Before and afters of our home renovation

Before and afters of our home renovation

There’s so much to say about the experience of doing a TV show not to mention the experiencing of renovating and the natural conflicts of each. I’ll get to all of that eventually, BUT, we are going to start with the specific rooms we worked on and some basic info about each one along with all the before and afters of our home renovation.

Like I mentioned, I’ll be addressing each room in greater depth in subsequent posts along with our experience of working on the show. I’ll also get into more detail about some of the themes we talk about on the show. If you have anything you’d like me to address, please let me know! I’m doing a Q and A on Instagram tomorrow so if you have specific questions, find me there!

Specs:

  • Built in 1992
  • 4550 sq foot
  • Federalist Revival home
  • 8 bedrooms/5 bathrooms
  • .25 acres (I think? Ha! Can’t remember)

Details:

  • We filmed from February 2022 – July 2022
  • We moved in September of 2020

Brittany and Paul’s Checklist:

  1. Exterior. Improve the exterior with a Scandinavian-inspired plaster-effect to cover the brick and new landscaping
  2. Kitchen. Take our phase 1 kitchen to the next level by honoring Paul’s Scandinavian background and my family history
  3. Bedroom. Make a cozy Scandinavian folk-inspired bedroom for Jasper, my 4 year old son
  4. Staircase. Add a nod to my family history and our Scandinavian roots with a new staircase
  5. Kitchenette. Create a whimsical kitchenette to our studio in the basement

The exterior

First up, the exterior. It was actually the last thing we worked on and possibly the most intensive, although that is very debatable depending on who you ask. To be honest, I wasn’t sure we were going to do anything at all to it because it was too much for my overwhelmed brain to handle with so many other big things going on (and that’s including running a business and two kids). Here’s what we started with:

Before and afters of the exterior renovation

Door makeover

In the fall of 2021 we gave the front door a little makeover (you can see the full post here–it didn’t go according to plan ;/), which you can see here (still my favorite fall display to date!).

The exterior plan

The house is stately but plain and I’d like it to be more true to the historical style of a Federalist Revival home although we are still considering taking it in a more Danish or English direction–still haven’t decided. In my dream world and budget, I would be doing SO much more to the exterior including raising the pitch of the roof along with a new roof, adding dormer windows, replacing the windows, adding in a portico, new lighting, a new garage door, a beautiful garden, but we had to go with what we had time and budget for, which was the following:

  1. Paint the facade
  2. Switch out the address numbers
  3. Add in some more landscaping to the front and walkway
  4. Expand the width of the walkway
  5. New mailbox

After photos of the exterior of our house

Ta da! Of course, these photos represent so much more than a simple ta-da, but a ta-da will have to do for now until I go into more detail about it.

Landscaping for our drought conditions

Utah is a desert climate and we’re in a huge drought so I chose a landscaping plan that was more drought tolerant than what we currently have. The house had existing grass and the existing sycamore trees and some fir and apple trees in the back. While we’d eventually like to move away from grass because it requires so much water (SO MUCH WATER!!!), we had to work with it for now until we can do more with it at some point. We worked with Monrovia on the new plan and they were wonderful! I’ll get to what we did and how we came up with our plan in a follow-up post about our garden (you can read this post for now!)

brick house painted white

Painting our red brick white

I’m going to guess that painting our brick house might be controversial choice. As you might see in your own city, it is super trendy right now to go white because of the Farmhouse trend though it is not why we chose it. I certainly think there can be beauty in red brick, but our red/yellow brick was 90s, not historic, and had funny “worms” in them as –a funny added texture probably made with nails or something. The colors weren’t great (but maybe they photograph ok?). We really wanted to take it in a more old Danish or even old English direction.

We found this great German company that has a US presence called Keim. They make mineral silicate paint that is meant for masonry. We also used their amazing primer that has a rough texture to it that gives a very authentic European feel. I’m in LOVE with it. Again, I’ll do a follow-up post about it along with a tutorial. I’ve already received many people asking about the product who see it in person.

The Kitchen

Ok! Onto the kitchen, which you can read about it more detail here. I had already begun a direction on the kitchen before we agreed to do the show so I decided to keep on going with it even though I knew there could be problems with the supply chain (spoiler: there was!).

Here’s what the kitchen was like when we first moved into the house. The kitchen is everything past the doors on the left and right side.

Before photos of the kitchen

before and after kitchen

If it wasn’t obvious: there was no kitchen. FUN!!!!!! (sarcasm).

Phase 1 kitchen

We put in a VERY basic kitchen when we moved in so we could take our time on the design afterwards. The previous owners had left a refrigerator and oven range in the garage so we had our basic needs met there. We put in unfinished wood lower cabinets from Home Depot and two Ikea islands together and voila! Ha! You can read more about this phase 1 kitchen here. I didn’t ever bother finishing it up because I was hoping to get to Phase 2 pretty quickly.

At one point we painted the cabinets to add a little bit more interest.

Brittany is wearing a blue dress and holding a baby. She's standing in front of a yellow

But as you can see, we didn’t even finish!

The Kitchen Plan

I wanted our kitchen to have an old world quality to it–like it was original to an old European kitchen, but also have color and a nod to our Scandinavian heritage. Here’s what we set out to do to achieve that:

  1. Replace the cabinets
  2. New appliances
  3. New lighting
  4. More storage
  5. Make it a gathering place

After photos of our Kitchen

Here it is!

We worked with Cliq Studios on the cabinets. I wanted it to feel like a it was working kitchen in a stately manor so we planned on utilizing the whole room by placing cabinets on each wall. We took advantage of the window wall by placing a floor to ceiling pantry, a bench, and some desk top drawers. I love how it feels like it uses the full space completely while also maintaining sufficient room for passing into the next rooms, which are the laundry and pantry and access to the garage.

With another budget and time, I would want to switch the whole kitchen layout around by placing the sink by the window, but I wasn’t ready to spend the additional money so we worked with the existing layout.

Custom work table by Beck and Cap

Do you see that amazing work table/kitchen island? Oh, it’s a beauty! We worked with Janna and Tanner of Beck and Cap on it and it’s unbelievable. It’s completely custom and they are a dream to work with. They even surprised us with that wood carving on the end as a nod to our Scandinavian heritage! More details about that soon along with an interview with this powerhouse duo.

Bringing in antique items

My friend, Meta Coleman is an amazing interior designer and friend (you can read more about her here and here). I consulted with her on our kitchen and she found some old pieces for us to use in our kitchen like this plate rack, which I think ties in that Old World quality we were going for.

We worked with Signature Hardware on the beautiful polished brass faucet, clay farmhouse sink, and hardware and I love them all! I’ll be talking more about it all soon!

We also worked with Forte on a panel-ready dishwasher. I thought the price point is great for panel-ready and it works great!

Kitchen refrigerator to look like an old cabinet

Meta also gave me the idea to transform a panel-ready fridge into an old Scandinavian wedding cabinet. And you’ll never guess who built it…OUR NANNY! Pat becomes Handy Nanny on the show and saves the day multiple times. She built this by herself–she’s incredible. I’ll be talking a lot about her!

Wood kitchen hood

I was looking for a ready made hood and I found a great company that ONLY does hoods called Hoodsly. They just happened to have the perfect size hood for our space in stock, which was so so helpful. I love the sloped shape and how it tones down the wallpaper. I think we might be doing a glow-up to it soon so stay tuned!

Kitchen tile/wallpaper

The kitchen wallpaper/tile situation was a major situation. It went through various plans, but ultimately I had to go with something that I could get done in the short amount of time that we had. I originally wanted a custom tile, but that turned into a lot of money AND time and plus the sample came back not as expected.

I ended up finding an antique tile I loved from Portugal. Jane took a picture of it and Garet turned it into a wallpaper on Spoonflower. It’s got a sheen on it which makes it easy to clean up as a backsplash.

Marble Countertops

However, before the tile/wallpaper was settled on, I had already chosen the veiny marble countertops. I don’t like the way the two work together, but there was no time to change either of them so here they are with plans for a different blacksplash.

Vintage lighting

Meta is a big proponent of vintage lighting for its uniqueness and patina. She directed us to these beautiful French opaline fixtures, which are dainty and gorgeous. I got mine from here, but you have to check back to see what she has in stock.

Antique Looking Kitchen Appliances

We had a great 48″ oven range before our renovation, but I knew we didn’t need something so big and commercial. Instead, I wanted something that would feel and look antique. We worked with Ilve on a duel oven range. The Graphite Matte was in stock so that’s the one we went with in order to make sure we got it in time. But even though we did it out of necessity, I still would have chosen it (a la Claude Monet’s oven range!). It’s a beauty with all those brass details and we love how it works.

before and after kitchen

Notes:

You will probably notice some things ostensibly missing like hardware on the cabinets and that’s because I’m planning on changing a few things and I didn’t want to drill holes into the cabinets before I knew what handles I was going to use. More soon!

In another budget and time, I would want to switch the whole kitchen around completely by placing the sink by the window, but I wasn’t ready to spend that so we worked with the existing layout.

If you want to read more about the kitchen, you can read about it here.

Jasper’s Bedroom

Moving onto Jasper’s bedroom. It’s so funny because as I type I’m remembering all the drama for each room and it’s giving me a bit of PTSD…Thankfully now I only remember the end results!

This is what Jasper’s room looked like when we moved in. Much like the rest of the rooms, right? Nothing in it!

Before photos of Jasper’s Bedroom

A game of Musical Chairs

The secret is that Jasper’s room was actually in the room next door but because of where the closet door was situated, the bed we had in mind wouldn’t fit so we had to switch rooms with Paul’s office. A few months prior, we had made him this upholstered circus-inspired bed, which I still love, but you can see it was completely white. 

Paul’s office on the other hand, had already acted as Felix’s nursery so it was painted green. This is the room that we were moving Jasper’s bedroom into.

Jasper’s bedroom plan

  • Switch Paul’s office and Jasper’s bedroom
  • Build a built-in Scandinavian-inspired bed
  • Wallpaper the room and paint
  • Replace lighting

After photos of Jasper’s Bedroom

Honestly, this is my favorite room in the house right now. I nap in it 100% of the time when I can and will continue to do so. It’s THE coziest place in the whole world. We may start renting it out ;).

Wanna hear another secret? Handy Nanny Pat strikes again on the bed! Now, mind you, I was actively seeking people out to make these custom projects for me, but there was a labor shortage in construction (not sure if there still is because I have taken a LONG break from all home projects) and I couldn’t find anyone in the time frame that I needed. Pat took a look at it and said “I can do it”. Ha! Honestly, I didn’t even doubt it even though she hadn’t made anything like it before.

in with the old Brittany Jepsen room reveal

Custom built-in niche bed

It turned out to be a more intense project than we were both anticipating (6 weeks!) but she completely NAILED it! She even created that adorable puppet-theater style side window along with the custom details because she is from another planet–unreal. in with the old Brittany Jepsen room reveal

Built in bedroom furniture

I found a wood bench on Facebook Marketplace that we painted the same color so it felt like it was built-in too. We added on a pad with this fabric from Spoonflower. It was perfect for the maritime theme that we settled on.

in with the old Brittany Jepsen room reveal

I found this drawer at an antique warehouse in Salt Lake City and I love how beautiful that wood if not a little bit weird with the adornment.

Wallpaper and fabrics

We worked with Spoonflower on ALL the wallpaper and fabrics in Jasper’s room and I’m in love with it all! The wallpaper is by Danika Herrick, who was kind enough to put her star design into a new color for me (that’s one good bonus to Spoonflower–a lot of artists will take on custom work!). in with the old Brittany Jepsen room reveal

Custom curtains for the bed

I wanted the bed to have a Swedish quality and a big gingham brought some whimsy and fulfilled the job. Meta had introduced me to a similar woven but it was going to cost me thousands of dollars. I ended up finding a very similar color and size on Spoonflower, hallelujah so Carrie on our team DIY’d some curtains.

I also found some sheets and a duvet cover in a similar color in a small stripe on Spoonflower, which I thought was nice, though I’m considering switching everything out for the same large yellow plaid.

in with the old Brittany Jepsen room reveal

Mural in a built-in Bed

NOW, let’s talk about that mural, huh? This was Paul’s idea! He thought it would be cool to add one in and I’m so glad he thought of it. I knew exactly where to turn to–Rebel Walls. They are a Swedish company that has a ton of kind of wild wallpapers and murals. I found this one called Safe Haven, which was perfect and added in a deepness to it. I love that it took it in a maritime direction. More about that soon!

before and after child's bedroom

The staircase

Before we ever bought our house, we dreamed about owning it. We would walk by it on walks and I’d dream about what I’d do to it. After awhile I realized that it was vacant so I snapped some pictures from the window. This is what the staircase looked like before we bought it.

And this is what it looked like once we bought it. 

Removing the banister

The banister was removed once we replaced the flooring but I didn’t know what direction I was taking the rest of the house at the time so I didn’t immediately put one in. I knew it was a big hazard for my 2 year old, but somehow, thankfully, we never had a problem with it. Once Felix started crawling we had to act FAST and it coincided with the timing of the show.

We had worked with Stuga on all the wood floors, which you can read about here. We have loved them!

The Staircase Plan

  • Add in a banister
  • Add some Scandinavian folk personality!

After photos of the staircase

Add this to my list of projects that I make as complicated as possible. Ha! But I LOVE the heart that went into it. You can see it all on the show, but it really was a labor of love with so many people involved.

flat saw banister

Flat Sawn Balusters

I went with traditional flat sawn balusters. The problem was, to my knowledge, you can’t just buy them anywhere, at least not in the shape I wanted. So, my generous and talented brother-in-law, Tanner Boyes of Specter Design, took on the project. He worked with his good friend Quinn Peterson, who is also very handy and talented. Together they cut out all the shapes and made the newel posts. I’ll talk more about this process in a follow-up post.

But I wanted something a bit more to go with the shape. Cue Jill DeHaan, an amazing artist and illustrator. I noticed some of the wood carvings she was doing on her Instagram  and I knew it was the perfect way to add more meaning and depth into our home. I LOVE how they turned out. Again, more about that soon! There’s a lot to tell!

flat saw banister

The office kitchenette

The kitchenette in the basement for my office was one room that didn’t make it into the edit. Actually, we filmed a whole storyline about my team and some projects we were working on that didn’t make it into the edit, which I’m disappointed about, but I’ll tell you anyway!

Besides putting epoxy on the floors and dressing up one room with wallpaper, we hadn’t done too much to the office in the basement. I was getting antsy to make the space totally Lars. I started with the kitchenette because everyone really needed a place to put their food.

Before photos of the kitchenette of our home renovation

Here are some of the before photos of the kitchenette. It’s a three walled space about 8′ wide that you pass by like a hallway into the main crafting room.

Please notice the lovely lighting 😉

The kitchenette plan

  • Add in a kitchenette–sink, fridge, counter, no dishwasher needed
  • Add in shelves to store our props
  • Add in a backsplash
  • Add in seating
  • Replace lighting

After photos of the office kitchenette

colorful tile

Modern kitchen cabinets

I LOVE how the kitchenette turned out! I was inspired by a retro frosted layered cake with piped icing but in a more modern, playful way. Once again, we worked with Cliq Studios on the cabinets in a more modern silhouette. I didn’t add in hardware because I was hoping to create our own hardware, but I couldn’t get it done in time ;).

fireclay tile

Frosting-inspired tile

We worked with Fireclay Tile to create the frosting-inspired tiled backsplash and added in some frosting/scalloped shelves to complete the look. My friends Julia and Evelyn Bigelow made the matching cake–are you kidding me/! So cute!

colorful tile

Kitchen accessories

We worked with Signature Hardware on the brass bar faucet, which I adore, along with the sink.

Sitting area

We didn’t get time for the custom bench that I was hoping to put on the opposite wall so we added in some chairs and table for the time being, but I’m hoping to do it soon!

colorful tile

Before and Afters of our home renovation

OK! That’s all the before and afters of our our home renovation. Like I mentioned, I’ll be sharing more detailed posts of each room so hopefully that will answer some questions, but in the meantime, feel free to leave your questions in the comments section. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Sources

Exterior: Masonry Primer and paint from Keim-USA, address numbers from Drop Cap Studio, all landscaping from Monrovia

Kitchen: Cliq Studios for cabinets, Tile wallpaper from our wallpaper shop, Ilve USA oven range in graphite and brass, Hood from Hoodsly, Dishwasher by Forte, Fridge by Fisher Paykel, bench cushion fabric from Spoonflower, calacatta viola countertops, sconces from Shiny Things London, Work table by Beck and Cap, Faucet from Signature Hardware, sink from Signature Hardware, fridge hardware from Signature Hardware

Jasper’s Bedroom: Star wallpaper from Spoonflower, Blue Paint, Yellow Paint is Benjamin Moore, bed duvet and sheets from Spoonflower, Yellow check curtains from Spoonflower, Mattress, bench fabric from Spoonflower, Mural wallpaper from Rebel Walls, Citra rug from Dash and Albert

Staircase: Floral wallpaper from Sandberg Wallpaper, staircase runner from Textile Trunk, paint by Benjamin Moore

Kitchenette: Cliq Studios for cabinets, faucet and sink from Signature Hardware, tile from Fireclay Tile, Scallop trim, crown moulding, pink dishes from Year and Day

Other spaces of the other spaces

You can read about the kitchen here
You can read more about our antique-inspired oven range here
Read more about the kitchen hood here

In With the Old is on Magnolia Network available to stream on Discovery+ or HBO Max.

DIY Roman Shades

How to Make Your Own DIY Roman Shades

It turns out making your own DIY Roman shades isn’t as tricky as it seems. All you need are the materials listed above and a little bit of time and you’re all set. Here’s what to do:

Cutting the Wood Pieces

  1. First, cut the 1” x 2” so it’s a little less than the window width. It should fit snugly inside the window.
  2. Now, cut the wooden dowels to match.

Prepping your Fabric

  1. First things first: iron out your fabric so it’s nice and flat. What you don’t want are wrinkly Roman shades. Note: washing is optional, since you probably won’t be taking these babies down once they’re screwed into place.
  2. Next, cut the front and lining pieces down to size. Dimensions of the front fabric should be 3 inches wider and 5 inches longer than the window dimensions. The lining should be the same height as the front fabric and one inch shorter than the window width.

Sewing your Fabric Pieces Together

  1. It’s time to sew the front and lining pieces together. For this, line up one long side of the two fabric pieces, right sides together.
  2. Next, sew it in place using a ½” seam allowance.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 for the other side. Note that the lining is narrower than the front, so you’ll have to let the front fabric bunch a bit to line up both sides.
  4. Now smooth out the two pieces of fabric so the lining is centered on the front piece. You should have an inch of the front fabric on either side of the lining. 
  5. Next, pin the bottom all along the width and sew in place.
  6. Center the lining along the top edge, as you did in step 4 for the bottom. Now, fold the seam allowance so it faces out on either side and pin in place all along the length. 

Dowel Measurements

  1. For this, you’ll need to do a little math (it’s simple, don’t worry)!
  2. First, decide how big the gaps between dowels will be. (It will vary depending on how tall the window is, but usually 8-12 inches works well–we used 12).
  3. Next, calculate the excess below the lowest dowel. This one should be ½ the distance between dowels plus 1 inch. So since we have 12 inch gaps, the excess should be 7 inches (half of 12=6+1=7).
  4. Finally, the top measurement. This doesn’t have to be quite as exact, but it just needs to be a bit bigger than the distance between dowels. (For us, that means bigger than 12 inches.
  5. Now, with the wrong side of the front fabric piece face up, draw in the first dowel’s placement. Remember, you’ll have a seam allowance and hem at the bottom, so add 3 inches to the bottom gap (2 ½ inch hem + ½” seam allowance). Our total is now 10 (7+3).
  6. At this point, you can go ahead and measure the placement of the other dowels, using the first dowel as a reference.

Adding the Dowel Casing

  1. To make casings for your dowels, cut 2” strips that are the same width as the lining. Cut out one strip per dowel.
  2. Fold each strip in half, iron, and sew the open side length closed with a ¼” seam allowance.
  3. Next, cut your stitch witchery to the length of the strips. Cut one strip of stitch witchery for each strip.
  4. Now lay your stitch witchery in place where you marked the dowels, with the sewn strips lined up on top. Iron in place so the strips stick.
  5. After the strips are adhered, slide the dowels into place.
  6. Now you can take out the pins holding the side seam allowances in place. Clip the bottom corners and carefully flip the fabric pieces and dowels so the shade is right side out. If you need, use scissors to help turn the corners. Adjust and straighten everything and iron the seams so everything is nice and flat. 
  7. With the shade right side out, hem up the bottom (end with the finished seam) 2 ½”. Press and sew in place. If you don’t want your stitches to show on the front, you can hand stitch it in place or use a blind hem stitch on the machine.

Measuring the Ring Placement

  1. You’ll add three rings to each dowel: one on each end, and one in the center.
  2. To calculate the placement, put the cord lock and pulley together so they overlap one screwhole. Measure from the cord lock base to the spot where the cord comes up through the pulley (Roughly 2 ½”).
  3. Now, mark 2 ½” in from the end of each dowel. A ring will go in each of these spots you’ve just marked.
  4. For the middle rings, simply measure halfway between each dowel and mark. If you have 4 dowels, you should now have 12 ring markings total.

Sewing the Rings in Place

  1. Now hand sew the rings in place according to the markings. To do this, bind the thread around the dowel a few times without catching the front fabric piece with the needle. On the third or fourth time around, catch the front fabric piece in the needle. Then poke the needle back through to the back side, tie off your thread and trim.
  2. Repeat step 1 for each of the rings. Note: make sure the rings are all facing the same direction, with openings pointing downwards so the string can be threaded through seamlessly.

Attaching the Roman Shades Hardware

  1. To attach the hardware for the roman shades, you’ll first need to mark where it needs to go. To do this, take the wooden board and line it up with the top row of rings you just sewed. Mark the placement of the rings on the board with a pencil.
  2. Now, take one of the three pulleys and line the right side of it up with the right ring marking on the board. Mark the two screw holes.
  3. Repeat step two for the middle pulley.
  4. Now for the far left side. This one will be a little different, since you’ll need both the cord lock and a pulley this time. For this, line up the cord lock with the left edge of the board with the straight edge on the inside (the diagonal edge should be on the outside, closest to the edge of the board). Mark the screw holes. 
  5. Next, line up the last pulley with the cord lock so they share a screw hole. Mark the pulley placement.
  6. All that’s left now is to drill pilot holes, then screw the pulleys in place where you marked them.
  7. In addition to the holes for the pulleys and cord lock, you’ll also want to drill two or three more holes all the way through the board. These will be used to screw the roman shades into place on the window.
  8. Now, with all hardware in place, it’s time to staple the board to the fabric. Measure up from the bottom of the shade and mark the window height. Line up the board with the window height markings, then wrap the excess over the board and staple in place. 

Adding the Cording

You’re almost done with your roman shades! Just a few more steps to go. Here’s what’s left:

  1. The last thing to do is to add the cording and tidy things up.
  2. To add the cording, feed the cording up through the rings in the far right row. Tip: to thread the cord through a bit easier, wrap a bit of tape around the end so it doesn’t fray.
  3. When you get to the pulley at the top, feed the cord through the right side and pop it out the opposite side. Repeat for the middle pulley. 
  4. When you get to the far left pulley and cord lock, thread the cord through the pulley as with the other two. Then thread it down the cord lock from the top and pull it through when it pops out the bottom. Pull the cord so there are a few feet of slack. Then clip the cord back by the first ring you started with and tie a knot to secure it to the ring.
  5. Repeat the same process for the remaining two cords. Note: there will be three separate slots to slip the cord through. Make sure each separate cord goes through a different slot, individually.
  6. Once all cords have been threaded through, trim them to the finished length you like. Now, thread them through the pull end, knot them all together, and hide the knot inside of the pull end.
  7. Pull the cord to test out your shades and make sure they’re working right and voila! Your roman shades are finished!

More Inspiration

Loved this roman shades tutorial and want more like it? Check out our other home renovation projects! Start with everything we did to our house in one year, and an exclusive studio tour. You also won’t want to miss our laundry room makeover with delta faucet, guest bedroom remodel, bathroom remodel, and new closet system. Oh, and if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out my craft room in the living by design virtual showhouse! Looking to decorate your home? Stop by our shop and see what suits your fancy!

Halloween Garland

Paper Halloween Garland

When it comes to holiday decorations, garlands are one of my favorites. In my opinion, there’s no holiday that couldn’t use a simple garland to spice things up. Especially Halloween! Which is why this Halloween garland is a new favorite of mine. It’s equal parts spooky and cute, which is just what I need from my Halloween decor. Based on our Friendsgiving and Valentine’s Day garlands, this one brings a spooktacular twist to make you feel like Halloween is already in the air. All you need to make this simple project is a Cricut Maker or other die cut machine, some paper, and string/sewing machine thread.

How to Make Your Own Halloween Garland

To make your own Halloween garland, follow these simple instructions:

  1. First, download the Halloween garland template found here.
  2. Next, upload the SVG file into the cricut design space. 
  3. Now use your Cricut Maker to cut out each of the shapes provided in the template. We cut roughly 50-80 of each shape. For color palette inspo, see our Halloween garland photos (we used shades of orange, pink, and a little pop of black).
  4. Once your shapes are cut out, you can sew them together into a long strand with your sewing machine! If you don’t have a sewing machine handy, you can also use an embroidery needle and thread some string through by hand. Make one strand per shape (or more, if desired!)
  5. When you’re done making each strand, hang them up and admire! Done!

You can hang this garland pretty much anywhere and it will look amazing. My personal favorite is over a tablescape for some show stopping party decor. I also love a good mantle garland. But the options don’t end there! Try hanging it along the banister, draping it over archways or doorways, or around windows. 

What are you going to do with your Halloween garland? Drop your ideas below!

More Inspiration

What did you think of our Halloween garland? Let us know in the comments! If you loved this garland, chances are you might be interested in some of our other Halloween garlands, like this DIY vampire teeth garland and DIY toilet paper roll candy garland. You might be interested in our paper garlands for other holidays, too, like our Friendsgiving or Valentine’s Day garlands. Also, check out the options in our Halloween shop!

Halloween Pumpkin Ideas

Pumpkin Decor for Halloween

As much as I love the classic carved Jack-O-Lantern tradition, it’s definitely not the only option out there when it comes to Halloween-themed pumpkins. Plus, it’s nice to avoid covering your hands in pumpkin goop every now and then. Here’s our list of classic Halloween pumpkin ideas to get you thinking about Halloween. It’s only a month away, after all! 

Painted Mini Pumpkins

First on our list of Halloween pumpkin ideas are our Painted Mini Pumpkins. Inspired by our debut Casetify phone case collection, these are at the top of our list. We couldn’t get enough of those lovely phone case designs, designed by our fabulous designer, Garet, so we decided to paint them on some pumpkins. It turns out they look pretty cute on pumpkins, too!

checkerboard painted pumpkin

Pastel Pumpkin Faces

Another adorable Halloween pumpkin idea, especially if you’re looking for another painting option, are these Pastel Pumpkin Faces. No need to carve faces here! These ones are delicate and lovely, featuring pastel hues of all kinds. They remind me of china dolls–I just want to pinch their cheeks, they’re so cute!

4 Ways to Make Succulent Pumpkins

If you’re looking for a more plant-based pumpkin idea, try these 4 Ways to Make Succulent Pumpkins. Not only are they adorable, but they’re eco-friendly and biodegradable! Can’t get much better than that.

DIY Preserved Flower Pumpkins

These DIY Preserved Flower Pumpkins are another great plant-based pumpkin idea. Classy and elegant, once you see these beauties you’ll be rushing to add them to your annual Halloween porch decor!

DIY Rainbow Pumpkins

It wouldn’t be Lars without a good rainbow pumpkin. These DIY Rainbow Pumpkins are one of my favorite Halloween pumpkin ideas! They’re a classic, and one that deserves repeating year after year. Can’t pick a color? You don’t have to! Paint these pumpkins every color of the rainbow and brighten your porch.

Rainbow pumpkins arranged on a porch.

DIY Rainbow Pumpkin Arch

A variation on our DIY rainbow pumpkins, this DIY Rainbow Pumpkin Arch is another classic. It’s such a show stopper and the perfect decoration to show guests where you live when they’re trying to find your Halloween party! Honestly, they’re cute enough to keep up all year long. In fact, it turns out you can, since they won’t rot!

Rainbow Paper Pumpkin Tablescape

I’m all about the rainbow theme, and this Rainbow Paper Pumpkin Tablescape is particularly lovely. Pair it with the rainbow arch or rainbow pumpkins and you have yourself a rainbow pumpkin-themed Halloween bash to be remembered!

Printable Pumpkin Crown

It turns out these Halloween pumpkin ideas don’t have to be decorations for your porch only. This Printable Pumpkin Crown is the perfect little accessory to add to your wardrobe. If you’re lacking a costume and need one last minute, you can easily don this crown and call it good!

Printable Pumpkin Crown

Pumpkin Patch Car and Spider Web Decals

These Pumpkin Patch Car and Spider Web Decals are another amazing and unique Halloween decor idea. It’s simple, but is the perfect way to add some Halloween cheer to your car.

Pumpkin Patch Car

Pumpkin Leaf Favors

If you’re having a Halloween party, these Pumpkin Leaf Favors are just the thing. Use them as party favors, thank you notes, or simply Halloween decor–they can do it all!

pumpkin favors

DIY Pumpkin Balloon Arch Backdrop

Last but definitely not least is our DIY Pumpkin Balloon Arch Backdrop. You know I love a good balloon arch, and Halloween seems like one of the best holidays for just that. Festive, eye-catching, and fun, it’s the perfect way to incorporate pumpkins without having to get messy and carve.

We hope these Halloween pumpkin ideas have given you the Halloween bug. Happy decorating!

More Inspiration

Loved all of these Halloween pumpkin ideas and want more? Stay tuned! We’ll be releasing a brand new pumpkin tutorial in a few weeks, so keep an eye out! And in the meantime, check out our Halloween shop for lots of ideas.

Punch Needle Wall Art

Punch Needle Art

We’ve been wanting to do a punch needle project for a while now. Then, when our project manager, Jenny, started here at Lars last winter, it was as if the stars had aligned. She has a side tufting business and it inspired us to finally try it out! (You can check out her business, Thread Haven, here–it’s honestly incredible). Jenny has a fancy tufting gun, which was a little advanced for us, so we decided to go with the more beginner-friendly, handheld version: a punch needle.

Punch needling is surprisingly easy, once you get all the right supplies! The way ours turned out was so amazing. Jenny helped demystify punch needling for us and made the most adorable punch needle wall art featuring our retro floral motif. It’s the perfect addition to any wall, and will help to make your dorm (or wherever you live, not limited to dorms!) that much more cozy. 

Make Your Own Punch Needle Wall Art

Here’s all you need to know make your own punch needle wall art:

Supplies

Let me explain the supplies, so you know exactly what you’re getting into:

  1. Punch needle. This is a must. You can’t punch needle without it! The problem is, there are lots to choose from, and many are far from satisfactory. We did the research and found one here that’s good quality and does the job well. (we went with a #9 regular, ⅜” loop).
  2. Yarn. Go with a more bulky yarn and the end result will be fluffy and lovely! We got ours at Michael’s. Colors: yellow, red/orange, and a blue/green. (or whatever colors you want).
  3. Punch needle loom. You need fabric that has the right weave, as well as something to hold it taut. The perfect solution is this punch needle loom, so you don’t have to manually staple the fabric to anything. We went with the smallest size, but you can do any size you choose.
  4. Retro floral template. If you want to make yours look like ours, the easiest way is with this simple template! All you have to do is download and cut out on a Cricut Maker or with scissors and you’re set.

There you have it! That’s all you need!

Instructions

  1. First, use the template to trace your design onto the back side of your punch needle loom. See our photos for reference.
  2. Now start with the flower center. Take the color of yarn you want to use for the center and thread it through the punch needle (for help threading the needle, see this helpful video).
  3. After your needle is threaded, you’re ready to start punch needling! For this, start at the perimeter of the center. Poke the tip of the needle all the way down so the metal part is hidden and the fabric touches the wooden part of the punch needle.
  4. Now, pull the needle back out, move over a ¼ of an inch along the center’s perimeter and poke the needle back down all the way, as you did before. 
  5. Continue this process until the center of the flower is full.
  6. When the center is full and you’re ready to move on to the next color, clip the excess yarn so there’s an inch or two of excess. Now, with the punch needle, poke that little tail back through the same hole so it pokes out in the front. Clip it down to about ¼” so it’s hidden amongst the loops. 
  7. Now repeat steps 3-6 for the second and third colors. Note: when starting a new color, leave about a ¼” of space between the colors. If you start too close to the other colors, you could unravel the yarn. Don’t worry, the gap will be hidden on the front side of your project. 
  8. Done!

Styling Your Punch Needle Wall Art

The thing I love most about punch needling is that it is incredibly versatile. We chose to make our punch needle project into wall art, by leaving it on the loom and hanging it on a simple pin, screw, or hook. But you actually have a lot of options! Once you’re done with the punch needling, you can remove it from the loom, finish the edges with a simple slip stitch and hang it loose, without the loom, too. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your art into a rug, throw pillow, or something else entirely! There are so many options. 

We can’t wait to see what you make! Let us know in the comments!

More Inspiration

Need more dorm inspiration? Try this Lars girl’s back to school guide, as well as this and this dorm room makeover. Also try this simple DIY pencil case and fanny pack for your on the go needs!

A Lars Girl’s Back to School Guide

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Lars-Approved School Supplies

If you look at them the right way, school supplies are the educational version of craft supplies. At least I get excited about them as if they were. Here are some of my favorite ones:

Lars Back to School Shop

Since I love school supplies so much, we had to include a few in our shop, of course! For example, see these these back to school stickers, designed by my friend Michele Brummer Everett. They’d be the perfect addition to your water bottle, notebook, or laptop. For more back to school supplies on our shop, click here.

back to school stickers on notebooks

On the Blog

It turns out we also have quite a few back to school crafts for you to peruse on the blog! You can start with this versatile and oh so adorable pencil case, featuring our very own Spoonflower fabric. Don’t stop there! Another great addition to your back to school supply list is this DIY beeswax wrap and this reusable lunch sack. Oh, and I also put together a list of my current favorite laptop covers and stickers, which you can see here.

Favorites from Around the Web

Here are a whole host of school supplies we love from around the web. This includes notebooks, things to write with, water bottles, desk supplies, and more! We’ve split them up into categories for your convenience:

Planners, Calendars and Notebooks

Desk Organization and Supplies

Things to Write With

Stay Hydrated

Dorm Room Design

In the college town where I live, the end of August means lots of new students being dropped off at dorms for their first-ever foray into living outside their parents’ house. That means that there are LOTS of fresh-faced students moving into drab, depressing dorm rooms and shabby apartments. Check out this post full of rental-friendly interior design hacks to level up your space.

You also won’t want to miss the custom dorm room transformations we took on! See them here, here, and here. Basically, we applied the advice in the post above to make these formerly dull spaces full of color and life (see my thoughts on the importance of color here). It’s so important to fill your life with things that make you happy, and that starts with your living space! It’s amazing how such simple fixes can transform your mood and overall well-being.

Here are my favorite additions to any student housing situation:

Rugs

It’s amazing how the addition of an amazing rug can transform a room! Here are some options:

Pillows and Throws

Again, those pops of color really do the trick to make a room feel more homey and less bland.

Curtains

Another great way to add some color, curtains can also be a great statement piece for a room.

Lighting

As mentioned in this post, lighting can change everything.

Kitchen Essentials

We can’t post about dorm room decor without some kitchen essentials! You do have to live there, after all.

Bedding and Towels

Functional and practical are a must when it comes to bedding and towels, but who says they can’t be cute, too?

Other Misc. Dorm Room Essentials

Here are just a few more things to help add some personality to your dorm room:

Any time you buy something from our affiliate links, we get a small commission at no cost to you! Hooray!

Camp Lars: Fusible Plastic Bags

An Environmental Quandary

Ever forget to bring a reusable bag to the grocery store with you and end up with a pile of single use, plastic ones? I know I have. I try to be environmentally conscious, but it still slips my mind on occasion. So what to do when that happens? And what on earth to do with all those plastic bags?! We’ve all probably heard by now that not everything you throw in the recycling bin gets recycled, and I really hate thinking about my plastic grocery bags filling the landfill. 

The Perfect Recycling Solution

Well, it turns out that this super simple DIY craft is the perfect solution to all those conflicted feelings about plastic bags! Generally we create waste by crafting, too, right? Paper scraps and bits of fluff galore. Well not this time! Introducing fusible plastic bags. Did you know you can make DIY stained glass and all kinds of pouches and purses by fusing plastic bags together? Save those bags and turn them into these cute little crafts instead. Here’s how:

How to Make Stained Glass with Fusible Plastic Bags

Prepping the Plastic

  1. First, tear a large piece of parchment paper to go under your work. Tear another 1-2 pieces to go between the iron and your plastic bags.
  2. Now take a few plastic bags of each color and cut the top seals off.
  3. Next, cut the bottom and side seams to open the bag as big as it can be.
  4. Now get creative! Keep a few plastic bags big and cut the other bags into fun shapes of different sizes.
  5. Once you have enough pieces cut out, lay down a large plastic bag. Start assembling your design on top. You can also layer the colors to experiment and blend the colors.
  6. When you’re happy with your designs, you can prep to fuse them together. 

Fusing the Plastic

  1. To fuse your project, take your parchment paper and place it on top of your assembled work. Be careful to not knock anything out of place!
  2. Set your iron somewhere between synthetic and silk. If you have a Cricut Easy Press, set it to 215 degrees. Once it’s hot, gently press it across your work once, then lift up the parchment paper to see if it’s fused yet. If not, repeat again. Note: Be very careful to not hold it for too long as your work might melt and shrivel up. The goal is to have the plastic melt together but not shrink.

How to Make a Crossbody Bag with Fusible Plastic Bags

To make this bag, you’ll use the zipper tops of the ziploc bags you used for the stained glass. Waste not! If you’re not using ziplocs, cut strips of plastic bags and double layer them, then fuse.

Prepping your Bag

  1. First, tear a large piece of parchment paper to go under your work. Tear another 1-2 pieces to go between the iron and your plastic bags.
  2. Now lay out a few tops an inch apart from each other alternating the colors. Lay another row going the opposite direction. You can also weave the tops if you want.
  3. Take your parchment paper and place it on top of your assembled work being careful to not knock anything out of place.

Fusing your Bag

  1. Set your iron to silk/wool or your Cricut Easy Press to 275 degrees. Once it’s hot, gently press it across your work once, then lift up the parchment paper to see if it’s fused yet. If not, repeat again.
  2. Flip your work and do the same thing on the other side
  3. Once your work is melted together and feels secure, trim any edges that are uneven to make the desired shape of your bag.
  4. Repeat this for the other side of the bag.

Creating the Strap

  1. To create the strap, take 4-6 plastic bag tops and cut them apart into individual sides. Use your iron at silk/wool or your Cricut Easy Press at 275 degrees to fuse them together overlapped by 1 inch. Put this off to the side.
  2. Take another plastic bag top and your two bag sides and hot glue them together to form the base of the bag. Make sure you don’t glue the bag shut, you want to be able to open and close it.
  3. Now, take embroidery thread and a needle and work a blanket stitch all the way around the sides of the bag. On the top corners, secure the bag’s closure with a few stitches and the beginning and end.
  4. When you finish, take your handle and attach it to the top inside corners with a few embroidered stitches. Add hot glue for extra security.

What to Do With Your Fusible Plastic Bag Projects

Woohoo, you’ve successfully made your fusible plastic bags into something beautiful! Now, what to do with them? We love using the plastic stained glass in windows–the light that filters through the plastic is really striking, especially in the afternoon when west facing windows are fully lit. It’s magical! If you don’t have many window options, though, you can also frame them, make a garland or banner with them, or pin them up anywhere. Let your kids get creative, there are so many options!

As for the crossbody bags, use ‘em! They’re the perfect size if you don’t want to carry around your phone in your hand or if you don’t have pockets. Don’t want to use them? Consider it another opportunity for some unique wall art and get decorating!

What are you going to do with your fusible plastic bags? Let us know below!

More Inspiration

Loved this tutorial on fusible plastic bags and want more kids summer craft ideas? Not to worry! We have so many options for you to choose from. Check out this amazing hack to make a custom puzzle! Also see this compilation of kids activities from our archives.

Fourth of July Wreath

Custom Gradient Accordion Stars

I’m in love with the accordion stars on this Fourth of July Wreath! They manage to look delicate, lovely, and festive all at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, the traditional red white and blue of the Fourth of July are nice. But I love the way the gradient softens the colors into cotton candy hues of pinks, reds and blues. Oh, and I’m also in love with how simple this wreath is to make!

Here’s how to do it:

How to Make a Fourth of July Wreath

Constructing the Stars

  1. First, download, print and cut out the accordion gradient templates found here
  2. Next, fold each strip back and forth to make the accordion folds. Make each fold roughly ¼ inch thick.
  3. Now, connect the two ends of the accordion strip so you have one continuous circle.
  4. Next, flatten the circle out like a fan, points facing out to make the stars.
  5. Now, bring the center of the star together nice and tight and secure with hot glue. For extra security, glue a paper circle onto the back of the star’s center.

Assembling the Wreath

  1. For the wreath form, cut a piece of wire that’s a little bigger than you’d like your wreath to be. Then wrap the excess around itself to secure.
  2. Next, hot glue the stars onto the wreath form until it’s as full as you’d like.
  3. Now, add the silver strips wherever you’d like for extra fullness.
  4. Done!

More Inspiration

Looking for more festive, Fourth of July crafts? Check out this comprehensive guide of festive Fourth of July projects!

 

What are you doing for the Fourth of July? Let us know in the comments!

Eight Crafts to do with Leftover Cardboard

Papier-mâché Vase

First on our list of crafts to do with leftover cardboard is this Papier-mâché Vase we made recently. It’s 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.

Sewing Basics: How to Choose the Right Fabric

Why the Fabric You Choose Matters

First of all, some of you may be asking, why does the fabric you choose even matter? Well, short answer: it does, and makes a big difference in how well your project turns out. I’ll use a bad example to illustrate my point: a heavy, upholstery canvas for a summer blouse. This is an obvious one, but there are some that are not so easy to figure out on your own! Especially if you’re not familiar with many types of fabrics and their specific uses. So we’re going to break things down a bit and help you understand the ins and outs of how to choose the right fabric.

Synthetic vs. Natural Fabrics

It turns out there’s a lot to unpack when considering which fabrics to use on a given sewing project! In order to choose the right fabric, it’s crucial to know the difference between natural and synthetic fabrics. They are what their names suggest, but they each have pros and cons.

Natural Fibers

Natural fibers come from natural sources that have not been synthetically modified. These can come from animal or plant sources. Examples of natural fibers include cotton and linen (plant sources); and silk, wool and cashmere (animal sources).

Pros

  • More breathable and moisture wicking (nice in hot/humid climates and in the summer months)
  • Production doesn’t produce poisonous gases
  • More gentle on sensitive skin (most of the time)
  • Biodegradable
  • Overall more comfortable than synthetics

Cons

  • Not as strong as synthetic fibers
  • Shrink when washed
  • Sometimes requires hand-washing or dry-cleaning (silk and wool)
  • Can be damaged by moths/other pests (especially wools)
  • Wrinkle more easily
  • More expensive
  • Can be itchy (this applies to wool, especially)

Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic fibers are fibers that can be manufactured synthetically, rather than being sourced strictly from nature. They were created to mimic their natural counterparts. Examples of synthetic fibers include polyester, acrylic, nylon, spandex, and lycra.

Pros

  • Stronger than natural fibers
  • Retain their shape better than natural fibers (think stretched-out knees of your cotton jeans)
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Cheaper than natural fibers
  • Resistant to pests, mold, mildew, etc.
  • Can be stretchy (think elastic, spandex and lycra)
  • Don’t shrink in the wash

Cons

  • Not as breathable as natural fibers and not moisture wicking (extra hot in hot weather!)
  • Usually more uncomfortable than natural fibers
  • Sometimes causes irritation to sensitive skin
  • Can be more slippery/difficult to sew on
  • Melt if the iron is too hot

Blended/Semi-Synthetic Fibers

Semi-synthetic fibers are natural fibers that have been chemically altered, but less so than fully synthetic fibers. Blended fibers are a blend of natural and synthetic fibers. Both blended and semi-synthetic fibers retain some of the characteristics of natural fibers while also incorporating characteristics of synthetics. For instance, they might retain the breathability of natural fibers while being more wrinkle-resistant than their natural counterparts. Examples of semi-synthetic fibers are rayon, viscose, modal, bamboo viscose, and seacell. Examples of blended fibers are polyester/cotton, cotton/lycra, and acrylic/wool.

Questions to Consider

Now that you know the difference between natural and synthetic fibers, let’s apply that knowledge to your fabric choices. Here are some questions to consider when picking a fabric for your next project:

  • Do I want my fabric to be wrinkle-resistant or not?
  • Will I need to wash by hand, or can it go in the machine? Also, can it go in the dryer or not? (needing to wash by hand or hanging to dry are not deal breakers. But you definitely want to be aware of these things so you know how to prewash and care for your fabric).
  • What season am I making my project for? Does it need to be lightweight/moisture-wicking, or thick and warm?
  • Do I have sensitive skin? (a sign that you should steer clear of synthetics and itchy wools)
  • Do I prefer a fabric that’s easier to sew on? (If so, avoid stretchy, slippery, and overly thin/thick fabrics).

And finally:

  • What is the best overall fabric for my specific project? Pillow vs. tote vs. blouse vs. pants vs. drapes, etc.

Most Commonly Used Fabrics

If you’re still a bit stumped on how to choose the right fabric, we’ve compiled a list of examples. Here are some widely-made projects and the most common fabrics for them:

Clothing

Clothing can be made using woven (not stretchy) OR knit (stretchy) fabrics. Before making your decision, consult the pattern! It will say if it’s meant for knits or woven fabrics. Many patterns even give specific guidelines as to which fabrics are ideal.

Here’s a list of common clothes to make and best fabrics:

  • Blouses and Dresses: woven, natural fabrics like cotton and linen often work well. But there are some pretty synthetic/semi-synthetic fabrics out there that are pretty, too! Chiffon, viscose and rayon are all good options. Want to be fancy? Go for silk! Just remember to be gentle when washing.
  • Pants: Again, woven, natural fabrics are great. For summer, try a light cotton, linen, or blend of the two. For winter, wool, twill, and a light canvas or denim. And remember that wool and cotton shrink! That means wash in COLD water and probably stick to hand-washing those wools.
  • Jackets/coats: Lined cotton and wool make great coats, when you’re in the mood for a more intense sewing project.

Here are some clothing options we’ve made and love! Mother’s Day apron, Easter outfitsquilted face mask, quilted sleeping mask, baby bonnet, bunny bonnet, quilted coat, Father’s Day tie and bowtiegarden apron pattern and FUNKY TOWN bandanas.

Throw Pillows

There are quite a few options that would work well for a throw pillow! If you’re going for a softer feel, try a lighter fabric like cotton or linen, or even a light velvet. Want something more substantial? Go for a canvas or other upholstery-weight fabric. The key here is that woven fabrics work MUCH better for a pillow with some shape than knits.

Here are some we’ve made:

FUNKY TOWN throw pillow, Shaped throw pillows, Celtic knot pillow and stuffed Easter bunny.

Totes and Bags

For totes and bags, generally woven canvas or denim of some sort works best. Steer clear of knits and make sure the fabric you choose is durable and you’re all set!

FUNKY TOWN tote, Lemon Tote bag, duffel bag picnic tote, Reusable lunch sack and DIY beeswax wrap.

Blankets

Blankets and quilts also demand woven fabrics. Try lightweight cotton or linen and you’ll be golden.

Try this duffel bag picnic tote, which doubles as a blanket! Also try this mushroom playmat, which is essentially baby-sized quilt.

Curtains/Other Home Decor

For curtains, you could go with a variety of fabrics depending on what you prefer! If you want a breezy, summery curtain that still lets some light in, try lightweight cotton or linen. Again, woven fabrics are your best friends here. Want a good blackout curtain? Try a double lined curtain and go with a thicker, tighter cotton/linen weave or a velvet.

Here’s our quilted shower curtain and DIY headboard.

quilted shower curtain

Fabric Resources

Well, that’s a wrap on how to choose the right fabric. Still looking for resources? Cough, cough. Officially launched yesterday, we now have a shop full of designs created by The House that Lars Built! You can find them here. During COVID, we also compiled a list of our favorite fabrics from around the web. There are so many options we ADORE. Check them out here!

Did we answer your questions on how to choose the right fabric? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

Retro Florals Backdrop

Floral Backdrops from the Archives

We love our floral backdrops! This isn’t the first time we’ve dabbled in a floral backdrop. Remember our peonies, hibiscus/tropical leaves, daisies, tulips and poppies? Well, we though it was high time to revisit backdrops, this time in the form of my favorite phone case of all time: Retro Florals!

retro floral case

Retro Florals Backdrop

The best thing about this backdrop, besides being absolutely adorable, is that it’s incredibly quick and easy. It’s the perfect backdrop for a spring birthday, baby or bridal shower, or just because you’re in need of some extra color. Just grab your cricut maker (or a pair of scissors), some paper and something to stick it to the wall and you’re all set!

How to Make a Retro Florals Backdrop

  1. First, download the Retro Florals Backdrop template found here.
  2. Next, upload your template into the cricut design space. If you don’t have a cricut maker, you can just print the template out and use scissors to cut them out.
  3. Now all you have to do is get cutting! Cut out as many as you need to fill your wall, in a variety of colors. If you’re stumped on colors, you can use our photos (and phone case!) as a guide.
  4. To stick them to the wall, use either tape that won’t remove the paint or poster putty. Tip: We would recommend putting the design on the wall as you go. That way you can keep track of what colors you need to cut out next.
  5. When you’re happy with the amount of retro florals you’ve added to your wall, you can stand back and admire. You’re done!

Casetify-Inspired Fabrics

The fun doesn’t stop with this backdrop. You may have noticed the dress we made out of custom retro florals fabric! Well, we have a whole host of other fabrics for you to choose from that are largely inspired by our Casetify collections. Click here to peruse the options!

More Inspiration

Need more colorful crafts to fill your home this spring? You’ll probably love our new papier-mâché vase! Interested in more paper flower projects? Head to this post, where we’ve compiled all of our paper flower tutorials. Wanting to start a garden of real flowers this year? Head over to Lars’ Gardening Essentials for some tips!