Anthro I. Y.–Housewares edition

This article is a part of a series. In the last Anthro I. Y. article I looked at accessories you could make yourself, and I compared the price to buy at Anthropologie versus the price to make it yourself.

Price is not my only reason to DIY, and I hope it isn’t your only reason. Anthro charges a lot because, in addition to the item itself, you are also buying a bit of cache, some proof-of-good-taste. We imagine saying to a guest “oh, thanks for noticing my awesome dishtowels. You know, I got them at Anthropologie,” but as a lifelong DIYer, I am infinitely more impressed when someone answers, “thanks for noticing, I made them myself, that towel is of my own design.”

When you make something yourself, it becomes so much more personal and meaningful. Those silly porcelain animals glued to that vase weren’t mass produced in China, they are from your own post-college trip to Europe, or from that crazy thrift sale you and your friends went to that one time, or from your late grandmother’s collection. There is so much more room for stories to tell and stories to remember when the bits and images you surround yourself with are from your own mind’s eye or your own history.

With that in mind, here are a few Anthropologie housewares that you could easily, and much more meaningfully, make yourself.

1. Cornelis Souvenir Vase


The Cornelliss Souvenir Vase is an obvious target for personalization. Why would I want a vase covered in someone else’s souvenirs when I have plenty of my own lying around? Whether those souvenirs are ceramic or stoneware miniatures or sea shells doesn’t make a bit of difference, as long as the colors are right together and the stories behind the souvenirs are interesting.  Now if I were making this vase for myself, I would probably pick a different shape (I’m not a big fan of these short, wide vases), but that is the beauty of doing it yourself; the vase size and shape is not prescribed by designer Carla Peters (whoever she is).

2. Arctic Animal Pushpins


The same principle applies to the arctic animal pushpins. Do I have interesting small do-dads that I have collected through the years, and would I like to see those mounted on pushpins? Why yes, I would. I’ve seen this done to great effect with board game pieces, sea shells, buttons, porcelain miniatures (as in this case), and plenty of other interesting things. You are only limited by your own aesthetic.  All you need is some two-part epoxy and some flat-topped thumb-tacks. Here are a few examples of great knickknack-topped pushpins.


From BearDuck’s Etsy store. Anything could go onto your pushpins if you have some polyclay.


Scrabble pins from Naomi Marcus, and the image links to a tutorial.


Links to Martha Stewart tutorial.


These are not homemade, but they easily could be, especially given my sizable button collection.

3. Wide-Eyed Dishtowel


The Wide-Eyed Dishtowels are an easy artistic canvas. The simplistic line art is an easy target for replication or, dare I say it, elaboration. Get some fabric pens like these, or even sharpies would do the job (FYI purple sharpies notoriously bleed). With some boldly colored cotton dishcloths to use as canvases, this quick and easy art project can be something you use over and over for years.

4. Multiples Pencil Holder


Sometimes it isn’t the materials or ideas you use to make a project, but the time and creativity that goes into the making. This project is simple: you buy different width PVC or metal pipes, saw them to different lengths, glue them to a piece of wood and paint them in a variety of bold colors of the same general hue. If you don’t have a saw, you could even use cylindrical food canisters and cardboard tubes of various lengths, but it won’t look quite as professional. In the process of making you will create so many more memories and cultivate skills and creativity that you would not have if you simply bought it at a store.


5 thoughts on “Anthro I. Y.–Housewares edition

  1. Artists charge for the creativity. Saying that you could make this stuff is like saying you could paint a Jackson Polluck. Of course you could, but he thought of it first because he is genius, and that is why he gets to charge so much. Same for the designers. Don’t you understand art?

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