Perhaps one of the most wonderful things summer invites us to do is go for picnics with the family. When the skies are clear and the sun is shining, there’s nothing stopping us. Being out in nature is thought to reduce stress levels and improve our moods – and a picnic is a perfect excuse. But every pleasant experience can have its downsides. Picnics can get a little pricey. If you aren’t an avid picnicker, buying in brand new supplies can get expensive. The solution? Craft your picnic! To get you started, here are a few DIY summer picnic ideas.
The best thing about crafting in anticipation of a picnic is that most of the projects are reusable. This sort of outing is rather spontaneous; it’s difficult to plan the weather in Britain, so you have to usher the family into the car at the first glimpse of sunshine. If you plan your picnic projects in advance, you’ll be ready as soon as the clouds part!
The Classic Picnic Blanket
What do we imagine when we think of picnics? A wicker basket, sandwiches, cocktail sausages… and a red gingham picnic blanket. Today, most people stray from the traditional depiction of this outdoor dining mat; we appreciate the time-honoured design, but there are so many other patterns out there! So how could you create your very own picnic blanket?
Firstly, you’ll need some fabric. If you can’t find fabric with a long enough yardage, there’s no need to worry. A patchwork blanket will be just as effective, adding a patchwork feel. You could create a vibrant polka dot effect blanket using The Craft Cotton Company’s Funky Spots Fat Quarters, a pastel polka dot blanket using House of Alistair Brights Fat Quarters, or ditch the spots and go for a more contemporary look with Black Malmo and Orange Malmo Fabric.
Creating your own picnic blanket is super simple – all you have to do is stitch together your fat quarters in rows. Of course, it’ll be much quicker to use a sewing machine, but it isn’t impossible to create rows of running stitches by hand! The size and shape of your picnic blanket are completely up to you – whatever accommodates your family best. After you’ve assembled the top, you simply need to attach a backing sheet for greater strength. Here, it’s best to choose a waterproof fabric or something a little heavier for durability If you’d like cleaner edges, stitch on some bias binding to prevent your blanket from fraying.
The Conventional Picnic Basket
Your picnic basket – or hamper – is the method of transportation for your food, drink and other goodies at your picnic. It has a simple concept with a huge amount of popularity surrounding it. Picnic baskets seem to almost exclusively be constructed of wicker – a deep-rooted tradition that doesn’t seem like it’ll die. It’s cute, it’s quaint – and it’s romantic.
But what if you’re bored of traditional wicker? We crafters like to be a little different; instead of rolling up to the park with a standard supermarket-bought wicker basket, why not transform yours into a pastel phenomenon? Pastel colours are exciting, yet calming. They’re bright and summery, yet somewhat subtler than vibrant shades. Debbi Moore’s Paint Set contains three pots of Chalk Finish Paint in delicate pastel tones. If you want to give your wicker picnic basket a new lease of life, you can rest assured it’ll do the job well.
If you don’t own an old wicker basket and you don’t want to splash the cash on a new one (which is fair enough – times are tough) you could carry your food and drink in tote bags. The tote is a great all-rounder, but especially handy for carrying bottles, tubs and packets (canvas is far stronger than it looks!). Most of us have an old tote lying around, but if you don’t we sell an Always Useful Bag Selection. Then, it’s time for the decorating. What do we recommend? Of course, it’s the incredible Screen Sensation. This unmissable craft essential is designed to help you create professionally printed art quickly and easily, working brilliantly with tote bags.
Picnic-Perfect Mason Jars with Straws
One of the biggest problems when planning a picnic is figuring out how you’ll all enjoy your ice-cold lemonade. Sure, travel mugs are an option, but they’re a little… lacklustre. Not to mention penny-pinching. Then there are plastic cups. The main issue with these drinking vessels is spillages. You don’t want to spend hours creating the ultimate picnic blanket for it to then be ruined when little Tommy trips and spills his red grenadine lemonade all over it.
The solution? Mason jars with straws. You may have some mason jars lying around, but if not they aren’t overly expensive to pick up. Plus, they’ll be a part of the kitchen for a long time to come. It’s time to ditch the disposable for the reusable – mason jars are the way forward. To make the idea sound even better, altering your mason jar to make it drinkable with the lid on couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is drill a hole through the centre of the tin lid, sand off any sharp bits, give it a wash, then screw it back onto the jar and slide a straw through!