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Tag Archives: Clare Youngs
  • Posted on October 15, 2015

    Little Blackboard Town

    Earlier today, someone in the office dared to mention Christmas and we ended up chatting about how lovely everything looks when the decorations are up. If you fancy jazzing up a blank wall in your home, then don’t wait for December... why not get creative with your DIY and try some simple wall art? This project is taken from the latest book by Clare Youngs, Wall Art, and we think it’s a great way to decorate a child’s bedroom (and a fun project to do together!)

    Though it has to be said, kids or no kids, we would just love this little blackboard town above the kitchen counter to keep track of the shopping list and housework...

    Little blackboard town

    Little blackboard town 

    This project is easy to create, looks stylish, and provides entertainment for the kids. What’s not to love? Blackboard paint is easily obtainable at DIY stores and even comes in different colors. I have used traditional black for contrast with the bright patterns. The roofs and the trees are made from sheets of giftwrap and a wallpaper offcut, so all very affordable.


    You will need



    Masking tape in different widths


    Blackboard paint


    Patterned paper

    Long ruler

    Craft (PVA) glue

    Craft knife

    Cutting mat

    Little blackboard town step 1

    1 Decide how big you want your houses to be. Cut or fold to size, one sheet of newspaper for each house and position it on the wall using masking tape. The houses don’t have to be the same size—a little variation is good. Leave small gaps between them—mine were 1⁄2 in. (1 cm) wide.

    Little blackboard town step 2

    2 Draw around the newspaper using a pencil, then remove the newspaper. Mask off each house with masking tape, using your pencil lines as guides. I used thin masking tape between the houses and thicker tape around the edges.

    Little blackboard town step 3

    3 Paint the house shapes with the blackboard paint and leave the paint to dry before carefully peeling off the masking tape.

    Little blackboard town step 4

    4 Mark the center of the each house shape, along the top edge. Fold a piece of patterned paper in half and align the fold, vertically, with the center mark of one of the houses. Mark the edge of the house (as shown) on the patterned paper.

    Little blackboard town step 5

    5 Use a ruler to draw a line from the mark you have just made on the patterned paper diagonally, up to the folded edge. Cut along this line using scissors.

    Little blackboard town step 6

    6 Open up the triangle you have made and glue it to the wall, aligning the straight edge with the top of the house.

    7 Repeat Steps 4 to 6 to make two more roofs. You can make them different heights.

    Little blackboard town step 8

    8 Draw a simple tree shape on the back of the paper you have chosen for a tree. I have made a simple pointed oval. Cut this out. Draw in a few branches and cut these out using a craft knife and protecting your work surface with a cutting mat. Stick the tree on the wall next to the houses.


    Wall Art by Clare Youngs

    The latest book by Clare Youngs is full of creative ways to decorate your home with hangings, paintings, stencils, papercrafts, tapestries, plants, and more. For more information or to buy the book, click here.

    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, UK, What's new and was tagged with Clare Youngs, interiors, kids, project, 2015

  • Posted on May 5, 2015

    Beat the Bank Holiday Blues with Letter Art!

    Is it Tuesday already? We hope you all had a super weekend, but we just can’t believe how quickly the bank holiday has flown by and how many emails were sat waiting when we got into the office this morning! Amongst the mail mayhem however, we discovered a great email from Hobbycraft with ideas for creating decorative letters… and instantly we were feeling calm and crafty! While we love Hobbycraft’s colourful suggestions, our instinctive response was to turn one of our favourite books from Clare Youngs (who are we kidding, we love them all!) for even more Letter Art inspiration! Needless to say, here’s a project from the book to beat your back-to-work-after-the-bank-holiday blues…

    Foamboard Lollipop Letters

    Use colorful scraps of wallpaper and pages from old books to create a collection of letters with a lovely vintage appeal. The thin sticks are available from craft stores. Cut them to different lengths to make a charming display for a shelf in a child’s bedroom.

    Foamboard Lollipop Letters - O


    • Letter template

    • Plain or graph paper

    • Ruler

    • Pencil

    • Tracing paper

    • Masking tape

    • Craft knife

    • Cutting mat

    • Foamboard measuring approximately 8¼ x 10¼in. (21 x 26 cm) per letter

    • Washi tape

    • Scissors

    • Craft glue

    • Patterned paper

    • Thin wooden sticks 1/8 –¼ in. (3–5 mm) thick and 8–12 in. (20–30 cm) long per letter

    • Block of wood measuring approximately 4½ x 1½ x 1 in. (11 x 4 x 3 cm)

    • Pages from old books

    • Drill

    • Awl

    Foamboard Lollipop Letters Step 1

    1. Choose your letter from the templates in the book (or create your own) and enlarge it to the right size, either by using a photocopier or scaling the letter up on graph paper. I made mine approximately 8 in. (20 cm) in height. Trace out the letter and transfer it onto a piece of foamboard (see Tracing technique below). Protecting your work surface with a cutting mat, cut out the shape using a craft knife and a ruler for any straight edges.

    Foamboard Lollipop Letters Step 2

    2. Line the outside edges of the letter with strips of washi tape. When lining a curved edge, use scissors to make small snips into the overlapping tape—every ¼ in. (5 mm), or so—to enable you to fit the tape neatly around the curve.

    Foamboard Lollipop Letters Step 3

    3. Spread glue all over the front of the letter shape and place a piece of patterned paper, right side up, over the top. Smooth out and press down all over. Allow the glue to dry before using a craft knife to cut off any overlapping paper. You’ll find this easier to do if you place your letter face down on your cutting mat. Repeat on the other side of the letter, using a different paper if you like, so that both sides are covered.

    Foamboard Lollipop Letters Step 4

    4. Cut a length of stick. Cut a strip of washi tape to the same length and lay it down on your work surface, sticky side up. Place the stick on the tape and wrap the tape around the stick neatly, to cover it.

    Foamboard Lollipop Letters Step 5

    5. To cover the block of wood, center it on a page taken from an old book. Draw around the base. Remove the block and draw a border around your drawn outline. It needs to be the same depth as the sides of the block. Use a pencil and a ruler to mark cutting guides as shown. Cut along these guides to make four flaps.

    Foamboard Lollipop Letters Step 6

    6. Spread glue all over the wrong side of the paper and place the block back in position. Wrap the two short sides of the block first, sticking the paper flaps to the long sides of the block. Then wrap the two long sides.

    Foamboard Lollipop Letters Step 7

    7. Drill a hole in the center of the block of wood, that is equal to the width of the stick. Use an awl to make a hole the same size in the foamboard at the base of the letter.

    Foamboard Lollipop Letters Step 8

    8. Push the stick into the wooden base and then push the letter onto the opposite end of the stick.

     Foamboard Lollipop Letters Base Block


    For many projects you need to transfer the template onto paper or card stock (card), using tracing paper. Place a sheet of tracing paper over the template and secure with some masking tape. Trace the lines with a hard 4 (2H) pencil, then turn the tracing paper over and go over the lines again on the reverse with a softer pencil, such as a 2 (HB). Now turn the tracing paper over again and place it in position on your chosen paper or card stock (card). Go over all the lines carefully with the 4 (2H) pencil, and then remove the tracing paper. This will give you a nice, clear outline.

    Letter Art by Clare Youngs

    For more creative ideas to decorate your home, Letter Art by Clare Youngs is available here.

    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK and was tagged with homemade, Clare Youngs, handmade, decorating, 2014, project

  • Posted on May 1, 2015

    May Day Making

    Happy May Day! We hope you have some lovely plans for the long weekend ahead - if you are looking forward to some bank holiday crafting then we have a great Spring project for you to make, taken from the creative new book by Clare Youngs. Mobile Art includes an inspiring range of hanging decorations – from geometric designs to natural works of art – and, like many of Clare’s books, the projects use a range of crafting techniques. Combining the simplicity of paper crafting with the beauty of nature, this cherry blossom mobile is easy to make and will look so pretty hanging in your home!

    Cherry Blossom Mobile Art - craft project by Clare Youngs

    Cherry Blossom Cheer

    Mobiles do not have to be complicated. Sometimes, even the simplest decoration can make a stunning focal point in a room. This stylish and pretty mobile has a Japanese look to it. It is very easy to make and will bring a little spring cheer to the gloomiest of days.


    Pink and pale green tissue paper




    Craft glue


    Cotton thread

    Florist’s wire

    Wire cutters

    Cherry Blossom Mobile Step 1 

    1. Cut a strip of pink tissue paper that measures 4 ¾ in. (12 cm) long by 2/3 in. (1.5 cm) wide. Cut a fringe all the way along the length of the strip, making the snips about 1/16 in. (2 mm) apart. Stop ¼ in. (5 mm) short of the top edge.

    Cherry Blossom Mobile Step 2

    2. Run some glue along the uncut edge and roll the strip up. Pinch the glued section together and ruffle the fringed section, to make more of a flower shape.

    Cherry Blossom Mobile Step 3

    3. Cut some small leaf shapes from the pale green tissue. Dab glue at the end of a leaf shape and stick it to the bottom of the flower. You can add more leaves if you like. Make up several flowers in this way.

    Cherry Blossom Mobile Step 4

    4. Cut three varying lengths of twig—it works well to have a longer length at the bottom. Glue tissue paper flowers along the lengths, at intervals.

    Cherry Blossom Mobile Step 5

    5. Arrange the twigs one above the next and use cotton thread to tie them together, as shown. Make sure that the lengths of thread at each end of a twig are more or less the same.

    Cherry Blossom Mobile Step 6

    6. Now cut a length of florist’s wire that measures twice the length of the top twig. Wind the ends of the wire around opposite ends of the twig.

    Cherry Blossom Mobile Step 7

    7. Pinch the wire at the center to form a triangle shape, and twist the point of the triangle into a loop for hanging.


    For more ideas, Mobile Art by Clare Youngs is available here.

    We hope you enjoy this pretty project and have a fantastic weekend!

    This post was posted in Craft Projects, UK, What's new and was tagged with homemade, Clare Youngs, handmade, simple, flowers, nature, 2015

  • Posted on January 7, 2015

    Get organised for a year in crafts!

    One thing that we look forward to at the start of each new year in the RPS and CICO office, is getting started on a whole load of exciting new crafts! If you follow us on Instagram then you can check out our office crafternoons and lovely lunchtime makes – it’s so hard to resist when we’re surrounded by so many super craft books! And one book that we reckon will keep popping up throughout 2015 is A Year in Crafts by Clare Youngs. Full of seasonal projects and multi-media makes, there’s something in this book for every month and occasion!

    So, to kick start the new year, we’ve picked a project from the January collection. These printed clipboards are simple to make and the perfect craft to get you organised!

    printed clipboards

    It’s a new year, a fresh start, and time to make those resolutions. I usually make one that involves being more organized. I tend to work on small scraps of paper that pile up or get pushed into the back of a sketchbook. Last year I made clipboards and hung them in a row above my desk and it works! I can now have a board for each project and keep my desk free of loose paper, with more room for making.

    Hand-printing is a lovely way to personalize your makes. Once you have cut your printing stamps you can use them on all sorts of projects, from gift wrap, greetings cards, and gift tags to fabric. 

    You will need

    Selection of erasers

    Soft pencil

    Craft knife

    Cutting mat

    Lino-cutting tool

    Sheets of letter-size (A4) white paper

    Ink-stamping pads

    Sheets of letter-size (A4) heavyweight gray board

    Craft glue

    Large binder clips

    1. To make an oval-shaped pattern, use a rectangular eraser. Draw a leaf shape along the whole length of the eraser using a soft pencil. Using a craft knife, and working on a cutting mat, cut out the leaf shape.

    2. With the lino-cutting tool, score lines across the width of the oval shape. Draw some pencil lines to help place the grooves or cut freehand. Make the lines different thicknesses by applying more or less pressure as you cut. Score a few lines that cross over each other to give you a more textured surface.

    3. Use the oval stamp to print a repeat pattern on a sheet of white paper. You can achieve lovely effects by overprinting with a second color. I have printed rows of blue ovals and then used the same stamp to overprint slightly to one side using silver.

    4. Use a square eraser to make another stamp in the same way, and print a second sheet of white paper with a different pattern. I have rotated my stamp for alternate rows and have overprinted with a simple circle cut from a square eraser.

    5. To make a clipboard, stick a sheet of printed paper to the gray board using craft glue.

    6. Cut a strip of patterned paper to the same width as a binder clip. Fold the paper around the clip and trim the edges for a neater fit. Stick the paper onto the clip using craft glue.


    When it comes to printing, it is a good idea to experiment with different shapes and combinations of colors before committing to a final design. You can keep your experiments as references for future craft projects.


    A Year in Crafts by Clare Youngs is available here. Visit our craft section for other exciting craft projects and ideas as well!

    Have a lovely evening all and here's to a great year of crafting!


    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Craft Projects, Featured, Featured, UK, US and was tagged with january, Clare Youngs, 2014, quick, tutorial, A Year in Crafts, printing

  • Posted on January 10, 2013

    Five easy ways to win five great books!

    January.  A difficult time of year, wouldn’t you say? Well, what better way to cheer yourself up than by winning some lovely books. So we thought we would offer one of you the chance to win 5 great CICO books (you can find loads more here as well) which we feel might help to inspire you in 2013.

    Here’s the 5 books you could win…

    Shabby Chic Interiors – My Rooms, Treasures and Trinkets, an eclectic book of quirky inspiration, falls into chapters according to location, and begins with Rachel Ashwell’s breathtaking Los Angeles residence.

    Wonder Walls by Sarah Bagner, better known as ‘Supermarket Sarah’ shows you how to embrace everything you own and show it off on your walls – after all – you are your stuff! Whatever your taste, it’s about celebrating the beautiful, the eccentric, the simple.

    Faced with a house move and an excess of books, Clare Youngs decided rather than get rid of some, she would combine them with her passion for crafting to make pretty gifts and items to decorate her new home. Book Art gives books a new lease of life and creates 35 unique paper projects.

    Interior decorator SERA HERSHAM-LOFTUS and innovator of the seductive boudoir trend, shows us the best of her design style in her first book Seductive Interiors.

    Henrietta Spencer-Churchill brings the practical comfort of twenty-first century living to the elegant and timeless classical proportions of eighteenth century design in her recent tome, Georgian Style and Design.

    ,,,and all you have to do to enter is either:

    (i) Follow us on Twitter

    (ii) Like us on Facebook

    (iii) Link up with us on LinkedIn

    (iv) Enjoy our pins on Pinterest


    (v) Join us on Instagram

    So if you did each of the above, you would be eligible to enter 5 times in total! Once you have done any/all of the social media suggestions listed, simply email mark.mcginlay@cicobooks.co.uk before 17h on Friday 25th January 2013.

    Best of luck!





    This post was posted in News, UK, What's new and was tagged with january, New Year, Clare Youngs, sera hersham loftus, rachel ashwell, instagram

  • Posted on December 4, 2012

    In need of a little inspiration

    Christmas Crafting in No Time by Clare Youngs contains a veritable smorgasbord of festive projects and inspirational ideas.

    Christmas Crafting in No Time by Clare Youngs Christmas Crafting in No Time by Clare Youngs

    It’s hard to know which of the 50 projects to chose, but these lovely little felt owls are pretty hard to resist. Here Clare uses felt and embroidery to make adorable decorations to nestle among the branches of your Christmas tree or sit perched on painted twigs. It’s easy to see why these little creatures are so perennially popular!






    Learn how to make this super-cute owl, the perfect Christmas tree decoration!

    You will need:
    Tracing paper and pencil
    Felt in assorted colors
    Matching sewing thread
    Embroidery floss (thread) in assorted colors
    Embroidery needle
    Buttons or silver beads for eyes
    Mini pom-pom trimming
    Sewing machine
    Toy stuffing

    Here’s how you do it:

    Owls are perennially popular and no wonder—it is such a cute image that lends itself to all kinds of projects. Here I have used felt and embroidery to create these adorable little decorations. They look perfectly at home nestled in among the fir tree branches or perched on painted twigs.

    1.  Copy the owl templates and stitch markings on page 148 onto card (see page 146) and cut out. Draw around the card templates on felt and cut out.

    2. Sew the eye pieces, the two wings, and the beak to the front section of the body using appliqué stitch (see page 145) and matching thread.


    3. Next, embroider the patterns on the eyes, body, and wings, following the markings on the template and using contrasting floss (thread) where desired. Sew on a silver bead or button for each eye.

    Felt Owl 3


    4. To make the tassels, wind some embroidery floss (thread) around three fingers a few times. Slip the floss from your fingers and wind a length of floss around one end. Tie with a knot to secure. Trim the loops at the opposite end to make a tassel approx. 11⁄2in. (4cm) long. Repeat to make a second tassel.


    Step 4


    5. On the wrong side of the back section of the owl, position the tassels at the two points on the head, with the tassel ends facing upward. Center a loop of ribbon at the top and position two pom-poms centered at the bottom. Baste (tack) in place.


    Step 5

    6. Position the front section of the owl over the back, with wrong sides together. Pin and machine stitch around the edge with matching thread, taking a seam allowance of 3⁄8in. (1cm) and leaving a gap of approx. 11⁄2in. (4cm) for stuffing.

    Step 6

    7.  Stuff the owl until firm and well shaped, using the end of a paintbrush handle to push the stuffing into the ears. Sew up the gap with machine stitching to finish.

    Step 7

    Christmas Crafting in no Time by Clare Youngs is published by Cico Books rrp£14.99.

    More craft books here.

    This post was posted in Book Reviews, UK, What's new and was tagged with christmas, christmas decorations, Clare Youngs, christmas craft

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