Swell Made Co. | Stationery, Gifts + Decor

Keep it simple, but significant.


How To | Splatter Paint Knotted Hair Tie

DIY, How ToLesley PocklingtonComment
How To | Splatter Paint Knotted Hair Tie

How To | Splatter Paint Knotted Hair Tie

I don’t do hair. At all. Thankfully, I have friends that care and showed me how easy it is to elevate a loose ponytail in the simplest way. Add a knotted hair tie! So simple. Any handkerchief, bandana or swatch of fabric will do; but why not create your own with a bit of splattered paint? Here’s a little DIY for just that. The best part? Once you’ve got this easy technique down, you can splatter paint anything. Easter eggs (with Easter next week!), gift wrap, baskets, porcelain pieces. Anything. I’ve gone with neutrals, but you can choose any colour you like.

What you’ll need:

  • Pieces of fabric (or whatever you want to splatter paint). Recycled fabrics are ideal. You probably have lots of old fabrics kicking around.

  • Fabric paint or acrylic paint in the colour(s) of your choice.

  • Paint brushes. Choose a size based on the surface area you’re splatter painting.

What you’ll need for splatter painting. Not a whole lot. It’s simple!

What you’ll need for splatter painting. Not a whole lot. It’s simple!

How to Splatter Paint a knotted hair tie / anything

  1. Prepare your work space because things are about to get messy. Cover your workspace in layers of recyclable kraft paper. If you can go outside, I would highly recommend it. It’s easier to keep the splatters under control.

  2. Clean your pieces before painting. Fabrics should be pre-washed/dried. Other pieces should be wiped down/dried.

  3. Dilute your paint with water or an acrylic thinner. I just used water. A general ratio is about 4:1 (4 parts paint, 1 part water), but you’ll have to test out the consistency in your work area first. Too thick won’t splatter. Too thin will be drippy and transparent.

  4. Test an area of your work surface to get the consistency right and to practice your splatter technique. In my experience it’s all in the flick. Flick of your wrist if you’re working with a big brush and area. Another technique is to wear rubber gloves and flick the bristles of your brush with your thumb. This works well for smaller objects where you need to be more precise. Otherwise, go big and have fun flicking and throwing the paint. Pollack style.

  5. Go for it! Once you’re comfortable with your materials and technique, just go for it.

  6. Let dry. If your piece has multiple surfaces, let one side dry before working on the other(s).

  7. Set fabric paint with heat. Using an iron with no steam (dry heat), apply heat to your fabric. You can even give it a 20-40 minute tumble in the dryer to set it.

Go crazy with the paint! Dilute it slightly first, though.

Go crazy with the paint! Dilute it slightly first, though.

That’s it! A fun and easy DIY that you can use in so many ways. I’d love to see what you decide to splatter, and as I splatter all the things; I’ll share them with you too. Thanks for reading this simple DIY. Peace! That’s me below. Showing off my new hair style. Thanks to my pals Bethanie, Holly and Jessica for dreaming up this DIY and helping me with my hair and photography. We were inspired by a stay at The Loft at County Collective in Prince Edward County, Ontario this past March. Wink! If you need a place to getaway, it’s an incredibly sweet spot with impeccable style.

See? Anything can be splatter painted.    You can also try an Easter egg DIY with Sharpies   .

See? Anything can be splatter painted. You can also try an Easter egg DIY with Sharpies.

How To | Splatter Paint Knotted Hair Tie

How To | Splatter Paint Knotted Hair Tie

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April is Card & Letter Writing Month

How To, Inspiration, DIYLesley PocklingtonComment
Tell someone they’re swell in April - Card & Letter Writing Month. Card by Swell Made Co.

Tell someone they’re swell in April - Card & Letter Writing Month. Card by Swell Made Co.

April is Card & Letter Writing Month (and also my birth month — how fitting for a stationery lover). It’s April 8th, I know; but it’s never too late to send a card or letter. Did you know? The U.S. Postal Service officially designated April National Card & Letter Writing Month in 2001 “to raise awareness of the importance and historical significance of card and letter writing.”

In a world of non-stop of texts and emails, nothing says you care like taking the time to write a handwritten card or letter. You can read more about why I love writing and how it's not a lost art in this past post. Today, however; here are 5 simple things you can say in a card right now. Like, RIGHT NOW. No excuses. I've even given you a few prompts. Grab a pen and card or paper and get writing this month (or any month for that matter) to celebrate. There's always something to say that will help you connect with those you care about. Happy Card & Letter Writing Month!

5 simple Things to Say in a Card

Thank You

At this very moment, I'm sure you can think of numerous people you'd like to thank. Think of the people who support you in your day to day life. From the neighbour who collected your mail while you were away, to your barista, to a friend that gave you a thoughtful gift. When expressing gratitude be just as generous and write a handwritten note. A thank you note should recapture the moment where you were on the receiving end (the smile, maybe the hug, the warmth). Mention what you're thanking the recipient for, but keep it short and simple. Over exaggerating comes across as insincere and don't say "you shouldn't have". It's similar to taking a compliment. Just say thank you.

Congratulations or Words of Encouragement

There's always something to celebrate! Moments big and small should be congratulated with a handwritten note. New jobs, babies and homes all deserve a “HOORAY!”. Maybe your friend or family member reached a goal. If someone did something awesome, tell them. If someone needs some encouragement to get to that goal, tell them. Never underestimate the power of your words of encouragement or congratulations. It literally means the world to someone and those notes often become keepsakes to remember life’s milestones.

I Love You (or, I Like You)

When surveyed, 50% of adults in the United States said they preferred to hear "I love you" with a handwritten note. Can you blame them? I’m a hopeless romantic and apparently a lot of us are. Expressing affection can be as simple as dropping a note in your child's lunch, telling your partner or a friend how much they mean to you for no reason at all. You don't need to an occasion to tell someone you love them. The simplicity of your genuine words goes a long way. Especially if they’re spontaneous.

I'm Thinking of You

Similar to expressing affection, you don't need a reason or occasion to tell someone you're thinking of them. Texting or emailing someone is quick and passive. Take some time to slow down and let someone know you're thinking of them by recalling a sweet memory you shared together. Share a book, song, quote, recipe or even a Netflix series. Share a funny story or a great idea. Pay someone a compliment. Maybe you forgot to tell them something during a conversation. Surprise with a note when you remember. These are all simple ways to connect with someone you care about. Nothing is too silly or insignificant.

I'm Sorry

Saying sorry is never easy. Sending a handwritten note is the best way to let someone know you're sorry when something bad happens. This entire post could be dedicated to ways to express sympathy with nuance; but the most common are a death, a disaster (divorce, illness, etc.) and an apology after someone has been hurt. No matter the circumstance, the goal of the note should be to recognize and validate the source of pain, let the recipient know they are not alone, strengthen your connection and give utmost respect. If you have experienced a similar circumstance as your recipient, let it guide you in choosing the right words. If you don't have a shared experience, it's okay. Try your best and be incredibly thoughtful with your words.

Finally. Don't stress! Keep it simple, keep it casual and write in your natural voice. Take note (pun intended) of how you feel once you've taken a few minutes to handwrite a thank you, a compliment, a memory or a silly story. It all matters and I can guarantee it will produce a smile and all the feels on the other end. Happy writing, swell friends.

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How To | No Carve Pumpkin Round Up

DIY, Round Up, HolidayLesley Pocklington3 Comments
No carve pumpkin round up by Swell Made Co.

No carve pumpkin round up by Swell Made Co.

Whoah, what?! Halloween is next week. Cue the blood curdling screams because I need to get it together before October 31. Are you a procrastinator, or do you have everything ready to go? To keep things simple (because that’s kind of our thing), I have rounded up my favourite no carve pumpkins. They’re minimalist, so they might appeal more to the adult crowd; but that’s okay. They’re easy and who says big kids can’t have fun too?

If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll remember the first pumpkin (shown above) was one we created back in 2015. If you like, head to that post to you’ll find everything you need to create a black and gold six letter sentiment pumpkin. Boo, boo! The following pumpkins come from a few of our favourite blogs and they can be found on Pinterest as well.

DIY Cute Faced Mini Pumpkins by    HomeyOhMy

DIY Cute Faced Mini Pumpkins by HomeyOhMy

This sweet little DIY from HomeyOhMy is perfect for adding some cute Halloween (or fall, Thanksgiving) decor to your home. All you need is a Sharpie and some eucalyptus. You don’t even have to paint the pumpkins! Just buy white ones. Cute faces. Scary faces. You decide!

DIY Brushstroke Pumpkin by    The Merry Thought

DIY Brushstroke Pumpkin by The Merry Thought

This stylish by The Merry Thought DIY just requires craft pumpkins (or real), and some acrylic paint. Start with a flat colour and then add brushstrokes in a contrasting colour. Voila! Simple and beautiful.

DIY Paint Splattered Pumpkins by    HomeyOhMy

DIY Paint Splattered Pumpkins by HomeyOhMy

Another great DIY from HomeyOhMy and one that could be combined with the DIY above (similar steps and complementary styles) are the paint splattered pumpkins. Start with a base coat on craft (or real) pumpkins and then splatter with a contrasting colour. So chic and so simple.

Terrazzo Pumpkin DIY by    JoJoTastic

Terrazzo Pumpkin DIY by JoJoTastic

Finally (any my favourite), is this terrazzo pumpkin by JoJoTastic. Okay! It’s not technically “no carve”, but it can be. If you skip the carving portion of this DIY, it would still be beautiful; but maybe just a less magical than the one shown above. Either way, this pumpkin play with one of our all-time favourite decor trends that’s still going strong.

That’s it! Now that you’re inspired, grab some wine (and candy) and start painting those pumpkins. Happy Halloween, swell friends.

How To | Curate Art with Heart

DIY, Decor, How To, Inspiration, TipsLesley PocklingtonComment

A gallery wall is the perfect way to proudly display your story, and your style. Don't just hang anything though. Curate a collection of art with heart. Collect things that are meaningful, and you'll never grow tired of your gallery wall. It will be a conversation piece and a comforting mantle in your home

Swell Made Co. has partnered up with Becky Freeman, Interior Designer & Stylist, to guide you through curating an art collection. Becky knows how and where to find the perfect elements for any project. With a decade of professional interior design experience (including Gluckstein Design), Becky has refined the process of creating a successful space.

The first of our collaborative posts, we're excited to share these tips. Next, we'll share How To Create a Gallery Wall. Read on for simple, but thoughtful things to keep in mind while curating your own personal gallery wall or art collection.

Days in Paris  by Jessica Cardelucci

Days in Paris by Jessica Cardelucci


An easy choice to make things personal is to crop and enlarge your favourite photos. They can be photos of your family (old or new) or from your travels and favourite places. Perhaps, you've dabbled with photography and you have some abstract pieces to showcase.

Art photography is available for purchase as well. Just check out minted.com for pieces like the one above. Paris anyone?

Creating a grid based gallery wall with simple Instagram photos is an easy way to create a meaningful collection. You can print a batch of photos quickly and reasonably using an app like Parabo Press.

OUI OUI  by Swell Made Co.

OUI OUI by Swell Made Co.


Do you have a favourite song, book, quote, or poem? Frame the printed word. Letters are beautiful in the form of actual pages from a book, or typographical artwork featuring your lyrics or quotes.

Swell Made Co. is a great example of typographic artwork that elevates meaningful (and witty) words. Choose what "speaks" to you. Keeping with a subtle French theme for this example, we chose OUI OUI by Swell Made Co.


Your collection can have some unexpected dimensional elements as well. Perhaps a hat, a souvenir or something sculptural like the ones seen above by Umbra.

Depending on what it is, you can either hang it directly on the wall or frame it. Make the mundane extraordinary, simply by framing it. Do you have a sentimental plate or record? Frame it! Do you have a collection of shells from your family beach vacation? Mount a few in a simple grid layout and frame them. 

Unexpected things can also introduce colour or texture. Does your decor call for a pop of neon, sleek gold or natural wood? Go for it.

Jon I Lit  by Almar Alfredsson

Jon I Lit by Almar Alfredsson


Memories transport us back to places we have travelled. Keep those moments close with photos and unexpected things as mentioned in tips 1 and 3. This can also come in the form of original artwork from exotic or local places.

Been too many place to count? Frame a beautiful map to remind you of places you've been or lived over the years.

It's fun to pick up small pieces of artwork when visiting a new country. Large pieces are great too, but small pieces pack easily. More importantly, they are easier to integrate into an existing gallery wall or collection. Just like the medallion above, Jon I Lit from Iceland. 

Rhythm  by Kelly Ventura

Rhythm by Kelly Ventura


Original artwork by artists you admire, talented friends, or your own children is lovely to work into a space. Maybe you have some of your own. 

Keep it simple and basic. It doesn't have to be a renaissance masterpiece. Simple line drawings and abstract colour studies are perfect. Framing will only elevate these pieces. The beautiful artwork seen above can be purchased and framed at minted.com.


Finally, fill in the gaps. If you're incorporating a theme (Feminine French) or colour scheme (Pink Hues), this is the perfect opportunity to round out the collection. Don't go overboard with themes and colours though - keep it simple.

Perhaps you have a lot of dark pieces. Lighten it up with something with a softer tone, or an object with a delicate structure. If you're seeing a consistent hue in your collection, add something subtle in that same or complementary hue. 

Now that you've collected your artwork the next step is to choose frames. I have a great guide on how to frame artwork, right here! Next, we'll be posting How To Create a Gallery Wall. Watch soon for great tips so you can get your collection on the wall. 

Enjoy and good luck curating your collection!
Lesley, Swell Made Co. + Becky, Interior Designer & Stylist

How To | Gold Painted Rocks

How To, DIYLesley PocklingtonComment
How To | A Guide to Gold Painted Rocks by Swell Made Co.

How To | A Guide to Gold Painted Rocks by Swell Made Co.

What do you with all the rocks (and beach glass, and shells) that travel home with you from the beach? Paint them! My kids LOVE to paint rocks and there are countless things you can create with, and for kids with rocks to pass time in the summer. Just take a look on Pinterest and you'll find fun ideas like rock dominoes, story rocks, rock tic-tac-toe.

After our trip to the beach the other day, we came home with a pile or rocks, as always. I let my daughter go wild with her acrylic summer hues, while I tried out something more simple, and gold. It was easy as can be. The rocks will be put to good use throughout the year as paper weights (napkin weights for the patio), little accents on the table or plates for special occasions, home decor, garden decor etc. Again, the ideas are endless. Keep reading to see how you can make some too.

Gold painted rocks by Swell Made Co.

Gold painted rocks by Swell Made Co.


  • Rocks, of course. Collect a variety of rocks that you love. Smooth rocks work well for painting, but any rock is fine. 
  • Metallic gold acrylic paint. You can use any colour(s) you like though. I used Martha Stewart Crafts® Acrylic Craft Paint in Gold. You can find it at Michael's in Canada and the USA. 
  • 1 flat, soft brush. Size can depend on how on your surface area. Acrylic brushes are best.
  • Painter's tape. For masking areas. You can use varying widths for different effects. 
  • An Exacto knife to scratch off excess paint if necessary. 

    TIP - Buy good quality painter's tape. You'll notice a huge difference when peeling it away to reveal clean lines. The stuff from the dollar store just doesn't cut it. 


  1. Prepare a clean work surface that can get messy. Acrylic paint can be tricky to remove once it's dry, so cover your work surface. Especially if the kids are joining in! 
  2. Clean your rocks and let dry if required. You don't want any sand or dirt on the rock's surface.
  3. Grab your painter's tape and start creating. You can block off areas, create lines, patterns, etc. It's entirely up to you! The painter's tape will give you a clean, crisp line. Press the tape firmly into place for the best effect. This can be tricky with rocks, but don't stress. It doesn't have to be perfect. 
  4. Paint your rocks! Rocks are naturally porous, so you'll likely need 2-3 coats to cover the surface entirely. Let dry to touch between coats. You can also try doing a primer coat of white paint, but extra coats do the trick. 
  5. Let paint dry for at least 1 hour or more. 
  6. Carefully (slowly) remove the painter's tape to reveal your clean lines. If there are areas where paint slipped under the tape, just gently scratch it off the surface with an Exacto knife. 
  7. Admire your rocks and display them as you please.

Thanks for reading and enjoy getting create with your summer rock collection!