DIYdiy projects

diy project: kate’s custom pillows

by Grace Bonney

i was helping a friend redecorate her apartment recently and it required an extensive online (and on foot) shopping trip for pretty home textiles on a very tight budget. as it turns out there are some achingly beautiful linens, pillows, and bedspreads out there, but the prices are still restrictive for a lot of us. so i decided to dedicate the august diy theme to customizing (aka beautifying) very inexpensive textiles. the first project is a way to take pillow covers from their rather plain natural state to one of a kind treasures. using a little leftover felt i created a soft sculptural blossom pillow, and with some tape and a tube of fabric paint i made an abstract graphic rose pattern on a printed pillowcase. these are both washable, cost less than ten dollars each, and were made in under 30 minutes. have fun!! –kate

CLICK HERE for the full project instructions after the jump!


for sculptural pillow:
1. pillowcase (any size, and color, and fabric)
2. felt ( 1/2 yard)
3. scissors
4. pin backing (you can buy these at craft stores in small packages. you can use can use safety pins, but the pin backings with sew-on holes are better)
5. needle and thread

for the painted pillow:

1. pillowcase (any size, any color or print, preferably cotton fabric)
2. fabric paint (any color)
3. small foam roller and a paper plate
4. strong masking tape (not blue painters tape. use the tan painters tape or stronger. you could also use duct tape if you like the way it looks)
5. scrap newspaper


for the sculptural pillow:

1. cut out a 12″ square of felt and fold it in half.
2. cut out a single petal shape through both layers of felt with the fold at the base of the petal. when you unfold the piece it will be two identical petals connected by their bases.
3. continue cutting out petals this size until you have about 6. cut four smaller size petals from another piece of felt folded in half.


4. lay out you petals in the shape you want.
5. thread the needle and stitch through the center of your stack of petals from the bottom to the top and back down again. do this for several more stitches to secure all the petals in the stack.
6. with the needle on the bottom side of the petals, flip the blossom over and pinch the base to squeeze the petals together. stitch the pinch tightly so the petals scrunch next to each other. this will give the blossom more depth. when you are satisfied, knot the thread and cut. sew a pin backing on the base of the blossom. now you have a blossom brooch for your pillow! you can pin this anywhere you like on the pillow and remove it when you need to wash the cover.
7. repeat steps 1 through 6 with varied sizes of petals to create different sized blossoms, and pin them in a pretty composition on your pillowcase.

note: if you want to sew your blossoms directly to your pillow you can do this. it will allow the blossoms to be more flat on the surface, but will also require you to spot clean and hand wash the pillow since the felt is delicate.

for the painted pillow:

1. follow instructions on your fabric paint for prepping the fabric surface. this may include pre-washing the fabric.
2. lay out your pillow case on a table. slide some newspaper into the interior of the pillow but ensure it still lies flat.
3. using your tape, “draw” your pattern on the front of your pillowcase. this is a very easy process, since you can remove anything you don’t like and try again. you can bend the tape and crease it, just press down all the flat parts so all sticky parts of the tape that are exposed are sticking to the pillow surface. this is an abstract pattern, so imperfection is the key to success.
4. go over all the tape with your fingers and press down to make sure it is sticking as tightly as possible to the pillow.


5. pour your fabric paint onto a paper plate and roll your foam roller through until it is evenly coated with a layer of paint.
6. roll you roller over your pattern, making sure you to cover all the exposed fabric. go over the tape to make sure you are getting the fabric right against the edge of the tape design.
7. allow to dry.
8. peel off tape.
9. if you wish to do both sides, repeat steps 2 through 8 on the other side.
10. follow instructions for setting the design as directed by your brand of fabric paint.



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