Aug 152013


It’s almost back to school, so we’ll be posting some of our fave DIY’s from Spins & Needles events in the next few weeks.

First up is our City Limits String Art Project, featured at our Geometrics party last March.  We were inspired by Spirographs, pulsars and Bezier curves. For some of our party inspiration, check out this post.

String art has been somewhat a big thing this year. There’s lots of variations using American states, but as far we searched, none really for Canada. So for this project we decided to use the shape of the city where we live (Ottawa). But you can apply the same idea to other shapes, as long as they are quite solid and simple.

We’re thinking one of these days it would be really rad to do this on a large scale as an art installation.

Here’s the instructions:

Continue reading »

Jan 142013


Thanks to everyone who came out on Friday for Spins & Needles at a new venue, Pressed Cafe. There were lots of events going on in Ottawa that night – is the cultural scene in the city growing or what? – and it was super icy on the sidewalks. But the crowd came out to kick start the new year creatively and we had a great time.

We alluded to our inspirations for the January installment here and here. The project for this month were pennants, like the vintage ones you collect for sports teams or as travel souvenirs. For our event, you could design them using your favourite phases or images cut from felt.


Above is the example we created for the night. We drew on one of our new year’s resolutions – exploration – and the wool parkas worn in northern Canada, mainly the appliques you find at the bottom of the parkas.


For more pennant inspiration, you can check out The People’s Pennant, which we first saw in Uppercase Magazine - they have really great screenprinted ones. Each month, a new designer creates a pennant which you can purchase.


Jul 162012

Ampersand love in design has been around for a while, and yes, we’re part of that group too. My first introduction to this logogram was as a kid watching Wheel of Fortune – I always thought it was so neat that you could get the ampersand for free.

So fast forward to now: an ampersand in our working space is just what we need. Continue reading »

May 032012

One of our past participants, Marion, sent us these  photos of what goes on during the Spins & Needles Silkscreening 101 Workshop. The photos capture the different steps in the silkscreening process – from making the screen to coating and washing the screen out to burning your image to printing and the end results.

Marion took the workshop last February to actualize a project she had been thinking about for a long time – printing choufleurs (cauliflower in French) on fabric – to create scarves, t-shirts, underwear (!) for friends and family.

To see more photos to get you inspired, check out more photos on our Flickr page or the Spins & Needles Silkscreening 101 Workshop page.

Thanks Marion!

Building the screen

Applying photo emulsion

Burning the image onto the screen

Washing the screen out

Letting the screen dry

Flooding or coating the screen

Printing on the medium (t-shirt)

Printing on the medium (paper)

Marion’s choufleur screen

Choufleur on t-shirt

Choufleur on underwear

Apr 222011

Bohemian Eggs

What’s a bricolage brunch without the DIY projects? In the last post we featured Part 1 of how to plan your own bricolage brunch, mainly focusing on decoration and recipes. In this post we feature a few food-related DIY projects to work on at your party.

1. DIY Project: Bohemain Textured Eggs (above) – Victoria of A Subtle Revelry featured this great Easter project in her new magazine Styled. take some hardboiled eggs and decorate them with Japanese washi tape and other items around the house (leather, ribbon, buttons, beads)

DIY Project: Stencilled Placemat

2. DIY Project: Stencilled Placemat – Victoria created these mid-modern looking placemats with simple stencils, freezer paper, a piece of fabric and paint.

DIY Project: Animal Cameo Highball Glasses

3. DIY Project: Animal Cameos on Highball Glasses – Amy and Julia etched animal cameos on to plain highball glasses to create a safari-themed set ready for drinking.

DIY Project Recycled Placemat Aprons

4. DIY Project: Placemat Aprons – Dana recycled vintage placemats by adding ribbon and some appliques to create new aprons for her little ones to cook in.

DIY Project: Painted Porcelain Dish

5. DIY Project: Porcelain Painted Dish – AshleyAnn used special porcelain pens to print various patterns on her plain white dishware.

Apr 202011

DIY smoothie bar
Photo via Hip Hip Hooray

Brunch is such a great way to get friends together – in our opinion it’s the best meal of the week and our weekends aren’t complete without having brunch at least one of the days. On trips to different cities, one of the first items on our to-do list is to check out where we can have brunch the following day.

In fact, we’re so hooked on this idea of mixing beats, projects and brunch that two Sundays after the Bricolage Brunch a group of us got together to host our own little party!

If you’re interested in planning your own Bricolage Brunch – whether it’s a special event or a casual get together or a reason to celebrate sunny days ahead – here’s a collection of photo inspiration to help you get going to host your DIY brunch.Watch for the next post where we’ll feature projects for the “bricolage” part of the brunch.

Brunch Invite

Create an invitation or poster, like the invite above by take a megabite for a Valentine’s Day Brunch.

Mini Monkey Bread

Make some yummy Mini Monkey Bread (includes recipe to make your own).

Pancake Breakfast

Take your brunch outdoors and serve up mini pancakes complete with wildflowers (via DesignSponge).

Pancake Breakfast

Stick colourful little flags with names into your pile of pancakes so everyone knows where they are seated.

Summer Rooftop Pancake Bar

Or, instead of serving up brunch as courses, create a DIY pancake bar where partygoers can add their own toppings (via Green Wedding Shoes). Find some old frames, replace the glass with a piece of wood painted with chalkboard paint, then write out instructions for how to garnish your pancake.

Cereal Bar

Another alternative is to create a DIY cereal bar with lots of different kinds of cereal, milk and toppings. Screenprint or using iron-on sheets, create bunting with the words “CEREAL” draped across the table (via mycakies)

Cereal Bar

Garden Inspired Buffet Brunch

Raid your nearest thrift store for some vintage tablecloths, old chairs,  and some glassware in one colour scheme, like this green-inspired outdoor garden party. Don’t forget to look for a kitschy chicken. (via HGTV)

Garden Inspired Buffet Brunch

Spring Brunch Outdoors

With spring around the corner, take the brunch into your backyard by pulling out a table and some chairs from the house and dressing it up with some bunting (via The Dinner Toast)

Champagne Brunch

For a late-afternoon light brunch (or is it linner? lupper?), set up a champagne bar and keep it light with scones, fruit tarts and berries (via HGTV).

Juice Bar

Or keep it non-alcoholic with a juice bar, dressed with matching straws and matching doily bunting (via Wide Open Spaces) Or a smoothie bar (featured in the first photo of this post via Hip Hip Hooray)

Garden Inspired Buffet Brunch

Or add a twist and serve mimosas, lemonade or juice in mason jars, topped off with a lemon or lime (via HGTV)

Baby Shower Brunch: Name tag

Use colourful linens as coasters, napkins, or to decorate your glassware (via HGTV)

Breakfast Burrito

Whip up a variety of brunch dishes, like a breakfast burrito. Mix up pieces of bacon, eggs, small tortillas, cilantro, sliced peppers, sour cream, parsley and diced tomato (via Styled)

Breakfast Pizza

Or create something untraditional, like Breakfast Pizza (includes recipe to make your own!) (via Artisan Bread in Five)

Fruit Kebabs

Food on sticks is a great way to show off different colours and textiles. We’re loving different pieces of fruit (and how easy it looks to prepare!) (via Quick-Dish.Tablespoon)

French toast kebabs

Whip up some french toast slices, cut them into smaller pieces then add blueberries and strawberries to create French toast kebabs (via Project Wedding)

CInnamon Roll Lollipops

If you’re going for pure sweetness, make these mini cinammon rolls on a stick (via OneWed by Zoebakes)

Menu Idea

Create a menu to let your guests know what you’ll be serving. Write out your menu in Courier font, print on an an oldschool pad of lined paper, and using a fastener, attach to the back of a file folder or cereal box folded in two. (Photo from Elizabeth Anne Designs)

DIY Granola Favours

To make the party even more memorable, give each of your guest an awesome thank you gift like this mason jar of homemade granola (includes DIY instructions to make your own) (via Labelle Bride)

Favour Bags

Or a wacky favour bag filled with ephemera like candies, a sketchbook or notebook, or the carnival grab bag above created by JesseDeanna (includes DIY instructions for how to make your own).

Bacon and Eggs Instructions

Or make it edible right away with this DIY bacon and eggs favour you could place at the exit for guests to make and eat before they leave (via mycakies)

Bacon and Eggs Instructions

Next up: blog post on DIY projects for your bricolage brunch!

Mar 202011

DIY Deer Head Project from Chronicle Books

By popular demand, here’s the link to the original instructions for the DIY Deer Heads which inspired one of the projects at last month’s Spins & Needles Apres Ski installment, courtesy of Dorm Decor (published in 2009 by Chronicle Books). Big thanks to CB for posting the instructions on their blog!

For the deer head making at the Spins & Needles party (imagine 75+ people making them all in the same room!), we had to make a few adjustments to the instructions, so here’s our version:


  • Foam core (we got ours at the local dollar store)
  • Patterned adhesive paper (we used a wood pattern grain)
  • Scissors
  • Picture-frame hanging wire
  • Awl

We used scissors instead of a Craft/Exacto knife (don’t want any accidents!) Make sure the scissors are sharp enough to cut through foam board.

Instead of wrapping paper and spray adhesive we used patterned wood-grain adhesive paper, the kind used for lining drawers. (You could even switch your wood grain up with plaid or polka dot lining.)

We ended up using foam board from the dollar store but if you can’t find foam board, substitute it for cardboard, like from wine boxes, leftover packaging – you’ll get some really interesting patterns when you assemble it.

Spins and Needles | Ottawa | Apres Ski Event | 2011


1. Cut out deer templates.

2. Trace onto foam board: 2 deer heads, 1 deer body, 1 deer nose, 2 deer antlers, 1 mounting board.

3. Cut out foam pieces.

4. Take your wood adhesive paper. Trace templates onto your paper then trace a second set of templates. (You’ll also cover the back of the foam).

Spins and Needles | Ottawa | Apres Ski Event | 2011

5. Cut out all adhesive pieces.

6. Remove backing of each and stick onto front and back of each foam piece.

7. Assemble pieces as shown in the photograph.

8. Cut a piece of wire about 10” long. Poke a hole on either side of the mounting board with . Thread end of wire through both holes and wrap onto itself.

9. It’s now ready to hang about the mantle. THE END!

Spins and Needles | Ottawa | Apres Ski Event | 2011

It takes a bit of patience cutting out all the pieces but the end result is so worth it and definitely way greener and animal-friendly! Awesome project to work on if you’re stuck indoors at the ski lodge or your humble abode, with lots of potential for other animals too (elephants, giraffe, horses?)

More photos from our Deer Head Hall of Fame posted on our Flickr account.

Nov 262010

Book Cover: Better Homes and Gardens (1967)

One of my favourite thrift store finds of all time is a 1967 Better Homes and Gardens: Treasury of Christmas Ideas book with tons of retro holiday inspiration. To get  you in the mood for tonight’s Craft-mas installment in Ottawa, here’s some photos from the book to get you making some awesome stuff:

DIY Holiday Ornaments: Better Homes and Gardens (1967)
Pipecleaner tree ornaments

Christmas Card Ideas: Better Homes and Gardens (1967)
Pop Up Christmas cards

DIY Retro Wreath: Better Homes and Gardens (1967)
Retro Wreath

DIY Retro Wreath: Better Homes and Gardens (1967)
Retro Wreath made from paint can sticks

DIY Retro Holiday Hanging: Better Homes and Gardens (1967)
Thread Christmas tabletop tree

Christmas Cookies: Better Homes and Gardens (1967)
Yummy shortbread Christmas cookies

DIY Tabletop Tree: Better Homes and Gardens (1967)
Tabletop Paper Christmas tree

DIY Tree Ornaments: Better Homes and Gardens (1967)
Little drummer boy doll ornaments

Inside of Book: Better Homes and Gardens (1967)
Back cover

Oct 202010

Culture Days 2010 | Ottawa | Spins & Needles Printmaking 101 Workshop

We’re a wee bit late on this posting but it’s still worth noting that it was such a blast! Spins & Needles, with the help of our beloved volunteers, participated in Canada’s first ever Culture Days last month to host a drop-in Printmaking 101 /Stencilling Workshop at Ottawa’s Arts Court, the city’s largest centre for professional arts producers and presenters.

Not knowing what to expect, we were blown away by how many people showed up for the inaugural year. Culture Day goers whipped up some awesome tote bags and t-shirts with some funky background beats on the ghetto blaster.

Thanks to each of you who came out – you were one of the thousands of Canadians in over 700 communities that celebrated and shared their creativity in over 4500 free activities that took place from coast to coast.

Here’s some highlights from the day.

Culture Days 2010 | Ottawa | Spins & Needles Printmaking 101 Workshop

CCulture Days 2010 | Ottawa | Spins & Needles Printmaking 101 Workshop

Culture Days 2010 | Ottawa | Spins & Needles Printmaking 101 Workshop

Culture Days 2010 | Ottawa | Spins & Needles Printmaking 101 Workshop

Culture Days 2010 | Ottawa | Spins & Needles Printmaking 101 Workshop

Culture Days 2010 | Ottawa | Spins & Needles Printmaking 101 Workshop

Culture Days 2010 | Ottawa | Spins & Needles Printmaking 101 Workshop

Culture Days 2010 | Ottawa | Spins & Needles Printmaking 101 Workshop

There were definitely some happy customers! Until next year!

Sep 242010

Culture Days

In case you haven’t heard,either via CBC or your local newspaper, Culture Days is upon us starting today and runs until this Sunday. It’s a packed weekend full of thousands of free cultural things for you to do, make, paint, sculpt, act, sing, dance, write, and learn with community artists across Canada.

Spins & Needles, in collaboration with Arts Court in Ottawa, is presenting a free printmaking workshop tomorrow as part of Culture Days. Get your print on: you’ll learn the basic printmaking technique of stencilling. We supply the printing materials and iconic pop culture images and you get to learn how to customize your own t-shirt, tote bag or poster to take with you.

For more Ottawa events, you can check out this great roundup of activities by Apartment 613 or visit the Culture Days website. See you there!