3 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Fabric Scraps

02/27/2015 06:03 pm ET | Updated Feb 27, 2015

Everyone has that pile of clothes they no longer wear but haven't gotten around to donating. And while it's always good to donate items to, say, Goodwill, there might be a treasure trove of DIY items in there that you can use in your home.

That is, at least according to Vera Vandenbosch, a stylist, writer and photographer whose recently published book, "Scraps," has singlehandedly informed how we'll be spending our weekend. We'll be busy crafting stash fabric -- or as Vandenbosch puts it, any textile, from stained shirts to ripped jeans and stray socks -- into lovely little home accessories, like the ones we've rounded up here.

The how-tos below are reprinted from Scraps: Stylish Stash Fabric Crafts to Stitch, with permission from The Taunton Press.

  • Tassels
    Vera Vandenbosch
    Level Beginner—no sewing machine required
    Materials Old horizontally striped T-shirts
    Tools and notions
    Key chain hardware
    Steps for Tassels
    1. Cut both the front and back of your T-shirts into ¼-in.-wide strips that are about 12 in. to 15 in. long, following the “grain” of the jersey fabric—so cut from top to bottom, not from left to right.
    2. Gather your strips and fold over through the loop of the hardware. Fit through as many strips as you can for a nice, full tassel.
    3. Tie the strips together underneath with an extra fabric strip, and make sure to double-knot.
    4. Give your tassel a “haircut” to make sure all the strips are a similar length.
  • Denim Trivets
    Vera Vandenbosch
    Level Beginner—no sewing machine required
    Materials Denim scraps, or about one large pair of adult jeans per trivet
    Tools and notions
    Pencil or tailor’s chalk
    Glue gun and glue sticks
    Large hose clamps (I used a 7-in.-diameter and a 5½-in.-diameter hose clamp)
    Flathead screwdriver
    Steps for Denim Trivets
    1. Cut multiple strips of denim that are about 2 in. wide and 20 in. long (though they can be of varying lengths).
    2. Roll up the strips as tightly as you possibly can, securing them with little dabs of hot glue as you go along. Make sure that the end of the strip is glued down especially well.
    3. For my 7-in.-diameter hose clamp, I made about 53 rolls. For the 5½-in.-diameter hose clamp, I made about 35 rolls.
    4. Use a flathead screwdriver to enlarge your hose clamp as large as you can without actually opening it up.
    5. Place as many denim rolls as you can inside the hose clamp; you may need to play with the configuration of the rolls to achieve the tightest fit. If necessary, make a few extra smaller rolls to fill in the holes.
    6. Tighten the hose clamp with the screwdriver, making sure that it is positioned in the middle of the rolls. Done!

    Note: These trivets can also be made with a heavy corduroy or felt. Do make sure to always use a natural material such as cotton, linen, or wool. Synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester will melt when coming in contact with extremely hot surfaces.
  • Lamp Shade
    Vera Vandenbosch
    Level Beginner—no sewing machine required
    Materials Lightweight printed cotton
    Plain paper lampshade
    Tools and notions
    Mod Podge
    Note: You will want to put some thought into the pattern placement of the shade: I opted for a concentration of butterflies on the bottom of one side, and just a few flying to the top of the shade.
    Steps for Lampshade 1. Find a printed fabric that contains a pattern element you can cut out. I cut out butterflies. Use a pair of small, sharp scissors for this, as you want to cut out as much detail as possible.
    2. Brush a coat of Mod Podge onto the back of the fabric cutout, place it onto your lampshade, and then brush a coat over the entire thing, making sure you go over the edges so the cutout is fully adhered.
    3. Once all your cutouts have been affixed, brush another coat of Mod Podge over the entire shade; this will even out the color of the shade, which will likely turn a little bit darker with the Mod Podge. Let dry overnight before using.

    Note: You will really need to look for fabric with pattern elements that make the perfect cutout, such as birds and other animals, flowers, or geometric shapes. You can also try this technique with lightweight lace for a pretty and romantic look.

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