Creative ideas and kits to keep boredom and anxiety at bay:
We’re already fans of Rosi de Ruig’s beautiful lampshades. Now she’s launched Making Together, so you can get creative at home. Pick your colour – spring green, daffodil yellow, Dutch orange, pillar box red, primrose pink, cream or oatmeal. Rosi will send you the colourful book cloth for you to decorate as you like. Draw, paint or block print your designs to the fabric side of the template and then post it back to Rosi’s studio where she will magic it into a lampshade before sending it back to you. From £55 for a wall light including a 20% donation to NHS Charities Together.
We were kindly invited to be guinea pigs for new company, The Fabled Thread. As embroidery novices, we were surprised at how easy it turns out to be. These kits contain everything you need – 2 needles, coloured threads, a frame holding the fabric tight and instructions for each step. Their website is due to go live in mid-May with lots of contemporary designs, but advance kits will be available from next week. These will include the cool camel design – that we’re currently stitching – so keep an eye on the instagram @thefabledthread to be the first to hear when sales go live, £30 + postage. We’re hooked.
Molly Mahon’s printing kits sold out in a flash (do keep an eye on her instagram to find out when more will be released). But to get going with printing, all you really need is a potato and something to scrape it with. Check out all her IGTV tutorials here, we like the rainbow carving, and also these new bluebells.
We are feeling inspired by Alex Gore-Brown’s beautiful moth-hole darning. All you need is some coloured threads and ideally a traditional wooden mushroom darner. Find inspiration in this brilliant book by Japanese author Hikaru Noguchi, Darning: Repair, Make Mend.
Sticker books might usually be the domain of the under 5’s, but Anya Hindmarch’s beautiful leather ones can be stuck to anything – handbags, laptops, notebooks, etc. We like this one for wearing on the daily walk to the park. Stickers £15 each or currently 5 for £65.
Coal Drops Yard are releasing free downloadable guides created by young designers and makers. No design experience is needed and the idea is you should have most of the kit already at home. The Makers Manuals will be released every other Wednesday, the first up is a guide to tie-dying socks by Lauren MacDonald, with sugar shapes and bird-feeders coming soon.
Whist we can’t currently visit their art studio in Eccleston Yards, we can still get a bit of MasterPeace guidance at home. Choose an Art Kit from their collection of contemporary designs – we particularly like Harriet Gillet’s animals – and set to work. Each kit has been prepared by a professional artist, and you’ll receive their step by step instructions as well as a canvas, painter’s palette, acrylic paints and brushes. Art Kits £25, with online classes from £49.
We posted about these colourful Polish decorations in our previous Arts & Crafts feature, with a step-by-step guide to making the paper pom-poms. Also from expert Alice MacColl @shiptonoldpost, here is part II which explains how to thread them together to make your Pajaki:
The English translation of Pajaki is ‘spiders’, a name reflective of the spindly sections that make up this Polish decoration. These colourful chandeliers come in many shapes and sizes, the following will work as a guide to make something similar to the pictured Pajaki – but do experiment with design, materials and size.
What you need:
12 Paper pom poms, each with around 40cm thread still attached. Find instructions for making these here.
Metal hoop around 30 cm in diameter (you can get these online and in craft shops, or use part of a broken lampshade if you have one)
- Small metal ring, something like a keyring would be perfect
- Strong thread
- 160 Coloured card disks, roughly 3cm in diameter (you can buy little punches that will make cutting these out much easier!)
- Natural straw cut into 160 3cm lengths (you can buy natural straw drinking straws online, or use paper drinking straws)
- A couple of sheets of coloured tissue or brightly coloured thread
- PVA glue
What to do:
Wrap your metal hoop in either tissue paper or coloured thread, using the glue to hold it in place – you could also paint it. You will then need to make six evenly spaced marks around the ring using a pencil. Put the hoop to one side for a moment.
- Starting at the top of your chandelier, take your small metal ring and attach six lengths of strong thread at least 60cm long. At this point it is helpful to hang your metal ring on a hook or a nail so that you have both hands free to work.
- Thread seven pieces of straw and six card disks alternately onto one piece of thread, starting and ending with the straw. Attach the other end of this string to the metal hoop at one of your marked points. Repeat this with the remaining five threads making sure you attach them to the hoop at each of the six points.
- Taking one of your pom poms, thread seven pieces of straw and six card disks onto the attached thread as before. Tie the end of the thread to one of your marks on the hoop. Repeat with five other pom poms.
- Next make six lengths of ten paper disks and eleven pieces of straw, attach one end to a mark on your hoop and the other to another, creating a loop.
You should now have three knots tied at each of your marked points on the hoop – dont worry if these look untidy. Trim any loose ends then take each of your remaining pom poms and trim the strings away. Glue each pom pom at the point where you made the original pencil mark.
To find six even points on your metal ring take a piece of string the same length as its circumference and fold into six even pieces. Each piece will indicate the space between your six points.
It can be tricky to keep your Pajaki balanced when assembling – if you are able to hang it freely from the start, and aim to keep your strings even in length and tight when you tie them off, you should be just fine.