Sunday, August 15, 2010

How to Make a Cute [Cheap] Suitcase Pet Bed

Who likes having hideous carpeted pet furniture taking up space in their otherwise adorably decorated home? Not me. And don't my little cat babies deserve something way more interesting than that? I have been seeing some adorable cat or small pet beds around the internet lately and thought I would give making one a try.  Unfortunately I only have pictures of the end product this time, but I will be descriptive :)

Here's what you'll need:
Vintage suitcase
3/4 yard of fabric (depending on your suitcase size)
Polyfill stuffing
Some sort of closures (velcro, buttons, zipper, etc)
Sewing machine and thread 
Adorable pet

Step 1. Choosing and dismantling your suitcase
Check out Goodwill or your local thrift store for a cheap suitcase that you think can work for the project and your decor. Those old blue hard suitcases would work great. I found a rather strange little brown suitcase that had a soft zipper flap on the top rather than a snap closure for $4.99 at Goodwill. My suitcase required only that I use a razorblade to carefully cut around the edge and remove the zippered fabric area to reveal a completely open suitcase. If you choose a classic hard shell vintage suitcase, you may need to use a screwdriver or pliers to unhinge it.

Step 2. Clean up the interior.
Cats are naturally very curious creatures, and will play with any stray paper liner or strings on the inside of the suitcase. I hot glued any peeling paper liner and trimmed any strings. My suitcase even has a little pocket inside for me to stash cat toys.

Step 3. Measure for the cushion.
Measure the dimensions of your suitcase so that you will know what size to make your pet bed cushion. Keep in mind that when you stuff the cushion it will be less wide and less long due to the filling.

Step 4. Choose fabric for a liner and a cushion cover.
Now we all know how much our beloved pets shed. Make life easier on yourself by making a cover for your pet bed that is easy to remove and wash. I chose a brown flannel with multicolored/ringed circles matching my decor. For the liner, I used an old pillowcase. After marking your measurements for the liner, measure the cover to be 1 inch wider and longer than the liner.

Step 5. Make the cushion.
Using polyfill, stuff your cushion just enough to fill your pet bed. My pet bed is rather deep so it required more stuffing. Using your sewing machine, sew the end of the pillowcase shut. My suitcase is a bit narrower than a standard pillowcase so I had to trim and sew down the side as well.

Step 6. Make the cushion cover.
 Sew your cushion cover on 3 sides. On the fourth side, finish the edges, but do not sew both edges together. Using which ever method of closure is most convenient for you, make it so you can easily seal or remove your cushion cover. I used 5 buttons, which I already had. You could also use snaps, zippers, or velcro.

Step 7. Finish
Place your cushion inside the cover, and place finished cushion inside suitcase and you're good to go! If you had to buy everything in this How To, you still shouldn't have had to spend more than $15! What a deal :)

You may want to add cute little feet to lift your pet bed off the ground a bit, and so check back soon for how to add them!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Mobile

It has been months since I have posted! I moved into my very own apartment in March, and have been going wild with planning, buying furniture, decorating, and moving things around.  This weekend, I decided to make a paper mobile to decorate my bedroom! I have a ton of assorted textures, colors, and weights of paper left over from my graphic design classes in college. Since I am all about finding a use for everything, I decided I would make a mobile out of this paper.

Here's the finished mobile:

  • 5-6 pieces of cardstock weight paper, varying shades of white/cream
  • Scissors
  • Linen/Cream colored thread/string (thicker, like for bookbinding)
  • Butterfly, or other shape silhouette for the mobile
  • A sturdy, interestingly shaped twig from your yard, roughly 3 inches.
  • Clamp/clip/friend to assist.
  • Ceiling hook, screw in


1. Find a stick/twig that has an interesting look to it, and doesn't look too fragile. I washed it in warm water with soap, and let it dry overnight.

2. I chose a combination of white, off-white, and cream toned card stock. Some are more textured; others smooth. Either a monotone or more contrasting, bright color scheme could work! Pick whatever you want to match your space.

3. Then I folded the paper over to begin cutting out the butterflies. I freehand cut them out with the fold down the center of the butterfly. If you prefer more exacting butterflies, you can create yourself a template to make sure they are the same. I prefer the organic, freestyle aspect, as no two butterflies look exactly the same.

4. Cut out a variety of different sizes and colors, depending on how many different types of paper you have to use, and how busy you would like your mobile to look. You can make the mobile as long or as short as you want. I would just keep in mind where this mobile will hang, and what size will look proportional in that space.

5. Use the thread/string to tie around the center of each cutout. To make your butterflies hang and balance correctly, tie the knot at the "top" of each. You may have to experiment with the placement of the knot so that they will hang right. The way each hangs depends on the weight of your string and the paper you are using. Make sure to cut the length of the string for each butterfly overly long, so that you will have lots of options for placement. (I cut at least 4 feet of string for each).

6. After tying string to each butterfly cutout, I laid them all out on the floor so that I could see all of my options. If you have a vision of how you want this to look, you may want to sketch out the general layout of the butterflies. I like to just "wing it"  hehe.

7. This is the step where you may want someone to help you. To avoid getting everything tangled, have a friend hold the twig you washed in step one. Tie your first butterfly to the twig. Whatever excess string you have, wrap it tightly around the twig and finish with a tight knot.

8. Tightly wrap all excess string to the twig. This may take a while, and your friend may want a break for their arms :)

9. Repeat until you have filled out your mobile.

10. I saved one of my tiny butterflies to tie directly to the twig, to look like it just landed.

11. To create the little strap to hang the mobile, I used a little friendship bracelet inspiration from back in the day.  I used 5 pieces of string, roughly 3 feet each and twisted them all together. Then I folded them in half so that the string twisted together again, making a thicker 'string.' Using the looped end, I put it around the end of the twig. I tied off the other end as needed.

All finished!

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    January Update

    I have some exciting news! As I am a freelance graphic designer on the side, as well as designing jewelry for raechan, I have finally made everything official! is now a part of Lauren Rae Design, LLC. I am currently in the process of optimizing my studio space, as well as redesigning my website. So, there will be less blog posts and new listings this month while I get everything situated. Keep your eyes out for updates on when the new site will be up and running, and also when new items will be listed.