Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Make your own nightlights, Napkins, Tablecloths and many more...! (By 4Ernesto)

Creating anything is exciting! Imagine creating things for your own house, office or even your car... You will not only entertain yourself by doing that, but you will save money as well. Not to mention that everything that you do it is going to be unique, even if you follow instructions. Just try this experience and believe me it is going to be an addiction for you. Here you will find several ideas that you might like. Try them, enjoy and good luck!

Nightlights from tin cans
Candles at the table always create an intimate atmosphere and make an unusual centrepiece. These nightlights are based on Shaker-style punched-tin lanterns.

You will need:
- Plain tin cans of varying sizes, used for fruit or vegetables (not soft drinks)
- Tracing paper
- Masking tape
- Drill with a metal bit
- Candles

1. Take the top off the can using a traditional can opener with a butterfly side handle that leaves the rim intact.
2. Cut the tracing paper to match the depth and circumference of the can. Work out the pattern on the tracing paper - keep to simple shapes that are easily identifiable, such as stars, hearts or fish.
3. Mark dots at intervals along the outline of the shapes - not too close together - and tape the tracing-paper image around the outside of the can.
4. Using a metal bit on your drill, drill holes where you have marked the dots. Be careful not to let the can or drill slip. The can may buckle under the pressure, but it is easily straightened.

Remnant napkins
Napkins are the easiest thing in the world to make. If you use leftover fabrics they can match the rest of the room. Just make sure that any fabric you use is washable.

You will need:
- 50 cm cream fabric for each napkin
- 2 m ribbon for heart napkin
- Matching thread
- Contrast fabric for heart, patchwork and applique napkin
- 4 m ribbon for buttonhole napkin

Heart napkin
1. Cut the napkin fabric to 50 cm square. Turn a 1.5 cm hem on to the right side of the fabric and iron to keep in place.
2. Cut four 50 cm lengths of ribbon, allowing for a 1.5 cm hem on each length. Pin the ribbon to each hemmed edge of the napkin, turning under the hem and overlapping the ribbon at each corner. Stitch the ribbon in place.
3. Trace a heart shape on to contrasting fabric. Cut it out and pin it on to the corner of the napkin. If you have a sewing machine you can satin-stitch around the edge of the heart. If you are sewing by hand, use two strands of thread together for a more substantial edge.

Patchwork napkin
1. Cut four 15 cm squares from four complementary fabrics.
2. Sew four of the squares - one of each fabric - together in a strip, with a 1 cm hem on each seam.
3. The next three strips are sewn together in the same way but each square moves along one place horizontally.
4. The four strips are then sewn together to make a square.
5. With right sides facing, sew the square to plain fabric the same size, leaving an opening to turn the napkin right sides out. Press and sew up opening.

Applique Napkin
For this one I used a wavy flower pattern, cutting the pattern to follow the design of the fabric. You could use any fabric with a simple pattern - maybe leftover curtain fabric.

1. Cut the napkin fabric to 50 cm sq and cut two wavy strips in contrasting fabric for the applique following the printed pattern.
2. Pin the applique fabric to the napkin fabric, keeping the design towards the centre so that it can be seen when folded. Carefully satin stitch the applique in contrasting thread.
3. Turn a hem on the reverse side to hide the raw edges.

Ribbon and buttonhole napkin
1. Cut the napkin to 50 cm sq and turn under and machine a narrow hem.
2. Mark out the position of the buttonholes with a pencil - one on each corner and four along each side of the napkin - so that the ribbon threads through the holes and ties in a knot at the corner.
3. Sew each buttonhole by hand or by following the instructions given with your sewing machine. The length of the buttonhole will depend on the width of the ribbon you intend to use.
4. Cut four equal pieces of ribbon, at least one and a half times the length of the napkin. Thread through the buttonholes, with two ends coming out at each corner and tie in a loose knot or a bow if the ribbon is long enough.

Pleated tablecloth for a round table
Tablecloths never seem to fit round tables properly. This pleated cloth fits perfectly and uses about two metres of fabric, depending on the size of the table. Be sure to choose contrasting complementary fabrics for the cloth and internal pleats.

You will need:
- 2 m fabric
- 50 cm contrasting fabric
- Matching thread
- Sewing machine

1. Measure the dimensions of the table top - the one I used had a 104 cm diameter and 320 cm circumference. The drop of the tablecloth is to be 20 cm.
2. Cut a circular piece of fabric for the table top, adding a 2 cm hem allowance. Cut four rectangles of the same fabric, 82 cm x 22 cm for the drop. Also cut four 22 cm squares of fabric from a contrasting fabric for the inverted pleats.
3. Join all eight pieces together alternately, giving each join a 1 cm seam.
4. With right side facing, place a pin vertically in the centre of the contrast fabric pleat and fold the border fabric in towards the pin and then back on it. Pin the fabric in place and repeat on the other side. Pin the other three pleats this way.
5. Pin and tack the border on to the circular top and sew in place.
6. Turn up a 1 cm hem and press. The cloth should fit the table exactly.

1. To make the border, instead of cutting four rectangles of fabric, cut one strip, 15 cm by the circumference of the table, plus 1 cm seam allowance at each end.
2. Cut another strip of cream contrast fabric, 7 cm deep by the same length.
3. With right sides together, sew them horizontally with a 1 cm seam and press the seam open. Then join the two sides together with a 1 cm seam. Press this seam open. Join the border to the top fabric with a 1 cm hem.

Painted glasses
Paint glasses to match your china or decorate them for a special occasion such as a birthday or wedding. Glass paint is reasonably permanent so wash glasses by hand using a soft cloth or sponge and do not rub the design.

You will need:
- Glasses
- Pearle-scent glass paint
- Paintbrushes

1. Wash the glasses in hot soapy water and dry with a glass cloth. Remove any glue from price labels with methylated spirits.
2. Use one colour at a time or the paints will run into each other. To make the spots, dot blobs of paint and leave to dry.
3. Outline the spots in a different colour and leave to dry. Continue building up the layers of paint until you get the intensity of colour that you want. I usually give the glasses I paint four coats of paint.

- Cut shapes from sticky-back plastic to stick on to the glass. Trace numbers from a book to encourage children to count, or cut thin strips of different colours and stick on in a continuous spiral.

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