The popularity of handkerchiefs for practical use has fallen by the wayside as most people opt to use disposable tissues. These simple pieces of cloth, however, can be crafted into a variety of items that run the gamut from quaint to elegant. Make some of these quick and easy crafts for yourself or to give as gifts.
Use a plain 12-by-12-inch ladies' handkerchief to make an old-fashioned pew baby that has a homespun feel. These simple dolls are called pew babies because they often were made to keep little ones quiet and entertained in church. For a larger doll, use a men's 17-by-17-inch hanky.
Place two to three cotton balls at the centre of the handkerchief. Fold the handkerchief diagonally to create a triangle, with the folded edge at the top, one point at the bottom and a point on each side. The cotton balls, which form the baby's head, are now inside the folded handkerchief at the centre of the top, horizontal edge. Tie a piece of ribbon under the cotton balls at the baby's neck. Tie a self-knot at the end of each point on the sides of the triangle. These are the baby's hands. Tie a second piece of ribbon about halfway down the handkerchief, which creates a waist and defines the arms. Fluff out the bottom of the handkerchief below the centre ribbon for the baby's skirt.
A lacy or embroidered handkerchief can be filled with scented cotton balls to make an ultra-feminine sachet for a lingerie drawer. Spray your favourite perfume or fragrance onto a few cotton balls. Place the cotton balls in the centre of the handkerchief, pull up the edges to make a pouch and wrap and tie a thin satin ribbon tightly around the handkerchief above the cotton balls. Fluff and arrange the puffy edges of the handkerchief. When the scent fades, refresh it by spraying the handkerchief.
For special occasions, make a hanky envelope to hold an invitation, thank-you card or heartfelt note that will be hand delivered. A 12-by-12-inch or 13-by-13-inch handkerchief will make an envelope for a 5-by-7-inch card.
Lay the handkerchief on an angle so it creates a diamond shape. Place the note face up in the centre of the handkerchief, with a point of the handkerchief at the top, bottom and each side of the card. Fold the side points of the handkerchief over the card so that they overlap slightly in the centre. Press lightly with a warm, dry iron to make a soft crease. Fold the bottom point of the handkerchief up to the top of the card. Press again. Fold the top point down. Tie a ribbon horizontally around the envelope to hold it closed.