Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Household DIY – How to install skirting board

Did you spot my blog post about my new flooring last week? The eagle-eyed of you might have noticed that the finishing touch to my new bedroom floor was a lovely tall skirting board. While it may only be a small element of the room, the whole space would have looked completely unfinished without it. Just look at these before and after photos:

What a difference a piece of new skirting board makes, eh? It covered the tatty plaster at the base of the wall where the old skirting board had been ripped out, and it sealed the edges of the laminate flooring. It’s an easy ‘finishing touch’ to install but a difficult DIY task at the same time. Here’s why…

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Household DIY – How to strip woodchip wallpaper, the easy way!

Stripping wallpaper is a skill I’ve recently developed. Woodchip wallpaper in particular. It’s a difficult paper to shift and, unfortunately, it seems to be plastered all over ‘houses of a certain age’. I guess it was very fashionable at one point but nowadays it’s the number 1 thing that puts potential buyers off a house. And it’s bloomin’ hard to remove. Yes, I speak from experience here! Thankfully there are ways to make the process a little easier and here’s the steps I followed:1. Scoring the paper

Use the corner of a wallpaper scraper to score the wallpaper all over. Don’t press too hard, otherwise you’ll leave marks in the plaster. You can also use the flat edge of the wallpaper scraper to ‘skim’ over the woodchip surface. This knocks off some of the woodchip and allows more moisture to soak in.2. Soaking with wallpaper stripper

Sure you can use regular water to soak the surface of the wallpaper, but adding a splash of wallpaper stripper to your bucket ‘super-charges’ the water. I used a bottle of Everbuild wallpaper stripper and only needed 125ml in a gallon of water. That was plenty enough to soak all the walls of the living room. This means that I’ve got three quarters of the bottle left to do other rooms. Mix it into a bucket of water (following the instructions on the bottle) and use a large sponge to spread the foamy water over the wallpaper. Allow to soak in for 15 minutes – coincidentally the same length of time that it’ll take heat up your steamer.3. Steam the wallpaper

Fill the steamer with water and allow to heat up for 15 minutes. You don’t need an industrial or expensive steamer to do this job – the tool I’m using is the lowest priced steam I could find from FFX – the Earlex Steam Wallpaper Stripper. It gives me 70 minutes of steaming per fill, which is about the length of time it took to strip each wall. Hold the steamer to the wall and leave in place for about ten seconds. Move it onto the next section of the wall and hold in place while you scrap the first piece away.

4. Scrape away the woodchip layer

Use the flat edge of a stripping knife to scrape away the top layer of woodchip. You’ll get a speckled effect on the wallpaper as the bigger chunks of woodchip come off. This allows more steam to get into the wallpaper and make it easier to strip away from the wall. Give the wallpaper a second steaming before moving onto the stripping…

5. Strip off the woodchip

Push the wallpaper stripper tool beneath the wallpaper and lift it away from the wall. If you come across a stubborn piece of wallpaper, give it another blast with the steamer before scraping. I used a Stanley Hobby Stripping Knife to ease the woodchip off the wall.

From this (woodchip walls that look perfectly normal at a distance)

To this (a room that now looks like it should be on Homes Under The Hammer!)

And really, that’s all there is to it! Sort of the same as stripping normal wallpaper, but with a couple of important extra steps – the stripping solution and the scraping effect. I’ve made a quick video (shared below and on my new YouTube channel) to show you the whole process, step-by-step so that you can see exactly how we did it.

If you’ve found this helpful please ‘like’ my video or follow my new Cassiefairy channel on YouTube for more DIY projects and thrifty solutions.


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Round-up of my festive craft projects – there’s still time to make these quick DIYs!

I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to hibernate for the whole of the Christmas period. Many of us are finishing work early this week and taking a few days to relax and finish off some festive tasks before the big day arrives. So if you’ve got some time on your hands this week, why not have a go at making some of my festive crafts? All of these projects can be completed within an hour, and you only need a few cheap supplies (that you may already have at home) in order to get started. These are some of my favourite projects I’ve made for my own home, so have a look and let me know if you have a go at making any of these for yourself.cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-24I’ve recently just made my first two festive YouTube DIY videos – each is a step-by-step project that can be made in no time at all. First up is my pom-pom ‘SNOW’ sign for the mantlepiece, shelf or windowsill. It’s a cute decoration that isn’t OTT festive, but that has a fun tongue-in-cheek design with tiny skiing figures sliding down the letters. This week I also shared a video that shows you how to add candy cane legs to your chairs. If you’re planning to paint your chairs next year anyway, why not give them a festive design for the coming week and then paint over them again in the new year? Or make a dedicated Santa seat so that he’s got somewhere to rest when he comes down the chimney this weekend 😉diy-video-youtube-tutorial-christmas-decor-decoration-festive-candy-cane-chair-step-by-step-project-spray-painting-guide-7I don’t think it’s any secret that I really like pom-pom, so you won’t be surprised to see another snowy decoration project up next. This one is a ‘snow drift’ Christmas wreath for your front door. It has a little penguin skiing down the pom-pom snowballs and looks really cute on my caravan door. Deck the Door DIY snow ball christmas wreath-13I also made another wreath for my caravan using upcycled pieces of clothing, ribbons and fabric. Here’s the step-by-step guide to making this fluffy fabric Christmas wreath so check it out and use up the old scraps of fabric you already have lying around. I’m really chuffed that this project was featured in Oxfam’s Christmas newspaper too!DIY fabric wreath for Christmas - step by step tutorial-9Why not decorate every room in the house with a festive piece of art? I framed up some free printables to make this gallery wall of snowy chalkboard Christmas art. With a printer and some frames, you could have a lovely festive wall to welcome your guests into your home.DIY festive decorating with christmas art prints using hardwall takkerMake a rustic illuminated christmas basket decoration to brighten up your porch, fireplace or garden. Simply gather nature’s decorations – pine cones, holly and spruce – and add in plenty of sparkly touches to make it look really festive. The basket helps to make your home look more inviting from the outside and can add warmth to an unused fireplace too.diy craft tutorial christmas decorations log basket xmas porch with fairy lights finished displayIf you’re looking for another idea for bringing more fairy lights into your home, how about making my snow-covered kilner jar lanterns? It’s such a simple project and it can be made in minutes, but the group of jars makes for a really impressive display on your sideboard, mantlepiece or even on a bedside table.DIY fairy lights kilner jar display for christmas-5A couple of years ago I made this snowy garland using pom-poms (again!), faux flowers and hanging decorations. It looks great on a mantlepiece, or you could make it as long as you need in order to drape it down the handrail of your staircase. Use whatever decorations you have to hand and feel free to change the colour combo to red and green or gold and silver.DIY christmas decoration mantlepiece garland ideas-11I hope that these ideas have given you some inspiration for making a few craft items of your own in time for the big day. And I hope you enjoy the run up to Christmas – this is the best time of the whole holiday for me!


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DIY Christmas decor – Snowy pom-pom letters mantlepiece display

With Christmas fast approaching, my latest DIY project is a rather festive one indeed. Yes, I’ve got my trusty glue gun out again and I’ve been busy attaching pom-poms to anything that stays still! Since decorating the Christmas tree, I decided that my mantlepiece was looking rather empty and after a bit of pondering, I came up with these ‘snow’ letters to dress the top of the fireplace. And yes, I filmed the whole process so that I could make a step-by-step video to show you how it’s done. cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-21 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-27 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-6And I’ve been thinking of all of you who don’t necessarily have space for a tree, because these snowy letters only take up the space of a mantlepiece or shelf yet it still makes for a rather impressive and imposing display. This decoration project can be made any size (depending on what kind of craft letters you find) and any colour – just change the spray paint and pom-pom colours to make a bright red SANTA sign or even a sparkly pink ‘LOVE’ display for Valentine’s Day early next year. Multicoloured pom-pom letters could be used to make a birthday celebration display or why not make a glitzy metallic “2017” sign for your New Year’s Eve party?!cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-19 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-1 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-8Click on the video below to view the step-by-step guide.

To make this project you will need:

  • Large craft letters – I got mine from Hobbycraft for £4 each, but I’ve seen cardboard letters for just £1 in The Range.
  • A glue gun and glue sticks – I use the Bostik DIY glue gun because it’s made for DIY projects and is therefore sturdier than a craft glue gun. The Bostik all-purpose glue sticks were a budget refill pack at just £2.84. The cheapest price I could find on glue guns and refills was at the UK Tool Centre – take a look & put one on your Christmas list!
  • White spray primer (or coloured spray paint if you prefer) – I used Plastikote 2500 primer in white (also ordered from UK Tool Centre, so if you’re buying tools for Christmas, use discount code UKTO6OFF80 for £6 off an £80 order.)
  • Cotton wool – I picked up a large bag of cotton wool balls from Superdrug for 75p
  • Various sizes and types of pom-poms – The teeny tiny pom-poms came from Etsy and I got the iridescent pom-poms from The Range £1.50 for a pack of 80, and a pack of 40 is available in Poundland too.
  • Optional extras – Miniature trees and figures – I tracked mine down (excuse the pun) in a model railway shop.
  • Snow spray and glittery faux snow (from Poundland or similar).

cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-2 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-9 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-13cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-12It’s a really quick and easy project to do too – the thing that takes the longest time is waiting for the paint to dry. Which, in fact, doesn’t even take that long. I’ve shared the step-by-step guide on my YouTube channel today so you can see just how easy the process is. I’ve even included a time lapse of all the pom-pom gluing so that you can see how the letters can be built up with lots of different layers and sizes of pom-poms.cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-5 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-10 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-16 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-15 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-17It was actually great fun to make this decoration, and having the glue gun make it super-easy. I wouldn’t like to tackle the project without one – I think that I’d get in a right muddle with superglue! I really enjoy sitting down to make something with my own hands and I’m thrilled that, with a little bit of effort, I’ve got a Christmas decoration in my home that no-one else has. That is, until you all follow this tutorial and make it for yourselves! cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-18 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-23 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-24 cassiefairy-thrifty-christmas-snow-sign-project-diy-mantlepiece-christmas-decoration-festive-decor-28Hope you’ve enjoyed looking through all the photos I took at each stage, and don’t forget to check out the video on YouTube for the full step-by-step instructions (and please give me a subscribe if you like it!). Let me know how you get on with this project and please tag me in your photos @Cassiefairy if you have a go at making this Christmas mantlepiece display for yourself! Here are some more pics – enjoy!


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DIY Christmas decor – Candy cane chair project

This month I’ve been busier than an elf in Santas workshop – yes, I’ve been DIYing lots of festive projects ready to share with you on the blog this December. And what better way to kick off the celebrations than with the ultimate festive makeover: a candy cane chair.diy-video-youtube-tutorial-christmas-decor-decoration-festive-candy-cane-chair-step-by-step-project-spray-painting-guide-7When I bought this retro chair from a second-hand furniture shop for just £2 I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it. I don’t really have space for another chair, but I knew that it was too much of a bargain to pass up. So I handed over my cash and spent the next five minutes trying to manoeuvre the chair into my teeny tiny car.

Needless to say, the chair sat in my garage for a couple of months before I decided what should be done with it. And during that time we inched closer and closer to Christmas. I began feeling more and more festive, and soon the thought came to me – I was going to make a candy cane chair.

But where do you start when you want to turn an old dining chair into Santa’s favourite seat? Well, with primer of course! A roll of masking tape and couple of coats of red spray paint later, my Christmas chair was complete. Okay, maybe it wasn’t as quick as that but it was easy enough to do – the only thing that took a bit of time was waiting for the paint to dry between coats.

Luckily, I captured the whole process on my camera and I’ve made this little DIY video to show you exactly how to do it for yourself at home. Have a quick watch below or open the video in YouTube to leave me a comment or a thumbs up. And please give me a subscribe while you’re there – I know there’s not many videos on my Cassiefairy channel yet but I promise there will be more crafty DIY videos coming soon, honest!

What do you think of my candy cane chair design? Will you be giving any of your furniture a festive makeover this winter? Let me know if you’ve made any OTT decorations yourself by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me with photos of your xmas décor @Cassiefairy.


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DIY Gifts Video – Step-by-step camera case sewing project

Over the past month I’ve been busier than an elf in Santas workshop – yes, I’ve been DIYing lots of festive projects ready to share with you on the blog this December. And what better way to kick off the month than with a simple gift project – a felt camera case.felt-camera-case-sewing-project-easy-diy-tutorialThis easy-sew project lets you create a custom-made case for your specific camera, with no difficult measuring or pattern-making. In fact, it couldn’t be easier – you simply lie the camera on the piece of felt, pin the pouch in place and stitch it up!diy-video-project-easy-sew-sewing-felt-camera-case-gift-present-youtube-14I use straight stitch throughout the project so this can easily be done by hand or on a sewing machine. The fastening is sticky-backed velcro dots so no need to make a difficult button-hole, and the button I stitch onto the front flap is purely decorative, so you could even give this step a miss if you want to make the project even easier.diy-video-project-easy-sew-sewing-felt-camera-case-gift-present-youtube-1-2All you need to make this quick and easy project is a piece of felt, pins, a needle and thread (or sewing machine), a button, velcro dots, a ruler and scissors. All the instructions are on the video so have a watch and pause (or rewind) the tutorial whenever you need to. And once you’ve got the basics, you can easily adapt this case to fit other things too; ipads, make-up, mobile phones and so on.diy-video-project-easy-sew-sewing-felt-camera-case-gift-present-youtube-2

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DIY thrifty Halloween decorations – flying paper bats garland

Need some low cost decorations for your Halloween party? Look no further! You can make this flying bats garland in a matter of minutes and use it to decorate your dinner table, to hang at your windows or cover your porch. Make as many garland strands as you like, make the thread as long as you like and add as many bats as you like!halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-8 halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-projectI made lots of strands of 3-5 bats to cover the wall above my sideboard this Halloween. This gives a staggered effect and allows the bats to float around freely. I think it looks spooky for Halloween but not too scary (so is more suitable for younger children’s parties) or sophisticated enough for grown-up Halloween gatherings.halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-9 halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-2halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-4I think that showing you how to make the bats ‘fly’ on the thread is better than trying to explain the steps, so check out my video to see how it’s done. You can see just how quick it is to make a garland of bats, so it’s easy to make a large quantity to cover your walls and windows this Halloween. After decorating my wall I’ve decided to keep my trick-or-treat snacks on the sideboard ready for Halloween – I just need to get a pumpkin and I’m ready!halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-5 halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-3Here’s the video on YouTube: diy-video-thrifty-halloween-decorations-flying-paper-bats-projectLet me know if you have a go at making these paper bats by leaving me comment below or tagging me in your Instagram photos. And please do get in touch if you have any questions about the steps – I hope the video helps to explain it okay 🙂 halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-7halloween-flying-paper-bat-garland-decoration-tutorial-step-by-step-thrifty-diy-project-6/a>


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Thrifty party decorations – DIY paper flowers

If you’re planning a party or simply want to jazz up the kids’ bedrooms, this is the DIY project for you! Paper flowers are easy to make and cost hardly anything, yet they are impressive decorations for any kind of party. You can make them in lots of different sizes and could tailor the colours to match your party theme; go orange and black for Halloween or bright rainbow hues to give a fiesta vibe to your summer BBQ. Gather a few together on a wall to create a backdrop for a wedding photobooth or hang as decorations over a birthday buffet table. Whatever you want to use them for, I guarantee that you won’t want to stop making them once you’ve started, so get your mates involved and even let the kids have ago at making plenty of paper flowers for your next event. Here’s how to make some impressive paper flowers:Decorate for A Party, p105, photography by Leslie ShewringThere are quite a few steps to these paper flowers, but they are well worth the time and once you have made a couple of them the process becomes faster. To make smaller versions just omit the inside yellow pieces and use fewer sheets, cut smaller, for the outer petals.

YOU WILL NEED assorted colours of tissue paper, fuzzy pipe cleaners, scissors

STEP ONE: Carefully stack approximately 12 sheets of tissue paper, lining up all the edges carefully. We decided to use 4 yellow for the centre, these are stacked on top, then 2 or 3 white and then 6 sheets of orange. Start to fold all sheets over at the same time in 5cm/2-inch folds. Now fold back the other way, and repeat accordion style until you have folded all the paper.

STEP TWO: Unfold all the paper carefully and take out the yellow paper that will be used for the centre of the flower. Fold the yellow paper back in pleats, then fold the folded paper in half. Trim off half of the unfolded ends.

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Tuesday Shoesday: How to dye your shoes – step by step video tutorial

When you really love a pair of shoes, you find yourself wearing them at every opportunity. Perhaps they are the comfiest shoes you’ve ever worn, maybe they are the coolest colour or are an on-trend shape, or it can be as simple as ‘they go with everything’. Whatever the reason, it’s really sad when they come to their end of their wearable life. Fabric fades and scuffs appear, and they get relegated to the back of the wardrobe.blue suede shoes shoe fabric dying makeover before afterThis is especially true for suede shoes, which need a lot of looking after to stop them from looking worn. So if (like me) you’ve been a little too lazy to waterproof your suede, or haven’t given them a daily brushing, and you didn’t not wear them on rainy days, then you might have a pair of rather poorly-looking suede shoes under your bed. When hubby’s favourite suede trainers ended up faded, mucky, scuffed and stained, I knew it was either time to throw them out… or do something about it.renovate-old-suede-shoes-trainers-makeover-diy-customising-dying-shoes-tutorial-video-9I hopped online and googled “shoe dye”. It turns out that it IS possible to give his old shoes a new lease of life with dye, and I picked up this Dylon navy blue shoe dye for less than £4 on Ebay. The bottle of dye comes with instructions and a small brush and can be painted onto onto any shoes that need a makeover. The colours of shoe dye tend to be quite dark, so you can easily go from blue to navy, or something like green to black. If you want to dye your shoes to refresh them year-on-year just go one step darker each time, so red shoes could be dyed brown and next time they could be painted black. Okay, you’ll end up with much darker shoes than before, but they’ll look good as new and you already know they’re comfy!renovate-old-suede-shoes-trainers-makeover-diy-customising-dying-shoes-tutorial-video renovate-old-suede-shoes-trainers-makeover-diy-customising-dying-shoes-tutorial-video-3 renovate-old-suede-shoes-trainers-makeover-diy-customising-dying-shoes-tutorial-video-4 renovate-old-suede-shoes-trainers-makeover-diy-customising-dying-shoes-tutorial-video-5 renovate-old-suede-shoes-trainers-makeover-diy-customising-dying-shoes-tutorial-video-7 renovate-old-suede-shoes-trainers-makeover-diy-customising-dying-shoes-tutorial-video-8 renovate-old-suede-shoes-trainers-makeover-diy-customising-dying-shoes-tutorial-video-10Check out my step-by-step video below (it’s only 3 mins long) to find out how to bring your shoes back to their ‘box-fresh’ best with fabric dye (or view it on my YouTube channel here):

 

I hope this helps you refresh your own favourite shoes so that you can keep wearing them for years to come – and save cash on replacing them! My husband was really chuffed when he found out that I’d dyed his shoes and that he could carry on wearing his favourite comfy trainers. And when he ruins them again (on more off-road walks!) this year, I’ll simply dye them again. Good plan, eh? Let me know if you have a go at dying your own footwear, and any tips you have for looking after suede in general – it’s pretty obvious that we need some advice on this (!) so please leave me a comment below.


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DIY project – How to sew a campervan playhouse

I’m taking glamping to the next level. Yes, I’m talking about camping indoors. Okay, maybe this playden for the little ones isn’t quite waterproof, so it’s not really festival-friendly. And it’s more a playhouse than a stayhouse. Even so, it’s something that my nephew really wanted – his very own campervan, just like daddy. One sunny afternoon I set about making a mini-version of a VW camper especially for him, and actually stitched it up in my own caravan workshop. How many caravans went into making this playhouse? At least two! Read on to find out how to make a mini camper den for your children, your friend’s little ones or your nephews and nieces.

The campervan den is actually a table cover. Its frame is created by the dining table so the first step is to take the measurements of the table you’re planning to use. It could be a fold out picnic table, a 8 person dining table, whatever kind of table you have at home is fine, as long as the kids can sit underneath it. The table will determine the side of the playhouse you’ll be able to make so measure the top and each side so that you have the measurements you’ll need to cut out a cover from fabric.caravan campervan playhouse playroom den wendyhouse sewing project diy step by step tutorial_-3 I used the measurements to make a paper template of all four sides and the top. I then divided the sides into thirds, cutting the top section out of strong white fabric, and the bottom two-thirds from green canvas. The top was the same white fabric and I simply cut one of the longer sizes in half to create a door entrance. If you want to create a VW campervan effect on the front of the cover, cut a ‘V’ shape at the bottom of the white fabric to extend into the green area. I drew the symbol on the fabric using a permanent pen, but you could sew on the shape at this stage if you prefer.caravan campervan playhouse playroom den wendyhouse sewing project diy step by step tutorial_Use a cereal box to make a template for rounded window holes. When you’re happy with the size of the windows, trace two holes onto the front white piece of fabric, two on the side piece, one on each ‘door’ and one window on the back piece. Cut out the holes and then – the fun part – I used some sparkly silver tulle to cover the windows.caravan campervan playhouse playroom den wendyhouse sewing project diy step by step tutorial_-4

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