Cath Kidston - Make Your Dream Room In A Shoebox

Posted on 05 October 2012

My friends have been making a project revolving around Cath Kidston.... it was so good I asked for a blog post all about it. Here's my friend Lorna with the details.

Just a word of warning, Lorna only ever makes things in miniature. Do you remember the scene in Bridget Jones when Bridget's mum hosts a party with everything in miniature?  Mini apple pie, mini beef wellington, that kinda thing. Well that's Lorna, everything in miniature!  Here she is:

I used to work with Emma before she took the plunge and became the international business-woman of fabric fabulousness. I currently work with a lovely team in Maidstone, Kent and we all share a love of vintage and crafting.

It all started when Becky told us about the Cath Kidston ‘Make your dream room in a shoebox’ competition, and asked us if we’d like to join her in creating a room. Now, this is something that I certainly have fond memories of doing as a little girl, using a shoe box, left over wallpaper and carpet to make a miniature version of my own bedroom. Although I must admit I did seem to have some problems with getting to grips with the smaller scale of some of my toys – I used to “help” my poor Fuzzy Felt people grow taller by stretching them, which meant they ended up like Mike TV in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory – taller yes, but rather odd looking!

For the competition, dear old Cath had suggested that the dream room be created out of household odds and ends, such as matchboxes, loo rolls and fabric scraps. We decided we wanted to create a shabby chic bedroom. We only had a week to get our room ready, so Becky as chief delegator assigned us our tasks.

Helen is an epic mountaineer and DIYer extraordinaire. In the full scale world Helen loves doing surprise room makeovers for her family and friends, so she was an ideal person to turn her hand to this miniature task!  Helen laid the wood effect floor and hung the wallpaper (some fabulously chintzy wrapping paper I had kept from my first wedding anniversary present from my husband Alex). I’m hoping I’m not the only person who hoards the odd bit of pretty wrapping paper and bits and bobs, determined that they will be re-used one day for a craft project!). Helen also created a window, complete with scenic view, white (ti-pex!) painted window frame and a lovely pair of lace curtains hung on a curtain pole (made from a wire coat hanger) with pearl finials. Helen also made a fantastic ottoman complete with a gold brocade padded seat, clothes spilling out from the lid and sweet little notice board pin feet!


Becky fashioned a “cast iron” bed frame from the wire coat hanger and made a very comfy looking floral mattress edged with lace. She also put in a turn as a high end fashion designer and made a beautiful dress complete with vintage belt which was actually a lovely sparkly button.

Becky and Jo (of sheep bonnet fame – see Emma’s blog post ‘Jo’s Easter Bonnett’ in April 2012) made a wonderful floor standing lamp out of a straightened out big paperclip, pearls from a broken necklace and a fantastic pleated lampshade made from a dinky cardboard espresso cup, finished off with some ribbon and pearl trim.


The chest of drawers was a real labour of love, made by our little twinkle-toes dancer Kiera. It was also an undertaking involving an element of danger, as she managed to glue her fingers together several times! Kiera used various sized matchboxes for the frame and drawers. She raided her dancing costume haberdashery supply and used pretty little beads for the drawer handles. Her attention to detail was wonderful, as she even lined each of the drawers with beautiful origami paper.


Now, Emma refers to me affectionately as “DilleyDally” – due to my married surname and my usual approach to crafty projects, which is basically to do a lot of pondering and stroking of fabric but not really getting very much actual making done! I must admit, it is an incredibly apt nickname. However, as we were working to a pretty tight deadline on this project I had to keep my levels of faff to a minimum. Emma also teases me as I hate to waste fabric and so I often make things on a small scale. Emma will give me her little off-cuts of fabric, joking that only I will be able to make something with them.

So with this project I had finally found my ideal medium to use those little bits of fabric as everything needed to be in miniature! I’ve accumulated lots of chintzy fabrics from when I (with the help of my husband, mum and friends) made bunting and other decorations for my vintage wedding. So, as designated ‘Head of Soft Furnishings’ for our bedroom, I made a patchwork bedspread and pillows for Becky’s bed. I cut out 1 inch squares of different fabrics and wonder-webbed them to a plain piece of fabric.

My wonderful and long suffering mum, who has helped me with many of my crafty projects, then got to work on her sewing machine and sewed a blanket stitch around each of the little squares. She made lovely little and accurately detailed pillowcases which I then stuffed with wadding. I also made some tiny bunting and glued the flags to ivory ribbon, so that it looked like bias binding. 

Becca, who hadn’t been feeling too well that week, rode in at the 11th hour on deadline day with a wonderful array of scatter cushions, which she had made with her mum and decorated with beads and edged with lace. She also made a little retro handbag, which due to some scaling issues, we all agreed would be a luggage bag. Credit must also go to Becca for the tiny little coat hanger that Becky’s dress hung on! We also made a chandelier using decorations from Christmas crackers which we then hung with strings of tiny pearls and glass beads. We used a lace doily as a rug and stuck gold frames on the wall which were some of Helen’s Christmas tree decorations.

The finishing touches were a printed picture of a vintage clock and Helen’s miniature tea set which she has had since she was a little girl. We submitted our entry to Cath and are now eagerly waiting to hear the result. We all have bedroom envy now and as someone from another team said, they wish they could become a tiny person so that it can be their bedroom! We had such a brilliant time making the room and sharing our crafty skills with each other. It was lovely to see even not so crafty people getting involved and making truly fabulous things. We’re so proud of the finished room and it’s amazing and so satisfying to know that it was all made out of household items and bits and bobs that we had collected – this project is proof that everything comes in useful one day!

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