DIYdiy projectskate pruitt

diy project: “block” printed duvet

by Grace Bonney

i love bedding! summer bedding, fall bedding, pillows, throws, you name it. this project is inspired by the beautiful bedding textiles designed by john robshaw. i’ve taken a simple cotton duvet and “block” printed a pine cone design, but instead of using expensive wood or linoleum blocks, i made a makeshift block from scrap cardboard (free!). this project takes a little more time and patience then the last textile makeover, but the results are really beautiful and this can be a very inexpensive bedding update for whenever you need it. have fun! – kate

CLICK HERE for the full project after the jump!


1. scrap cardboard (you need one or two large flat pieces with no bends or tears that can fit your stencil)
2. newsprint or scrap paper (this should also be as big as your stencil, and you will need at least ten sheets of this)
3. fabric paints (you can custom mix your color like i did using several colors. you will need at lot of paint for this, at least enough paint to fill a regular sized plastic drinking cup)
4. paint tray (or paper plate) and small foam roller
5. exacto knife and extra blades
6. large working surface
7. permanent marker
8. iron
9. duvet (or fabric to make duvet, or a cotton sheet, etc. – whatever you desire to print!)
10. plastic cup


(note before starting: if you want to spend more money to purchase a large linoleum block, it will provide you will a sharper, cleaner printed image. this project is to show you that you can get a pretty nice image that may suit your style with a cheap material like cardboard. but it does create a rough, imperfect look. also, if you want to make your design smaller (fist-sized for example), i would also recommend using a linoleum block. the method described here is best for bigger prints.)

to make the cardboard printing “block”:

1. draw your image, including the parts you plan to cut out. when planning your design, try to keep it simple, with big shapes. you don’t want anything too intricate or dainty as the cardboard can’t be too thin or it will break down. try to keep all printing surfaces of the cardboard at least .5″ thick.
2. when you have your design drawn, use the exacto knife to cut out the shapes that need to be removed. what is left will be exactly what your painted surface will look like.
3. when you are happy with the final design, trace it onto your cardboard with the permanent marker, including all the cut out parts.
4. now cut your design carefully out of the cardboard. make sure all cuts are clean. replace your blades often to keep the cuts sharp and clean.


to print the design:

1. prep your fabric according to the directions on your fabric paint and iron out wrinkles. lay on work surface.
2. decide how you plan to print your design. if you want exactness, you need to measure on your duvet and make small marks with a pencil or tape to show where you want to place the block each time. otherwise, you can start at the top of the duvet and work downwards, eyeballing the design as you go. this will probably lead to minor imperfections in alignment, which i have too, but i didn’t mind.
3. mix your paints and prepare a large amount of paint in the plastic cup. you want the paint to be the consistency of house paint from the can. if you bought thicker fabric paint, you may need to dilute with water.
4. pour some of the paint in the paint tray and cover your foam roller evenly with paint. you want a lot of paint on the roller. roll the paint onto the cardboard and cover evenly.


5. to print the design, place the cardboard paint side down onto fabric. cover it with a piece of clean scrap paper or newsprint and use one hand to hold the cardboard in place while using the other hand to press down and rub over the entire image. press firmly and make sure you get every inch of the surface of the cardboard. it is similar to if you were gluing the cardboard down, you want to smooth over the entire surface firmly to make sure every inch of the surface is pressed into the fabric. then you remove the paper and carefully peel the cardboard off, using one hand to hold fabric down as you peel up the cardboard.
6. you want to print the pattern on scrap paper or fabric a few times before you place it on your actual duvet surface. this will the give the cardboard a couple times to soak in the paint so it will release more paint onto the fabric. this is also good practice to see how much paint you need and how firmly you need to rub on the design. do not skip this step!!
7. once you have the printing process down, begin printing on your duvet one print at a time. your cardboard pattern should hold up for the whole process. if you are doing both sides of the duvet, you will need to make two cardboard shapes and use a fresh one for the flip side. the first one will start to break down after 30 uses or so.


8. continue printing your pattern. keep using fresh sheets of paper to cover and press down. make sure you do not get extra drips or smears of paint on the fabric.
9. leave your duvet laying flat somewhere to dry. you may need a helping hand to help you transport it or hang it somewhere.
10. follow the steps on your fabric paint for how to set the pattern. this will allow you to wash the fabric again and again without losing your pattern.



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  • I think this is stunning, and if I had the ability to make such a great stencil I’d do this ASAP!

  • Thank you!!! I hate my bedding right now and this is just the ticket to my two favorite things: crafts and beautiful textiles. Great post.

  • Please stop posting all of these wonderful projects. I’m starting to think I need to quite my job immediately so I have time to make all these beautiful things! :-)

  • love this idea…thank you!
    I prefer the rough-look with the cardboard but if you want a cleaner look, try foamcore or corrugated plastic (plastic cardboard). both are inexpensive and are available at most art/craft stores. I haven’t tried this myself…but just a thought.

  • i am thinking i may do this for gift bags i am giving to my out of town quests. i have 60 canvas bags and was thinking of screenprinting them. but this could save me $120. did you draw the original white stencil, or did you buy it?

  • I love this idea! Not just for bedding, it’s great to think of a “block” print as something accessible and easy with materials already around the house.

  • Love the use of cardboard. I am all for craft projects that use what is readily available. Looking forward to trying this out myself.

  • LOVE. IT. Now I know what to do with the old set of plain white sheets I have in storage!

  • Where did you pick up your plain duvet cover? I had been wanting to do something like this but every solid white affordable duvet cover I’ve looked at has some kind of raised pattern in the fabric or is shiny from the ‘sateen’ cotton used.

  • i bought this duvet at ikea. the queen size is $20 for the duvet and two pillowcases! it also comes in red and black. if you don’t want white, you could easily dye this using a washing machine. i have had good results getting an even dye job using RIT dye in a top load washer. just a thought! good luck!

  • I love this idea, does the paint make the bedding scratchy feel stiff and scratchy at all??

  • is it possible to roll the fabric paint onto the duvet over a stencil, or is that inadvisable? is there too big a risk of the paint pooling and/or the duvet shifting position?

  • Great project. I have been wanting to do something like this for a while. Thanks to your tips i think i can manage it now.

  • Yay! I love stencils, I begin all of my textile designs with them. Try double stick tape on the back of the stencil, its amazing and necessary! You can also buy stencil brushes which are short and round and hold more paint :)

  • I will have to control myself so that I don’t print on everything in my house after seeing this gorgeous project! A great reminder that some of the most inspired and beautiful things are made using basic, un-fussy, inexpensive techniques.

  • This is great, and what a wonderful idea to make the block from cardboard. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • I love the sophistication of this pattern plus color combination. You could get somewhat of a Susan Sargent look by using bright contrasting colors as well.

  • I was told that regular latex paint could actually be used like fabric paint. Does anyone know if this true and if you have done it what are your results? I have some latex paint that is exactly the shade I would want to use for a project like this, but I’m a bit nervous about trying it…

  • I am going to do this on a shower curtain. cheap white plain cloth ones cost $5 or less… great project!

  • What sort of paint or ink did you use? I want to block print clothes that I will wear frequently. They can be washed gently, but something quite permanent is what I’m looking for.

  • AWESOME, awesome idea. This is exactly what I needed!! Can’t wait to try it out on an office chair I’ve been wanting to reupholster. Thanks so much!!

  • I love this! I recently did some pillows with a hand-made stamp as well. I cut out craft foam and placed it on a plexiglass base. It worked great since you can see what you are stamping! Such fun!

  • Great idea!!! my mind can’t stop thinking on possibilities! thank you sooo much for sharing!!!

  • This is beautiful and I thank you for sharing your technique! I am going to try one too ~

  • been looking for a design for a duvet cover………..and here it is. Perfect for my room. thanks

  • Agree with Melissa. Wish more blogs were like yours! Thank you for the inspiration–your duvet is beautiful.