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!

  1. Sonnie says:

    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!

  2. Katy says:

    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 :)

    1. grace says:


      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?


  3. Katy says:

    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”

    1. grace says:


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


  4. Annmaree says:

    Love the idea, just wish the templates would work!

    How about putting them on 4shared or something?

    1. grace says:

      hi guys

      the templates should work now…


  5. Merrie says:

    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!

  6. Merrie says:

    I can’t open these at work or home. Any chance you can email them to me at Thanks!!!

  7. Martha Liberto says:

    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.

    1. grace says:


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


  8. Casey says:

    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

  9. Nicky says:

    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.

  10. essie says:

    so clever, so simple, so pretty. great idea! :)

  11. Dale says:

    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)

  12. Such a lovely idea to reuse materials and to create some really cool and original artwork. Love it!

  13. Watch Faces says:

    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.

  14. PKae says:

    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 ;-)

  15. Susan T Clifford says:

    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”

  16. Deedra says:

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

  17. 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.

  18. Ramonita says:

    You actually generated several wonderful stuff within your blog,
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    I will remain coming back to your web page in the near future.
    With thanks -Seymour


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