Six ways to re-use old doilies that you’ve never thought of… 115



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A few years ago my family embarked on the mission of clearing out my great aunt’s home after she moved to a nursing home with dementia. As she wasn’t fit to make decisions it was a difficult task that took the input of her Enduring Power of Attorney, her financial adviser, he legal team and most importantly her sister who is my grandmother.

She was younger than dear Aunty Clare but as the only living sibling she felt it was her responsibility to ensure all of her belongings were not thrown out and instead redistributed amongst the family. As the eldest daughter on this side of the family, I was fortunate to receive a full, vintage Royal Dolton dinner set that had been her mothers, several paintings and vintage ornaments, a beautiful selection of jewellery but most important of all, I received in total 62 doilies.

I mean, a woman can’t have enough doilies, right? Well, I rapidly learnt that this was wrong after trying to cover every surface in my home with the things. Luckily, a dear friend of mine had a wonderful idea and suggested that I reuse them in more modern ways… I initially thought the beautiful lace things were a bit one-dimensional but since then I have learnt that they are incredibly versatile and useful.

In case any one else in the Starts at 60 community has a “doily-problem” like I did, here are some of the best ways you can re-use the little things to make your life beautiful and easier.



doily tea light holder1. Tea light candle holders or ornate dishes for keys and coins

  1. Mix PVA glue (clear drying) and a small amount of water in a dish.
  2. Rub Vaseline onto a selection of different sized upturned bowls.
  3. Cover the upturned bowls with a doily of your choice.
  4. Paste the glue mixture over the doily and leave it to dry.
  5. After a couple of hours you can gently remove the doily and by flipping it over, you have a dish to use for whatever you choose!



doily art2. Craft stencils 

Although it may seem basic, you can use doilies as stencils for your craft projects. Use it as a stencil and spray paint over it to make beautiful fabric prints, cards, wrapping paper or other stationery.




collar3. Make a necklace or collar 

Doilies can make a beautiful vintage necklace or collar. To make one, simply:

  1. Take a large doily
  2. cut into it as far as you would like the collar to hang.
  3. Continue to cut a hole within the centre of the doily for your neck.
  4. Thread a piece of ribbon or small string through the inside edge of the neck hole or you can use a sewing machine to finish the edges.
  5. Hand sew a bead onto the left hand side neck piece and make sure it is small enough so that the other side of the fabric overlaps it and it can be slipped through a doily hole to be used as a clasp.



4. Make a lampshade similar to paper maiche

  1. Take a balloon and blow it up to the size you would like the lampshade.
  2. Cover it lightly in Vaseline and place the doilies you wish to use around it.
  3. Using a mixture made up of PVA glue diluted lightly in water, paste over the doilies to secure them in place and stiffen the fabric. Make sure the coat is heavy.
  4. Leave it to dry overnight and the next morning take a pin and pop the balloon inside.
  5. Clean out the remnants and now it is ready to use as a lampshade!



TableRunner25. Make a unique table runner

  1. Take a large amount of doilies and decide the approximate width of the table runner you would like to make.
  2. Sew the doilies together one by one to achieve the width and length you desire.
  3. Now it is ready for use!



Framed lace6. Make beautiful original art pieces

  1. Take a canvas or a thick piece of cardboard in any colour you like (other than white). Find a deep frame that it can fit into in a basic colour (black or white is preferable).
  2. Using clear glue, brush a few doilies to the edges and then mount onto the cardboard or canvas.
  3. Let them dry for a few hours before popping them into the frame.
  4. Hang them around your home or give them as beautiful unique gifts.




How do you use doilies? Do you have any other fun and clever ways to make sure they’re used? Tell us about them in the comments below… 

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. My daughter learnt ballet and I decorated her ballet tutu with beautiful white doilies. It looked gorgeous. Had many lovely comments given to me.

  2. I bought some from Manly markets, as BHG, did some lovely craft work with them too. Small bowls n covered stones. Still on my to do list.

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