diy project: upcycled fabric + paper owls

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!

  1. Cute and easy project to do with my little niece, next time she hangs out with me!

  2. I LOVE owls! This little owl project is seriously one of the coolest/cutest project I have ver seen! How cool are these owls. What a perefct fall project and decoration for the home. Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Anthie says:

    AWESOME and sooooo cute!!!!

  4. That’s perfect. I recently got my sofa covers changed and i probably can make some owls out of old cover…:)

  5. Genevieve says:

    what perfect timing! i was just trying to figure out what we were going to do for my kids’ upcoming birthday invitations!

  6. Sweet Mess says:

    I love how they are both simple and interesting! thanks for sharing!

  7. Oooh I wish I had seen these when I did my owl post round up!

    These are beyond darling!

  8. donaville says:

    These are cute and a half! Love the natural/rustic color scheme and rhinestones for eyes = so much better than googly eyes :)

  9. These are so cute – and a perfect project for early Autumn! I’ve shared on my Creative Artitude Facebook page :)

  10. Angela says:

    love this…my kids are sooo into owls!

  11. Julie says:

    A little too krafty for my taste….

  12. oh, i’m all over this! i have over 30 owls in my home (strategically placed) and this would just be so cute to add!! thanks for sharing!

  13. So cute and I do love owls! I have vintage owls here and there throughout my space (I spread them out so I don’t look like the crazy owl collector lady). I would love them on a board framed over an entry way table or on top of desk shelving.

  14. Deb says:

    How do you attach the wings?

  15. Courtney says:

    So cute! Would also be cute to cut the wings with pinking shears, as well as making them out of scrapbook paper- thanks for this adorable post- I’m definitely making these!

  16. K says:

    owls? really? didn’t we do that 5 years ago?

  17. Jen says:

    I saw you on the Nate Berkus show today! Great job on the door turned table :)

  18. anne weil says:

    You attach the wings by punching a hole in the wings and body with a hole-punch. Then, you poke the fastener through the two holes and spreading its tongs in the back.

    So glad you all are enjoying this DIY!

  19. This will be my Halloween craft for daycare! Thanks!
    Ours will most likely be bats instead of owls though ;)

  20. Amy says:

    Fabulous! I am going to make these with burlap and pink felt for my daughter’s first birthday next week as a Thank You for coming” favor! Thanks for sharing your creativity and inspiring me to create something social instead of just being a consumer!

  21. Deebi27 says:

    Sooo perfect for a Fall display…love all those fabulous textures going on. I am thinking, is it OK that my classroom friends cut their own owl pattern for a classroom display? I know that my new 4 year olds would add just the right touch to these owls! Especially when it is a display!

  22. this is so darling and has many uses

  23. ANGELA says:

    The little owls are fabby!! Inspiring. Making me want to make some right now!!

  24. ANGELA says:

    Brilliant idea. The owls collectively make an eye-catching display.

  25. Marie says:

    My sweetheart adores owls and we frequently listen to them at night. I’ll make one for him and hide a message under the wings, just for him. I know he’ll instantly want to hang it! Thank you so much.

  26. I love this owls. I really have to collect some more fabric. Thank you for the idea.


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