Blog, Makes, Uncategorized

Create a boho bench

Design by Juliet Bawden Photography Paul Craig

Today’s make is really an Ikea Hack of a Nornas Bench  transforming a rather dull nondescript softwood bench into an on trend vibrant padded seat/coffee table by being creative and painting, dying, and doing some sustainable up-cycling.

Boho Bench copy


You will need

Nornas Ikea Bench

2 meters thick wadding

Black paint

Paint brush

Korbond iron on hemming tape

Goldfish Orange machine dye Dylon 

Old velvet curtain

Old rug

Staple gun

Old duvet

Sewing machine and thread



Iron and ironing board

Invisible marker pen Korbond





  1. Following the makers instructions dye the velvet and leave to dry.
  2. Saw off the edges of the bench so that there is no overhang.
  3. Paint the bench black and leave to dry.
  4. Cut a double layer of wadding the size of the bench top, plus enough to drape over the edges. Cut away the corners and then staple the wadding to the underside of the bench.
  5. Press the velvet before using. Drape the velvet over the bench and leaving enough for a 2cm seam allowance, mark with a pen remove the fabric and then cut away the corners.
  6. To give a neat edges to the corners, turn the corners under and iron on the webbing
  7. Place the velvet over the wadding covered bench and staple the velvet into position on the underside.
  8. To make the cushion. Cut an old duvet up so it is the size of the bench top.
  9. Cut the rug into two pieces, the size of the bench top plus 1 cm all the way round.
  10. Sew the old duvet round its edge to the wrong side of one piece of rug.
  11. With right sides facing sew the piece of rug with the duvet attached to the other piece of rug. Sew round three and a half sides.
  12. Turn the cover through the correct way and then close the opening by over sewing.


Tips. I learnt this trick at art school, when I was stretching frames for printmaking. To get straight edges when stapling, start in the middle of one side and staple to the edge then do it with the other edge and then repeat with the opposite side and then do the other two sides in the same way.




Dye your own shibori chair

2C2A2810 copy.jpgRecycling week starts today so am posting some classy recycling projects on my blog this week. When I spotted this down at heel cocktail chair in a charity shop, I knew I was  onto a winner.

I made a pattern and then created my own shibori print just by pleating and using clothes pegs. The hook and loop tape opening on the side seam makes fitting easy.

Tip: Before doing anything with the fabric, wash on a hot wash and then tumble dry it on a hot setting. This way it will shrink as much as it is ever going to. Iron so you have flat fabric to work with.


You will need:

6m of medium weight Calico

Pins, needles and thread

Safety pins

Cotton tape

Water-soluble pen

Dylon Ocean blue hand dye


Clothes pegs

Sewing machine

Hook and loop tape


1.To make the pattern for each section of the chair cut out a piece of calico, cut them large so there’s enough spare fabric for fitting, the lower edge of the chair will need more than you think necessary to allow for making a tape casing, so be generous. Pin each section onto the chair and then add seam allowance. Remove the section and cut out. Sew the calico cover together, leave one of the side seams half open. Fit the cover onto the chair, pin the side seam closed and adjust the fitting, taking it in to give a closer fit.

2. Remove the calico cover from the chair, mark the sewn seams with felt pen as well as the centre line of each panel.

3.Unpick the calico cover, your pattern, and pin onto more calico to make the chair fabric. Cut out the fabric, into as many pattern pieces as you need, I had 6, and press.4 Pin pattern onto washed and ironed fabric.jpg

4.Concertina each pattern piece of calico into pleats.

5 Concrtina each pattern piece into pleats

5. Press flat with a steam iron.

6 Press Flat with a steam iron.jpg

6.Peg the pleated pieces at even intervals.

7 Peg each pattern pieceat regular intervals.jpg

7. Wet the pegged fabrics. Mix the  Dylon hand dye according to the manufacturers instructions and then put in the pegged fabric pieces. Follow the instructions on the dye packet.

8 Wet the pegged fabrics.jpg

8. Once the dye has taken, remove the pegs and open up the fabric and put the pieces under running water until the water runs clear.

9 remove pegs and rinse the pieces until the water runs clear..jpg

9. Wash and dry the pieces

10 wash and dry pieces.jpg

10.Sew the pieces together as you did for the original calico pattern leaving one of the side seams half open.

11 Sew all the pieces together .jpg

11. Try the cover on the chair inside out and pin any adjustments that need to be made. Remove the cover and make the adjustments on the sewing machine.

12 try the cover on the chair inside out and pin to make any adjustments needed.jpg

12. Cut a 3cm bias strip from calico to bind the curved raw edges around the chair legs. Pin, and sew, turn the raw edge under by 0.5cm then turn the binding and sew in place. Sew hook and loop tape to both sides of the seam opening.

13. To make the tape casing, turn lower edges of the chair cover in by 4cm, turn in the raw edge by 1cm then sew down close to the edge. Measure up for the tape, thread through the casings with a safety pin.







Three super stylish marbled fabric projects

Marbling in its many forms, on furniture paper s and fabrics is very popular at the moment. The easiest way to marble is to float oil paint on water as oil and water don’t mix. I did this in my previous marbled cards project. This is great if you are marbling paper but it isn’t really suitable for fabric as it sits on the surface and feels hard. I discovered  a brilliant kit on line made by homecrafts direct  

Rather than just plain cloth I decided to marble some baby items, a couple of headbands and some yellow napkins.


the kit includes a marbling ground and a selection of different colours which you can also buy as a pearlised set. You will need to mix up the dye bath in advance. so allow time for this.

You will need



Kitchen roll

surgical or vinyl gloves

Marbling ground

A shallow dish that is large enough to fit the largest garment or piece of fabric you wish to marble onto

Marbling colours

Items to marble natural fibres and light colours or white are best.


  1. Prepare the bath by mixing 50gms of marbling ground with 2.5litres of water until it is the consistency of thin cream.
  2. Cover the work area with newspaper. Put on vinyl gloves and an apron to protect yourself.
  3. To break the surface tension of the bath, skim over it with a piece of kitchen roll.
  4. Immediately after skimming drip the marbling colours onto the surface of the bath.
  5. Use an old pencil or back of a paint brush to spread and manipulate the colours.
  6. when you are happy with the design lay the garment or fabric on the surface of the bath and then once the colour has taken gently lift it out.
  7. At this stage I wash off the size from the dye bath and then leave my fabric to dry. Other people leave the fabri c to dry with the size still on it and then wash it off later.
  8. Once dry iron on the back to fix the design.




Three easy ways to decorate Easter eggs


Naturally dyed eggs

White eggs can be dyed using all sorts of vegetables and fruits. As a rule the longer the egg is in the dye bath the deeper the colour achieved. White eggs can be difficult to come by, but many Asian stores sell them or you can use white duck eggs.

Use yellow onion-skins to make various shades of terra cotta. The best blues came from red cabbage, the results ranging from lilac, to French blue and lavender. Beetroot gives a pale pinky fawn colour and for a yellow use turmeric.

Instructions for preparing the eggs for dyeing:

  1. Place the eggs in cold water and bring to the boil, simmer for at least 6 minutes or until they are hard-boiled. Leave them to cool.
  2. When the eggs are cold rub their shells with kitchen roll dipped in vinegar.


You will need:

Jam jars (3 for each batch of dye)

Measuring jug

Spoon for stirring

White eggs

White vinegar


Bicarbonate of soda

Master Recipe for Making Natural Dyes

  1. To make the blue dye chop up a medium head of red cabbage. Put chopped cabbage into a large pan and add enough water to cover by 1cm, then boil for 40 minutes. Strain the coloured water into a jug, then pour 150 ml of dyed water into each of the three jam jars.
  2. To the first jar of dye add 3 teaspoons of white vinegar.
  3. To the second jar of dye add 3 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda.
  4. To the third jar of dye add 3 teaspoons of salt.
  5. Add the egg to the dye and agitate it frequently so that you get an even coating of dye over the egg.
  6. The 3 mixtures produce different varieties of blues and mauves.
  7. When the eggs are the colour you want remove them from dye and leave to dry in an egg carton.

To make terracotta from onion skins, use the papery skins from five large onions then follow steps1-7 of the master recipe.

To make yellow dye using turmeric:

  1. Put 6 tablespoons of turmeric in a medium pan and slowly stir in water until you have a thick yellow brew which is deep enough to cover the eggs you are dying, add 3 dsp white vinegar.
  2. Simmer for 20 minutes, then leave to get cold. Add the eggs and follow steps 1-7 of the master recipe.


leaf printed eggs

You will need:

White eggs

Saucer of water

Dye solution (see natural dying)

Freshly picked leaves


Old tights


  1. Cut a square of mesh from the tights a bit larger than the egg, remember it is stretchy so it doesn’t need to be over large.
  2. To help the leaf curve around the egg dip in the water, then press it onto a white egg.
  3. Holding the leaf in place, wrap the piece of mesh from the tights round the egg and the leaf, then stretch tight and knot at the back.
  4. Place the egg in the dye solution and agitate it regularly to get an even coverage.
  5. Once you have the depth of colour want remove the eggs from the dye bath and carefully cut away the tights to reveal a beautiful leaf imprint. Leave to dry in an egg carton.

close up leaf printed eggs


Decoupaged Tree Egg Close up

You will need:

Polystyrene eggs in a variety of sizes

Found images you want to use in the decoration

Small paper cutting scissors or a craft knife


PVA glue

Dress makers pins

Bakers twine


  1. Rip up newspaper into very narrow strips cover each strip in glue and stick it onto the egg.
  2. Lay the strips next to one another until the whole of the egg is covered. Leave to dry on a radiator.
  3. Cut out the feature motif to place on the egg and glue this onto the dry newsprint covered egg.
  4. Cut a piece of string and make a loop. Pin the loop into the top of the egg and hang from a twig or branch.

Decoupaged eggs



‘Pure Colour’ by Jane Cumberbatch Book Review


Picking up this book with its Marjorelle blue cover, fuschia pink endpapers and acid green graphics you know you are in for a visual treat. Stylist Jane Cumberbatch has created an inspirational source of colour inspiration.

‘Decorating a room is like painting a picture.’

As Jane says ‘There is nothing more pleasurable that starting with a blank canvas and filling your home with the colours and textures that you find most pleasing.’

The book is divided into five colour palettes: blues, greens, yellows, pinks and whites.

IMG_7191 high res.jpeg

‘The garden, the sea and the landscape are our colour charts and provide a veritable paint box of inspiration. From the bean greens of the vegetable patch, to the eau de nil wash of a calm evening tide, images are stored as snapshots. The first pink rosebud on a May morning is as perfect a shade for a wallpaper border as it is a cue for a lipstick colour or fabric for a long swirly summer skirt.’

So whether you are looking to transform your whole house, or simply for a few quick and easy ideas to brighten up a neglected corner, you are sure to find inspiration within these pages. Jane’s own notes and musings read like a diary and you feel as though you have been allowed into someone’s secrets thought processes. The book is packed full of stunning, evocative photographs.

I particularly like her rhubarb and custard, yellow and pink, combination. This is not a pairing that I would have thought of, but it works. There are practical examples throughout, whether you prefer to experiment with adding small splashes of contrasting colour to bring life to a room, or try a softer, more harmonious scheme. The book is packed full of everyday ideas to enable you to furnish your home with freshness and simplicity.