Friday, 26 April 2013

A Very Crafty Community: Cut Out + Keep

For those of you who live only to scour the interwebs for the coolest and craftiest of websites, this will be old news, but for those of you with other tasks that must get done (and really, I'm sorry, because all of those other important things are about to go straight out the window) I'd like to introduce you to Cut Out + Keep.

Cut Out + Keep is an online community where people share their crafty tutorials in categories such as cooking, sewing, papercrafts, and crocheting (but it doesn't stop there!).  I first discovered Cut Out + Keep about 7 years ago, sitting on my tiny dorm room bed using Stumble Upon (THE internet discovery tool, for those of you who do enjoy a little scour now and again) into the late late hours of the night, looking for something to DO.  And from that moment on, I knew I'd never be bored again (materials willing).

What I didn't know, or rather, haven't bothered to pay much attention to - I'm there for the crafts.  What do you mean I can whiten my teeth with clove oil?! - is how much the community has grown since I first happened upon it so many years ago.  Cut Out + Keep is now in its 10th year and boasts over 120,000 members and 50,000 projects; not bad considering the community started as the personal craft blog of founder Cat Morley.

Cut Out + Keep was also recently  featured by google in a video promoting their advertising service, that offers an amazing look around Cat's creative space, and a little information behind the business side of Cut Out + Keep.

When Cat emailed me to tell me about how much Cut Out + Keep has grown over the last few years, I was a) Super flattered to be on her radar (I mean, guys, WHOA) b) SO inspired by how many individuals are getting into crafts in a serious way.  I think that resurgence of the cottage craft industry is incredible, and websites like Cut Out + Keep make people feel empowered to do things themselves, try something new, and maybe even find a new passion.  Plus, I think that some healthy competition in capitalism is really important (and serves to save us all a little bit of money, as well as offer up an abundance of choice).  So, that's a win, win, win, win... right? Right!    
If you were totally enchanted by the chalkboard bunting in the video like I was, Cat was also kind enough to send along a tutorial on how to make your own! See? Empowerment! Crafts! Joy for all, and bunting for every occasion! (I'm excited.  Sue me)  
1// Start by cutting triangles out of thin wood. We used some scrap shipping wood that came as packaging with a piece of furniture. You can buy wood triangles in craft shops, if you struggle to find a piece that works well. You'll need about 12 triangles to be able to write a nice long message.
2// Paint your triangles with a coat of chalkboard paint and leave to dry.
3// Paint with a second coat of paint and leave to dry again.
4// Punch a hole at either side of the top of the triangle. My wood was thin enough to use a hole punch.
5// Loop some string through the hole.
6// Secure at the back with a knot and then string through the second hole, securing with another knot. 
7// Leave a small length of string between each triangle and continue threading them all on to the string.
8//  Now the fun part. Write on your bunting with chalk. I used a ruler to give mine a neat outline, but you can decorate yours however you like!
9// Hang up and admire your handy work!

Umm, so, that was awesome.  I would love to make this for my dream studio! Well, at least it would start off there, but since this bunting can be rewritten for whatever you please, I could see it making appearances at birthdays, major holidays, Wednesdays, you know, the works! A big thank you to Cat again for sharing this super sweet and even more versatile DIY.  I mean, can you imagine this with coloured chalkboard paint?! It would be unstoppably adorable.  The best kind.

And as if that wasn't enough, Cat even graciously agreed to answer a couple questions I had for her about her creative journey. 

What was the first craft that you made a significant hobby? Was this sparked by a particular project?
There wasn't one particular craft or project that sparked my love of crafting. I love trying my hand at different types of crafts and learning new skills, so my projects have always been a big mix. My two favourites are definetely sewing and jewelry-making because they're crafts you can show off. I love wearing something that no-one else has and it’s so satisfying being asked where you bought something that you’ve made.
What has been the most exciting part of seeing your crafting community grow?
The growth of the site has been so gradual that we sometimes don't realize how big it's become until we hear our friends tell us about people they've met in far flung countries that are members. It's so exciting to wake up every morning and see all the new projects that have been added and I absolutely love it when someone posts their own version they've made of one of my projects.
If you could impart any advice about this journey to your high school self, what would it be?
I'd tell myself to have confidence and keeping doing the things I love. I was never sure what I wanted to be when I left school, so I spent a lot of time worrying about that. Luckily, I kept doing the things I was passionate about and enjoyed the most until that became my full-time job.
What motivates you to get creative? Be it a phrase, feeling, motivational-kitty-poster or what have-you.
I have scrapbooks and Pinterest boards full of ideas and inspiration and recently I made a set of motivational magnets ( for all of the creative activities I sometimes neglect, so I can add them to the calendar on my whiteboard and remember to work on them when I get a chance.

A big, big thank you again to Cat Morley for this exciting DIY, and for the inspiring words.  I don't know about you guys, but I am feeling good and ready to create something fun this weekend!!


  1. That's amazing thanks for sharing that interviews. I had no idea Cut Out + Keep existed until a couple of weeks ago when Cat contacted me, and I have been in a haze of thousands of tutorials ever since. It's so amazing, I hope I can pull myself away from the website soon and actually make some of the things I've seen.


  2. this is an AMAZING idea!! I always love how cute buntings are but then it's like aah omg what do u do w/ it after the words aren't relevant (figuratively speaking as I've never made one). plus the simple chalk is just so classy.

    1. And that seriously is SUPER cool that you were on her radar!! and how huge they've grown. and what an awesome space she has too!

  3. Thanks so much for spreading the word, I'm sure I will be spending a lot of time on there in the foreseeable future! Burning is awesome too, perfect for writing out messages for parties :)

    X Hayley-Eszti

  4. this is so awesome! i love this diy, it's so cute!

    lindsey louise

  5. I'd heard of the site but never paid a trip over there - it's certainly worth a visit.

    And how sweet is that chalkboard bunting? As you say perfect for family events, but would even make a nifty sign for a vintage stall!

  6. AHH I LOVE THIS! I need to get more crafty again, I've been out of it lately. My supplies keep piling up but my ideas are running dry. I'm definitely going to snoop through this site.


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