Hoop Art Wall

Embroidery hoop art wall

One of the most frustrating things about renting for me is not being able to paint or wallpaper the walls. I long to have patterned wallpaper and colourful feature walls in our house and I am always trying to come up with new ideas to make the walls more interesting.

After winning the lovely Emma Nicol’s instagram giveaway recently for a custom couple’s portrait, I wanted to find somewhere special to hang the amazing portrait Emma created for us and I had the idea of installing an embroidery hoop art wall above our bed to fill up the big blank space.

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This is another project I have had pinned on my home decor board on Pinterest for a long time after seeing a similar hoop art wall and I am so pleased with how my version looks. It has given our bedroom a lot more colour and really adds to the mismatched homespun look. It makes me smile every time I walk up the stairs and catch sight of it through the bedroom door!

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To create the wall, I bought a big batch of embroidery hoops (you can find lots of bulk listings on ebay) and painted them a mix of pretty pastel colours.

Painted embroidery hoops

I then raided my fabric stash and started filling up the hoops with material, cutting out a piece slightly larger than the size of the hoop and then carefully framing it. For some of the thinner fabrics I also added a plain piece of white cotton behind the fabric to make it less see through. I used a running stitch to gather in the excess material at the back and tied a small piece of twine through the fastening at the top of the hoop to hang it by. Next I drove myself slightly mad trying to plan a layout with a good distribution of size, pattern and colour, before giving up and just piecing it together as I went along! I used stick on hooks by 3M to hang the hoops on the wall as they can be removed with no damage to the paint (a renter’s dream!).

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One of the upsides of this project is that I was able to use up some of my fabric stash and I’m pleased that snippets of a few of the lovely prints and patterns I have been hoarding are finally getting to see the light of day. I also used quite a few sentimental fabrics like material from Michael’s wedding shirt and from the bunting which decorated our reception venue, which adds a thoughtful touch. Of course I still took this as an opportunity to buy yet more fabric to add a few new patterns into the mix, and I scoured Etsy to track down some small quilting pieces of Liberty fabric I have been coveting but couldn’t quite afford to purchase by the metre, like the Alice in Wonderland Gallymoggers print and the fun Forget-me-nots print.

At the moment, there is a mix of some hoops which I have embroidered and others which are just plain fabric. As there are over 30 hoops altogether the idea is that over time I will stitch up the hoops so it will become more of a gallery, but there are some fabrics I might just leave plain to showcase the prints.

Here are some of the hoops I have stitched up so far:

Wedding feet embroidery hoop P1020083

L-R:

  • This is inspired by one of my favourite photos from our wedding of our shoes. I traced the outline of the picture to create a simple line drawing then used this to cut out pieces of fabric to appliqué onto the base fabric in the hoop. This is my favourite hoop so far!
  • I actually made this embroidery of our initials carved into a tree last year to go in a woodland themed room we had in our old house, but with a fresh coat of paint on the hoop to add a pastel twist it fits in perfectly with the new hoop art wall.

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L-R:

  • The “Be Nice” hoop is a gorgeous DIY kit I bought from the lovely Ruth of The Make Arcade to take away on holiday with me. It still needs a little more work (some satin stitching on the polka dots) but I couldn’t wait to put it up as I love the design, it is super pretty and gives a daily reminder to be kind to the world and to myself!
  • This is a quick and simple hoop I stitched up using a Sublime Stitching pattern to commemorate Michael’s success in our recent mini golf tournament on holiday. We take mini golf very seriously in our family!

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L-R:

  • Michael is a huge fan of Peanuts so I stitched up this cutesy Snoopy cross stitch one rainy afternoon for him. I am trying to incorporate a few hoops to reflect Michael’s hobbies and interests above his side of the bed.
  • The rose cross stitch was a free kit with Mollie Makes a couple of years ago, and I have happy memories of working on this while we stayed in a vintage caravan in Lincolnshire for a relaxing holiday in the summer of 2013.

I am hoping to share a blog round up every few weeks of the hoops I have been working on. Next up on my list are a record player and something Lego inspired for Michael, and a hot air balloon.

Lucy x

Upcycled Vintage Suitcases

Upcycled suitcases

A little while ago I shared a picture of my upcycled watermelon vintage suitcase as part of Allison Sadler’s #makeitsewcial project over on Instagram, and I was delighted to be chosen as Allison’s maker of the week.

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The suitcase was actually part of a set of three we bought from a junkyard just off Brick Lane when we lived in London. They are all Air India cases used by cabin crew once upon a time so they must be well travelled! Since I finished painting the watermelon case, I have been gradually working on decorating the full set with food inspired patterns.

I painted the first two cases in pastel shades to co-ordinate with our bedroom where they are used to store bits and pieces. The watermelon is still my absolute favourite and was the most fun to paint. I’m pleased with how the strawberries turned out but it took a lot longer as the pattern is so much more intricate.

Strawberry suitcase

Watermelon suitcase

I painted the third suitcase with a hotdog print as my husband uses it to store his ties and bow ties and I wanted something fun but a bit less girly. Here he is modelling it with his awesome hotdog socks. I’m lucky that he is very obliging and let me take this photo!

Hotdog suitcase

And I am always a fan of matching his and hers…

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To paint the cases, I sketched out a rough pattern first (although the strawberry pattern is of course Cath Kidston inspired) and then freehand painted on to the case using my sketch as a guide. I painted all of the cases with acrylic craft paint and then used Mod Podge as a sealant and so far they are holding up well!

Lucy x

Hand painted Globe DIY

Painted globe sign

This is an idea I found on Pinterest a while ago and have been wanting to try, especially as we have quite a collection of vintage globes!

I’ve recently been trying to inject some more colour into our living room and one of my projects was to brighten up the desk area under the stairs. As we are renters we are stuck with magnolia walls and pale laminate floors so we have to find other ways to add bursts of colour with our furniture and decor. My parents gave us a lovely Cath Kidston lamp in bright yellow with a blue shade in the clouds print (my favourite from SS15) as an anniversary gift this year and it inspired me to finally have a go at creating a bespoke painted globe to match.

Supplies

You will need:

  • a globe;
  • pencil, ruler, pen and paper for sketching out your lettering;
  • greaseproof paper and inkjet printer for transferring your lettering to the globe; and
  • acrylic paints and paintbrush. I used Americana paint in True Blue for the base, Docraft Artiste paint in Titanium Gold for the lettering and a mix of other colours from the Docraft range for the other details.

Base coat on globe

The first stage is to paint over your globe with a solid base colour. I chose quite a strong shade of blue to match the print on the lampshade and it took a couple of coats to cover evenly. I did think about detaching the globe from its stand while I painted it, but it actually turned out to be easier to keep it on its stand so I could rotate it as I painted.

Hand lettering

Now you need to choose a quote to paint on to your globe. I picked this cute quote from The Incredibles as I liked the sentiment. I decided to sketch out the quote first and then transfer it on to the globe to paint as it is quite tricky to freehand paint directly onto a curved surface without your lettering wandering off and the spacing going all wrong! If hand lettering isn’t your thing, you could just choose a fancy looking font and type out your quote.

Template on greaseproof paper

Transfer lettering to globe

To transfer the lettering onto the globe, I scanned in my sketch and then flipped the image over horizontally to create a mirror image. I then cut up a piece of greaseproof paper to A4 size and printed the quote out on to the greaseproof paper using an inkjet printer. The ink will sit on the surface of the paper so you can then hold it face down against the surface of the globe to transfer the ink and it will give you an outline of your quote to paint over.

You have to be careful handling the greaseproof paper at this stage as the ink will smudge very easily! I cut up my quote into three sections to make it easier to handle, then placed each section face down against the globe and pressed to leave a faint ink outline. You will obviously need to give the ink a little while to dry before you can start painting.

Paint lettering on globe

I then painted over the outline with gold metallic acrylic paint. You will need a steady hand for this part! I had hoped to do thick and thin lines on the lettering to give it a calligraphy look, but found this was just too hard to achieve when painting on a curved surface.

You could choose to just have the painted quote as this looks effective on its own, but I wanted to add a little more colour and detail. I thought about painting some stars around the quote before deciding to freehand paint some clouds with a sunshine and a rainbow to match my lamp.

Finished globe - rainbow close upFinished globe - lettering close upFinished globe - sun close up

And here is the finished globe sitting on top of my desk. I’m really pleased with the pop of colour this adds and it co-ordinates well with our lamp and a paint by numbers of hot air balloons I finished recently and hung above the desk.

Painted globe - desk

Thank you for reading my first DIY post! I’m still working on how to write up tutorials and trying to take better photos, but this first post has been a fun project to prepare!