Yesterday I showed you the pillow I made for my porch. Originally I wanted to make this as a Valentine's Day decoration, but now I think I'll keep it out long after February 14.
The pillow cost me no money and just a little time, so I want to share with you the technique for making it. Believe me, if I can make it, you can make it. I have a tiny amount of artistic ability and a great amount of desire to make pretty things for my home. If you share that desire, you can make things, too! Here's how.
- Choose a pillow size. I used a pillow form that I had on hand; for it I needed a 17" square case.
- Choose your fabric. I used a piece of dropcloth which I'd washed, dried, and pressed. Here's a confession: I've only ever purchased one canvas dropcloth and just cut pieces as I needed them. There's a lot of fabric in a dropcloth! You could use muslin, cotton duck, tight-weave linen, poplin--just about anything. I recommend using inexpensive fabric so that you won't worry about messing up.
- Cut your fabric. To minimize sewing, I cut one piece of fabric and folded it over. For a 17" finished size, I cut my fabric 19" wide (17" plus 1" seam allowance on both sides) x 36" long (17" long finished size plus 1" seam allowance for the bottom.
- Select a sentiment. Mine is a direct quotation from I Corinthians 13. (By the way, if you're like me and love the King James Version of the Bible, you might enjoy the New King James Version. It's pretty much the 1611 version with some updates (especially pronouns and verb forms). It retains the beautiful, comforting "feel" of the KJV but is a bit easier to read and understand--and to inscribe upon a pillow.)
- Decide upon spacing. After seeing my final product, I wish I'd placed the verse a little higher on the pillow. Oh, well.
- Use a ruler or straightedge to draw guidelines. You can use a special pen with disappearing ink that's made specifically for this purpose, or do as I did and simply make lines with a pencil and later erase them. Use whatever you have, but don't skip the lines.
- Now use a black Sharpie or other marker and start writing. I'm not an artist (obviously), but I have pretty good handwriting, I can print well, and I can do very basic calligraphy. I know nothing about graphic design, but I like the look of combined typefaces, so I tried to achieve that look. Here's the secret: don't try to paint the words. Just use a Sharpie and write on the fabric as if you were writing on paper. It's a good idea to write your sentiment on paper first, then write on your fabric. If you like, you can type out your sentiment, change the font styles and sizes, print them out, trace the outlines onto fabric using carbon paper, and then color in the letters with your Sharpie. Use whatever method works best for you, but do remember Nester's admonition: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. I did my writing freehand, knowing that if I messed up I could quickly and easily just cut out another panel of dropcloth and start over. Oh, the freedom of using inexpensive materials!
- Once you have your lettering in place, step back and take a look at your canvas. If you like, you can snap a quick photo and then look at the photo on your computer--that will help you see if you need to add a little ink here or there. When you're satisfied with the writing, erase your pencil marks or wash away your ink marks.
- Now sew or glue your pillowcase. Since I'd cut one long piece, I folded the fabric over right sides together, stitched the side seams, then stitched the bottom partially closed. If you don't sew, you could use Stitch Witchery, fabric glue, or even a glue gun to create your seams.
- Turn your pillowcase inside out and use a long, skinny tool to make sure the corners are turned out neatly. I used a chopstick for this; you could use a knitting needle, a pair of scissors, a skewer, etc. Just be sure not to poke a hole in your fabric. Press pillowcase if necessary.
- Stuff pillow with your pillow form or with loose pillow filling (down, polyfil, fabric scraps, etc.).
Here's my pillow on my screened porch, where it'll stay for awhile. If it gets dirty, I'll just throw it in the washer. Because the lettering is done with a Sharpie, it'll be easy to touch up if need be.
I'm sharing this post at these parties:
- Tutorial Tuesday at Home Stories A to Z
- Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
- Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage
- Open House at No Minimalist Here
- Inspiration Friday, At the Picket Fence