Scrap Happy: Nursery DIY with fabric scraps and not much else

I like to keep fabric scraps just in case they will come in handy for a little project in the future.

Today one such project arose as I wanted to hang some of my son’s special things on the wall – but I also wanted them to be displayed in an interesting and fun way that fitted with the other things in his room.


A nice way to use up scraps to decorate a nursery with fabric and embroidery hoops.

A nice way to use up scraps to decorate a nursery with fabric and embroidery hoops.

The Special Things:

A shell necklace from Fiji given by his  Pati (Fijian grandmother)

A teething pounamu (greenstone/jade) given to him by an honorary aunty in Piha.

The harakeke bag that the greenstone came in.

(Pretty special stuff all in all)


The hanging:

 I had a couple of minor problems – the first being that I have a tender relationship with the wallpaper and the second that I didn’t want to hang anything too heavy above his bed.  My solution was to use embroidery hoops and dress-making pins to hang everything and I chose a ‘splatter’ composition to help to keep it lively and fun looking.


The fabrics:

I have unintentionally gone with an orange and grey (and sometimes yellow) colour way in the wee man’s bedroom so I was looking for fabrics that would match.

Luckily I keep scraps!

A lot of the fabrics are already familiar from other things that I have made for our family. I emptied my scrap case (an old-school hat box) and Beau helped me rifle through the lovely different textures. Lovely lovely scraps…

We chose a piece the right size for each of my randomly selected embroidery hoops. There is some denim from some well-worn jeans, some bright orange floral canvas from a bag project and a duvet cover, some Art Deco style pieces from the edging of a friend’s wedding quilt I made and some moustachioed awesomeness that I wish I bought more of (this was used to line a pouch sling recently).

The method:

 Each piece if fabric was stretched across the embroidery frame and the top frame was screwed tightly into place. I then trimmed around each frame with sharp fabric scissors (watch out little fingers!) leaving about two cm around each edge. This gives each one a ruffled look that I quite like but you could tuck and glue or sew the edges back over the frames if you want a neater finish. When I have made things like this in the past I have used paper or felt and craft glue to finish the backs.

(A quick paintbrush lick around the raw edges will prevent fraying if you like too).


The layout:

 I like to think that this is random, but it is really more artfully composed than that…. You can shuffle the pieces on the floor before you hang to work out what looks best.

The bunting (made from old jeans and a paint pen) finishes it all off nicely as a garland above his bed.

Hooray! Twenty minutes well spent and scraps made happy!


The next steps:

 I like to leave projects alone for a little while before over-embellishing things. Sometimes designs need changes after a settling period and sometimes they live on or sometimes they are even culled completely – either way it is a good idea to keep it simple to begin with.

I may yet add moustaches to each of the frames or some line drawings in fabric pen or embroidery or I might yet go mad with buttons… Or… One never knows… But for now – I love it.

Another  fun little upcycling tip from Outie:


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