November 22, 2014

Decorate a Pillowcase with Stamps and Paint


I was in Michael's a while back and saw these great key stamps, and I somehow got it stuck in my head that I'd love a pillow covered in a pattern with those stamps, and maybe some C monograms.  And a bird cage, because why not?  I didn't know how I'd make it work, but that idea percolated in the back of my head and with time, I got to this point!  Turns out you can paint designs on fabric and they'll actually set and turn out really well.  Who knew?!  So let me walk you through how I got this lovely pillow. :)

  • 1/2 yard fabric (or more, depending on the size of the pillow you'll be covering).  Pro tip: check out the remnants bin at the fabric store.  I scored this super soft fabric for a fraction of the cost.
  • Craft paint
  • Rubber stamps
  • Paint brushes
  • 3/4" wide Bias tape- enough to trim all around your pillow (for this one it was ~48")
  • Cording- same length as your bias tape
  • Coordinating thread and sewing notions
  1. Pre-wash and iron fabric.  Lay out fabric on a covered work surface.  When you stamp and paint, it may bleed through the fabric.
  2. Dip rubber stamp in paint and stamp a couple times on a paper towel or rag to remove excess ink.  Stamp smoothly and evenly on pillowcase fabric, then lift gently.  Repeat.  I recommend you do a few stamps before dipping back in the paint, so you get variation in the stamped images.  With very bold graphic stamps, though, I think a pattern with saturated images could be really great, so just let your eye determine how much or little paint to stamp with.  I also alternated between dipping my stamp in the paint and using a paint brush to brush paint onto the stamp.  Don't ask me why- it just felt right. :)
  3. Use paint brushes to add accents such as my large bird cage, text, lines, dots, etc.  Let me be very clear that I am not an artist by any stretch, but that bird cage came out pretty decently, didn't it?  I always recommend googling some pictures or other artwork to use as a guide if you're feeling wary of this step, and know you're always your own worst critic.  The end result is going to be pretty great overall so don't sweat this part!
  4. Cover at least half of the pillowcase fabric with your stamp and painted pattern.  If you want the whole pillow case covered (for front and back), go for it!  Let paint dry completely.
  5. Lay out bias tape.  If you want to make your own like I did, I recommend this great tutorial on cutting it, sewing it, and even making piping.  I also like this blog post for attaching your pieces together.
  6. Place cording in the center of your bias tape, fold over bias tape, and sew the cording in place.  This makes great piping for your pillow!  Credit to crazy little projects for their piping tutorial. :)
  7. Cut fabric to size of your pillow form.  Lay one side of the pillow right side up and pin your piping along the edges (the piping will lay on the fabric, not extending past it).  Pin and sew the piping edge to edge to the pillowcase fabric.
  8. Lay the other half of your fabric right side down, pin in place, and sew along 3 of the 4 sides.
  9. Turn pillowcase right side out and poke out corners fully.  Insert pillow form and hand sew the final edge together.  Admire!
Getting started!  Fabric laid out on magazines, paint and stamps ready to go.  Never mind the spots on the fabric- they're still a little damp from ironing.

Stamped, painted, and waiting to dry.  So awesome!

I opted to try making my own bias tape.  It was surprisingly not so bad!  I used this great you tube tutorial to watch how it's done.  I don't know why but this British girl in her kitchen makes me happy.
Basically you just fold one corner of your fabric up to the other, making a triangle, and you cut a nice strip along the fold.  If you need additional length, you measure out and cut another strip parallel to the first.  Then connect.  Easy peasy!

Why didn't I nab a picture when I sewed the cording inside the bias tape?  Ah well.  Here we have the assembled piping pinned in place- loose edge lined up with the loose edge of my pillowcase fabric.  Note this is the "good" side of my fabric, just left plain for the back of the pillowcase.

Piping sewn in place, I then lay my decorated half of the fabric right side down on top.  Pin, then sew 3 of the 4 sides.

All sewn up.  Time to turn inside out, stuff in my pillow form, and sew it up!

Complete!  Ahhh, so satisfying. :)

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