Vintage Crafting – 1970’s Yarn Art

retro crafts crafting vintage yarn art painting scrap diy tutorial 70's 1970's

I dug out my old craft books and decided I would include some vintage DIY’s and inspirational pictures on the blog this spring. I hope you are going to like it!

I find the books and magazines from the 1970’s to be the best for cheap easy crafts. Some projects, however, look like… Yeah I don’t know what they look like, but they make you question the sanity of the person who came up with them. I am not going to include them on the blog (or maybe I will… muhahaha!). My plan is to take the best DIYs and in some cases give them a more modern touch.

One of the projects that I decided to upgrade a little bit is yarn art (or yarn painting). The project is taken from a craft magazine printed sometime in the mid 70’s. The magazine has both bad and good DIY’s. Some pictures has a strong aura of socialism, the bad side of IKEA and depression, but they still managed to make a magazine that works pretty well even today as an inspiration! Good job 70’s people!

Ok, let’s craft like it’s 1975!

These are the projects from the magazine. They have used burlap sack and mounted that on cardboard or some other type of sturdy paper board.

70's yarn art painting 1970's owls peacock retro vintage crafts

I was thinking of doing the same until I realised the final result would look just a little bit too much like pre-school craft. I switched the burlap for my old black jeans and mentioned to my dad that I needed a 20×20 cm frame. The next day he showed up with a frame. Hah.
I fasten the denim fabric to the frame with a staple gun.

staple frame

Even though this project uses yarn scraps, I still have so much of it! I used the same scraps for the pom pom collar a few months ago and I never run out of it! I don’t get it! Where does it come from?!

yarn scraps for diy painting

Anyway, to get a better structure of the yarn you are supposed to finger crochet strings (first example in the link’s tutorial).This is optional though and you can easily just use the yarn as it is, but it will take longer to complete your painting.

Speaking of taking a long time to complete… If you plan on doing this like I did and fill the entire space with yarn – make a small painting! You can save making that big painting to when you get sent to prison for being too awesome, spend a year on a deserted island, or when the zombies finally attack and you are holding up in your basement with three years worth of food and supplies. Just make sure you get the art supplies down to the basement BEFORE the outbreak, venturing upstairs and risking your life for yarn and glue is not a good idea!

When you have lots of yarn strings, sort them by color and draw up a plan on how you want the painting to look like. I only had a general idea on how I wanted mine to look, I improvised it mostly as I went along, but I knew I wanted something retro inspired.

knitted crochet yarn strings

pattern plan

I drew up the pattern onto the denim surface with chalk and started to glue the strings to it.

starting to add the strings

I used regular craft glue.

painting art yarn craft retro 70's

The hours passed…

glue strings yarn art ainting retro vintage craft diy blogs

psychedelic yarn scarp art almost finished

167624249 hours later I added the last bit of string and my painting was DONE!

psychedelic retro vintage yarn art do it yourself project

yart painting done

If you feel like having some yarn art in your home but have no time to make it yourself, check out Etsy seller BrandyLynnAndPaul’s shop Alltheway Emporium and their crazy cool celebrity yarn portraits!

Alltheway Emporium Yarn Art


Project idea taken from, and photo of owl and peacock yarn paintings scanned from, mid 1970’s Swedish craft and Idea magazine Massor av idéer, ICA-förlaget AB, Västerås.

Pictures of Alltheway Emporium’s Yarn art belong to the Alltheway Emporium shop on Etsy.


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