well, along with our flower and leaf garland e-book.

Shaped Throw Pillows

Why Throw Pillows?

We recently got this awesome blue velvet couch. The thing is, though, it’s big, bold, and really needed something to help it fit in better with the ambience in our studio. It didn’t take us long to discover the perfect answer to our conundrum: an assortment of uniquely-shaped, vibrant throw pillows, designed by the very studio in which they would find their new home. That’s why the opportunity to use our brand-new, beautiful Fiskars scissors to make these shaped throw pillows for our couch was a dream come true. We designed not just the pillows inspired by the scissors, but the scissors themselves.

Custom Fiskars Scissors

Now, let me talk about these scissors for a minute. Yes, you heard me right–we are thrilled to partner up with Fiskars to release our new very own scissors! I was particularly excited (like serious, drop-dead excitement) because I have a total obsession with scissors if you haven’t seen it by now. I’ve been collecting them for years and years. I have scissors for all kinds of things–trimming, fabric, paper, kids, antique, you name it. In fact, Craft the Rainbow, my paper craft book, has a little game where you can guess the amount of scissors in it. Go ahead and try it…there are a lot 😉 

These Fiskars scissors are absolutely and exquisitely beautiful, not to mention being the perfect blend of practical and art-object, with those graceful handle curves in sharp contrast to that smooth, functional blade. You can imagine my joy, then, when Fiskars told us we’d be able to customize not only the handles, but the blades as well.

As you might guess, these puppies are phenomenal. The pattern is perfect, exactly what we had envisioned, and the combination of patterned, floral handles and colored blade?! I can’t even. They are truly spectacular; a work of art. I can’t wait for you to see them in person.

The Inspiration Behind Our Throw Pillows

Well, we put our customized Fiskars scissors to good use making their debut project: our shaped throw pillows. In fact, we really couldn’t have done it without them! You see, we used the floral design we had printed on the scissors as inspiration for our pillow designs. So not only did we use the scissors to cut out the fabric, but we used the scissors as a reference as we crafted our pillow designs, as well.

The pillows designs we settled on were: a flower, leaves, a fun two-tone circle, and a magnificent yellow squiggle. The combination of pink, orange, green and brown against our blue velvet beauty of a couch was almost too good to be true. If you need me, I’ll be in the studio–I’m going to be sitting on that couch forever, buried among those shaped throw pillows.

How to Make a DIY Shaped Throw Pillow

And now, we’re going to show you how to make your very own DIY shaped throw pillow! As a note, we’ll be presenting you with a tutorial of that iconic yellow squiggle pillow, but you can apply the steps of the tutorial to any shape you want to add to your own throw pillow collection. (We would highly recommend using our Fiskars scissors floral pattern as a reference, like we did–there are some awesome potential throw pillows in there, waiting to be made).

So you’re aware, this project is ideal for someone who has previous sewing experience. It’s fairly simple, but we won’t be going through the basics of sewing here. In other words, you may be a bit lost if this is your first time touching a sewing machine.

Materials

For this project, you’ll need:

steps

Preparing Your Pattern

  1. Using our yellow pillow as a reference, trace (with a pencil) the shape of the throw pillow onto the butcher paper. Make it a few inches larger than the finished pillow appears, to account for the fullness of the batting and seam allowances (Our pillow is roughly 3 ½ feet long).
  2. Once you’re happy with the shape you have, go ahead and cut it out.

Prepping Your Fabric

  1. Iron or steam out the wrinkles in your fabric.
  2. Lay your fabric out flat, folded in half lengthwise (aka hot dog style). Make sure to smooth out all bumps and wrinkles so the fabric lies nice and flat.
  3. When you’re done with that, you can take your freshly-prepared pattern and pin it onto your fabric, close to the edge if you want to conserve more fabric.
  4. Now, cut out your fabric along the edge of the pattern, using our custom Fiskars scissors.
  5. After the fabric is cut, you can remove the pattern. 
  6. Now, with the wrong sides together, pin around the edges of your fabric to secure the two pieces in place.

Sewing Your Throw Pillow

  1. Prep your sewing machine, then sew around the perimeter of your fabric shape, leaving a 3 or 4 inch opening on one side. You’ll use this to turn the throw pillow right side out, so make sure you don’t get carried away and sew the opening closed! Backstitch at both ends. Note: it helps to have the opening on a straighter edge of the shape–this will make it easier to sew closed.
  2. Now that your throw pillow is sewn, you can turn it right side out.
  3. Press the seam allowance of the opening under, so the raw edges will be hidden once it’s sewn.
  4. The next step is to stuff your throw pillow with batting. You’ll see it start to take shape! Stuff it as full as you like, noting that if you stuff it very full, you’ll need to hand-sew it closed, rather than using a machine like in this tutorial.
  5. Once your pillow is as full as you’d like it, you can go ahead and sew it closed.
  6. Voilà! Your shaped throw pillow is done!

How to Style Your Shaped Throw Pillows

These shaped throw pillows are such a playful, unique accent piece for any room. Put them on your couch, bed, window seat, or chair and you’ve just added an instant touch of personality to your home. I love that you can pair the colors with other home decor, like posters, paintings or other wall art, furniture, or even plant pots. Shaped throw pillows do a lot to help tie disparate elements together in a room. The bonus is, they’re cozy, too! Use them as a foot rest or snuggle into them while watching a movie and you’re all set.

We can’t wait to see what you do with your own shaped throw pillows! And we want to know: what do you think of our new, custom Fiskars scissors?!

More Inspiration

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make your own DIY shaped throw pillow. If you did (and we have a feeling that might be the case), you’ll probably love these other DIY sewing projects. The bonus is, you can use our customized Fiskars scissors for them, too! Quilted Shower Curtain, Celtic Knot Pillow, DIY Headboard, and Paper Snowflakes

Our New Guest Bedroom Remodel

Where We Started

We knew our guest bedroom needed work. To give you an idea of what we started with, here are some before photos of the space:

As you can see, it’s fairly small (about 8.5×10’) so it can easily feel overcrowded. We needed simplicity, elegance, and something that would help the room feel more spacious, not to mention cozy for our future guests! The guest bedroom wasn’t at the top of my to-do list until we learned that we’d be having a guest stay with us very soon.

Our Guest Bedroom Remodel with Mr. Kate

Because our guest was coming so soon, we knew we needed to get going on a remodel of the guest bedroom if it was going to be done before he arrived. We didn’t have much time! That’s why when Mr. Kate approached us, we were thrilled. The timing was perfect! We were able to use Mr. Kate furniture for so many elements of the guest bedroom, including the desk, bed, and dresser. We went with a lovely deep blue velvet for the Mr. Kate Daphne Bed paired with a Signature Sleep mattress available on RealRooms. We also added in the fun Mr. Kate Winston terrazzo desk and the simple, classy Mr. Kate Stella white dresser. Since the wallpaper is so busy (which we’ll talk more about in a minute!), we wanted pops of solid color to pair with the illustrative details. Those simple, timeless furniture elements paired so nicely with the gorgeous details in the delicate wallpaper.

Trompe L’oeil Wallpaper

Now let me talk about that guest bedroom wallpaper. The biggest thing to puzzle through with any space is what to do with the walls. The guest bedroom is fairly small, so we knew we needed something that wasn’t too time consuming but that would still look amazing. And boy, did we find the perfect solution–Curious wallpaper from Bien Fait!

If you’ve never seen wallpaper like this before, you’re in for a treat. Born in the imagination of Cécile Figuette and beautifully hand-drawn by french illustrator Julie Serre, this classically elegant wallpaper is a surprising and versatile trompe l’oeil.  It’s not only gorgeous and classy, but it also happened to be the perfect solution to our quick wall fix conundrum. It’s so detailed it takes care of all the need for wall decor all in one go! And those little hidden gems are lovely–I mean those little picture frames in the corner, or the painted eyes on the walls?! It’s stunning. Plus the three dimensional nature and open doors peeking into other rooms makes the space feel endlessly spacious and open. And did I mention it’s fully customizable? Doors can be opened or closed, decor elements and even the little kitty can be moved to compose a unique scene, a curious story.

Curtains

For the curtains, we decided to go with a bright pop of golden velvet from West Elm. We paired them with a boho curtain rod from Urban Outfitters. The original one we used is sold out, but this one is similar! We absolutely loved the way they paired with that dreamy blue velvet Mr. Kate Daphne Bed and the detailed wallpaper.

Lampshade

As another pop of color and subtle pattern, we also decided to make a custom drum lampshade. This was such a fun and easy DIY project! Here’s a post where you can learn to make one yourself. We used the tutorial for the DIY fabric lampshade. The wallpaper is almost all the pattern you need in a room like our small guest bedroom, but we couldn’t help but add in a little touch of stripe for the lampshade.

I got the pendant from here and then the fabric from our local fabric shop, Harmony.

How to get the look

Bed  |  Desk  |  Dresser  |  Pendant light  |  Curtains  |  Rug is vintage  |  Curtain rod  |  Plaid blanket Sheets  |  Weights  |

 

What do you think of our guest bedroom remodel? Let us know in the comments!

More Inspiration

Loved this guest bedroom remodel and looking for more home renovation inspiration? Here’s everything we did to our house in one year. Also, here’s our interview with Meta Coleman, our go-to for interior design advice. And don’t forget the newly revealed tour of our studio! You can also check out our recent feature in the Living by Design Virtual Showhouse here.

This post is sponsored by Mr. Kate’s new furniture collection

Easter Crafts

Our Favorite Easter Crafts

We have so many Easter crafts that we’re just thrilled to share with you this year. Many of them are brand new, too! Need a new Easter Basket? We’re here for you. How about a fresh spring wreath? We’ve also got you covered in that department. Without further ado, here’s the list of our favorite Easter crafts!

Wreaths

I love a good wreath. And spring wreaths are some of my favorites! They’re a must have when talking about Easter crafts. This year we have a brand new Palm Leaf Wreath you’re sure to love. It’s delicate, colorful, and festive. Just the thing to celebrate Palm Sunday, Easter and spring all in one go! If you’re feeling more into eggs, try our ever popular Easter egg wreath, or this sweet Honeycomb Easter wreath. Both are lovely and sure to put a little spring in your step. Also, you can’t go wrong with a simple floral theme. This Daffodil Wreath is very appropriate for the season, as is this Lemon Wreath!

Easter Baskets

You can’t have Easter crafts without Easter baskets! And we have a brand new one for you to try this year. It’s our DIY Easter Basket, and the best part is that it doesn’t require any sewing. Another clever no-sew Easter basket is this Paper Easter basket. Just download, print, cut and assemble, it’s that easy! If you want to sew an adorable bag that doubles as an Easter basket and will be around for years to come, try this carrot shoulder bag! The bonus is it packs up easily and is equally cute.

If you’re looking for inspiration on what to fill your basket with, look no further than this Easter Basket choose your own adventure. We help guide you through the steps to picking your perfect Easter basket, along with everything to put inside it, like this Paper carrot treat box, or this DIY stuffed bunny. You can also make some of these Danish Easter letters to tuck inside.

Eggs

As it so happens, we have a lot of Easter crafts that have to do with eggs. Are you really that surprised? I mean, what’s Easter without at least one little nod to an egg or two. Just yesterday, we release the most lovely nesting Easter eggs! We love the little twist on original nesting dolls. Also try these Easter egg columns, which are a lovely way to decorate your home this Easter. Don’t forget about these Honeycomb Easter eggs, either! Make them into a wreath or decorate with the individual eggs. Either way they’re lovely!

Another fun variation on decorating Easter eggs are these dried flowers on Easter eggs, as well as our Pysanky Easter eggs (here’s the E-book of the Pysanky eggs, the profits of which will be donated to the Ukrainian relief effort). If you’re into more decorating, try our DIY pom pom Easter eggs! Or if you’re having a party, you’ll definitely want to take a look at our Easter egg name tags, Easter egg cupcake toppers, and Easter egg runner.

For Kids

If you have kids, you’ll love these Easter-themed toys, accessories, and activities. First stop: these fun bunny party hats. Having a new baby this spring? You won’t want to miss these adorable DIY Baby bonnets! Need a craft to do with your kids to keep them busy and happy? You’ll love these Easter Egg coloring pages, the profits of which will be donated to the Ukrainian relief effort. Then there’s our DIY stuffed bunny, which is a sweet little Easter toy. Plop it in your child’s Easter basket and you’re all set!

 

Studio Tour of The House that Lars Built

Where We Started

Remember what the basement looked like when we first bought this house? Totally gutted, and an eyesore, but full of potential. Well, we’ve come a long way since then! We still have a long way to go, but we want to show you our progress. Here‘s a post with the preliminary ideas for the studio. And if you’re interested, here‘s a compilation of everything we did to our house in one year.

How It’s Going

The Space

To kick off the studio tour, we need to explain the space. The entire basement makes up the studio. It’s divided into the following: Jane and Jenny’s office, the main crafting/working space, the kitchenette area, the bathroom, the shipping/packing room, and the archive room. The shipping and archive rooms needed to be more functional than anything, so our choices there have and will be more driven by functionality (with a little Lars flair, of course). But the rest of the space we have had a LOT of fun with thus far! So here’s what we’ve done.

Pink Epoxy Floor

First stop on our studio tour: flooring. The first thing we did to the basement was the floor. Remember our pink epoxy flooring?? Yep, that covers the floor of the entire basement, except for the bathroom. It’s such a fun, eye-catching detail that you notice right when you walk in! I always knew the studio needed a touch of pink to warm things up.

Stairs

The stairs are next on the studio tour. Now we knew we needed a quick and effective solution for the unfinished stairs. What an eyesore!! And did I mention they had carpet on them previously? It took a little extra time to get them prepped for painting. But it was worth it, because the final product (these big, bold, blue and white stripes) was the perfect way to get our guests’ attention and introduce them to the studio. We may end up altering these amidst our newest wave of home renovations, but it was the perfect temporary DIY solution until we could implement a more permanent situation.

Lighting

Speaking of an eye-catching entrance, guess what we just recently got?! Our very own neon Lars sign, courtesy of Neon 87! To say we’re excited would be a severe understatement. Needless to say when visitors come to the studio they’ll know exactly where they are when they see this sign.

We also couldn’t move on without mentioning the recent install of this schoolhouse light fixture. We loved the gold accent with the bold stripes and colorful art we added to the walls!

Office Makeover

The next step in our studio tour is the office. We did an office makeover! Matching the wallpaper in the office to the pink floor turned out to be an interesting challenge, but we loved the result when all was said and done! Here‘s the post where we explain it all.

Here’s Jane’s desk:

A brightly colored office. There's green floral wallpaper, a pink floor, a yellow chair, a white table, pink-painted doorframes, an orange paper house, a blue poster with colorful abstract flowers, and office supplies.

And here’s Jenny’s:

Jenny's desk

The Craft/Work Space

Next up on our studio tour is the craft space! While far from complete, we want to show you what we’ve done so far. It’s getting cozier by the day! You may have seen the initial improvements we made to our craft space here, with our DreamBox. We’re still crazy about it. But to add to the pleasure of being in the studio, we also recently purchased two things: an AMAZING blue velvet couch from Eternity Modern, and a remote control table with a tabletop that moves up and down from Flexispot. You wouldn’t believe how convenient this is for photo and video shoots!!

We now have a more organized, efficient space that opens up the possibilities. We’re finally versatile enough to host meetings. All we have to do is push two of the large craft tables together and we’re set. Speaking of, we had a veeeery important meeting the other day, the subject of which is yet to be revealed (wink, wink).

Below is our amazing new remote control table from Flexispot (bamboo tabletop on the right):

Here’s that show-stopping Eternity Modern couch:

Blinds

We were ecstatic to add the blinds to this studio tour. I don’t know if you noticed in the pictures of the office makeover, but for a long time, we were literally using paper as a makeshift version of blinds. NOT ideal. We knew we needed something much better, and that’s where blinds.com came into the picture! They replaced our sad, makeshift paper blinds with some classy new blinds, complete with blackout shades. This was a dream come true for Jane–good lighting makes all the difference in whether or not a photo turns out! We installed the blinds in all the basement rooms–Jane and Jenny’s office, the main crafting space, and the shipping room. Blinds are something that need to be functional as well as pretty, and we loved how our blinds turned out.

Here they are in the craft room:

Here’s the window next to Jane’s desk:

And here’s the shipping room!

Bathroom

Now let me preface this portion of our studio tour with a caveat–the bathroom is far from complete. We still want to add wallpaper and so much more! But we did get the flooring in (white tile with a FUN pop of blue grout!), along with the basic necessities, and a touch of color and pattern with this DIY shower curtain. We can’t wait to show you the rest when it’s ready! Hint: the final result includes our very own custom pattern made into Spoonflower wallpaper and much more. Stay tuned!

curtain with floor

Stay Tuned for Much More

That’s it for the studio tour today! Friends, think about it. The combo of pink epoxy flooring, blue velvet, and fresh new blinds?! There’s a reason we’re excited. It’s already looking soo good and we’re far from done! We are beyond ecstatic about all the plans we have in the works. If you hadn’t noticed, the craft room lacks wallpaper. We’re thinking custom wallpaper designed by The House that Lars Built. And the kitchenette?!?! We have BIG plans. We don’t want to spoil the surprise, but this year is going to be the year where things come together in BIG ways. We’re so excited!! Who’s with us?!

DIY Paper Orchids

DIY Paper Orchid

Since it’s a fresh, new year, we were ready for a fresh, new flower. We wanted something delicate and beautiful to combat the winter, something original and different from what we’ve done before. Hence, the birth of the DIY paper orchid! Instead of using our tried and true crepe paper, we went for a softer, more delicate look, imbuing traditional printer paper with a delicate, watercolor-like texture. We love the way the paper gently curls and drapes like the petals of real orchids, and the watercolor texture is a lovely little touch. Ready to learn how to make your own?

How to Make a DIY Paper Orchid

Making your own DIY paper orchid is surprisingly simple! Here’s how to do it:

Prepping the Paper

  1. First, download the paper orchid templates found here.
  2. Using the Cricut maker or scissors, cut out the templates on regular white 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper. Feel free to cut out as many as you’d like–we used three small full bloom, six large full bloom, and eight buds. For the leaves, we used one small, one medium, and two large.
  3. Now it’s time to glue the petals. This will give them a bit more shape. To do this, take a petal. It should have a small cut in the bottom near the base. Gently move the side with the stem over on top of the other side. Secure with a dab of hot glue. It should now gently cup in the center.
  4. Repeat step 3 for the rest of the petals and buds.

Prepping Your Workstation

  1. Prepping your workstation will help make the latter steps much easier. You’ll want a jar of water to water down the paint and rinse out brushes. You’ll also want paint brushes (one with a wide, rounded tip works well for this), a paint palette or plate for your paints, and some paper towels to paint on. This is a bit messy so you’ll need them. We especially liked paper towels because they’re more absorbent than newspaper or some other protective covering for your surface.
  2. Once your work station is prepped, you can start painting!

Painting the Pieces

Now you’re ready to paint! You can use a variety of methods for this–watercolor, gouache, and acrylic paint all work well.

  1. Take a petal and wet the entire front (curved inside) with water. This makes for a smooth texture in your gradient.
  2. Then, using a watered down color of your choice for the petal (we used pink), paint a gradient. Start with more concentrated color at the bottom and more watered down at the edges of the petal.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for all petals.
  4. For the two tone petals, repeat steps 1 and 2, but paint one color in the center at the base (we used yellow), and one color at the tips (we used pink), blending them smoothly where they meet. Use the same process for the buds, except paint the side that bumps out, rather than the inside.

It will take a bit for the petals to dry, so you can do the other steps while you wait.

The Stamens

  1. For the stamens, first use needle nose pliers to bend a small loop in the top of a piece of 24 gauge wire.
  2. Now, wrap a thin strip of crepe paper around the loop. Bundle it up so it’s nice and neat and secure with a dab of hot glue.
  3. Next, paint the stamen a color of your choice (we used yellow).
  4. Let the paint dry before adding it to the flowers!

The Leaves

  1. First, using your Cricut maker or scissors, cut out the leaf templates on green card stock paper.
  2. Next, fold the leaves in half. If you’d like, you can score the back of the leaf before folding–this makes folding much easier!
  3. After folding, flip the leaves over and hot glue a piece of 18 gauge wire along the fold line. Extend three or so inches of the wire past the base of the leaves so you can bind the leaves together later.
  4. If you’d like to cover up the wire, you can hot glue a strip of floral tape on top. Then flip the leaves back over.
  5. Now wrap all your leaves together with floral wire. Put the smaller leaves on top, and bigger ones on bottom. Use our photos as a reference to see leaf placement.

The Buds

  1. For the buds on your paper orchids, bundle up a little ball of pink crepe paper so it’s nice and neat, then secure with hot glue.
  2. Once the bud petals are dry, you can secure them to the pink ball with a dab of hot glue. Use three petals per bud, pressing them into the shape of the ball as you go. You can also leave some of the buds partially open, like we did.
  3. After the bud petals are glued on, stick a piece of 18 gauge wire into the bottom of the bud a few centimeters and secure with a dab of hot glue.
  4. Now wrap a thin layer of floral tape around the wire.

Assembling the Flowers

Now that the petals are dry, you can assemble your paper orchids!

  1. First, hot glue the two large petals to the three petal piece, using the step photos as a reference. Wrap the bottom strips around to the back and secure with a dab of hot glue.
  2. Next, hot glue the little triangle piece to the scalloped petal, with the point towards the scallops.
  3. Now, hot glue the scalloped petal onto the main flower with the other petals. Again, wrap the extra strip of paper around to the back and secure with a dab of hot glue. Note: if you’d like, you can curl the petals around your finger to contour them to the shape of a real orchid petal.
  4. The stamen is next! Take the end of the wire and poke it through the center of your paper orchid. Pull it all the way through so the stamen is pulled up snugly against the petals.
  5. Flip the flower over and put a dab of hot glue at the site where the wire pokes through.
  6. Once the hot glue is dry, wrap a layer of floral tape around the wire, making sure it’s butted up tightly against the flower’s back.
  7. Using our photos as a reference, secure all the flowers and buds together with floral tape. Start with the smallest buds, then partially opened buds, then small flowers, then large. We separated our flowers into two separate stalks. You can do as many or few as you’d like!
  8. Make sure to leave a large length of sturdy wire to work with at the end for the stem, wrapping the whole thing in a layer of floral tape.

Finishing Touches

Now all that’s left is to put your paper orchid pieces together in a pot!

  1. Place a thick disc of floral foam into your flower pot. The foam disc should fit snugly in your pot.
  2. Poke the orchid branches into the foam, making sure it’s deep enough that they won’t tip over.
  3. Next, poke the leaves in so they’re close to the stems of the orchids.
  4. Arrange the stalks and leaves by bending the wires until you’re happy with the arrangement.
  5. Voilà! You’ve just made your own DIY paper orchid!

Styling Your DIY Paper Orchid

The wonderful thing about all paper flowers, in my opinion, is that they look great pretty much anywhere. And since they’re paper, you don’t have to worry about perfect lighting to keep them happy. Stick them on your desk while you’re working, put them in the bathroom for a pop of color, next to your bedside table, or on the mantle. Honestly, these little beauties are so lovely they’ll do justice to any room or situation. We would love to see what you do with yours! Let us know in the comments.

More Inspiration

If you loved this tutorial on DIY paper orchids, you’ll want to check out our other paper flower tutorials. We have so many! Try our DIY Paper Hollyhocks, or these Poppies, Peonies, and Posies. Have a spring or summer wedding coming up? Here, here and here are some beautiful bouquets to choose from. You can also check out this holiday flower roundup if you’re interested!