Fast Fabric Facelifts

Check out these ideas -- each using a yard of fabric or less -- and get started with your own decorating redos.

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Fabric patchwork headboard
Patchwork Headboard

    Use scraps of coordinating fabrics to create a modern patchwork-effect headboard. To make the headboard, cut 8-inch squares from stiff florist's foam and 1/4-inch plywood. Cut 8-inch squares from quilt batting and place over foam squares. Glue all layers with Styroglue. Cut fabric into squares large enough to wrap the foam squares with at least a 1/2 -inch overlap on the back. Staple fabric to the back with a staple gun. Cut a piece of 1/4-inch plywood a few inches wider than your mattress on both sides. Line up the squares facedown in your desired pattern and attach them to each other with heavy-duty tape. Top them with the plywood, and drill wood screws at 8-inch intervals to secure all the layers. Attach ring hooks to the back of the plywood to hang the headboard on the wall.

Sweet Seat

    Add style to a plain wooden chair with fabric. Remove the seat and back from the chair. Trace the seat on 1/2-inch foam, cut the foam, then attach it to the seat with spray adhesive. Cut fabric 3 inches wider than the seat perimeter. Wrap fabric over the seat, smoothing as you go and securing with heavy-duty carpet tape on the bottom. Trace the chair back on paper and add 1 inch all around. Using the pattern, cut two pieces of fabric. Lightly spray the front of the chair back with spray adhesive and press fabric onto the front, wrapping the allowance to the back. Fold under 1-inch allowance on the second piece of fabric, wrong sides together, and press. Use fusible webbing to adhere the fabric to the back of the chair, overlapping the wrapped allowance. Reattach the seat and back.

Casual Cafe Curtains

    Sew breezy curtain panels to accentuate your windows. Start with inexpensive café curtains from a discount store. Cut a second set of panels from coordinating fabric, adding 1 inch to the side measurement. Press all sides under 1/2 inch, then another inch, and sew hems. Lay the shorter panels over the longer set and clip together with rings to hang.

    Editor's Tip: For a no-sew option, secure hems with fusible webbing and an iron.

Curtain Call

    Add pretty curtains to a console table to hide storage. Make curtains by sewing a rod pocket, or use fusible webbing for a no-sew option. Embellish with a ribbon or a strip of coordinating scrap fabric along the bottom edge. Hang the curtains between the table legs using tension rods.

Lamp Love

    Create a designer lamp in minutes with a splashy fabric. Cut fabric pieces 2 inches longer and 1 inch wider than the lamp base and lampshade. Iron a 1-inch hem on both long edges and one short edge of each piece. Lightly spray the lamp base and shade with spray adhesive and wrap fabric around each piece, smoothing as you wrap. If necessary, secure the hemmed edges with a thin bead of fabric glue.

Flirty Pillows

    A yard of fabric is all it takes to make pillows as large as 30 X 30 inches. Cut a front and back piece of fabric to the desired pillow size, adding 1 inch to the length and width for the seam allowance. Place the fabric right sides together and pin, leaving an opening for stuffing or pillow form. Sew around the pinned fabric. Reach into the open seam and turn the fabric right side out: press. Insert stuffing or pillow. Hand-stitch opening closed.

    DIY Tip: Create ruffles from ribbon by sewing two rows of basting stitches 1/4 inch apart down the center of the ribbon, leaving long trends. Pull the bottom threads to gather into ruffles.

Custom Cabinet Panels

    Reface a pair of doors while also hiding the cabinet's contents by lining the glass panels with patterned fabric. On the back of each door, stretch the fabric over the glass and use a staple gun to fasten the edges to the wooden frame. For a tidy appearance inside, conceal the staples with glued-down coordinating ribbon.

Fabric-Filled Dining

    Set a mood in your dining room by combining coordinating fabrics to make a powerful statement.

Adorable Glass Charms

    Use up even the tiniest bits and pieces of leftover or favorite fabrics with these wineglass charms. Cut small squares of selected areas of the fabric and insert each into a frame pendant. Earring-hoop wire threaded through the pendant loop makes it easy to attach the charm to a wineglass stem.

Pattern-Filled Runner

    Stitch up the perfect table runner -- custom-fit to your own table -- by making a fabric "sandwich" with a piece of same-size batting in between. With right sides out and the layers pinned together, sew straight quilting lines through all pieces along the length of the runner. Cover the raw edges with binding tape adhered with fusible web.

Adorable Chair Cover

    You don't need to slipcover an entire chair to give it a fresh new look. Make this chair-back cover with just two squares of fabric and use fusible web to adhere a fabric shape to one piece. Finish with coordinating binding tape adhered to the edges with fusible web.

Pillow Covers

    Give a standard pillow form a fresh look by sewing an easy slipcover. Allowing enough fabric for an overlap, sew two sides of the fabric together, folding under the raw edges at the overlap. Slip the cover over the pillow, then close the opening with three covered buttons fitted with coordinating fabric.

Creative Nook

    To jazz up an office pick large-scale patterns for big decorating impact.

Display Board

    Covered in retro-inspired fabric, a stretched artist's canvas becomes a practical memo board. A sheet-metal square added to one side makes a magnetic spot for hanging bits and pieces, and the vellum calendar will keep you on schedule.

Custom Stationery

    Abstract fabric cutouts dress up plain card stock to make custom all-occasion greeting cards that also look great framed. Gel pen outlines and a decorative scalloped edge finish off the cards.

Make Decorative Balls

    Group together fabric-covered balls to make a great filler for a bowl, a glass vase, or a basket. Cut fabric strips from coordinating fabrics and use glue to adhere the strips to plastic-foam balls. Select a variety of fabric patterns and use both small and large balls for extra interest.

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