The doily is a bit of a controversial item among some crocheters. For some people it’s the most wonderful thing to crochet because of the intricate beauty of the designs, the historical significance of the item and the joy of working in the round. For others, the doily is tedious and boring and seen as a useless item.
I’m here today to say that the doily can be whatever you want it to be. If you love creating the traditional doily and using it as the ornamental mat that it’s intended to be, that’s great. But if you don’t like the traditional doily, there are still many different ways that you can create and use doilies. That’s because the doily is often not just a doily.
Below you’ll find twenty five different examples of using doilies and doily designs creatively to take them beyond the expected. This includes doilies for the home as well as wearable clothing, art and accessories.
Asimina Chremos is a fiber artist who does really colorful work that puts a contemporary, colorful twist on the traditional doily.
Holes in Your Socks shared this beautiful vest made from upcycled doilies. Speaking of upcycling, did you see my article recently on Handmadeology about reasons that handmade businesses should upcycle?
One of my favorite upcycled options for doilies is to turn them into lamps and lampshades. There are so many great examples of that. This one is a painted lamp with doilies on the outside from SpiritFireDesigns. Another one I really love is the vintage doily lampshade over at the Maize Hutton Blog. And if you want to make your own doily lamp, here’s a nice tutorial for one.
Jump past the break to see the rest of the upcycled doily ideas:
One of the top ways to make a doily more functional for many homes is to stiffen it and shape it into a crochet bowl. This example comes from CraftyDill. A really good tutorial for making a doily bowl can be found over at CraftStylish.
Doilies are often used as bunting. I love this example where the doilies serve as the backdrop of a “Just Married” banner. I found it over at BrassPaperClip.
I thought I’d give one more example of a doily bunting idea I love; this one combines crocheted doilies and fabric. It’s from MiaBooo.
Many people lately are loving the leather handbags embellished with doilies. However I personally prefer a related idea – the burlap sack with some lace and doily embellishments. This is from victorianstation on Etsy. If you do like those leather bags, though, there are some nice ones done on Etsy by UrbanHeirlooms who also makes some cute upcycled lace necklaces.
Or instead, how about a doily clutch or doily coin purse like this one from Etsy’s sewlola?
Did you see the video tutorial for these upcycled doily wedges over at @craft?
If those shoes are too bold for you then maybe you’d be better suited to a calmer looking but still totally exquisite doily dress? This one is made by Etsy’s ArmoursansAnguish.
You can always just take a doily and add it to an item you’ve sewn or purchased to add new flavor to old clothes. There are tons of examples of this all over the web but I’ve chosen this one by Etsy’s picky because it’s one of the few that pairs a doily with some color against a print and really makes it work.
I love the idea of using doilies to make curtains. This example is actually part of an art installation by Anoli Perera.
You can easily use old crocheted doilies to make brand new pillows. Do a search and you’ll see many examples of this. I’m going to share two. This first one is from The Polka Dot Closet where you’ll find a tutorial for cutting out a doily to frame an image on fabric and then sewing it over a pillow.
And here’s the second doily pillow I chose which is just a bunch of vintage doilies put together. You can find the tutorial for this over at Smile and Wave.
Love this idea from These are a few of My Favorite Things … just put a doily in a frame or embroidery hoop and use it as an earring holder.
For an interesting twist on materials, Jo Scholar (a Love Lace artist) scanned a crocheted doily, digitally manipulated it and then etched it onto metal, creating a lace object entirely different in form from the original piece it references.
Etsy’s theTriangleOfBears used felt to turn an old doily into a new little creation for home decoration. Cute!
Country Living shows here how you can glue doilies around cream bracelets for a quick and easy vintage-inspired bracelet.
If necklaces are more your style, I really love this one made by This Mama Makes (@thisiscarrie). She links to the tutorial for the basics on many crocheted doily necklaces.
You can use a doily to dress up just about any item that you own. Here’s an example of adding a doily to an umbrella. Found this one on Ravelry.
If you are a fan of Babukatorium then you may be able to tell at a glance that this colorful doily afghan comes from her.
Finally a nice and easy DIY would be to stitch old vintage doilies together to make a modern new scarf or cowl. This one comes from Etsy’s OceanBlueCreations.
Do you like doilies? Do you crochet them? Do you use them?