Eight easy fabric prints using low tech materials including string, pencil erasers, pipe lagging and vegetables

As many of you may have seen in one of my previous posts it is very simple to create patterns using little more than things you find around the house or in the garden. I have a you Tube video that shows using  a pepper to make a print. The designs below have been made with all different items. Some of the designs use  the same method but are printed in a different colour way. They are all printed onto fabrics using Dylon fabric paint. The prints are  fixed by ironing onto the back of the fabric once the paint has dried. IMG_2938

This first print is made using pipe lagging to create a circle and a dot from an eraser at the end of the end of a pencil.  The second print uses the same method but in a different colour way.


The print below was printed using a small red cabbage cut in half. IMG_2942The next design was made in two stages. First of all a halved potato was used to create the pink back ground. This was left to dry before the next part of the design was added. This is a celery end, the bit you usually throw away or put in a stock pot.  The celery head was dipped in red and applied on top of the pink potato dots. It looks quite rose like. IMG_2948The blue and lime design below has been created using a small block of wood with elastic bands wrapped round it dipped in blue paint and then the lime dots were added later using the pencil eraser once again.


Pipe lagging and pencil erasers came into their own again for this design. IMG_2944.jpg

The  circular design is made up of a new potato cut in half and that old pencil eraser making dots round each circle. IMG_2946

I love this design it is another block this time wrapped in string printed in black and, yes you’ve guessed it, that old eraser again this time creating red dots.



Create your own African print pouffe



I loved the idea of making a pouffe from African batik style fabric. So wacky and at the same time the perfect item to lift the look of a staid room. Batik is very popular in the South West London in areas such as Tooting and Brixton but you can also buy it in markets in the East of London and Paris.

You will need:

African batik fabrics available in London market stalls 2m

Orange fabric for the base 80cm

Calico 2m

Hook and loop tape 1packet

Water-soluble pen

Beanbag filling I large bag

Pins, needles and thread


Paper for pattern


The instructions for the outer and the calico inner bag are the same. I made the outer part first and then the inner. I used 1cm seam allowance throughout.


Make your pattern.

  1. The top piece should be a circle with a 25 1/4 ins (64cm) diameter. This includes a 1cm seam allowance. Draw the circle onto paper and use this to cut the top of the lining and the top of the calico liner.
  2. Cut the paper circle in half and add 4cm strip of paper along each straight edge. Use this pattern to cut two bottom pieces for the outer and the calico liner.
  3. The sides of the pouffee are made up from sections that are 13ins (33cm) from top to bottom including seam allowance . The width of each section will depend on the pieces of fabric you have. The finished piece will be about 80in plus seam allowance. The amount of seam allowance will be dependent on the number of panels used.



1.Use the patterns to cut out all the pieces from the calico and the African Batik fabrics. I used the large motif that was perfect for the top of the pouffe. I decided to piece together lots of different designs to make the side. As the base is not seen, I used some plain orange fabric.

2.First make base with the hook and loop tape opening for the top fabric. On both base pieces turn the straight edge under by 1cm then turn again by 3cm. Sew down, then pin and sew strips of hook and loop tape along both sides.

2 sew on hook and loop tape.jpg

3.Press the hook and loop tape edges together then machine sew the ends of the seams closed.

3 sew hook and loop on top of one side and wrong side of other

4.With right sides facing, using a 1cm seam allowance pin sew together the sidepieces.

4 with right sides facing sew the panels on to each other..jpg

5 Press the seams open so you have a continuous smooth side panel.

5 Press the seams open.jpg

6.With right sides facing, pin and sew the sides to first the top and then the base making a drum shape. Turn through the gap so it is right side facing out.

6 pin the sides to the top6 with a running stitch sew the top to the sides.

7.To make the liner, repeat the process with the calico. Put the calico liner inside the fabric cover, then fill with polystyrene beads.

7 fill the calico liner with polystyrene beads.jpg



Fold and mark the fabric for the top, base and sides into eighths. When you come to pin on the sides, match up the pen marks on the top and base.



Hook and loop tape, Water Soluble Pen

http://www.korbond.co.uk/ korbond.co.uk/


Beanbag Filling










10 Re-loved Occasional Tables

All of these occasional  tables have been refashioned from  something that already exists. What exactly is an occasional table? One that could be used by the bedside or in the hall or a coffee table. I suppose what they have in common is that you can put something on them. Perhaps this shouldn’t be encouraged as it often leads to accumulating things you don’t want or need, however that aside, I hope  you will find something that grabs your attention and inspires you.


1.When I first saw this  bedside table in a junk shop, it was plain ugly and crying out to be rescued. A coat of paint, some photocopied and enlarged images, that were then hand painted and decoupaged onto the piece of furniture resulted in what you see above.

Boho Bench copy

2. A wooden  Ikea bench has had its legs painted black, a seat  fashioned from a mattress. This was then covered in  material salvaged an old velvet curtain,  dyed in Dylon goldfish orange machine dye. It was topped with a slim cushion was made from an old sun faded kelim.


3. I found an old beer stained mahogany pub table  in a junk shop in Cowes Isle of Wight. I purchased the old sailing charts at the same time. The table was sanded and then painted black and the charts were cut to size and stuck in place and then finished with a clear mat varnish.


4What do you do when you find an old Covent garden vegetable cart? You turn it into an occasional table by turning it on its side, make   a shelf for the centre and screwing  on some castors. You they paint the front edges with florescent paint.


5. This table has been customized using  paint. The wooden fold up table was first sanded so that the paint would stick. The legs were then sprayed with Valspar copper paint. The top of the table was painted using blackboard paint. A perfect hallway  table for your phone with a place on which to take messages.


6. An asymmetric table was created from a rectangular table which had its legs painted grey and a new asymmetric top was cut  from mdf that was then screwed to the original table. The top was then painted pale pink.

padded coffee table

7. By halving the legs of a  table and painting the short remaining legs black you have the start of this padded table. To create the padding an Ikea baby mattress was cut to size and then it was covered in a butterfly patterned linen which was fastened into place using a staple gun.


8 We have all seen pallet tables, but  this one is particularly successful. It was partially taken apart and then reassembled with the addition of some blocks of wood to make it higher and make room for some existing drawers found on a skip.It was painted with watered down white emulsion and then heavy duty castors with breaks were added underneath to the four corners.

Tiled Coffee Table.jpg

9. A tiled coffee table was created by adding a lip to the edge of an existing table  to hold  the tiles in place and to give a neat finish. White tiles were decorated using ceramic pens.  The table was then painted deep grey and the tiles stuck in place.


10. Before being covered in a contemporary geometric wallpaper this bedside table with drawers was a yellowing faux wood effect with old fashioned handles. The paper was cut to size and then stuck in place using PVA glue. To finish it was given a coat of mat varnish.


10 IKEA Hacks

Having whetted your appetite in the last blog post with the Billy Book Case hacks, I thought you might  be inspired by some other transformations using Ikea products. First you see the  product in its original guise and then the transformation. Having said that as IKEA no longer sell traditional deck chairs and this was made and shot last summer, there is only an after shot of the chair. Its original cover was removed. A new one was made from canvas that was then stenciled  using  fabric paints


A Nornas table was hacked by halving the height of the legs and painting them black. A cushion pad was created out of a baby mattress which was then covered in a glorious Harlequin linen fabric with a butterfly print.


Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 15.54.16

butterfly stool

The Skogsta bench is a great shape and fits in anywhere. It provides extra seating for unexpected guests or makes a hall bench or even somewhere to fling your clothes  at night. It was sanded and then given a coat of orange paint.  A special cushion was created from old velvet curtains,dyed using Dylon machine dyes  and cut up old tapestries.





These Dvala pillowcases are only £3 a pair. I tie dyed them using Dylon hand dye and then sewed them together down the long sides to create a lounger for the kids.


pillowcase lounger

Moppe boxes have been sold at Ikea from their earliest days. They come in a variety of sizes and are perfect for all that tiny storage. They look perfect covered in different  Cambridge imprint papers and  stacked and glued on top of one another.

moppe boxes


The Hampen rug only cost £10 and is synthetic. I cut out large synthetic  felt leaves and flowers did a tiny bit of embroidery with floss and then glue gunned them onto the rug . Cheap cheerful and perfect for picnics.

Hampen rug


The Hektar lamp was spray painted copper using Valspar spray paintHektar lamp .png


365 china. The first set I just decorated this using pens specifically made for decorating china. The second project was decorative wall plates. These  were masked off and paint was sponged onto sections of them.

365 plates



Skuren cutlerySkuren cutlery with the handles painted.

Dip Dyed Cutlery .jpg


Two Ikea Hacks using Billy Book Cases

Who on this planet hasn’t bought from Ikea at one time or another?

In a past life when I was doing weekly and monthly makeovers for ‘That’s Life’ ‘Sunday Magazine’ ‘Homestyle’ magazines. I seemed to spend every hour when not making, browsing or buying in IKEA.

Because the IKEA was founded on a good design, the products stand-alone and look good unadulterated, however you can also create some fantastic results up-cycling and hacking. Here are a couple of projects made using Billy Bookcases.

Billybench.jpg In the first project the bookcase is turned on its side and a hallway storage bench has been made.Here are the instructions :


Billy book case bench

 We all need more space for storing bike helmets, boots, shoes and sports equipment so here is a very inexpensive solution.

You will need

1x Vyssa Slappna Cot Mattress 60x 120cm

1x Billy bookcase 40x28x106cm

Orange Squash emulsion paint by crown paint

Wicker cotton duck fabric in green by Cath kidston 1.5m



  1. Saw the lip off the 2 upright parts of the bookcase, leaving 2 long rectangular pieces.
  2. Using fine sandpaper, sand the surfaces to help make a purchase for the paint. Using a radiator roller, paint all the surfaces including the shelves. Leave to dry and give a second coat.
  3. Follow the makers instructions and construct the bookcase including the shelves.
  4. Measure the mattress and divide in two along its length 100cm with a 20cm piece at the bottom.
  5. Using a Stanley knife and a straight edge cut off the bottom 20cm and discard.
  6. Cut the remaining piece of foam into two long narrow strips 30cm x100cm. Place one on top of the other.
  7. Cut a paper pattern to the measurement of the foam 30cm x 100x10cm add 1cm seam allowance on each side.
  8. With right sides facing sew all the pieces together to make the seat covering, leaving a gap along one side to insert the foam pieces.
  9. Close the gap with a blind hemming stitch.

crown paint Billy Book case £25 and cot Mattress £15 from Ikea


Orange Squash emulsion paint Crown https://www.crownpaint.co.uk/Wicker cotton duck fabric in green by Cath kidston £20 a metre no longer available but they have other lovely ones instead. http://www.cathkidston.com


In the second project a workroom desk cum table was created This Ikea hack is made from four Billy bookcases. It makes a brilliant worktable that you can stand at for designing and cutting out projects. The desk is super easy to put together using readily accessible Billy bookcases and a flush door, pulled together with an easy bang on trend ‘faux bois’ paint finish.

You will need

4x Billy bookcase

Flush door

Emulsion paint


Universal primer

Roller and tray

Masking tape

Kitchen roll

Paint brush

Paint kettle


Measuring jug

Spoon for mixing

Graining Rocker and Combination comb available online


Follow the instructions that come with the Billy bookcases to assemble the four worktable supports. To make the bookcases boxier, we cut the lower skirting section off at the base with a saw, making the bottom shelf flush with the floor.

Paint the bookcases, shelves and door with primer suitable for melamine, and then use a roller to apply two coats of the white emulsion. So you can practice the faux bois graining technique, paint the lining paper with white emulsion. For the graining glaze mix together 1litre of orange emulsion with 1litre of  acrylic scumble glaze. Paint a generous coat of glaze onto the lining paper. Take the graining rocker and pull through the glaze using a rocking motion to create the wood grain design. When you are happy with your paper practices start graining the furniture surfaces.

To get varied woody effects, try using different rocking speeds and for simple graining use the combination comb dragged through the glaze. For best results be generous when applying the glaze and work quickly. To work the glaze while it stays open paint and grain in small sections, brush the glaze on in stripes the width of the graining rocker. After each pass, clean off graining tools with kitchen roll. Don’t forget to paint the edges of the shelves and tabletop, glaze and run the comb over it. When all the furniture surfaces are ‘faux bois’, fake wood, grained, leave to dry thoroughly for a couple of days, to protect the surfaces apply varnish before assembling the furniture. To make the structure more secure use a very strong wood adhesive product, cutting out the need for nails and screws.


Credits for product and styling:

Flush door


white and orange emulsion

Crown Paint

Scumble glaze


Liberty Tana lawn fabric



scissors, tape measure pins, buttons


Rug and lamp


Printed papers