DIY 99 cent doily bowl

The words ’99 cent store’ and ‘doily’ might be two of Brian’s least favorite things to hear, and they certainly aren’t getting me that romatic impromptu date night i was promised,  but asked me to take the DIY challenge with ingredients ONLY from the 99 cent store, i said, ‘Did you meet me in college?Have you any idea how broke i used to be?’.  I’m VERY comortable, nay, happy shopping in junk stores. Hell, i love shopping at the dump.  


The challenge: to take something that is 99 cents and make it look like a million dollars.  Possible? Um, NO, definitely not. But maybe I could make it look like $18 – $37.  So that’s what i shot for.

So introducing:  a 99 cent DIY cloth doily bowl/sculpture.  


Wax paper, blue cloth doilies (they come in packs of 2),  2 plastic bowls to create the mold, a paintbrush and a little cheap bowl for the glue/water mixture.  So easy.  All of that was at the 99 cent store, for like $5 total.

Step 1.  Coat the doily in watery glue.  

Put the glue in a bowl add some water (equal parts maybe) and brush it on.  Just make the water runny, not totally watery but almost watery.  Sorry, that is totally abstract and certainly not detailed at all. This is why i’m a terrible cook – i ‘eye’ everything and ruin most meals.  Deal with it.   I’d be the worst bomb disarmer ever.  

Line the bowl with wax paper then put the wet with glue cloth doily in said bowl.  

Add another layer of wax paper and another identical bowl to fully create the ‘bowl’ shape.  Press down firmly but not too aggressive. 

Let it dry overnight, or just til its totally dry. It could be 4 – 12 hours or less…..

I’d be the worst doctor. I’d be all ‘hey maybe take some of these pills, 1 – 4 or so a day, i don’t really care, for a couple days, or more, depending on stuff’.  

But this thing is so easy to make that you kinda can’t mess it up.  I mean, i didn’t. I actually really like it. 

Viola!  Kinda pretty and sculptural, and since its in navy blue (instead of white or something more predictabe) it isn’t overly ‘crazy grandma’.  It’s like that hip grandma that looks like she was once a PBS art teacher, but she also wears structured jackets and sexy camisoles.  

So what do you use it for? Not watermelons.  Not bowling balls. Maybe pretty thread, hair accessories?  What i use it for is my collection of vintage matchbooks that i’ve been hoarding.  As one does.   

I know i didn’t invent the doily bowl, but i did make it myself and i actually love how it turned out.  Its like when you dress up the understated indie nerd and put him in a vintage slasher t-shirt, worn levi’s and a cardigan with patches on the elbows.  He turns cute (and hot) really, really fast.  


  1. I totally love this!! I'm gonna have to make one but, if I didn't know I could dollar store it I might even pay 18-37 dollars on it!

  2. Just what I needed this morning: you are cracking me up!!!
    You WOULD be the worst Doctor. Lucky for all us design hounds you chose design.styling/blogging/TV hosting instead.

  3. vel

    simply cute!

  4. susan

    i love this, it's really fun. i think i'll my one for my daughter's room. thanks emily!

  5. The styling makes the bowl look fabulous! Love it

  6. Kate

    This is absolutely hilarious and impressive at the same time :>)

  7. Gwen

    I like that it's big and the color is great. I also like that you exclaimed "viola!" when you were done. ; )

  8. Brad...

    Emily, your description of the hip grandma reminds me of my own and the wonderful things she made all of her life. Born in 1899, she was the daughter of a gentleman farmer and the belle of every church social. She quilted and crocheted and when she wasn't collecting engagement rings, (one time she had three at once), she made all of her own dresses that never rose above her mid-calf but had necklines that p-l-u-n-g-e-d. She defied her father and eloped from one of her church suppers with my grandfather… the dashing and penniless soldier recently back from fighting in the Battle of the Argonne Forest. Disinherited, they lived out their lives working hard and making happy for over fifty years. Throughout that time she lived as close to her genteel upbringing as she could. Like any proper lady of the time, she plied all of the home arts and was famous for her quilts and the things she crocheted which were often floral and very sculptural. Once made, they were meticulously starched with Faultless and adorned every table and dresser top. She died at 91 surrounded by her doilies and her mahogany. I have a few of her pieces… but I'm afraid my six sisters beat me to the best ones… funny how that worked! But I did get a few of her treasures like the silver overlaid cigarette holder… which I found lying on her emptied dining room floor and wondered… “Lady what have you been hiding?” We called her Grandmother Dove… short for Dovie… Dovie Ophelia… she was a grand soul… a true artist… and a homemaker extraordinaire. We loved her dearly and I think she would have loved your lacey doily bowl!

  9. Pat

    I'm one of those hip grandmas so it's just a natural step for me to see said bowl as the perfect fancy bowl for all the wonderful cookies and fudge I bake and give as gifts. Fill the bowl with goodies and wrap with tissue and fussy ribbon.

  10. I desperately need your gold trunk. Desperately. This is a fab DIY. You always have the best ideas on the cheap!