Using vintage fabrics for DIY projects is cost efficient, eco-friendly, and very easy to do! Because culture is always shifting and changing, beautiful fabrics get tossed to the way-side. Abandoned curtains, table cloths, and bed linens can all be reused in exciting ways! Before you chop into a piece that is whole and complete, do a gut-check to see if you have any inkling that it is worth something. If you are curious about the date of your item, check out this guide to learn more. Antique textiles can have historical and monetary value, and should be left as is. However, if you do want to go ahead and create something new with your beautiful print, read on!
Tablecloths, sheets, and pillowcases can be re-purposed to make little curtains that will hang in front of a shelf or cabinet space. You could also use larger curtains that you find second hand, and turn them into smaller ones. Think about whether the fabric is heavy or light. A heavy material would be better for really covering up a space (like above) in order to reduce clutter and add color to a room. Lighter materials are more transparent and can offer an airy, soft touch.
2. Fabric Headboard
This idea is perfect for large pieces of fabric. If you have a bedroom that tends to be messy and cluttered, opt for a solid fabric, which will give the eye a place to rest. If you have a clean and barren space to start with, but want some color, use bold geometric patterns like the one above. A great trick is to tack the fabric up before hand and leave it for a day or two, before you make your headboard, to make sure that you love the look.
3. Embroidered Vintage Fabric Wall Art
I can’t wait to try this technique! Bed linens and pillowcases often strike me as beautiful and artistic, but not necessarily something that I want on my bed. This project is fun because you could really get as creative as you like. Embroider directly around the edges of the fabric’s print, or color outside of the lines! You could add in shapes and designs that were not on the linens to begin with. These sweet little wall hangings would look beautiful in a baby’s nursery.
4. Decorative Pillow Covers
Sometimes I find a tablecloth that is so visually pleasing that it is hard to pass up. But I only have one kitchen table! What’s a girl to do? Now I know. Table cloths make great pillow covers! Because the cloth tends to be very sturdy and might already be slightly faded, they work well on porches. Toss a few on your porch bench and collect a few compliments!
5. Fabric-Inspired Jewelry
What if the fabric that you fall in love with is teeny tiny? No worries! You can precious little finds into fabric inspired jewelry. Get creative and think about what it is that you love about the print. Is it the colors? The shapes? What part of it do you want to highlight? Once you know the key feature, figure out a way to incorporate it into a design. The necklace above was made with wide, flat beads with the fabric attached on top. The beads had to be large enough so that each one could contain most of (but not all of) a flower. This gives the necklace an artistic, abstract look. The bohemian earrings feature the rough texture of the fabric used, as well as the french blue and red print.
Whether you have a piece of fabric that is big or small, there are many ways to put it to good use. Vintage prints are unique and special. Sometimes you find a fabric that you just can’t pass up. Start collecting the textiles that you love, and see what you can do! I would love to hear about what makes a fabric special to you in the comments below!