Mad for Plaid: Repurpose old ties for your spring décor

We all love a good recycle craft, right? There’s something so satisfying about repurposing old or discarded items and making them beautiful again. That’s what designer Kathleen George did when she picked up a handful of madras ties at the second-hand store. She refashioned a Spring Topiary & Easter Eggs from the pastel, plaid neckties. I have the DIY for the Madras Plaid Spring Topiary today, and I’ll share the Madras Plaid Easter Eggs tomorrow.

Here's how to repurpose those old neckties!

To make a Madras Plaid Topiary, you’ll need:

  • STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam: 12” cone and 4” ball
  • Wood dowel, ¾” x 4”
  • Madras plaid neckties, three
  • Lightweight, iron-on fabric stabilizer
  • Trims, such as rickrack
  • Pearl head pins
  • Acrylic craft paint in a coordinating color
  • Yes! Paste or other craft paste
  • Low-temp glue gun
  • Tools needed: Scissors; serrated knife; old candle or bar of soap; 1” putty knife or table knife; stiff bristle paintbrush; iron; sharp pencil; needle & thread
Made with old ties! Great idea for repurposing.

Madras Plaid Spring Topiary by Kathleen George.


To make a Madras Plaid Topiary:

Make the topiary form:

1. Wax the knife blade with an old candle or bar of soap, and cut the 4” ball in half.

2. In the rounded side of one half ball, use the tip of the knife to make a ¾” deep hole for the wood dowel. Do the same in the center bottom of the cone.

3. Glue the wood dowel in the half ball base and in the bottom of the cone. Check to be sure the topiary stands straight before the glue dries.

4. Paint the dowel and the base in a coordinating color. Let dry.

Prepare the ties:

5. Clip the threads that hold the ties together at the back. Remove the liners from inside each tie. Iron the fabric flat.

6. Cut six, 13-1/2” x 3” pieces of fabric stabilizer. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, iron two pieces of stabilizer onto the back of each tie.  Be sure that the stabilizer runs straight with the pattern in the fabric.

7. Cut out six tie shape pieces using patterns.

8. Cut four, 4” x 3-1/2” pieces of fabric stabilizer for the base and iron onto reverse side of tie fabric. Using patterns, cut out four segments.

How to make a Spring Topiary from old ties.

Your fabric pieces will look like long, skinny ties. When you glue them to the cone, position them so the points hang below the cone.

Cover the cone and base:

9. Using the tie pattern and a sharp pencil, mark six segments all around the cone.

10. Spread a thin, even layer of Yes! Paste onto the cone with a putty knife.

11. Following the lines marked in Step 9, position a fabric piece on the cone, with the point extending below the bottom edge. Smooth down the fabric piece with your fingers. Paste the top onto the top of the cone.

12. Repeat, covering every other section on the cone. Cover the three remaining sections, slightly overlapping the first pieces.

13. Glue trim along the “seam” lines. Pin the ends in place with pearl head straight pins.

14. Cover the base the same way. Remember to cut a slit as indicated on the pattern so that the fabric will lay flat on the curved, half ball.

15. Glue trim around the base.

Make fabric roses from old ties.

Optional: Decorate the base with fabric roses.

Optional: Make fabric flowers:

1. Cut 2” x 6” fabric strips for larger flowers, and 1” x 3” strips for smaller flowers.

2. Iron strips in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.

3. Stitch a gathering stitch along the open edge. Pull threat slightly to gather and then knot off. Do not cut the thread.

4. Begin to roll the flower from the end with the thread still attached. Roll tightly at first, and then more loosely as you go. Stitch the bottom together as you go to hold it together.

5. Glue roses to the base, and insert a pearl head pin through the centers.

6. Glue a fabric rose to the top of the cone.

Here's how to repurpose those old neckties!

You might even have a stash of old ties on hand, so I hope you’ll think about using them for a few spring crafts. I’ll share the eggs tomorrow.

Happy crafting.


This entry was posted in Craft Tutorial, Fabric Craft, Home Decor, Recycle Crafts, Spring Crafts, Topiaries and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Mad for Plaid: Repurpose old ties for your spring décor

  1. How cute is that! Hope I can find some of those ties! Thanks!

  2. LisaM6 says:

    What a fun topiary. Love the fabric use on these. Tooo cute! 🙂

    • Sharon says:

      Thanks, Lisa. Ties are made with such beautiful fabrics, why not use them, right? I think the richly colored silk ties would be gorgeous, too. I will have to think about other ways we can re-use old ties! Sharon

  3. Linda Stokes says:

    How creative. Love these ideas.

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you, Linda. Kathleen George, the mastermind behind these pretty projects, is so talented! I think I’ll call her right now and tell her. I’ll let her know how much you like her designs, too. Sharon

  4. I am going to have to take a trip to the thrift store so I can get a bunch of ties! Am going to give this a try! So cute!! TFS!

    • Sharon says:

      Yeah! Good luck thrifting — I think there should be a pile of ties, don’t you? Nobody wears them any more, so no doubt they’ve found their way to a second-hand store. Let me know if you come across any good finds! Sharon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s