Tutorial Thursday: Marimekko Stool ❤︎

Marimekko stool (finished, closer)

Following up from the interview, Kirsty is sharing a beautiful DIY Stool today. I feel the flowers are definitely very prominent, what with the WW1 events happening in  London this week. So, without further a do, I pass you over to the lovely maker herself! 

I’m a little bit wary of describing this project as napkin decoupage, even though that’s exactly what it is. So many of the projects which usually employ the same technique are . . . well, not really my cup of tea. Lots of country florals, cutesy animals and the kind of finished items my partner describes as dust-catchers. If you feel the same way, I’m hoping this mid-century inspired idea might change your mind. When I found these beautiful Marimekko table napkins a couple of weeks ago, I knew I didn’t just want to keep them stashed away for the rare occasions when we have people over for dinner. My original plan was to use them to decorate a large block canvas and hang it as a piece of wall art, but then I spotted this white stool-slash-side-table in Habitat, and it was a done deal. Check out the instructions below to see how it came together.

Supplies:

Stool, table or other surface to decorate
Paper table napkins
Scissors
Iron + ironing board
Decoupage medium (e.g. Mod Podge)
Paintbrush
Craft knife
Fine sandpaper or nail file

Notes:

+ Bear in mind that as you’ll only be using the very thin top layer of the napkin, the colour of the surface beneath will show through and effect the way it looks. As a general rule, it’s best to go with white or a very pale, neutral shade. If you need to paint your surface to make this work, be sure the paint is thoroughly dry before you start.

+ Decoupage medium is a magnet for fine pieces of dust, fluff and hair. It’s SO frustrating to have to keep wiping them off your work, and even worse if you don’t notice them until it’s dry. Where possible, work over a clean, smooth surface (I used my wooden desk), keeping away from things like fans and open windows, and shut out or distract any pets until you’re finished.

How-to:

Marimekko stool (1)

1. Cut out the shapes you want to use from the napkin, leaving a very narrow border around the edge. If the background of your napkin is a contrasting colour (i.e. not white), you might find it’s more effect to cut right up to the outline.

2. Peel away the backing layers of paper so you’re just left with the top, coloured piece. Use a warm iron to smooth out any wrinkles or creases (turn off the steam setting first).

Marimekko stool (3)

3. Brush a thin layer of decoupage medium or Mod Podge onto the surface of the stool, covering an area slightly larger than your first paper shape. Place the shape on top of the adhesive, tapping it very gently into place. Dip your brush into the Mod Podge again and spread a layer over the whole of the shape, working from the centre out. The paper will retain some wrinkles, but brushing over the top helps to smooth it out and make sure it’s fully adhered to the surface.

Marimekko stool (4)

4. Add more paper shapes in the same way. I used the original print (it’s called Unikko) as a guide, but you might prefer to create your own, more random design instead. Allow the shapes to overhang when you reach the edges; the paper napkin pieces are very fragile while wet, and really prone to tearing.

TIP: If you do tear a piece as you’re working, the best thing to do is carefully remove it with a damp cloth or baby wipe before it dries, and try again.

Marimekko stool (5)

5. Once you’ve covered the whole piece, set it aside to dry, and then use a craft knife to carefully trim away excess paper from the edges. Tidy up any rough edges by gently rubbing with a fine-grit sandpaper or soft nail file.

6. To seal and protect the finished surface, brush on a couple of extra coats of decoupage medium or some clear varnish (matt or glossy, as preferred).

Marimekko stool (finished)

That’s it! Pretty straightforward, right? If you’re at all daunted by the size of the project, have a go at working on a smaller piece first. I used the same technique to decorate a couple of painted jam jars (you can find the project in Paperie). It’s a really inexpensive way to try out the idea before committing to something bigger.

I hope you might feel inspired to give your own napkin decoupage project a go, or maybe just to look at paper projects in a different way. Scrapbooking and card-making are fantastic, but the possibilities definitely don’t stop there!

And, if you want to know a bit more about Kirsty Neale herself, then take a read of the interview she did here on Tuesday 5th August. Next week, we have Emily, owner of Fawn and Peach, sharing an interview with us. You can catch Emily on Tuesday 12th August. 

Introducing: Kirsty Neale ♥

Hello card (Kirsty Neale)
Today is the start of my new series! Three weeks of every month, I shall be bringing you a variety of bloggers and designers, sharing tutorials and an interview, just for you.  To start us off this month, is the lovely, Kirsty Neale.  I had the privilege of working with Kirsty on her bestselling book “Hoop-la” and she truly is wonderful at what she does.  So, lets find out a little bit more about her… 

 ✎   Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m a freelancewriter and designer-maker, living in London with my partner who’s a musician, and our cat, who’s not. I like stitching and making things from paper, and my second craft book, Paperie, was published last month.

✎   Where did your love for ‘all things craft’ come from? Do you have any upcoming projects?

I’ve made things for as long as I can remember. I loved drawing and my mum taught me to sew when I was five, which was the start of a pretty big love affair. At times, I’ve drifted away from more traditional types of creating, but it always sneaks out in some form. It’s often a kind of problem-solving – my brain is pretty good at working out how things are made and I sometimes find it easier to explain stuff by drawing it. If my mum had bought me Meccano, I might have ended up an engineer, but she went with a needle and thread, so craft it is!

As far as upcoming projects go, I’m currently working on a new book idea and also have some fun personal projects on the horizon. My sister and my best friend are both expecting babies in the autumn, so I’m spending lots of time on Pinterest, trying to decide what to make for them.

Perpetual calendar (Paperie _ Kirsty Neale)

✎   What’s a typical working day for you?

It really depends what I’m working on. As much as I enjoy both the writing and designing/making parts of my job, it takes a definite mind-shift to switch between the two, so I’ll try to set out my day based around one or the other. Because I work from home, I also have to fit in things like running errands and doing laundry – all the boring-but-important stuff – and then there’s keeping on top of my Inbox, too. I’d love to tell you I’m super-organised, but . . . that would be a lie. Deadlines help to keep things in line, I try to deal with emails early in the morning, and after years of working crazy-long hours, we now have a fairly strict no-work-after-supper rule. Apart from those rough guidelines, it’s very often a free for all. I’m definitely in the market for scheduling and organisation tips, if anyone wants to pass on their favourites . . .

✎    For you, what’s the best part of working in the craft industry? Do you have a particular favourite interest?

I think the best part is probably the variety. As much as I like (and have tried) the idea of selling handmade items, I tend to get bored making the same thing over and over again. Designing projects for books and magazines means I’m always working on something new. I could live to be a hundred and not make it to the end of my ideas list, but at least this way I get to make a pretty good dent in it.

As for particular interests, I love pattern and colour, whether it’s on paper or fabric – in fact, I think those things are probably why I gravitate towards paper and fabric. I like experimenting with different media, but it always comes back to those two things.

Printer's tray (Kirsty Neale)

✎  You’ve worked with many people, including Mollie Makes. Is there a dream collaboration or blog you’d love to work with?

I’ve been lucky enough to work with lots of companies and blogs I really love. The blog tour we did when Hoop-la was published last year was especially good – I drew up a list of my favourite bloggers, spent ages building up the nerve to ask if they’d like to take part, and was amazed that nearly all of them said yes. I ended up organising the whole thing halfway through writing Paperie, but their lovely, generous posts made the chaos totally worthwhile.

I don’t particularly have a dream collaboration right now, although there are still plenty of people I’d like to work with. I really enjoyed designing the patterned paper sheets which are included at the back of Paperie, so maybe something involving surface pattern design might be a fun idea for a future joint project.

✎   And finally, what advice would you give to someone who is starting in the creative field?

It’s tricky. I sort of fell into the career I have, and I think that’s true of a lot of people in creative industries right now. Blogs and online communities make it easier to get noticed and build useful relationships these days, which is obviously great. There are also some fantastic online classes around, often focussing on really niche subjects or areas, and a growing number of books on building a creative career, too.

As a basic starting point, I’d say it’s most important to just make/draw/write stuff – as much of it as you possible can. It helps to develop and hone your style, and then to keep on top of it later on. Do the opposite, too – read and study and look at stuff other people have written or made, both things you like and things you’re not so keen on. It can be just as useful to work out what you don’t like and why, as it is to take inspiration from your creative heroes. If you’re planning a creative career, it’s also useful to look at the business models of creatives you admire – find out how they make a living from their skills, and see how that might apply to you. The business part can be hard (it’s not my favourite either!), but it’s important if you want to make a real go of things.

 

Catch Kirsty here on Thursday 8th August, where she shall be sharing a tutorial with us. However, in the meantime, you can check out more of her work on her blog ‘Ginger and George’ . Also, if you wish to find out more on her books ‘Paperie’ and ‘Hoop-La: 100 ways to use embroidery hoops’, or wish to make a purchase click on this link

Thank you for joining us today and hope to see you Thursday.

 

A Sunny Afternoon Read… ♥

SONY DSC

 

A good few months ago, I got given the chance to join in the excitement of this special edition magazine.  All thanks to Shimelle Laine (who is guest editor of this particular edition and runs a wonderful papercraft blog), I was very lucky to get behind the scenes and see what it takes to create such a beautiful magazine, as well as doing some contributing myself. Let me talk you through it, before you go and head to the shelves!

Mollie Makes is a magazine full of DIY tutorials, interviews with fellow designers, craft templates and overflowing with ideas from the kitchen to decor to presents. If you love to get your hands tangled in colourful thread and a glittery mess, then its definitely for you. Every month it is full of different things and new people, so your brain is always getting refreshed and inspired. In between months, you can follow their blog and Pinterest, so you are never without creativity!

In this Special Edition, it is all about photography! Now, if you’re like me who loves to snap away at every moment but always looking for more, its definitely a read. Not only does it cover the technical issues when it comes to photography, ie. lighting, it takes you through how to use vintage cameras for home decor or how else to use a photo instead of placing it in a simple frame, featuring many freelance crafters. What I like about this, magazine the most, is you really feel you don’t have to be a professional photographer to take a decent photo and thats a great message right? Every person can take a beautiful photograph with the right techniques. It doesn’t use complicated jargon or ridiculously long words. In simple photo steps, you are told everything you need to know!

If you are feeling the itch to go and purchase a copy, you can find it from newsagents, such as WHSmiths and if you can’t see it on their shelves, they can order you a copy. However, if you wish to do it from the comfort of your own home, whilst drinking a cuppa’ then check out My Favourite Magazines.

I guarantee you won’t be dissapointed!