Add colour to your home with leftover

Wednesday November 13 2019

A cloth framed and hang as part of wall art.

A cloth framed and hang as part of wall art. Pieces of leftover cloth can be sewn to create the patterns. Photos by Rachel Mabala 

By Carolyne B. Atangaza

Ever wondered what to do with those beautiful pieces of fabric left over from other projects? If you are a creative person who prefers custom-made clothes or are an avid decorator you must have collected a heap of mismatched scraps in different sizes and shapes. This fabric can be used in a multitude of ways to add colour and a touch of originality to your home.

Turn them into art
Some fabric patterns are just too beautiful not to be displayed. If you have one of those leftover fabric embellished with a pattern you love, have it framed to create your customised wall art.

“There are different ways to use framed fabric, apart from framing it. You can create a canvas with bigger fabrics or you can spruce up your existing photo frames by lining them with your fabric of choice. Choose fabrics with novel patterns such as ancient art or animals and flowers that will stand out more,” Herbert Kakuto, a picture framer and photographer advises.

The framers usually have a variety of shapes and sizes to choose from. The cost usually depends on where you go to have your fabric framed. Kakuto’s prices range from Shs50,000 to Shs1m.

Bags and pouches
Leftover fabric is great to use for making those handy household bags and pouches. Choose a pattern that compliments your bathroom to create toilet paper holders and small fragrant pouches.
“Have you been having trouble organising those small items such as the children’s underwear or socks? Turn your scraps of fabric into a drawstring pouch that you can hang inside a closet. The drawstring helps to keep the contents of the pouch secure,”Zainab Sula, an interior designer advises.

Linings and wraps
Your storage boxes do not have to remain plain and boring. Mix and match leftover pieces of fabric to give life to plain storage boxes or renew those that are beginning to scuff at the edges. You can also add colour and texture to your display shelves, drawers and kitchen by lining cabinet interiors with cheery fabrics an alternative to newspapers and wallpaper.


Create a message board
Some homes have those blackboards or white boards where they post the day’s activities, menus and daily scripture which sometimes look a little bit drab. Sula recommends using fabric to create a message board that is cheery and fun.

“Blackboards can look too huge or too small but making your own board gives you the chance get the size that suits your needs. You can make it as large or as small as you want and you can add more or less ribbon for displaying large photos or small notes. To keep the material on the board, just staple the edges to wood on the back of the board. You can either have it framed by a professional or you can do it yourself at home,” Kakuto shares.

String it along
You would be surprised at how much string a household can use. Your leftover scraps of fabric will go a long way to fill in this gap. For instance, you can weave, braid and wrap fabric to make napkin rings, decorative fabric tassels. You can use the smaller scraps to create strings for those tea towels and washcloths that do not have.

You do not really need to spend money buying those already made napkins when you have fabric lying around. Making your own gives an opportunity to display your creativity. “You can have multiple but complimentary patterns or the same pattern to create a set that fits your taste. If you are the creative type, you can do it for yourself at home but if you are not sure, just take your fabric to a tailor who can make your vision come alive,” Sula advises.