diy project: sewing notions display art

[today i’m thrilled to welcome a few new DIY contributors to our team- starting with the lovely and talented miss haylie waring! i met haylie during my first trip to SCAD when she was still a student and have really enjoyed following her work ever since. welcome, haylie!]

Due to the lack of space in my studio, I am constantly forgetting what notions I have packed away in my organizer containers that I keep hidden in a storage closet, or up on my highest shelf. When you don’t know what is in those containers, it is hard to know where to begin, and I am often tempted to just go out and buy more supplies. This DIY project is the solution to that problem, and it seconds as art work on my work-space walls. I have used “swatches” of ribbons and buttons as an example, but this can also be done with beads, fabric and decorative papers to make it easy to keep track of your materials on hand. I have provided you with two 8×10 design templates to use for your own collection.

Other useful tips: If you don’t like the idea of wasting your precious notions on the swatches, you can always scan ribbons, papers, and fabrics. While the buttons can easily be removed and used for a project. Also, I like to tag each board with a number that will match up with the storage container where you keep your coordinating back-stock, so things are easily located. -Haylie

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

Materials & Tools:

  • 8×10 Frames (glass removed)
  • Cardstock
  • Printer & Ink
  • Needle & Thread or thin wire
  • X-Acto
  • Cutting mat & ruler
  • Scotch- Tape
  • Swatches of materials/ notions

Step 1: Print Templates onto 8.5×11 card stock (color of your choice). Using x-acto and cutting mat- cut print-out to size.

Step 2: For the ribbon swatches, use x-acto to cut two opposing sides of each diamond skipping every other row of diamonds. I also sliced the diamonds in alternating directions for more variety in texture.

For the button chart, find & mark center of circles, then poke holes using your needle, where button attaches.

Step 3: Slide ribbons into slots, and sew buttons into place. You may need to tape the underside of the charts to keep the ribbons and buttons from slipping.

Step 4: Remove the back of frame. Safely remove glass (discard glass or save for a future project) and other contents from frame. Insert your charts, and then replace original fillers that came with the frame, you may need use a piece of cardboard cut to size as extra filler. Replace back of frame.

Step 5: Hang your Notions Artwork/ Display on an empty spot of your studio wall!

ginny branch stelling

this was the best thing to wake up to this morning! so clever and so pretty! we love haylie bird!

Dayna Thacker

Haylie, Congratulations on joining design*sponge! I love this site. It’s set as my home page so I get a little home and craft inspiration every morning. It’s great to find news of you here. It’s a long way from Taweesak’s jewelry class in Savannah, huh? But even then I knew your creativity, style and positive attitude would serve you well!


Looks fantastic! I’m going to do this as a creative project with my daughter :)


What a great idea! I have a ton of old buttons that I have been wanting to make something out of.


Super cool…I’m totally loving all ideas of using what you have and really showcasing it!


Wow! You just gave me an idea for an art project in my son’s class. Mind you, it probably won’t look at nice but it’ll be cute! Thanks.


AH! This post is perfect! I sew a lot and have a pretty small apartment. I always use my notions for decoration. I have been blessed to have all of my grandmothers super cool vintage items which make it even more fun….but I feel like every time there a space where something is needed…I pull out my sewing boxes for inspiration!


I am in love!!!! This project is too cute. More Haylie Bird, please!!!!!


I have a jar full of buttons that are just there for being pretty; I don’t even use them. This makes way more sense so that I can, you know, actually see them. Thanks for sharing!


Has anyone else had trouble getting the templates to come up?



they’re large files, so make sure you give them up to a minute to load.

if they won’t load at all, or come up blank, make sure you’re using the most current version of safari, firefox, chrome, opera, or pretty much any other browser than IE. for some reason IE doesn’t always play well with our server.



What a great day to be a design sponge devotee. Every post, so much fun! Thanks Grace & Co.


love it! awesome idea. thanks for such an inspiring diy project. practical and beautiful!

Afton Ginger

WOW! So cute, I can’t wait to do this myself, such a great idea! I love your pictures, so pretty and bright. Looking forward to your next d.i.y. !

Sarah B

I collect buttons and I love them so and just yesterday I was trying to find something that I could do with them to show off their loveliness so thank you, I’ll add it to my list of projects!


I especially love the buttons one. So a creative idea. I don’t think I’d ever get sick of looking at it.


What a fantastic idea! And if you want the pieces to be easily removeable, you could just use rice glue. :)



what browser and version are you using? i’ll try to replicate the error on my end.



Hi, love the templates but I can not get them to print properly. I keep getting blank pages?

JoAnn Parker

I can’t download this either. I have pretty much been a traditionalist but i am loving the unusual design’s and creative methods available today. Thanks


I figures it out! YAY! I am so excited I have already started with the button placements!

Thanks a bunch!


so cute and practical! I will be putting these up in my crafting “nook” in the kids playroom! great project, Haylie!!


I’m a graphic designer and I’m always forgetting what digital art I have, backgrounds, clip art, etc… this is a great way to display what I have (cut and paste snippets into the squares) and be able to see it all at once. Thanks for the inspiration!


i actually think this would be great for the vast collection of buttons my grandmother gave me. i can’t bring myself to use them, but i love to look at them!


I am so sad. I can’t get them to download. Is there a trick?


terri (and anyone else who can’t download these) please leave me a comment with what browser and browser version you’re using and we’ll try to replicate the error. so far i’m just getting notes about problems, but no more info so we can test it. i’ve tried it on all my browsers and 2 different computers and they work alright so i need some more info to troubleshoot…



I am using IE 7 with default security settings on Windows XP. I get a red X if I try to open the templates, but I can right click, and do a Save Target As to save them to my computer and that works just fine. Using firefox I get the message “The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.”


Beautiful! I remember my great-grandmother’s jars of buttons – will start collecting buttons and ribbons for this project!


nice thing to give as a present, maybe with the first letter of someone’s name…


I was able to download the templates, but the sizing was too small….I’ll figure it out, because I have a TON of buttons and ribbons, and like this idea alot!


Thanks for these wonderful templates! I cannot wait to work on these for my craft room. And thanks for the comment that IE may not work – it didn’t for me – so I downloaded Opera. Worked like a charm – thanks again!


I’m using the latest IE… I would prefer to not have to download something new.. could someone else save it and post it somewhere IE people can download it from? Thanks… :)

I think this is just gorgeous and will bring a smile to my face everyday :)



i downloaded the latest IE to test this and it’s working ok on my end. are you working behind a firewall? perhaps it’s blocking it?



It’s weird, I get the little box with the red “x” and when I go to properties for that, most of them say “not available”



if you send me an email at designsponge at gmail dot com i’ll email you the files….



Love the idea, just wish the templates would work!

How about putting them on 4shared or something?


I am going to make these for my Mom as part of her Mother’s Day gift. She has a sewing/craft/painting room and I know she would love to have something like this on display as art. They are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing them!

Martha Liberto

can’t open w/ my Internet Explorer either…. I use a PC w/ Windows Vista but have no idea what version of IE I have.



click on “about IE” tab in your browser and it should say what version it is.



wow, you have a beautiful site, awesome and creative ideas!! Can’t wait to try this and pretty up my walls (and keep organized!)

Thank you


I managed to get it to print using IE8. I just used Print Preview to change the printer settings (& reduced it to 30% size) and it worked fine. Thanks a lot.


Here’s a Green Tip for you:
Don’t toss the glass from the front of the frame– just use it at the back instead of cutting an extra piece of cardboard as filler. Saves energy and time, and then you’d have the glass right there if you wanted to use the frame for something else later on. :o)

Watch Faces

What a great idea! I also love Dale’s idea of not throwing out the glass from the frame and adding it to the back. GENIUS.


I adore this idea but have sooo many buttons, ribbon, thread, etc, that it just wouldn’t work for me (I take pics of what are in my storage bins and boxes and glue/tape the pic to the corresponding bin/box. It helps immensely.

But since I like this so much, think I will try it with some interesting findings I’ve collected; so many small, one-of-a-kind, ‘thingies’ that this would allow me to just look at the art to find the perfect piece I need :-)

Thanks for sharing your great idea and sparking one for me ;-)

Susan T Clifford

Freaky! Look up the scrap booking company Basic Grey and they have just come out with 3 swatch boards. they call them ”
Notions Collection – Samplers – Display Board “..they have a diagonal square and the round.
Somebody is a mind reader or you designed this for them….or they are looking at your site. You posted this in 2010 and I just saw this in Aug 2010.
Just sayin”


I am so in love with this ! its so simple and sweet ! I am for sure going to try this out !


What a wonderful idea, I seem to collect buttons and notions everywhere I go. I have so many scraps leftover from projects. They all seem to end up in a drawer and are rarely used again, what a wonderful and beautiful way to put them to a purpose. Thanks for the great idea and inspiration.


You actually generated several wonderful stuff within your blog,
“diy project: sewing notions display art |
Design*Sponge” Custom Window Treatments .
I will remain coming back to your web page in the near future.
With thanks -Seymour