DIY Vintage Salt and Pepper Shakers

By craft contributor Rachael of Penelope and Pip. Read more about my talented group of contributors right here.

If you are a fan of Mad Men and 1960s sewing patterns, than this DIY will have you eager to get crafty! My mum has a box of amazing patterns from her teenage years which I would love to make clothing from, however, not being a great sewer (sorry mum!), I was inspired to use the pictures on the front of the patterns to make some cute salt and pepper shakers instead.

These would make a really sweet wedding or anniversary gift for your favourite couple or a fellow friend who loves Don and Betty as much as you do.

Firstly, let’s get started with materials…

  1. Waterslide Decal paper (like this)
  2. Vintage sewing patterns (or you can search for royalty free images on the web)
  3. Bowl with water
  4. Blank salt and pepper shakers (like these)
  5. Scissors
  6. Clear glaze

TIP: Waterslide decal paper is available for laser and inkjet printers and it is a good idea to check compatibility to your printer before you purchase.

Step 1: Scan your sewing patterns into your computer.

If you are Photoshop savvy, you can scan in the whole pattern front image and tidy it up with a layer mask like I did, or you could do it the old fashioned way and cut neatly around your person before you scan it.

Once scanned, print onto your waterslide decal paper.

Step 2: It is a good idea to spray your dried decal paper with some clear glaze to ensure the ink remains on the paper.

Check your instructions on the paper you have purchased for whether this step is required.

Cut out your little vintage Don or Betty.

Step 3: Following your instructions on your waterslide decal paper, drop your little vintage person cutout in the bowl or water for about 10-20 seconds.

You only want to leave it in there long enough for the front to slide easily off the backing.

You may need to experiment a little with this step.

Step 4: Slide the front off the backing of the paper with your finger.

TIP: Only slide enough off to set it down on the shaker – this will ensure it doesn’t get caught on itself as it is very thin and sticky!

Step 5: Place your decal on the shaker.

Pat down gently with your fingers to get rid of any excess water.

Step 6: Repeat the above steps with your other vintage pattern cutout person and apply to the other shaker.

Decal paper is fairly sturdy, however, I wouldn’t recommend putting these in the dishwasher! If they get marked, just wipe gently with a damp cloth.

Now you have a gorgeous pair of vintage salt and pepper shakers to make you smile each morning.


So clever! Now I’m thinking of using friend’s photos to make personalized shakes.

These are seriously cool. What a great original idea! I love the vintage sewing images, and the idea of customizing them even further in photoshop is exciting. Great work!

I have been hunting for a salt and pepper set that made my heart sing for months!! And now I can make my own! This is seriously the best DIY I have seen in AGES! THANKS!!

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