DIY at Marimekko's Crate and Barrel Shop-in-Shop

Get creative with Marimekko's bold, modern designs and make them your own.

Marimekko shop-in-shop at Crate & Barrel Boylston

To celebrate its 60th anniversary this year (and more than four of those decades in collaboration with Crate & Barrel), the Finnish design house has created a Marimekko shop-in-shop at Crate & Barrel’s Boylston Street store. You’ll likely recognize the playful, bright Marimekko patterns available here — many of them have been around since the late 1950s. Last Thursday, I attended a DIY workshop there to find new ways to use these classic modern fabrics.

At the shop-in-shop, Marimekko fabrics, including indoor/outdoor cottons, are sold by the foot. Shop specialist Cloe Donovan showed us how to use the yellow Unikko (or “Poppy”) design to create unique home accessories. From the outdoor fabric, she cut out several poppies, leaving a yellow outline to accent the shape. Each poppy could then be used as a place mat (shown above). By cutting three poppies together, Donovan created a matching table runner. “One woman came in the other day,” Donovan told me, “and she had an idea for seat cushions. The patterns really are versatile.”

Fabrics aren’t the only DIY offerings. Terra-cotta pots can be decorated with folded and taped Mummolan Marjat (or “Grandma’s berries,” designed in 2010 by Teresa Moorhouse) paper napkins (shown above). Such a simple trick transforms ordinary pots into great outdoor summer decor. “The English translations are odd and whimsical,” says Jennifer Coyne, the store designer. But to me, anything called “Grandma’s berries” belongs on a picnic table.

The original fabric designers retain all rights to their work, meaning if any design is repurposed or resized for production, from a bedspread to a mug, the artist has to give approval before the merchandise can hit shelves.

Shop specialist Cloe explains some design options

Love the designs but not sure what to do with them? Chat with Cloe Donovan, the Marimekko shop specialist at C&B Boylston. Her brand knowledge and sewing background are at your disposal — though you’ll have to pull the needle and thread yourself, she can help you design the perfect accompaniment to your new patio set.

Come July, Marimekko will open an independent shop on Newbury with even more options for you to indulge in.

Marimekko at Crate & Barrel Boylston, 617-262-8700, 777 Boylston Street, Boston