If like me you love the shabby chic look but you’re a little constrained by your budget, why not try your hand at these five easy shabby chic projects that you can make yourself in very little time for a few pounds?
Soup ladle candle holder
This beautiful candle holder is extremely easy to make and looks beautiful as well as original! First you’ll need a piece of old wood for your backing. You can use a piece of skirting like here, or any piece of wood – an old shelf, window sill, wooden box lid etc. If you haven’t got anything suitable, pop down your local builder’s merchant as they will likely give you an offcut from the floor for free. Sand it down if you need to and then apply one or two coats of matt white wood paint until the wood is covered. If you don’t have any, a sample pot is a cheap way to get hold of some. When the paint is completely dry, take some fine sand paper and scuff around the edges, and the main area as well to reveal some of the grain.
Finally, you’ll need a soup ladle – you can track these down on eBay for around £3 upwards although you might want to pick a more fancy one for a little more. You’ll make life easier for yourself if you choose one that has a hole in the end to make it easier to attach it to the board – otherwise you’ll need to drill one. Bend your ladle into a good shape so that the cup of the ladle is level, and then screw it onto the board. Finally, because your candle is flat and your ladle is curved, you’ll want to add something into the bottom of the ladle for stability. To keep things on budget, just see what you have lying around the house – epoxy putty works well, but blu tack will also do the job!
Wine bottle lamps
There are two ways of making these lovely wine bottle lamps. The first – and the easiest – is using LED lights. I like this way better because the bottles don’t have ugly cords trailing from them, and you can put them anywhere. A string of 20-25 is ideal and you’ll need a set that has a tiny switch/battery unit that fits in the bottle. If you can’t find the LED lights that have tiny switches/battery units (and trust me, they do exist – my daughters have them all over their bedrooms!), you can get the ones with bigger battery units and use the method below for plug-in lights. These are still better than plug-in lights as they are more portable and don’t have a trailing cable, and you can hide the little battery unit behind each bottle. Wash out the bottles with warm soapy water and make sure they are 100% dry. Remove the labels, using WD40 to get off any stubborn sticky bits. Make a little hole in the cork and feed in one end of your LED lights – the one with the switch – with a glue that’s suitable for plastic (such as Loctite Hybrid). This is so you can easily turn them on and off. Then feed the other end of the lights into the bottle, and pop the cork on.
The alternative is to use plug-in lights – these last longer without needing replacement, but it does mean you have a trailing cord. You’ll need to drill a hole in each bottle for the cable – use a clamp or make a simple wooden V-shaped fixture to hold the bottle while drilling. Make sure you wear eye protection and work gloves, and slowly and carefully drill a hole 1 to 2 inches up from the bottom of each bottle using a 1/2-in. drill bit designed for glass. Then rinse bottle to remove any glass particles and make sure it is completely dry before feeding the non-plug end of the lights into the drilled hole, leaving a length of cord extending from the opening.
I love fabric bunting – it is perfect for adding a shabby chic touch to almost anything, from fireplaces, tables and mirrors to shelves and dressers. You can even just hang it on the wall as a hanging. The good news is, you don’t have to have a sewing machine or be amazing at sewing to get really good results. First, you’ll need a lot of pretty fabric. If you don’t already have a bag of scraps, the best place to get this cheap is eBay – just type in ‘mixed fabric’ for a lot of good value pretty packs. You’ll need to make a triangle template – type into Google ‘triangle bunting template’ and click the images tab if you’d like one to print. Now you have two options. The easiest option is to cut out the two long edges of the triangle using pinking shears (as in the picture above). These stop the fabric from fraying which saves you having to hem each one. If you’re not sure what pinking shears are, click here to see a photo – these are a good value pair at less than a fiver.
To attach your triangles together to make bunting, you can use anything you like – lace, ribbon, more fabric – but the easiest way by far is to use extra wide double fold bias tape. You just slip in the top of each triangle and sew them, either using a sewing machine or by hand if you don’t have one. Alternatively you can use a bit of natural string – just fold over each triangle at the top so the string threads through and to save yourself sewing, you can secure the triangles using some fabric glue like this.