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!

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.

 

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

Spring Tablescape with Retro Florals

Our New Spring Tablescape

Tablecloth

There are so many components of our new spring tablescape that we’re absolutely over the moon about! Let me start by talking about the tablecloth. For past tablescapes, our go-to has been Spoonflower, of course. This time was no different, except that instead of using someone else’s design, we used our very own retro florals! If you haven’t heard yet, we have a whole library of designs to choose from, many of which are based off our popular Casetify phone case designs. It turns out retro florals looks amazing in more ways than just a phone case!

Tableware

As we mentioned earlier, our tableware came from the one and only Year & Day. Wow, are we in love. It’s absolutely perfect for this season and goes amazingly well with the retro florals tablecloth. We opted for blush pink plates, bowls, and napkins, as well as classic gold flatware. Can you say dreamy? Oh, and perfectly unpredictable and unique with our custom tablecloth twist.

Other Decorations

We also couldn’t help but use our handy cricut to cut out some simple retro floral designs! We scattered them on the table and attached them to straws to use in little vases by Year & Day. Oh, and don’t forget the colored candles and candlesticks!

More Inspiration

Liked this tablescape and more ideas? We think you’ll also love these other tablescapes! If you want something plant-themed and springy, we’d recommend When Life Hands You Lemons, Easter runner tablescape, rainbow flower tablescape, and Paper Plant Tablescape. Then there are these tablescapes that are appropriate at any time of the year: Bauhaus inspired tablescape and Chanel Inspired tablescape. Oh, and these Thanksgiving tablescapes, which are festive for Thanksgiving but also lovely long before November, too!

 

 

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!

 

Palm Leaf Wreath

History of Palm Leaves

Last year, we wrote a post where we explained a bit about palm leaves and their significance this time of year. You can read all about it here! Long story short, palm leaves have long been associated with triumph and victory. Often depicted on coins and important buildings, palm leaves traditionally greeted kings and conquerors as they rode home after success in battle. Followers of Christ also greeted Him with palm leaves on what has become Palm Sunday, the Sunday before His resurrection.

Our Palm Leaf Wreath

For our palm leaf wreath, we shrunk the size of the original palm leaves a bit, shortened the stems, and attached them to a wreath form with some hot glue. It’s as simple as that! This lovely, colorful wreath is festive for Palm Sunday and Easter. But we love that it also doubles as a delicate and beautiful wreath all spring long!

How to Make A Palm Leaf Wreath

Making a palm leaf wreath is simple. Here’s how to do it:

Prepping the Leaves

  1. First, download the large and small leaf templates found here and here.
  2. Next, upload the template into the cricut design space. Make sure to add score lines (use our template as a reference), as this makes folding much easier!
  3. Using the cricut maker, cut out as many leaves and stems as you’d like for the wreath, varying the size and paper color as you go.
  4. If you don’t have a cricut maker, print out the template. Cut out with scissors, using the template as a guide with each leaf/stem. Add scoring lines by lightly going over the top of the paper with a craft knife, using a ruler for straight lines.

Constructing the Leaves

To construct your palm leaves, follow the instructions in our original tutorial. Note the differences:

  1. We used colored cardstock rather than spray-painted butcher paper to skip a step.
  2. For the stem, we made it much shorter and didn’t use a dowel.

Assembling the wreath

  1. To assemble your wreath, first make a wire wreath form (or buy one premade). To make a wire wreath form, cut the length of wire you’d like, shape it into a circle, and secure with gaffer’s tape or another strong tape.
  2. If desired, wrap a layer of crepe paper around the wire so it’s covered.
  3. Next, simply hot glue the leaves to the wreath form.
  4. Alternate the colors and sizes until the wreath is as full as you’d like.
  5. The last finishing touch is to add some dried flowers and grasses from Terrain. We love the touch of beautiful wildness they add! Our choices were similar to this golden, blue-green, and this and this pink.

We would love to see what you do with your palm leaf wreaths!

 

 

More Inspiration

Looking for more spring and Easter inspiration? Try our popular Easter egg wreath here, or this spring daffodil wreath. Also try this springy lemon wreath! If you’d like more Easter ideas, check out this sweet new Easter basket, or this post with endless ideas of what to fill your Easter basket with. Also check out our Easter shop here, and all Easter blog content here!

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?!

Ukrainian Paper Sunflower

Ukrainian Sunflowers

The sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower. This beautiful flower has a long history with Ukraine, it turns out! Aside from sunflower seeds being a popular snack, Ukraine and Russia are some of the world’s largest suppliers of sunflower oil. Then there’s its historic message of peace, like in 1996 when it was used to celebrate Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons. Currently, as well, it’s become a bright beacon of hope and peace amidst all the turmoil and we want to do our best to show support. It seemed only fitting to make a Ukrainian paper sunflower in honor of the Ukrainian people. If you’re interested, click here to read the full article about Ukraine’s history with sunflowers.

Ukrainian Paper Sunflower

Here’s how to make your own Ukrainian paper sunflower:

Prepping the Paper

  1. First, download the paper sunflower template found here.
  2. Next, cut out the template pieces in crepe paper. We used about 30 yellow petals, 7 green back pieces, and between 2 and 4 green leaves of varying sizes per flower.
  3. Cut each side of the leaves separately. Make sure to cut out the leaves so the grain of the crepe paper angles up slightly on each side (like the veins on the leaves).

Making the Center

  1. To make the center of your paper sunflower, cut some long strips of crepe paper that are roughly 1″ wide. We used green, pale yellow, and orange.
  2. Cut slits in the strips to make a fringe.
  3. Securing with hot glue, wrap the fringe tightly around the top of a piece of floral wire. Make sure the wire is thick enough to hold the weight of the heavy sunflower blossom. Start with green, then move to yellow, then orange.
  4. Continue wrapping and gluing the fringe until it’s as thick as you’d like. Also, make sure the orange layer is set a bit higher than the rest.
  5. When the center is as thick as you’d like, fluff the orange fringe so it splays out a bit.
  6. Now, gently paint a gradient of green to yellow on the center you just made. See step photos for reference. Alternate option: You can use black or brown for the center, too, if you’d like! The center of most sunflowers varies in color.

Assembling the Sunflower

Now you’re ready to add the petals and back greenery to your paper sunflower!

  1. Gently shape the petals (see step photos for reference), then glue one around the center. We spaced them roughly 1/4-1/2″ apart.
  2. Next, add in a second row, this time staggering the petals behind the first row.
  3. Now you can add the back pieces. For this, shape the green pieces according to the step photos, then hot glue them around the stem. They should fan evenly around the back.

Leaves and Stem

The last steps of your paper sunflower are the leaves and stem!

  1. For the stem, cut a piece of crepe paper that’s roughly the length of your wire piece and 2-3″ wide, depending on how big your sunflower is.
  2. Securing with hot glue, wrap the crepe paper strip around the wire stem to thicken it.
  3. Next, start at the top just overlapping the back greenery of the sunflower. Wind floral tape all the way down to cover up the crepe paper.
  4. For the leaves, glue the two sides together, making sure the grain angles up slightly on each side to mimic the leaves’ veins.
  5. Now flip the leaves over and hot glue a thin piece of floral wire to the back. Make sure the floral wire extends a few inches past the stem of the leaves. Once the hot glue is dry, you can shape the leaves however you’d like.
  6. To attach the leaves to the stem, simply wrap floral tape around the wire.

Styling Your Paper Sunflowers

We varied the length of our sunflower stems, then arranged them in a pretty vase. We love how they turned out! They would make a bright addition to any room. Set them on a table, counter, mantlepiece, or side table. We also think they’d be a lovely accent for a bathroom or home office.

 

More Ways to Support Ukraine

We’re trying to do our part to support Ukraine. One way is through our shop! We currently have three art pieces in our shop made specifically to support Ukraine. We’re donating all the profits to the Ukrainian war effort. Special thanks to Amanda Jane Jones, who donated this print. Another special thanks to Nathalie Lètè, who donated this one and this one.

More Inspiration

Loved this paper sunflower tutorial and want more paper flower tutorials? Step right this way. We recently came out with this paper orchid tutorial we think you’ll love. Also, 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!

 

 

Living By Design Virtual Showhouse Feature

The Living By Design Virtual Showhouse

Well, the first Living By Design virtual showhouse has officially launched! This is a unique opportunity to tour the Living By Design showhouse completely virtually, from the comfort of your couch. I love that on the tour, you can actively click on links to the elements of each room and get inspiration for your own home. And is it any surprise that I designed the craft room? So I’m particularly excited about that. All you have to do to access the tour is visit this link and peruse the rooms to your heart’s content.

The Craft Room

Be sure to check out that craft room! There are a lot of elements in there that I’m particularly jazzed about, like the wallpaper, art, and that amazing crafting island. Minted was my go-to for the art, and I have to say they made the decision-process difficult. So many lovely options that complimented the space so well! And those dreamy velvet curtains? You have Calico to thank for those.

But what really had me excited was all that amazing storage and furniture, thanks to California Closets! You know how important craft room storage is to me. I mean, it’s essential to have a functional space that’s easy to keep organized when you’re an avid crafter. I love how it all came together for the craft room!

Architecture and 3D Visualization

I can’t talk about the craft room without giving a nod to the amazing architecture by Brandon Architects. It’s always more enjoyable to design a space when the architecture really lends itself to the design. And since this is a fully virtual experience, I should also mention the impeccable 3D visualization by YouSee.

Special Thanks

I’d like to also give a special shout out to all of the tour’s sponsors: California Closets, Carrier, Minted, and Monrovia. It goes without saying that this Living by Design virtual showhouse tour wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Also, thanks to Martha Stewart Living, the showhouse national media partner. And we can’t forget the amazing producer/production team Embello.

More Inspiration

Did you love the Living By Design virtual showhouse, and especially that craft room? You might also be interested in this post where we talk about how we organized our craft room!

Valentine’s Day Garland

 

Valentine’s Day Garland

What better to bring in love day than a festive Valentine’s Day garland? Not much, in my opinion. It also goes perfectly with that festive gradient heart wreath we made a week ago! So do yourself a favor and take the decorating beyond your front door. Featuring a variety of Valentine’s Day appropriate shapes and fun pops of color, this garland is the perfect solution for cold, brown February.

How to Make Your Own Valentine’s Day Garland

Making this Valentine’s Day garland is seriously so simple. I mean, you don’t even need scissors if you have a Cricut maker! And if not, the shapes are simple enough that scissors are a good second best option. You do need a sewing machine, though it’s simple enough that even the most novice of sewers should be able to handle it.

Here’s how to make your own Valentine’d Day garland:

Prepping the Paper

  1. First, download the garland template found here.
  2. Upload the template into the Cricut design space.
  3. Now, using the paper colors of your choice, cut out the shapes using your Cricut maker. For thicker cardstock, we find it works best to use the glitter cardstock setting. We used anywhere from 50-80 shapes on each strand.

Sewing Your Garland Together

  1. This part is so easy! To start, just leave a 10″ tail of thread, then sew the paper pieces together.
  2. Leave a 10″ tail of thread at the end.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 for each shape in your garland.
  4. All done!

How to Style Your Valentine’s Day Garland

One of the things I love about this sweet garland is how versatile it is! You can hang it from practically anywhere, and customize how long you’d like it to be. Put it in a window, against a wall, over the table, along a mantle or a bannister. We love the way it looks hanging from the ceiling over a table setting! It’s so simple, but looks so bold, bright and colorful once its hung. It’s the perfect addition to a Galentine’s Day party, too, if you ask me. Just add some table games and party favors to your table and you’re all set!

More Inspiration

Remember, if you want even more ideas of how to host a Galentine’s Day party, consult our Valentine’s Day Activities post! Speaking of ideas, if you need DIY valentines crafts, check out these easy DIY valentines, this adorable valentine box,  or this paper heart wreath. Need valentines? We just released some brand new Harry Styles ones, along with these delicate doilies. And here’s a whole host of printable valentines from our shop! Oh, and here are two Valentine’s Day gift guides, one for men and one for women.