Ikea Expedit Bench Hack – Shabby Chic

ikeabenchhackHere is the bench seating I have created in a corner of my living room. It is an IKEA ‘Expedit’ Hack. Note: In 2015 Ikea renamed ‘Expedit’ to ‘Kallax’.

The bench consists of a combination of IKEA Expedit shelf units (a 5x1unit and 3 single units…which have now been discontinued) – the storage boxes are also from IKEA (Drona). The bench cushion was made by my brother (who is very nifty on a sewing machine) – The fabric is Clarke & Clarke.

My brother also made the cushion covers.


Some of our shabby chic upcycled furniture

Here are a few examples of items of furniture myself, and my daughter have upcycled:


Shabby chic upcycle with Annie Sloan paint

Shabby chic upcycle with Annie Sloan paint


Ki-Lo Comission beforehand

And here’s what they looked like before!


Shabby chic upcycle with ANnie Sloan Chalk Paint

Shabby chic upcycle with ANnie Sloan Chalk Paint

Shabby chic upcycle with ANnie Sloan Chalk Paint

Shabby chic upcycle with ANnie Sloan Chalk Paint

Shabby chic upcycle with ANnie Sloan Chalk Paint

Shabby chic upcycle with ANnie Sloan Chalk Paint

Shabby chic upcycle with ANnie Sloan Chalk Paint

Shabby chic upcycle with ANnie Sloan Chalk Paint

Shabby chic delight!

Over the past couple of months I have been busy creating a stock of shabby chic styled wall art.

Inspired by my daughters love of all things shabby chic and the wallpaper canvas art I created last year (see here) I decided to set about making some canvases using pretty shabby chic fabric.

Over the past few months I have built up a stock of pretty fabrics, ribbons and embellishments. Some I have bought new but I love hunting out interesting pieces in charity shops.

As I work full time it has been quite slow going. Although it doesn’t take too long for me to create each piece, I rarely have spare time to dedicate to doing crafty things! This bank holiday weekend has been a blessing and I have worked hard to get the items finished and ready for sale.

I have managed to create six pieces so far and today I decided to list them for sale on ebay. I’m very nervous as I’ve not tried to sell anything like this before. I normally just make pieces for myself. The feedback I have received from friends/family/colleagues has been really positive (but would they dare say anything different?!!)

Shabby Chic art

Shabby Chic art

Shabby Chic art

My favourite!

These can be bought via my ebay listings [click here]

I have also created a magnetic memo board in a similar style. I only finished it this morning so it wasn’t quite ready to be photographed/listed today. I’ll be adding it soon. Photos to follow……

My latest masterpiece.

Chocoloops painted canvas - acrylicsIn order to stem my boredom yesterday I decided to start painting one of the blank canvasses I had stored in the garage. Lois kindly fetched all my art materials for me and I made myself comfortable on the sofa.

This piece is inspired by an awesome massive painting I have seen on a television advert. I’m not entirely sure what company the advert is for, but I know it’s something to do with contents insurance. The advert features water falling through a ceiling and in the background is an amazing pink painting. I really loved the design so based this canvas on that.

It’s painted in colours to compliment my living room decor. I used acrylic paints and had to mix the colours myself. The chocolate brown was the hardest to achieve. To create the larger loops, using a pencil, I drew round a large hot chocolate mug, for the next size down I used an old pasta sauce pot and for the smallest I used a milk bottle lid. I then drew the vertical lines with a ruler.

I’m not particularly good at painting neat lines and edges, so when you look up close it’s not perfect. It looks fine from a distance and I guess most people wouldn’t notice. I’m very critical of my own work so it’s hard for me to pass judgement anyway. I do really like the overall effect.

I’ve just got to find somewhere to hang it now!

Willow creations and a dash of sunshine

It’s been quite a hectic week, hence the lack of blogging!

The weather has been glorious. It seems to have got warmer and sunnier as the week has progressed. Today was fantastic t-shirt weather and definitely ideal for hanging the washing out (hence the photo of my pegs on the washing line)!! It really feels like summer is coming now. I just hope that this fantastic weather stays with us for the half term holiday which started today.

Pegs on the washing line

I have also appreciated the sunshine during Forest School. We’ve had a couple of lovely sessions this week. On Monday with the year 6 class we made willow platters. When the task was being demonstrated to the class it looked really complicated. I envisaged the children encountering difficulty with the task, but actually they embraced it and produced brilliant finished pieces.

Here’s my sons willow platter:
Willow Platter


  1. You will need approx 6 – 10 pieces of willow.
  2. First you need to create a hoop from the willow. Starting with the thick end, twist it into a small hoop (approx 4″ – 6″ diameter) and then weave around the remainder. Tuck in the end piece to keep it neat. Then you need to cut two centre “braces” which are about 1″- 2″ longer than the diameter. These will sit across the centre of your hoop – initially they will be loose but as you weave in the willow they will become steady. You might find it easier to use just one brace at first, until you have woven in a few pieces.
  3. You are now ready to start weaving in willow pieces. Cut off lengths of willow that are about 1″- 2″ longer than the diameter of the hoop. Starting in the centre, weave the first piece over the hoop edge, then under the centre braces, finishing off over the hoop edge again. The next piece will then weave under the hoop edge, over the centre braces and back under the hoop edge. Carry on weaving in pieces alternating each one.
  4. It will start to look like this.
    Willow Platter
  5. As you go along push all the pieces together, keeping them tightly packed together.
  6. Carry on weaving in pieces until there is not space to add any more. It should now look like this.
    Willow Platter
  7. Finally, you will need to neaten it all up by trimming off all the excess willow using a pair of secateurs. Leave about 0.5″ around the edge, following the line of the hoop.
    Willow Platter
  8. Now after all your hard work you can grab yourself a drink, which you can place on your willow platter!
    Willow Platter Coaster

On Tuesdays Forest School session we made willow “fish mobiles”. These are a bit too complicated for a novice like me to provide instructions! I had a go at making one. They are quite fiddly and the children (year 4) found it quite frustrating. They required quite a bit of assistance (which was hard for me as I didn’t really know what I was doing either)!

Here is my finished mobile, now hanging outside the back door along with my daughters:

Willow Fish Mobile

Toy chest makeover.

My children had an old toy chest in their bedroom that I originally painted years ago to fit in with my son’s bedroom decor at the time. It had become quite battered and wounded – definitely distressed (!) and my daughter had also decided to write on it with marker pen. Why???!!! I was fed up with the school bags just being dumped on the floor by the front door and needed somewhere to store them. I remembered the chest so decided to put it to good use and give it a makeover.


Old toy chest

It was a gorgeous sunny day yesterday so it was perfect for a spot of painting and makeover madness. My son was off school as he has conjunctivitis, so he was around to lend me a hand. We both sanded down the chest – sat outside in the sunshine. We quickly got on with applying the first coat. I’ve now realised it would be easier to have just painted it myself as my son managed to get paint on just about everything! I can’t knock his enthusiasm though! I left a couple hours between coats and it has given a lovely finish.

After (1):

Old toy chest after makeover

After (2)

Old toy chest after makeover

The fabric was an end of roll bargain, costing only £2.00. The paint colour is called “chocolate” and is B&Q’s own quick dry Satin. I needed to do two coats. I think it cost about £5.40 for a small pot. The paint does actually look like melted chocolate as you apply it – very Easter! The fabric was stuck on with spray adhesive – which is quite hard to work with as it gets everywhere (and is incredibly sticky) – my son even managed to get some in his hair after walking around with the cushion on his head!

New improved wallpaper canvas art.

Last night I left the canvas face down on the table, with an Argos catalogue on it, to try to flatten out the creases. It did a fairly good job and there is only a few minor creases on one part. I’m optimistically hoping they will disappear altogether!I decided to go with my ribbon idea so on a trip into town this morning I visited the local fabric shop. I bought a selection of different texture ribbons in colours to coordinate with the wallpaper. I used watered down PVA glue to fix on the ribbons and had a few issues with the ribbons also creasing, like the wallpaper.Here is the finished masterpiece:Patchwork canvasI think that adding the ribbon has given it a really nice finishing touch. I contemplated adding some buttons or embellishments but I’m happy with it as it is.I also used some wallpaper to cover a shoe box and added a ribbon bow as a finishing touchWallpaper covered shoeboxI’ve got 2 more shoe boxes that will also receive the same treatment!

Wallpaper canvas art.

Cath KidstonI am a massive fan and avid reader of the popular “Shabby Chic” thread on the moneysavingexpert forums. My home is not at all shabby chic really, but I adore the style. It’s wonderful to be able to read about and see other peoples homes and their creative ideas. One concept that I have wanted to replicate is a patchwork wall. A couple of examples of brilliant ‘shabby chic’ patchwork walls are icandream’s and vintagepleasure’s. As I live in a private rent it is not actually possible for me to even paint my walls anything but Magnolia, so wallpapering is definitely out of the question. I came up with the idea of doing a patchwork canvas.

After visiting Tesco this morning I decided to pay a visit to B&Q, to check out their lovely wallpapers. They didn’t have a huge range but fortunately there was plenty to fit my colour scheme (neutrals, brown, duck egg blue). I felt a bit like a thief – especially as the ripping sound drew the attention of two young lads stacking shelves. I imagined the store detective arriving at any moment to escort me off the premises. I managed to leave with a few *cough* sample pieces and also one discounted full roll of wallpaper for £2 (they had loads reduced at the front of the store). I’m going to use this full roll to cover some shoe boxes.

This evening, once the kids were tucked up in bed, I’ve had a go at making a piece of wallpaper canvas art. The canvas isn’t that big really 16″ x 20″, so rather than do a random patchwork pattern I’ve done different pieces of wallpaper in strips. I used watered down PVA glue to stick down the wallpaper. I think it may have been too diluted for the first two pieces I stuck on, as they are not adhering very well. They have developed quite a few air bubbles. I’ve laid the canvas face down on the table and placed some heavy objects on it, in the hope that it will adhere. I’ll leave it overnight and see how it is in the morning. I also regret adding the wallpaper with the red flowers – it’s a gorgeous design but it stands out a lot, compared to the others. I may well just paint the red flower pale blue. Having stared at it for a while I think it would look lovely with some different textured ribbon added, along some or all of the joins.

So here’s a sneak preview of the bubbley, not quite perfect, semi-finished piece!
Patchwork canvas

Beautiful birthday beads.

These are the beautiful beads my children bought me as a birthday present. Such gorgeous colours. Great choice. I really love them (the beads & my children)!

Beautiful beads

They also bought a keyring clasp to go with it “so that I can make my own keyring“. They didn’t buy any wire though! The other part of my present was a book token (and £3 “to put towards a book“). I think they did really well and I’m very proud of all the thought they put into choosing a present and card for me.

Pop art skirt

Craft - pop art skirtLook what I found!

The design on this skirt is absolutely freakin’ awesome! I’m not so keen on the skirts shape though. It’s been created by a very talented craftster member. The pop art design is really similar to my style of drawing. I would never have thought to do my designs onto fabric. The creator has used Scribble and Polymark fabric paints on this project. I think I’d be too scared to wear this skirt though!

Currently my designs are confined to my sketch book or card. I can see a future project of mine involving a white t-shirt and some fabric pens/paints!

Details on this sewing craft project and more photos are available on the craftster forums.