If you love shabby chic and you’re constantly on the look out for little additions for your home, why not give some of these 25 shabby chic projects a go? All are easy to do and make use of cheap materials and scraps that you can pick up on eBay, at car boot sales or even on the beach! Finish these projects and you’ll have 25 beautiful shabby chic items to be proud of:
1. Lace lampshade
For a pretty lampshade, take an old plain lampshade (or if you don’t have one, these start at just £1.99 at Dunhelm Mill) and layer it with lace, gluing the layers on piece by piece with craft glue. Or, instead of lace, you can use crochet trims. This lovely idea came from Isabel Feist Lang.
2. Button pot
Buttons are perfect for decorating everything from picture frames to cushions. Make a pretty button lid box or tin by simply covering the box or tin with coloured paper or fabric, and gluing on the buttons in your chosen design.
3. Boxes wall hanging
For a pretty shabby chic wall hanging, save your small boxes (matchboxes, jewellery boxes, cosmetic packaging etc) and cover them with white paper. Fasten them to a board or drop them into another larger shallow box, and then line the inside of the back of each smaller box with pretty coloured paper or fabric. Place little shabby chic trinkets on each shelf – these can be beads, flowers, buttons, butterflies or any pretty decoration.
4. Seaside picture frame
To make a lovely shabby chic seaside picture frame, take an old wooden plain picture frame and give it a beautiful shell design: first give the frame a coat of paint in your chosen colour and then wait for it to dry. Once it’s done, take some sandpaper and rough it down, giving it a weathered appearance. You can also get a substance that weathers paint which looks attractive, giving it a crackle appearance. Then take your shells and other seaside objects, and attach them in your chosen design with superglue.
TIP: Although you can find lovely shells on the beach, the best place to pick up beautiful and unusual shells and seaside objects that are ready-to-use is the cheap shops in seaside towns that sell everything from kettles to porcelain dolls. You’ll always find a basket of beautiful shells in there for a pound or two. If you’re not going to the seaside any time soon, eBay also has plenty of shell bargains.
5. Fabric covered jam jars
Save your old jam jars and rinse them out clean. Cut a circle slightly wider than the jar from pretty fabric using pinking shears and tie the circle on using ribbon, lace or natural string. These pretty jars make a lovely shabby chic decoration, especially in a collection with mix and match prints – and you can use them to store bits and bobs like beads, cotton reals, pins and other sewing items.
6. Empty perfume bottle display
Empty perfume bottles make a pretty decoration for any window sill – the more decorative the better. The beautiful coloured glass allows the light to stream through, making an attractive display. As well as collecting your own empty bottles, you can find beautiful empty bottles for sale for a few pounds on eBay, and of course car boot sales are always a great place to find these pretty items for a bargain too!
7. Jewellery organiser
For a pretty shabby chic jewellery organiser, take a good sized ornate vintage looking frame (Dunhelm Mill is a great place to pick these up very cheaply) and take out the glass. Line the back with pretty fabric and then screw in small picture hooks to the back on which to hang your jewellery. This fabulous idea came from Caroline Burke‘s blog (she found it on Pinterest). She suggests that if you don’t have any pretty fabric, you could use wallpaper or patterned paper instead.
8. Jam jar lid frames
Upcycle your jam jar lids and turn them into pretty photo frames to attach to the fridge or anything metal – simply glue a magnet to the back and insert your chosen photo. Alternatively paint the inside with black chalkboard paint and add messages, then attach either as a magnet or to a board to create an interesting decoration. This clever idea was posted on HubPages by Bernadyn Nettles.
9. Floral attachments
Find a use for old floral hair accessories or brooches – simply clip or attach to other plain accessories to give them a lovely shabby chic finish! Make sure you keep the flower attachments away from the bulb. If you like this look and don’t have any flowers on clips, try Primark as they have plenty of these for a pound or two.
10. Beaded hangings
Take old worn out necklaces, bracelets and jewellery and remove the beads for turning into something new. Using strong wire (garden wire is ideal) form a shape of your choosing such as a heart, and thread on the beads. It is sometimes helpful to dot a little superglue on the wire, thread on the bead and leave that to dry for a few minutes before adding the next one – it means you don’t need so many beads. Additions of lace and ribbon can also look very pretty.
11. Beaded tie backs
Another use for your beads from old jewellery is to create pretty beaded tie backs for your curtains. If you’reusing string to make these, double it and knot between each bead (smaller spacer beads can be helpful for this). Eyepins are better as you won’t need to use quite so many beads and they will look more professional. A bag of 100 will cost you about a pound.
12. Collage frame
Take a pretty vintage looking frame (again, Dunhelm Mill is a great place to pick these up very cheaply) and take out the glass. Line it with white paper or pretty printed paper and add shabby chic trinkets – lace, flowers, beads, shells, buttons and so on. The pretty collage frame on the right makes use of wedding-themed trinkets to create a beautiful momentum of the special day – it would make a lovely gift. The one on the left makes use of little Christmas trinkets and tags, as well as buttons, flowers and other scraps from the sewing box.
13. Pen pot
A cleaned out food tin can be turned into a lovely pen pot with a few scraps. Make sure it is thoroughly cleaned and dry before covering the pot in a layer of fabric or coloured paper. Then, add a length of wide lace around the pot and glue into place. You may want to add buttons, flowers or ribbon bows, or leave it as it is.
14. Earring display
Make a beautiful shabby chic earring display using a vintage frame, some twisted wire and picture hooks. If you don’t have a vintage style frame (again, get yourself to Dunhelm Mill for a bargain), an old wooden frame works well – just paint it up and then when it’s dry rough it down with sandpaper. Attach the picture hooks at the back and twist lengths of wire together to hang the earrings on. This lovely creative idea comes from Kevin & Amanda.
15. Shabby chic ‘door’ hanger
This incredibly creative hanger features an old piece of wood with four matching thin frames that have been glued in place and left to dry. An old door handle has been attached to one side, and then the whole piece has been painted with the same colour paint. Once dry, the board, edges of the frame and handle have been roughed up shabby chic style to create a stunning wall hanging that beautifully displays these black and white wedding photos.
16. Candle holder
Featured elsewhere on the blog, this candle holder is easy to make from a piece of old skirting that has been painted and then roughed once dry, an old ladle (lots to buy on eBay from around £2.50) and a candle. It’s important to put something in the bottom of the ladle to ensure the candle is steady – a good quantity of blu tack does the job.
17. Bottle decorations
To make these pretty shabby chic bottles, you only need a couple of interesting empty glass bottles. Empty Chambord bottles are perfect if you happen to have them – and other liquor bottles often make good candidates too. Clean them well to ensure you get rid of any odours and dry them thoroughly. Then simply attach lace, ribbons, beads, buttons, old broken brooches, flowers, natural string, strings of pearls, cameos and cabochons, pretty and printed paper to decorate. These look lovely arranged on a tray on a sideboard or as a table centerpiece.
18. ‘Door handle’ hooks
These lovely shabby chic style door hooks are perfect for hanging up towels, coats, dressing gowns and the like, and they are easy to make and customise to the look of your home. Simply take an old piece of wood and paint it up, then rough it up using sandpaper once dry. Then add an old door handle (in this example, an old door plate has been painted and the handle itself has been replaced with an attractive acrylic knob). The addition of a small key on the one here is a quaint touch. Not got an old door handle lying around? Have a search on eBay – there are plenty starting at around a pound.
19. Lace bowls
You wouldn’t believe how easy these lace bowls are to make – and how cheap! You just need some doilies, liquid starch, cling film and some bowls to shape them on. This brilliant idea came from Stacy Vaughn and you can find full instructions on her website. If you use a really large bowl to mould them, you end up with a pretty shallow plate shape instead.
20. Notice board
This shabby chic notice board is really easy to make yourself. It’s made using an old notice board that has been taken to bits, painted and then covered with padding. It’s then decorated with pretty fabric and scraps of ribbon, beads and buttons. You can use whatever bits and bobs you have hanging around to decorate it, or customise it to suit your own decor. Follow this easy video to make your beautiful notice board:
21. Mosaic plant pot
Pretty broken or chipped china is easy to pick up cheap at car boot sales and perfect for making mosaic pots like this plant pot. Break your china between two cloths using a hammer to avoid risk of injury. Coat a section of the pot in tile adhesive – you want it to come about half way up the bits of tile when you push them into the adhesive – and push in your pieces. Work your way around the pot adding more adhesive/pieces. Then leave the pot to dry for at least 24 hours. Once dry, mix up tile grout and apply it over the tiles, forcing it into the grout lines. When done, sponge off the excess. Here’s an instruction video to show you exactly how to do this:
This beautiful stand is actually made from a glass saucer and a candle holder, adorned with beautiful lace. It makes use of flat backed pearls in different pretty colours, and E6000 (industrial strength) glue to attach the plate to the candle holder. The finished result can be used to hold candles, jewellery or any display objects. This lovely idea came from Angela Holt.
This beautiful tray is an old tray that has been upcycled using scrap booking paper. The tray has been sprayed with cream acrylic paint initially and once dry, scraps have been stuck on to create the design. Then, the tray has been well coated numerous times with Acrylic Spray for protection, leaving each coat to dry before applying the next. The fantastic tray on the right was completed by Patti.
24. Wall plate display
Pretty china plates in a mix of patterns and colours make a beautiful wall display and are so easy to hang, especially as they look better when they aren’t lined up straight! To get the plates on the wall you can use plate hangers or, for plates that aren’t too weighty, a paper clip half attached to the back of the plate (to create a loop) using a glue gun or superglue works just fine (make sure you leave it to dry thoroughly before trying to hang up the plate).
25. Cushion cover
Shabby chic cushions are cheap to make because you can use old fabric – for example, second hand curtains – the more worn out, the better. Would you believe that the beautiful cushion cover on the right is made with no sewing whatsoever? Where’s your excuse now! Watch the easy step by step tutorial to learn exactly how to make this beautiful cushion, or adapt the no-sew tutorial to make your own design from the scraps you have lying around the house:
Making shabby chic accessories is really easy and most involve just odds, ends and scraps. These ever popular items are therefore perfect for craft fairs and car boot sales as the mark-up is huge. You might like Tomorrow Studio’s article on making money from the shabby chic craze, which could be anything from a part time profitable hobby to a full scale furniture and accessories business.