House Tours: Vintage Finds & Handmade Touches
This homeowner gets creative with fabric leftovers, paper scraps, and bits of everyday ephemera to craft a designer look for less.
Everything In This Slideshow
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Casual & Colorful
The homeowner hired a couple of carpenter friends to fashion built-in bookshelves (an expenditure she could afford thanks to her thrifty accessories and DIY ottoman). The inexpensive lamp base is topped with an old drum shade recovered in scrap fabric.
DIY Tip: Crown molding stained a rich dark brown frames a door-size mirror that leans against the wall.
To make your own ruffle pillow, click to the next slide.
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Make a Ruffle Pillow
A cinch to stitch in an hour, this pretty pillow requires less than a yard of fabric.
Gather materials: 1/2 yard of solid-color cotton quilting fabric (44 inches wide), 1/4 yard quilting cotton in four different fabrics (for ruffles), sewing machine, thread to match fabrics, pins, 16-inch pillow form.
1. Cut the solid-color fabric into three pieces: a 17x17-inch front and two 10x17-inch back pieces. Cut the four ruffle fabrics into 2½x35-inch strips. You need nine of these.
2. Turn the 10x17-inch pieces wrong side up. Fold one of the 17-inch edges over 1/4 inch, then again 1/2 inch. Iron folds. Do this with one side of each piece. (This will be your finished edge and the opening to slip your pillow form into the sham.)
3. On each fabric strip, sew a gather stitch 1/4 inch from one long edge. Gather to be 17 inches long. Pin a gather strip onto the right side of the front piece, positioning it 5/8 inch up from the bottom. Sew, following the line of the gather stitch. Continue pinning and sewing on strips to within 3/8 inch of the top of the front piece.
4. Finish sewing the pillow sham. Lay the front piece ruffle side up and the back pieces right side down so they overlap slightly. Pin the outer edges and sew the pillow together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Turn right side out, iron, and stuff the pillow form into the sham. Finish by hand-stitching the opening closed.
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To combat the cold, electronic look of her TV, the homeowner found an ornate frame that fit the room's feel. After applying molding to the back of the frame to add depth, she nestled her TV inside the frame, bringing together the entire aesthetic of the room.
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Make It: Papier-Mache Bowl
1. Cut or tear strips of magazine, newspaper, wallpaper, etc. Old blueprints were used here.
2. Make papier-mache mixture: Stir together 1 part white glue with 1 part water.
3. Coat paper strips in the glue mixture and form over a bowl covered in plastic wrap. Apply two to four layers of paper. Let dry.
4. Remove plastic wrap and bowl. Use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the edges for a finished look.
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DIY Tip: A downed sycamore in the homeowner's neighborhood became fireplace art. Corral cut logs with colorful fabric strips and you have an instant art piece.
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The homeowner stapled fabric scraps to canvas stretchers from the crafts store to fashion wall art. To protect her plaster walls, she used 3M Command mounting strips to hang each piece. Below the art display is the dining room table she and her mom repainted. A close look reveals lingering bits of blue paint. Fabric scraps make colorful coasters or an abstract table runner (see next slide for how to make your own).
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Make a Rag Rug Doily
A basic coiling technique is all it takes to turn skinny strips of fabric into a striking take on a doily.
1. Cut or tear scrap fabric into thin strips. Roll them up bandana-style and coil into tight circles. Pin, then loosely stitch the coils together.
2. Customize! One circle works as a coaster. A few stitched together make a sweet centerpiece.
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You'd never guess this handsome buffet was once a baby's changing table. The homeowner whipped out her old standby -- a can of matte black spray paint -- and updated its icky yellow color to something much more mod. Replacing the hardware completed the look. The purple-tone art above is a wallpaper sample wrapped around scrap board. A blooming bouquet of paper flowers creates dinner party ambiance and never wilts (go to the next slide for instructions).
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Make a Paper-Flower Bouquet
Add flair to your tabletop with flowers that never need water.
Gather materials: paper, hole punch, pipe cleaners or chenille stems, buttons.
1. For the petals, cut five strips of paper. The ones shown are 2-1/2x20 inches.
2. Stack strips. Punch a hole at each end of the strips, as well as one in the center.
3. Thread one button 1-1/2-inch from the top of a pipe cleaner (this will be your stem). This button will keep the petal strips from sliding down the pipe cleaner. Thread each strip of paper onto the pipe cleaner. Start with a hole at one end, then loop the paper and insert the wire into the middle hole, creating your first petal. Loop the strip back, threading the wire through the last hole on the paper strip. Repeat with each strip, and then slide one more button onto the pipe cleaner to become the center of the flower. This will keep the flower securely together.
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Be Our Guest
The homeowner uses leftover and remnant wallpaper to add fresh personality and seasonality to her guest bedroom. She cuts three equal-size lengths of wallpaper, then simply hands them from bulldog clips. The bedside chair has been recycled countless times with spray paint and fabric scraps.
BONUS: Get the Flea Market Look
Ready to embrace flea market style? Here are the tips that will get you started.