Home Decor

4 brilliant crafts using vintage doilies

These versatile heirlooms and flea market faves can be surprisingly modern (trust us!)
By Julia Black and Virginie Martocq
4 brilliant crafts using vintage doilies

We've got fun ideas on how decorate with doilies in your home. Grab your glue stick and scissors and get crafting!

Vintage dollies

Make them into a pretty banner

1. Boil 1 cubed beet in two cups of water and two tbsp of salt. Immerse paper doilies in the liquid for five minutes until they turn pink. Let dry.

2. Fold and glue onto a ribbon.

4 brilliant crafts using vintage doilies

Sew them together to make a delicate runner

1. Tape an outline for your runner with painters’ tape on your table or on the floor. It will give you a guideline for the general size and shape of the finished product.

2. Place 15 to 20 doilies in a pleasing pattern. Don’t worry if the edges fall outside your tape line — that’s part of the beauty. Overlap edges slightly.

3. Sew the edges together. For added stability, use fabric interface as a backing. Shortcut: use fabric glue instead of sewing.

Caring for linens

Here are five tips on keeping delicate doilies looking their best: 

1. If you’re buying vintage pieces, avoid ones with obvious yellowing. It’s often impossible to remove.
2. Store linens in a breathable container (wood or wicker — never plastic!) and wrap each in acid-free tissue paper.
3. If you’re adding spray starch, apply it only just before using the linens and launder them right afterwards to prevent yellowing.
4. When ironing, place a damp towel on top of the doily.
5.Wash them in the hottest water setting and use about a quarter of the recommended amount of soap. Repeat with more soap if needed.

Caring for linen tips written by Sharalee Mushore, based on tips from Charles Macpherson Associates.

4 brilliant crafts using vintage doilies

Embed them in resin to make posh placemats

1. Dye doilies with fabric dye if you like, then iron and starch them.

2. Cut circles (slightly larger than your largest dinner plate) out of sturdy card stock.

3. Paste each doily onto a circle using white glue. 

4. Paint doily and card stock with white glue, and let dry.

5. Cover completely with two or three coats of liquid resin, following package instructions.

4 brilliant crafts using vintage doilies

Mold one into a bowl

1. Make a thin flour-and-water paste with 1 tablespoon of flour for 1/2 cup of water.

2. Dip a large doily into the paste, shake off excess liquid, and drape over an upside-down bowl with a flat bottom. Let dry completely before removing.

3. Rinse it clean under warm water to get your original doily back, if you like.

4 brilliant crafts using vintage doilies

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