DIYdiy projects

diy project: upcycled fabric + paper owls

by Kate Pruitt

It’s been rainy in Oakland of late; I forgot how cool and crisp it can get here during the fall and winter rainy season. I’ve been breaking out the extra layers and lighting candles the past few days, and I’ve been wanting to find a fun and cozy project I could work on indoors while listening to the rain. Anne Weil of Flax & Twine created these fabric and cardboard owls as invitations to a party, but decided they were cute enough to also scatter about the house. I love the neutral, earthy color palette and the tiny gold touches. Thanks for sharing, Anne! — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump!

Fall brings so many wonderful things. I love the holidays, beginning with Halloween. My family happens to have a bunch of birthdays in the fall, too, so it is definitely a season of celebration for us. Designing these owls began as an endeavor to deliver a Harry Potter birthday invitation — owl mail anyone? Lift the wings, and there’s a special message just for you. The result was so sweet, I wanted to keep a flock of them for myself. I love how they look hanging in my window. The kids adored playing with them, too. These little guys are perfect for a neutral, non-garish and endearing Halloween decoration. These are quite easy to make and use just fabric scraps, paperboard and some accessories. The cost for me was nothing, as I had all the little bits on hand. You may as well. It took a couple hours to make this collection. — Anne


  • paperboard (soda box, cracker box, cereal box)
  • fabric scraps
  • owl template
  • coordinating thread
  • craft glue
  • round head fasteners (from office supply store)
  • buttons
  • sequins


  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • hole punch



1. Collect different fabric scraps. I got these from fabric sample books that were discarded by our local window-covering shop. I LOVE those expired fabric books — they can contain such gems, and you’d be amazed how many things you can make with them.

2. Cut out and trace the owl and wings onto paperboard with the template.

3. Trace as many owls and sets of wings as you intend to make.

4. Sew the paperboard pieces to the fabric scraps with a regular straight stitch, following the contours of the paperboard shape.

5. Cut out the fabric-covered owls and wings with scissors.

6. Make the eyes by using craft glue to affix sequins to buttons. Use what you have on hand; faux jewels or other shiny baubles would work, as well.

7. Cut out a beak shape for each owl you are making (see template).

8. Glue the eyes to the owl with craft glue. Stitch the beak, folded in half, to the owl with your sewing machine.

9. If you want to use them as notes or invitations, cut paperboard pieces, as many as you need, sized 2 by 3 inches.

10. Write up your invitation or note and slip underneath the wings. I added a special note on the back and fishing line to encourage the recipient to reuse the owl. Don’t throw him away!!

You’re done!

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