Lessons in Layering: 5 Ways to Spice Up a Basic Scarf

Start with an affordable winter scarf, then let your creativity take control. Cover one with metallic polka dots, crisscross it with ribbon, or edge it with stripes of shiny sequins -- make it entirely your own.

Scarf Skills

Decorating these scarves is almost (almost!) as easy as casually tossing a pashmina around your neck. Some call for paint, others for simple sewing. They are so fun and fast to make, you shouldn't be surprised when you start churning them out in multiples, using the techniques shown here.

Related: 22 Gift-Wrapping Ideas for Turning Any Gift Into Something Spectacular

Metallic Polka Dots

1. Pour some metallic craft paint onto a paper plate.

2. Dip a foam pouncer into paint, then gently dab excess onto a paper towel.

3. Press pouncer on scarf, creating polka dots. (Reload pouncer every 3 dots or so.)

Glitter Borders

1. With blue tape, create lines (to fill in with glitter) down each long edge of scarf.

2. Mix 3 parts glitter and 1 part fabric-to-fabric decoupage finish. Brush onto taped-off stripes.

3. Let mixture dry for 5 minutes, then remove tape (a little at a time, as you go).

Related: 65 Quick and Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas from Martha Stewart

Sequin Stripes

1. Cut 8 pieces of sequin trim, each just slightly longer than width of scarf.

2. Using a blind stitch, hand-sew across sequin's cord to secure trim to scarf.

3. Knot sequin trim's cord ends, and cut away excess trim.

Graphic Ribbon

1. Stick (or iron) double-sided basting tape to back of grosgrain ribbon, then stick (or iron) to scarf in desired pattern.

2. Using a matching thread, machine-sew down center of each length of ribbon.

3. Hand-wash scarf to get rid of any residue from tape.

Color-Block Backing

1. Cut 2 pieces of chiffon fabric in contrasting colors. The dimensions should be half the length of scarf plus 1 1/2 inches, and the full width of scarf plus 1 inch.

2. With a 1/2-inch seam allowance, machine-sew pieces together across width. Press seam open. Press ends under 1/2 inch twice; hem.

3. With right sides facing, sew long sides of chiffon to scarf. Turn right side out and press.

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