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Peter Pan Collar Blouse

CraftsAmanda Russell
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With their crisp coolness I cant resist a mans poplin shirt. Here’s a beauty I transformed into a desirable Peter Pan collar blouse, perfect for long hot summer days. Using embroidery scissors and a stitch ripper I unpicked two shirts ready for remodeling, a striped one for the body and white for the collar. I traced the pattern for the shirt and collar from a favourite old blouse I’d had for several years.

You will need:

  • 2 old cotton shirts I for the body of the shirt another for collar

  • thread

  • pins

  • dress making and embroidery scissors

  • measuring tape

  • pencil

  • ruler

  • greaseproof paper for pattern making

  • stitch ripper

Steps:

1.         Cut three bias strips 3cm wide, 60cm long. Open out one of the sleeves, at the widest section make a 45 degree fold.

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2.         Use a pencil to mark 3cm intervals along the fold line, pencil to draw a straight line joining the marks. To make bias strips, cut along the fold line, then along the drawn lines.

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3.         To make long bias strips join strips together.

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4.         Right sides together place 2 strips at 90 degrees to each other, sew to join

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5.         Trim seam and press open.

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6.         The back of the blouse is made from the front button opening of the old shirt. Pin the paper blouse pattern in position with a button at the top of the opening and allow for seam allowances.

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7.         Cut the out front and back section, then sew together at the shoulder.

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8.         Cut four collar pieces from the second shirt and 2 from bondable fabric stiffener. Iron fabric stiffener on the reverse side of two collar pieces. Pin and sew two collar pieces together, repeat with the remaining pieces. Trim the seam and cut notches on the curved seems, turn right sides out and press.

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9.         Pin and tack the collar pieces in place on the neckline. Take a long strip of bias binding, pin and tack along the neck line over the collar edge, sew in place. Trim along sewing line, cutting notches along the curve.

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10.   Fold the bias binding to tuck in the raw edge, fold again and pin and tack, before sewing down.

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11.   Pin and sew bias binding around the armholes.

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12.   Sew the side seems together, neatening edges with zigzag stitch. Finish the arm holes by turning the bias binding to cover raw edge, pin, tack and sew in place. Hem the bottom edge of the shirt, folding up by 2cm and press, then to neaten fold raw edge in on itself. 

Here is another piece you might like, go take a look: Star Light Canvas

Easy, DIY Roman Blind

CraftsAmanda Russell

I couldn’t resist this print fabric and a roman blind is the perfect canvas for showing off the mid century design. Below I show you how to design and make your own really simple roman blind, lets do it right now!

You will need:

  • Pre-corded Roman Blind kit, I used one from John Lewis

  • Pins, needles, thread

  • Dressmaking scissors

  • Fabric, I used Villa Nova fabric

Measure the width and drop of your window for finished blind size. Add 1.5cm to the both sides and 6cm to the length, then cut out the fabric.

Wrong side up turn in the sides, fold the fabric over by 0.5cm and then a further 1cm, pin in place and sew down.

Take the loop tape off the head rail, turn the top of the blind over by 1cm, then pin the loop tape in place 0.5cm below the turn. Sew the loop tape in place along both edges.

To make the pocket for the bar on the lower edge fold the fabric up by 0.5cm then again by 4cm, sew in place.

To find the positions for the rod channels measure the length of the blind then divide into 6. Mark positions for the rod tape on the reverse of the blind, draw a light line from one side to the other.

To calculate the length of the channel tapes add 2cm to the width of the blind measurement then cut the channel tapes. Turn the side of the channel tape in by 1cm then using the lines you drew on the blind sew in position leaving one end of the channel open.

Cut the rods 2cm shorter than the width of the blind, insert into the channel through the opening. Turn in the tape by 1cm then close the opening by sewing onto the side of the blind, repeat for each rod.

Once you’ve made your Roman blind install it following your kit instructions, I used a pre-corded kit from John Lewis.

If you like this post check out my post on Quick Revamp for Drop-in Seat Chair

Book Review - Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
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Winter can be a tough time for many with the shrinking of daylight hours and the near constant grey weather Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell is a manual of creative projects designed to help keep the winter blues at bay. During winter months because of the lack of sunlight mood elevating serotonin is at lower levels often leading to gloomy moods, crafting is known to raise levels of serotonin which in turn helps boost mood. Drawing inspiration from the natural winter world Mitchell has designed a beautiful survival manual of simple craft projects calling on a variety of skills to help people escape low moods during the winter. With perfect timing, at the darkest time of year, the book arrived on my desk to be reviewed.

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It is an attractive book with beautiful images of domestic cosines and creativity inspired by nature. Divided into chapters, each themed around the different phases of winter, there are several projects to fit the theme with clear step by step instructions. In High Days and Celebrations there's a recipe for streusel cake, a berry cocktail and woodland wreaths, it's a varied selection and none are too time consuming. I enjoyed the outdoors chapter Nature as Nurture, here Mitchell gently coaxes us out of the house, subtly persuading us with the promise of crafty joys such as preserving autumn leaves or making silver fossil pendants after a good walk observing nature. As a stylist I'm always trying to bring nature into interiors and there are lots of examples of this, and don't we all love spreading the love with specimen blooms in vintage bottles. There are also very beautiful crochet projects which I lust after, the hawthorn wrist warmers, with a bobbly berried design is very nearly enough to tempt me to pick up a hook and have a go.

Making Winter , with its beautiful images and full of plucky hope is a wonderful happiness manual to inspire, a great gift for a crafty friend, whether or not they find the winter months taxing.   Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months  by Emma Mitchell, out now in hardback, priced £14.99 (LOM Art).    If you liked this book review then why not read my book review of  Making Concrete Pots, bowls, and Platters by Hester van Overbeek

Making Winter, with its beautiful images and full of plucky hope is a wonderful happiness manual to inspire, a great gift for a crafty friend, whether or not they find the winter months taxing.

Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell, out now in hardback, priced £14.99 (LOM Art).

If you liked this book review then why not read my book review of Making Concrete Pots, bowls, and Platters by Hester van Overbeek

Book Review - Millinery, The Art of Hat-Making by Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
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Now more than ever we all want to learn new crafts and skills and the New Year is as good a time as any to start mastering one. Sadly, hat wearing has been relegated to special occasion wear, the book Millinery, The Art of Hat-Making by Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner has a varied collection and wearing one to top off a carefully curated outfit is made a real possibility. With its beautiful timeless illustrations, variety of hat designs and detailed techniques it gives plenty of information to help you get started creating your own unique hats. After a detailed browsing of this book, as an eclectic designer, maker, I felt fired up with ideas for the many possible occasions for sporting a distinctive and elegant hat.

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Have you ever wondered how a hat shape is made from a flat piece of fine woven straw or how to create a distinctive trim that is guaranteed to lift a bought hat from ordinary to extraordinary? With a wide choice of hat shapes and embellishment to create, Millinery is the book for you. A beautifully designed volume it is divided into two sections. The first covers the nitty gritty with equipment, materials and techniques each supported by text and images. The second section has twelve very different hat projects with easy to follow step by step instructions. Choose from soft sewn hats to a gorgeous feather creation to a full on felt trilby. I am drawn in by the detail, and long for a neat feathered tear drop, complete with the swish and flourish of a long plume. 

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Emphatically, yes, I would recommend Millinery, as it gives a glimpse into the art form and plenty of information for you to successfully make your own high-end millinery. With its wealth of inspiration and variety of techniques it won't be long before you have created a unique hat collection.

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    Millinery, The Art of Hat-Making by Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner  Published by GMC £16.99  Available from  www.thegmcgroup.com   If you like this book review why not read my review of  The Gentleman’s Wardrobe: Vintage Style Projects for the Modern Man by Vanessa Mooncie

Millinery, The Art of Hat-Making by Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner

Published by GMC £16.99

Available from www.thegmcgroup.com

If you like this book review why not read my review of The Gentleman’s Wardrobe: Vintage Style Projects for the Modern Man by Vanessa Mooncie

Star Light Canvas

CraftsAmanda Russell

As if you need to be reminded of the star you are, who could resist making a bright starry statement like this? A really simple project, with just a couple of halogen lighting chains, a canvas and emulsion paint my glittery star project will brighten up any room.

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You will need-

Emulsion paint

2x Halogen Lighting chain

Paint brush

Paper

Masking tape

Electrical screw driver

Bradawl

1.Paint the canvas with pink matt emulsion paint

2. Draw a large star on a piece of paper then cut out, stick to the reverse of the canvas with a line of masking tape along each straight edge.

3. Work out where you want to have the lights, I had about three along each straight edge and one on each point end.

4. Start making the holes to push the lights through. With one hand supporting the front of the canvas press the bradawl through the masking tape on the reverse and make a pilot hole, next enlarge the hole with the screwdriver, don’t make it too large the light is held in by it. Press the light from the back through the hole to lodge just around the collar of the fitting. Continue round the star with the lights.

5. Hang the canvas up using Command hooks. Do not leave lights on when unattended.

Tip

Before putting the lights into the canvas decide where you want the cables to come out, mine was at the lower edge. I worked out the middle of the total number of light positions on the canvas, this was where I inserted the light at the end of the light chain.

If you like this post check out my post on making your own Christmas decorations 

Turn an old ladder into a contemporary Christmas tree

CraftsAmanda Russell
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I made this picture perfect tree out of an old ladder with near-on zero prep, using a coat of chalk paint to cover ancient paint drips and to create a matte finish.

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You will need-

  • Planed timber
  • Saw
  • Spirit level
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Crown Cloudburst matt emulsion paint, £11.99 for 2.5l, Maxwells DIY
  • Polyvine Chalk Paint Maker,  £11.36, Amazon
  • Paintbrush
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1. Put up the ladder and decide how steep you want the sides of the tree to be; you might have to remove the retaining cord. Mine was quite broad as I wanted to max out on the display area.

2. To make the back leg shelf supports, cut batten from 2.5cm x 5cm planed timber. With the spirit level balanced on the front step, extend the level line and mark where to locate the support batten on the back legs with pencil. Screw the battens in place.

3. These shelves projected 25cm beyond the edge of the step to give extra display space, but you could make yours shorter if you’d like. Decide on the length, then cut each shelf from planed wood. Screw in place on the front steps and back batten.


4. To make the chalk paint, mix 400ml Crown Cloudburst Matt Emulsion with 200ml Polyvine Chalk Paint Maker. Then, with a crosshatch strokes, paint the ladder Christmas tree and let dry before decorating.

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If you like this post check out my funky feather wreath post

Create your own handmade Christmas decorations

CraftsAmanda Russell

This nifty little project making Christmas decorations, is one for people who have pets using old pet food containers. We are talking about those lightweight aluminium ones with a lip round them.

You will need:  Clean pet food containers  Patterned paper  Ribbon  Wooden picnic spoons  PVA glue  Paintbrush  Acrylic paint  Thin card  Clear sticky tape  Double sided tape  Acrylic paint  Felt tip pens pencil  Scissors   

You will need:

Clean pet food containers

Patterned paper

Ribbon

Wooden picnic spoons

PVA glue

Paintbrush

Acrylic paint

Thin card

Clear sticky tape

Double sided tape

Acrylic paint

Felt tip pens pencil

Scissors

 

Instructions:  First cover the inside of the container with the paper face down. Draw around the edge with a pencil. Take a pencil and extend the sideline of the square.  2. Cut out the paper cross shape. Fold the side arms in to crease the paper. Paint the reverse of the paper with a layer of PVA glue, put the paper into the tray, press the two shorter sides onto the tray, then press out the long sides onto the sides. Along the top edge of the tray cut deep nicks in the paper and wrap the paper over the edge to stick in place.  3. To cover the outside of the tray, take a contrast printed paper. Paper face down draw around the base of the tray, cut out square shape. Measure around the outside of the tray, add 1cm for overlap. Cut a strip of paper the measured length and 3cm wide. Paint with PVA glue then wrap around the tray cutting long nicks in the paper to ease around the curved corners, press the loose strips into place on the base, then glue the square of paper over to cover. Poor glitter onto a plate, paint the front edge of the tray with PVA and dip in glitter.  4. To make the portraits, if you like use scissors to trim the top of the spoon into a hairstyle, then paint the spoons with a base coat of white acrylic paint. While they are drying make the shoulders for the portraits. Cut a strip of thin card slightly narrower than the opening of the tray and about 2cm high, fold in half along the length then glue on printed paper.  5. Use acrylic paint to mix a variety of skin tone colours, paint the spoons. Leave to dry then use felt pens to draw on details. Use sticky tape to attach the portrait onto the shoulders. To keep the portrait in position cut a narrow support strut from thin card about 4cm long, fold in both ends by 1cm, then tape one to the reverse of a portrait. Stick the shoulders to the bottom edge of the tray with double sided tape and tape the end of the support strut to the back of the tray. With the point of the scissors make a hole through the top edge of the tray. Cut a length of ribbon and pass one end through the hole and tape in place.  If you like this check out my post on  making a star light canvas

Instructions:

First cover the inside of the container with the paper face down. Draw around the edge with a pencil. Take a pencil and extend the sideline of the square.

2. Cut out the paper cross shape. Fold the side arms in to crease the paper. Paint the reverse of the paper with a layer of PVA glue, put the paper into the tray, press the two shorter sides onto the tray, then press out the long sides onto the sides. Along the top edge of the tray cut deep nicks in the paper and wrap the paper over the edge to stick in place.

3. To cover the outside of the tray, take a contrast printed paper. Paper face down draw around the base of the tray, cut out square shape. Measure around the outside of the tray, add 1cm for overlap. Cut a strip of paper the measured length and 3cm wide. Paint with PVA glue then wrap around the tray cutting long nicks in the paper to ease around the curved corners, press the loose strips into place on the base, then glue the square of paper over to cover. Poor glitter onto a plate, paint the front edge of the tray with PVA and dip in glitter.

4. To make the portraits, if you like use scissors to trim the top of the spoon into a hairstyle, then paint the spoons with a base coat of white acrylic paint. While they are drying make the shoulders for the portraits. Cut a strip of thin card slightly narrower than the opening of the tray and about 2cm high, fold in half along the length then glue on printed paper.

5. Use acrylic paint to mix a variety of skin tone colours, paint the spoons. Leave to dry then use felt pens to draw on details. Use sticky tape to attach the portrait onto the shoulders. To keep the portrait in position cut a narrow support strut from thin card about 4cm long, fold in both ends by 1cm, then tape one to the reverse of a portrait. Stick the shoulders to the bottom edge of the tray with double sided tape and tape the end of the support strut to the back of the tray. With the point of the scissors make a hole through the top edge of the tray. Cut a length of ribbon and pass one end through the hole and tape in place.

If you like this check out my post on making a star light canvas

The Gentleman’s Wardrobe: Vintage Style Projects for the Modern Man by Vanessa Mooncie

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
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I was really excited when The Gentleman's Wardrobe by Vanessa Mooncie arrived on my desk. I'm a designer maker and creating a capsule wardrobe that sums up your own unique style, seems like a very fine thing. There are lots of sources out there for women but what about the men? The book does just what it says on the cover with all the know how to make an entire gentleman's wardrobe. The garment collection was inspired by old black and white family photos showing beautifully dressed relatives taking great care over their immaculate appearance.

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This is a beautiful book packed with a wealth of contemporary lifestyle fashion plate images to give you all the inspiration you need to get cracking. The 14 projects cover a wide range of skills, there's an elegant garment or accessory for everyone to make following the easy step by step instructions and sewing patterns. All levels of sewing are covered from simple beginners projects like a cravat and for makers with a higher level of expertise there are more complex garments such as shirts and jackets. With a wide range of projects all styles are catered for, choose a different fabric and change the style of garment to create a unique expression of yourself.

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With its indepth knowledge and lots of attractive fashion images it's an easy and approachable way to start building a stylish gentleman's wardrobe. Flicking through the pages a young man with beginners sewing skills was blown away by the idea of making his own silk dressing gown and I was taken with the images for making a tweed flat cap. Whether you are a maker yourself or want to give this book as a gift it's the perfect book to turn to for both reference and a source of projects. With ideas for a quick project or something that will take longer this book would win long term space on my book shelf and remain there long after today’s love of vintage fashion has been superceded.

The Gentleman’s Wardrobe by Vanessa Mooncie

Published by GMC £16.99

Available from www.thegmcgroup.com

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If you liked this post why not read my book review of Quintessential Baking by Frances Quinn

How to make Mattisse inspired wall art

CraftsAmanda Russell

Create a bold Matisse inspired fabric wall art. Use simple motifs to make an impactful piece of wall art.

You Will Need

  • Canvas, £8, Hobbycraft
  • Tracing paper
  • Bondaweb £3.90 Akaban
  • Fabric scraps
  • Stapler
  • Pencil, paper and tracing paper
  • Command Strips from £2.70 B&Q

Step-by-step

  1. Place the canvas on a large piece of paper and draw around the edge of the canvas, add 10cm to each side.
  2. Draw your design on the paper and mark each colour. Using the tracing paper trace the shape for each colour.
  3. Iron paper backed Bondaweb to the reverse of fabric scraps. Cut out the shapes, then remove backing paper and iron to bond in position. Use a sewing machine to sew around the edge of the fabric shapes.
  4. Place the fabric image on the canvas and stretch the fabric over the edge, use the stapler to secure the fabric at the back.
  5. Hang on the wall using Command Strips

Tips

  • When stapling the fabric on start from the middle and work towards the outer edge so there are no creases in the fabric
If you liked this post why not read my post on making your own   Bang on Trend Super Easy Picture Shelf

If you liked this post why not read my post on making your own  Bang on Trend Super Easy Picture Shelf

Get Yourself an Asymetric Coffee Table

CraftsAmanda Russell

Have yourself an enviable conversation piece coffee table by transforming a very ordinary coffee table with a new asymmetrical top and a lick of paint.

You Will Need

  • Lisabo Tabe Ikea
  • 20mm MDF 
  • Black and Decker electric jig saw and drill
  • Paint 
  • Varnish
  • Wood filler 
  • Screws
  1. Using the jig saw cut the table top over hang off the table. Draw the shape of the new table top on the MDF. Cut out with the jigsaw. Sand the edges of the table and MDF.
  2. Paint the MDF table top blush and the legs graphite.
  3. Place the MDF table top on the table, drill through the new top into the old top then screw down.
  4. Fill screw holes with two part filler when dry sand and retouch paint.
  5. When dry paint the whole table with quick dry

Tip

  • This table gives lots of space for styling a table scape, I love the zingy saffron I chose. For a new look, change your styling accessories with the season.

If you like this post why not check out my post on Stamping your own Floral Lampshade

Stamp your own floral lampshade

CraftsAmanda Russell

I love simple bold classic 60s florals and designed a print in a bright vibrant green for a large lampshade. This is a very simple way to create your own bespoke piece of designer homeware.

You will already have many of the things you need for this low-tech hand printing project and there are only a couple of specialize products you will need.

You will need:

  • Plain drum lampshade 
  • Dylon fabric paints in Green and Yellow from
  • Acrylic block
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencil
  • Rubber
  • Masking tape
  • Glue stick
  • Hobby foam sheet
  • Car wash sponge
  • Scissors
  • OHP pen (overhead projector pen)
  • Masking tape

Step by Step

  1. Measure the lampshade and draw a design to fit, then trace onto tracing paper. Use a permanent OHP pen to mark the center back of the acrylic block. Place the design under the acrylic block and trace onto the reverse side of the block with the OHP pen.
  2. To transfer the image onto the foam sheet, place the tracing paper design face down on foam, and then scribble over the back with a soft pencil.
  3. Cut out your design from the foam sheet using scissors and a craft knife. Stick the cut out pieces in position on the acrylic block using a glue stick.
  4. Place a line of masking tape around the top and bottom edges of the lampshade.
  5. Mix up your fabric-printing colour, I made a lime green by mixing the yellow with the green about half a pot for this design. For the fabric paint applicator cut a piece 3cm cubed from the car wash sponge. Dab one side of the foam in the fabric paint until it is evenly coated. Then dab the fabric paint onto the design block and print on paper to check colour.
  6. Start printing onto the lampshade, beginning at the seam, reloading the block with paint after each impression.

Tip

  • Transparent acrylic blocks take the headache out of positioning the block especially when printing repeat designs.

If you like this blog post why not read my post on Creating a Retro Tiled Coffee Table

Bang on Trend Super Easy Picture Shelf

CraftsAmanda Russell

Have you ever marvelled at curated collections of pictures and wondered how you can move them about without damaging your walls? This great little picture shelf is the answer, use it to display your own curated collection of pictures, it’s easy to move them around again and again whenever you want to change the look.

You Will Need

  • Wood strip and beading
  • Brass picture hooks
  • White matt emulsion paint
  • Electric Drill Black and Decker
  • Rawl plugless screws
  • Panel pins
  1. Measure the wood strip and beading and use a saw to cut both pieces of wood to the same length.
  2. Place the beading strip in the centre of the wood strip.
  3. Hammer in position using panel pins.
  4. Paint with white emulsion.
  5. Screw the brass picture hooks on the back edge.
  6. Mark and drill holes for screws on the wall, then screw the shelf in place.

Tip

  • Paint the shelf with the same colour as the walls so it blends into the room

If you like this post why not take a look at How to create your own vintage letter

Unique Space Saving Ladder Plant Stand

CraftsAmanda Russell

Have you noticed the great plant invasion in every interior recently? They can take over all your surfaces so here's a project for a handy ladder plant stand that makes a gorgeous tired indoor garden. Use it to grow plants on as well as herbs for the kitchen. With bags of handy storage you can't help but make space for it in your life.

You will need:

  • Saw
  • Screws
  • Black and Decker drill and jig saw
  • Paintbrush
  • Dulux Matt Emulsion paint
  • Spirit level
  • Scrap wood selection for shelves and battens
  1. I used all my scrap wood for this project, a couple of old boards for the shelves and stripwood in a variety of dimensions for the supports. It was a very mixed bag of scraps so to start with I painted the ladder and all the wood with emulsion for a uniform colour.
  2. To make the ladder lean against the wall you need to adjust the back legs. Put up the ladder, then lean the back legs against a wall so they are perpendicular to the floor. Hold in position, this will raise the front legs off the floor. Measure the distance between the floor and the front legs. Measure and cut this amount off the back legs, now the ladder will hold its position against the wall.
  3. Next add battens on the back legs for shelf supports. Place the spirit level on the bottom step, then use a pencil to mark the position on the back legs. Measure the distance between the back legs, cut a batten from strip wood and screw in place. Repeat for the remaining steps.
  4. Measure for shelves then cut  wood to length. Screw each shelf in place on the step and batten. Touch up the ladder shelves with emulsion.

Cheats:

Emulsion paint is quick and easy to use, surfaces need minimal preparation, it gives great cover and the brushes are easy to wash clean.

If you liked this post check out my blog post on how to make a retro tiled coffee table 

Must Have Retro Tiled Coffee Table

CraftsAmanda Russell

Customise your own retro tiled coffee table, take a cheap as chips high street coffee table and give it enviable style and originality with this easy project. I used ceramic pens to add designs to budget white glazed tiles, easily sourced from any of the diy sheds.

You will need:

  • Coffee table
  • Tiles
  • Ceramic pen
  • Tile adhesive
  • Grout
  • Edging strip
  • Black paint
  • Paint brush
  • Beading for edging strip
  • Panel pins
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  1. Choose two designs for the pattern on the tiles and then draw on with the ceramic pen. Leave tiles to dry.
  2. Paint the table with black paint.
  3. Arrange the tiles on the tabletop, keeping the design random, combine patterned and plain tiles. When you’re happy with the design take a photo to use as your guide as you stick the tiles in place with tile adhesive. I stuck these tiles snuggly against each other. Leave to dry.
  4. To neaten the table edge cut a retaining strip from beading then secure in place with panel pins.
  5. Grout the table, leave to dry. Paint the retaining strip to match the table.

If you like this make check out my Upholstered Footstool post