How To: DIY Dress Decor

How To: DIY Dress Decor

Janel Laban
Mar 26, 2009
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Sometimes when you're browsing the aisles at a thrift shop, seeing a certain textile can bring a flood of memories rushing back. This happened to us recently when we spotted the circa-'70s daisy-adorned sheets we remembered from our childhood bedroom. Since so many of our friends are having kids these days, we thought it would be fun to make a project for one of them using said sheets. It's a fun way to perk up a child's room and share a little of yourself at the same time.

Supplies needed:
• Blank wood or MDF wall shapes, such as the dress we chose (available from Damboise Designs on Etsy)
• Cotton fabric - not too sheer, and measuring an inch or two larger than the wall shape you're using
• Fusible adhesive, such as HeatnBond
• Iron
• Fast-bonding glue (we like Aleene's Fast-Grab Tacky Glue)
• Acrylic paint (we used a gold shade from Liquitex) and an angled paintbrush
• Scissors and X-Acto knife
• Self-healing cutting mat
• Buttons, ribbons, or other embellishments

Step-by-step instructions:

1. Cut out a piece of fusible adhesive that is slightly smaller than the fabric you are using. Iron the adhesive to the wrong side of your fabric to fuse according to the manufacturer's directions, then allow to cool.

2. Peel off the adhesive's paper backing and place the fabric shiny-side down on your wall shape. Iron to fuse. Once the fabric is cool to the touch you can tug at it just a bit around the edges to make sure it is completely adhered. If not, give these weak spots a once-over with the iron and allow to cool.

3. Place the wall shape fabric-side down on the cutting mat and use your X-Acto knife to cut away the excess fabric from around the wall shape. Take your time cutting away at it, you don't have to cut the fabric away in one continuous piece. Better to cut bit by bit around the trickier areas of the wall shape you're using.

4. Paint the edges of the wall shape with a coordinating shade of acrylic paint. Use an angled brush to help keep your edges crisp. Depending on how opaque the paint is (or isn't) you may want to do a primer coat of white paint first.

5. Choose some embellishments. We found a length of daisy-chain trim in our sewing box and cut out individual flowers to decorate the hem of the dress. We used a dab of glue in the center of each flower—you shouldn't need too much.

6. Cut a length of ribbon long enough to wrap around the "waist" of the dress, without obscuring the hole on the back. Start gluing the ribbon down on the back of the dress and wrap all the way around, gluing as you go.

7. Choose a few buttons (we found a few nice vintage ones in our button jar) and glue them down the front of the dress. TIP: Use small dabs of glue when adhering buttons, and apply the dabs on either side of the button holes to keep glue from seeping through when you press the button into place.

8. Hang and enjoy!

Project by Jenny Ryan. Thanks, Jenny!

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