Doily Fairy Lights

15 Aug

A few weeks ago my mother-in-law and I were browsing through our favorite second hand shop and I came across a basket full of old vintage Belgian doilies (most were handmade lace and a few were crocheted) for anywhere from 10 cents to 50 cents a piece.  I grabbed a handful, paid less than 3 euro for them and took them home.

There were lots of questions as to what I was going to do with them (and the look on my husband’s face when I enthusiastically showed them was a mix of surprise and terror).  And to tell you the truth, at that point I didn’t have any idea what I was going to do with them.  I just knew there was a project using doilies just waiting for me and I had to give it time to be become clear what it exactly was.  Yeah I know, I’m a nerd.

And sure enough a few weeks later I was rummaging through an old drawer and found a set of “naked” fairy lights.  I knew then and there what that pile of doilies was going to be made into.

I decided that I wanted the doilies to be slightly stiff so they wouldn’t hang so limply from the lights.  I didn’t have any starch of any kind so I made a mixture of normal white glue and water.  I then dipped the doilies in the mixture, squeezed out any excess and placed them on a wine glass to dry in a nice lampshade shape (this was all trial and error…I had no idea if it was going to work or not).

To my surprise (and joy) the next morning the doilies were all completely dry and stiff enough to hold the shape that I was looking for.I then had to snip the centres of the doilies in order to fit the little fairy lights through (some had holes big enough but most needed a little snip).  Once I had the fairy lights throught centre hole I hand sewed the doilies around the centre so that the light wouldn’t slip back through.

I find the final result really beautiful with all the different shades of white and cream, the different sizes of doilies and the various lace patterns.  In the evening it makes the most beautifully romantic shadows on all the surrounding walls.

I even included one that was made by my great grandmother.



15 Responses to “Doily Fairy Lights”

  1. americanmominbordeaux August 15, 2012 at 13:09 #

    Wow, so creative!! I am super impressed! I wished you lived closer – so I could do crafts with you – always nice to sit with a super creative person! Thanks again for such a great idea! I think that one will go on Pinterest!

    • Jillian in Italy August 17, 2012 at 10:27 #

      Yes….we’re slightly too far away for a crafts evening. Pity!

  2. linnyjcreations August 15, 2012 at 14:44 #

    What a brilliant way to show off the beauty of doilies. It must be very magical at night time .A great idea.

  3. Jen August 15, 2012 at 18:31 #

    Another brilliant idea! How adorable are those? Super adorable! Hope you pinterested them…

  4. grammao August 15, 2012 at 20:37 #

    Your great grandmother would be absolutely delighted with this use of her doilies. Many of them were made when she was in her early 90s.

  5. Theresa August 16, 2012 at 19:46 #

    Thanks so much for your comment over at sisterMAG about the dress. I must admit: 4000 stones, about 5 burns from hot glue gun and sore fingers after three days *hehe*. But my mom had the same!

    I love this doily project and it is handy to know that your mixture to stiffen out fabric works that well! Will definitely come back und hope to hear from you again as well!
    Yours, Thea // sisterMAG

    • Jillian in Italy August 17, 2012 at 10:26 #

      Thanks for visiting Thea. I actually spent the entire evening yesterday reading your newest edition of Sister Mag and it is absolutely amazing. The articles, the design, the photography…all of it! I’m already busy trying out a few of your recipes. Take care! Jill

  6. Nicole August 21, 2012 at 11:31 #

    Cute! You’re very creative!

  7. Kat August 23, 2012 at 00:47 #

    I too am happily impressed! this is the awesomest DIY I’ve come across recently. well done! love the use of doilies (a lot at the bancarella in Macerata where we were before). this is lovely.. 🙂

    • Jillian in Italy August 23, 2012 at 12:40 #

      Thanks Kat! Like I said to my husband….doilies aren’t just for little old ladies anymore!

  8. Annes Kitchen August 23, 2012 at 09:06 #

    Love this idea, it’s so vintage chic – magnifique!

    • Jillian in Italy August 23, 2012 at 12:41 #

      Thanks so much Anne! Yes…vintage chic describes them perfectly!

  9. Maria June 7, 2014 at 00:34 #

    es una belleza


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    […] when I was on vacation in Belgium and visiting my favourite second hand shop (remember the lovely doilies?) I found some other amazing treasures.  I actually could have easily filled a moving truck with […]

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