The lovely Sarah is back again this month with another fabulous DIY! This one is so simple and chic, I know you all are going to love it!

Happy spring, readers! I have been so excited to share this month’s DIY project with you! It is an easy, affordable centerpiece idea that was inspired by Shannon South’s gorgeous upcycled Doily Lamp. I stumbled across this stunning lamp while searching for a unique idea involving doilies, and thought a modified version would be fantastic for this month’s project. I am going to show you how to make light orbs out of repurposed vintage doilies. These little lamps will add an ethereal atmosphere to any wedding, whether you use them as centerpieces, have your bridesmaids carry them down the aisle instead of bouquets, or hang them from branches at your outdoor reception. Look for lightly used doilies at antique stores or online, or ask Mom or Grandma if they wouldn’t mind donating some of theirs. I used white, but you can find them in many colors, or even dye them if you want to match your wedding color palate. Make it your own! See below for the step by step. NOTE: Plan ahead for this project, it will need to dry overnight before use.


  • 4-5 doilies per lamp (preferably round and about 5-6 inches in diameter, depending on the size you want the orb to be. I paid about $1-2 dollars per doily)
  • Fabric stiffener (can be found at craft stores, about $6 a bottle)
  • Old paintbrushes (a wide flat brush, or a medium round brush will work the best)
  • Various sized cheap rubber balls, balloons, etc. (I found small rubber balls at the dollar store, but balloons might be a cheaper option if you are going to be making more than a few orbs. You will need one for each lamp you decide to make as you have to pop them to remove them.)
  • Wax paper or palate paper
  • A bowl or dish to rest the orb on while you work on it
  • Flameless LED tea lights, one per orb (Don’t use real candles! 3 for $1 at the dollar store)

***Before you start, make sure to wash your doilies by hand with a mild soap and lukewarm water in the sink. Lay flat to dry. If you want to change colors, you can dye them using fabric dyes, or for a more delicate color change, use tea. Brew up a strong cup of tea and let the doilies sit in it for a few hours. This will give them an antique finish and will hide any stubborn stains on vintage doilies. If you want your orbs to be white, soak the doilies in a diluted bleach bath for an hour, then rinse thoroughly to prevent damaging the delicate fibers. Doilies must be completely dry before you begin making the orbs. Now on to the fun!

Step 1: Take your rubber ball or balloon and place it in a small dish to keep it steady while you work. Put a piece of wax paper underneath the ball to protect the dish. Begin placing the doilies on the ball, making sure the edges slightly overlap. This is what will keep the orb together after the fabric stiffener dries. You can add a few stitches to reinforce the seams once it is dry (especially if yours will be handled a lot), but I didn’t find it necessary.

Step 2: Once you have the doilies arranged how you want them, pour some fabric stiffener onto the palate or wax paper. Start painting the fabric stiffener onto the doily, ensuring you cover every bit, otherwise it won’t harden and the uncoated parts will sag. Don’t oversaturate, just put enough on so that it is damp to the touch.

Step 3: Leave a small area open so that you can insert the LED tea light.

Step 4: Let the doilies dry overnight to ensure that it is COMPLETELY dry before handling. Side note: I got overexcited and tried to remove my doilies from the ball before it was completely dry, and ended up with a soggy, misshapen doily mess.

Step 5: Once the doilies are dry, use a blade to pop the balloon/rubber ball. Carefully pull the ball out through the hole you left open in the doilies. Ta da! You now have a ready to use doily lamp!

Optional Step 6: If you want to make the pomander version of the lamp, simply attach a pretty ribbon to the opening where you put the tea light in. This makes it into a sort of basket that will hold the candle and the bow will hide the opening. I just pinned my ribbon on, but you can sew or hot glue it for a more permanent attachment.

Simple steps to a stunning centerpiece! Your guests will always remember their table and the magical atmosphere your wedding exuded with these delicate doily lamps. Give them away as favors to special guests at the end of the night, or keep them all and use them as fabulous decorations in your newlywed home! Or get ambitious and make a huge one like Shannon’s to put over the head table. No matter how you decide to incorporate these sparkling orbs, your wedding will be lit up in a creative way! Now go grab your bridesmaids and have a centerpiece party, because DIY is more fun with friends!

Have fun and stay crafty! Until next time, my lovelies!

leave some love

  1. Cocroft & Delbridge
    April 27, 2011 11:49 am

    Oh my goodness...these are so clever and pretty! Thank you so much for sharing!
  2. Jennie
    April 27, 2011 12:16 pm

    Too darn pretty! And such a sweet idea.
  3. mckay
    April 27, 2011 12:54 pm

    love this idea so much!
  4. Lauren @ ELD
    April 27, 2011 1:26 pm

    LOVE! So so cool!!!
  5. postcards and pretties
    April 27, 2011 1:47 pm

    such an awesome DIY
  6. Stephanie
    April 27, 2011 2:11 pm

    Holy coolest thing ever Batman!!!! I love this idea :)
  7. Melina
    April 27, 2011 5:47 pm

    This is a great project idea! I love it!
  8. Rhiannon {Hey Gorg}
    April 27, 2011 7:03 pm

    This is so amazing and clever!! I LOVE this idea so much :)
  9. jacin {lovely little details}
    April 28, 2011 12:58 pm

    perfect!!! what a cool idea!
  10. Marnie
    April 28, 2011 2:42 pm

    These are lovely! As a crocheter I know how much time and effort goes into these little masterpieces- its nice to see them getting re-purposed and, hopefully, appreciated again.
  11. Pat
    April 28, 2011 4:19 pm

    You never cease to amaze me with beautiful and "do-able" projects....keep them coming!
  12. Aileen@LoveandLavender
    April 29, 2011 4:55 pm

    Love this! I've seen similar projects with string, but I am loving the doilies!!!
  13. Robbin Montero
    April 29, 2011 8:16 pm

    Fabulous idea and very creative. I wish I had the patience to make them, so appreciate your sharing!

    Robbin Montero
    A Dream Wedding
  14. Tracy
    May 2, 2011 11:26 am

    so pretty. love this.
  15. Felecia- Tampa fl
    May 21, 2011 10:03 am

    These are awesome- I've never seen anything like it! Really great diy... Thanks for sharing!!
  16. Danielle @ ourprairiewedding
    June 7, 2011 10:15 pm

    These are gorgeous! Such a smart idea! Would you mind if I shared a link to this on my blog?
  17. amy
    June 20, 2011 1:08 pm

    I'm making 30 of these for my friends wedding. It's taking a really long time to paint the stiffener on and let the doilies on top dry. Is there some kind of starch I could soak it in or something so that I can just wet the fabric in it and lay it down? It's taking a while and I was just looking for any tips. Thank you.
  18. Sarah
    June 21, 2011 1:13 pm

    Hi Amy-

    I did not test the doilies with starch but I'm sure it would have the same effect as fabric stiffener. I would guess regular old laundry starch would work, you could also try the spray and see what works best for you. If you dip, be sure to squeeze out the excess starch, this will help it dry faster. Put the drying doilies under a fan to speed up the drying process as well, but I would still let them sit overnight to make sure they are completely dry before removing from the molds. Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any more questions!
  19. Lotta_heylook
    July 11, 2011 5:12 pm

    So nice DIY! And so usable for so many things! Thanks!
  20. Kristi
    July 11, 2011 5:33 pm

    Oh this is just fabulous!!! There are sooo many ways to use doilies and this is one of my fave ;-))))

  21. Mary & Emily
    July 11, 2011 8:15 pm

    am all over this craft!
  22. Melissa
    July 11, 2011 11:15 pm

    What a fabulous idea!
    I will certainly be trying this one.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Blush Notes
  23. MUSE onsite hair & makeup
    July 12, 2011 11:45 am

    These are fantastic! Thank you for the inspiration! xoxo
  24. Marisa Nicole, Weddings & Events
    July 12, 2011 5:15 pm

    How fun. I can't wait to use this idea!
  25. Azulsahara
    July 13, 2011 4:34 am

    So pretty!!!
  26. Kim
    August 22, 2011 10:17 pm

    I'm making these for my wedding in October, but when I use the balloons as a shaper, they're a funny shape when they're the size i want them, any tips?
  27. Lesley Pattinson
    September 5, 2011 6:28 am

    Love these they would look so beautiful on your wedding day, and would be so worth the time and effort!
  28. Sarah
    September 6, 2011 12:19 am

    Hi Kim!

    I found that using small rubber balls (from the dollar store) worked best. Even still, they were a little lopsided, just because of how they were blown up. My other thought was that you could try waterballoons, but fill them with air instead of water. If you find something else that works, please share it here! Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any more questions!
  29. Mckinzy
    September 7, 2011 6:44 pm

    I am very disappointed. I went out and bought all of the supplies which always adds up when you are trying to a diy project.
    I followed the directions to a t, but my doilies WOULD NOT stay on the balloon. the fabric stiffener kept making them slide off the balloon. I tried everything. i even used little strings to tie the doilies together to try and keep them on the balloon so that they would not slide off.

    very frustrated.
  30. Amanda
    September 13, 2011 4:26 am

    I had the exact same problem where the doilies would not stay on they just slid off the two times I tried it. Does anyone have a solution? I have all the supplies I bought and would love for this to work!
  31. Sarah
    September 16, 2011 8:57 pm

    Hi Mckinzy and Amanda!

    I'm sorry to hear you are having trouble with the doilies sliding off of the balloons. My best suggestion, from what I am hearing you describe, is to use less stiffener. Using too much stiffener can make the doilies slide around more, I found as I worked that if I kept the doilies just damp, not soaking wet, it helped them stick a little. Also try adding doilies one at a time and letting them dry a bit in between adding the next one. If the top is wet and you are trying to add doilies to the sides, gravity will do its best! Let the one on top dry, then turn it so the next doily you add is on top. That should help keep everything in place. If it still won't work, try using the rubber ball method, you might get more traction with the texture of the plastic. If all else fails, try wrapping the whole thing in plastic wrap! I haven't tried it, but it might help keep everything in place while it dries! Hope this helps, ladies!
  32. Lanterns for Weddings
    September 27, 2011 12:52 am

    This is definitely one of the most creative use of lace. EVER!!!! Can't wait to brag this idea to my friends
  33. Jt
    December 3, 2011 11:40 pm

    Man o man how great this has been! Took the advice and shelled out the extra money for the rubber balls, mostly because I was in disbelief I actually found them at the dollar store. Having 15 tables, loving 3 on each, I knew this would be a daunting tasks alone! I invited all my girlfriends and family ladies over and had a craft&wine party. For the first try I wasnt expectng an easy go at it, so my goal was to complete 5 (esp. With the wine involved). But believe it or not 22 were finished in between tons of breaks and fun. Have both spray and liquid available, we found sponges on sticks as well as brushes helpful, and disposable bowls were an awesome addition! The willingness to create and have fun in a group activity was great, because no matter what we having fun together. After purchasing the doilies @antique malls, craft supplies, bowls, balls and even the wine, we're looking at $15/per table! And my wedding is 10months away. This is so fun!
  34. Camelot Marquees
    January 25, 2012 7:28 am

    I've seen a type of craft becoming more popular or late and think its a great little market. They are so beautiful and the satisfaction from making such a product is marvelous
  35. Dannette
    April 3, 2012 10:02 pm

    Neat idea. My grandma has several of these dolies. I might have to try this. she has been trying to give them to me but i didn't know what i would do with them.
  36. Evelyn Hayman
    April 10, 2012 9:04 pm

    So gorgeous! I would love to try to make these.
  37. Crystal Couture
    June 9, 2012 12:37 pm

    Great idea and they really lovely when finished. X
  38. Delicate Inspiration
    July 2, 2012 3:04 pm

    I absolutley ADORE this!!! Can not wait to try it!
  39. Chelsey Dettloff
    July 16, 2012 2:59 pm

    Could you use paper doilies?
  40. Lucienne
    September 20, 2012 6:44 am

    Love this idea, I'm planning on making 20, just wondering if anyone has a rough idea of how much fabric stiffener you would need? Im in Ireland and I cant seem to find it anywhere so I've to buy from ebay...don't want to waste money and have lots left over or vice versa run out!!!!!!!!!! 4months to D-day...... :)
  41. Jamie Salcedo
    September 28, 2012 3:56 pm

    I love this project, but I am so scared that would light up! I'd get a flameless tealight candle instead.
  42. Laura
    September 30, 2012 8:33 am

    I would love to purchase these already made for my daughters wedding! I was unable to locate enough doilies! I need 50 of them!! But will take what I can get. Thank you so much! Laura
  43. Sue
    October 1, 2012 2:27 pm

    These are so beautiful. I am so relieved to see that the antique doillies don't have to be cut! I plan to make a lamp as well as this centerpiece display. Thanks for the great idea. All the doillies I have seen in thrift shops have been 3 - 5 $ however.
  44. Occasions In Print
    November 19, 2012 4:06 pm

    These are just awesome! Thanks for this detailed tutorial!
  45. nadya
    January 14, 2013 3:25 am

    thankyou for sharing, this is fantastic! I was looking for something to hang from the hooks in the ceiling of the venue for my Vintage style wedding in November. These beautiful DIY lanterns will be perfect!!! What a great instructional tutorial! Thankyou for sharing :D keep these wonderful DIY ideas comin!
  46. dinah
    February 27, 2013 2:50 pm

    I love these but i was wanting to know if ther was somethihg to use to make the lace or dollies extremally hard as in plastic hard. I would like to preserve them for a few years or use them elsewhere
  47. Tracy
    March 21, 2013 8:49 am

    I am having trouble finding doilies. Does anyone think i could achieve a similar effect by cutting old lace tablecloths into round pieces and using those? Please help! I am the least crafty person I know.
  48. jonathan olesen
    July 7, 2013 3:48 am

    Nice idea, but would have been awesome to have the patterns for the doilies in your pictures...particularly the doily with the butterfly in it. =(
  49. Adriana
    April 29, 2014 2:09 pm

    I loved this idea but I would like to know where I can find doily for US$ 1 or US$2, please?
  50. Charlotte Rugg
    February 23, 2015 11:38 am

    Look pretty! Could you use paper doiles?
  51. Harriet Petrie
    March 7, 2015 8:43 am

    I Just Love This
    May 4, 2015 8:53 pm

    Gracias por permitir entrar a tan maravilloso mundo. He recorrido algunas páginas de artesanías, pero estas me parecen muy maravillosas-
  53. Jade
    May 10, 2015 1:28 pm

    Wow. Just - wow. Beautiful. Do you think they would work with paper doilies? Otherwise I'm going to have to get crocheting! I want to do a string of these with fairy lights inside. Thank you for sharing, x
  54. Luanne
    May 11, 2015 8:21 am

    I crochet and my niece is getting married next year! This will make totally awesome take home table gifts for her guests!!!

    Such a great idea - AND I can find some paper ones to make for hanging from decorations!

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful idea!
  55. Dana Gilbert
    September 30, 2015 11:59 am

    Hi, I am going to attempt to make these for my wedding in 8 months. I was wondering how you keep the hydrangeas hydrated? They look as though they are just lying on the table with the orbs placed around them. Or are they fake flowers?
  56. Megan
    October 5, 2015 10:07 am

    Hi Dana,
    The hydrangeas were just placed there for the images, if you want this exact look, I would suggest fake ones or trying out low bowl vases to hold the flowers.
  57. Anne
    December 23, 2015 6:56 am

    Would coffee work instead of tea? I'm looking for a darker brown, something that would match twine or burlap.
  58. Jenny Harris
    May 19, 2016 8:33 pm

    Thankyou love this
  59. Helen
    September 13, 2017 11:47 am

    These are so amazing!! My daughter will be having a fall wedding and these, with fall flowers, fairy lights inside them and fall colored ribbons, would make beautiful centerpieces. We can set some in a burlap bowl (made the same way). You are awesome!! Thank you for the wonderful instructions and ideas.