Beautiful pillows are such fun – and so is a great stencil! For a long time I’ve seen lovely, gorgeous pillows all over the place…Pinterest, some of my favorite blogs, shelter magazines, you get the idea. The problem was when I did some searching in hopes of purchasing one of my own, I’d be sorely disappointed. While completely gorgeous, those pillows were WAY out of our tight budget. And so were the lovely custom stencils I found, too. For quite a while, I resigned myself to having to live with old, ugly, pillows – or naked couches. (gasp! The horror!)
How to DIY a Pillow with a Custom Stencil
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Once I realized how EASY it was to make my own custom pillow covers, my mind was filled with so many fun ways I could use this technique. Now, I have sewn my own pillow covers – and they’re not hard – but when I’m feeling lazy or pressed for time, I “cheat” and use one of these lovelies that I get from the much-beloved IKEA. These are a great size (20″x 20″!) for either couches or bedrooms. I’m very partial to the feather inserts for these covers because no matter how many times they get smashed, thrown, sat on, mauled or used in pillow fights (ahem) they always fluff right back up beautifully. Perfect for my boy-filled house! 🙂
So after following Allie’s technique for making stencils, I chose my paint color, stencil brush, and made sure I had scotch tape on hand to keep the stencil in place. I had also saved a piece of the cardboard that came inside IKEA curtains and it came in handy for this next step. ***Always make sure you have a piece of cardboard or something of similar thickness to prevent the stencil paint from seeping through to the other side.*** Not that stenciling is a heavy-application process, but still. You don’t want to get done with your great new design only to lift it up and see that paint has seeped through to the back of the cover.
The cast of characters for this stencil project:
- Your pillow cover (I use the one mentioned above but you could certainly make your own to save $)
- Your stencil that you either made or purchased
- Craft paint in your chosen color (lots of great options here)
- Stencil brush (like this one)
- Flat piece of cardboard
- Paper plate
Unzip your pillow cover and position your cardboard piece in the center of your cover (or wherever you’ll be applying your stencil).
Next, position your stencil right where you want it and tape into place. While seemingly insignificant, this is an important step – you don’t want your stencil scootching on your cover after you’ve started applying paint.
Quick note: Do you see what material I used for my stencil? It’s part of a subject divider for a three ring binder. This is what I used, per Allie’s suggestion in her tutorial. And let me tell you…you can get a LOT of stencils out of one inexpensive pack of subject dividers – (yay!)
AND I always use a very expensive piece of stenciling equipment here. It’s essential. I use….a paper plate. 😉
Squeeze a small amount of paint onto the plate and lightly dip your stencil brush into the paint, holding the brush straight up and down. Then, lightly tap-tap-tap the paint-loaded brush onto the plate a little, to evenly distribute the paint into the bristles. Starting on an outer edge of your stencil, just tap *straight up and down* – don’t ever use the brush in a sideways or angular motion – that’s how people end up with smudgey edges. All these very technical terms…”scootching” and “smudgey” – you get the idea. 🙂 Continue working to fill in all of your stencil, making sure to apply the paint as evenly as possible. And don’t worry if you need to go back and go over some areas again. That’s completely normal as some fabrics soak up more paint than others. No worries.
Once your stencil is filled in to your satisfaction, carefully remove the stencil and leave the cover laying flat to dry. Once dry to the touch – it won’t take long – you can take your cover and either 1) put it on your pillow insert and display immediately or 2) lay it somewhere out of sight of your darling children for a couple hours until you’re sure it’s fully dry…then put it on your pillow insert and display proudly for everyone to admire your fun new pillow.
Note: These stencils you make?? They can be used in SO MANY ways. On a canvas, a barnboard sign, a chalkboard (trace the outline for a fun and easy display), you could even do curtains with your stencil (depending on the design you chose)! The options really are endless… (yay!)
Completed Stencil Pillow
Here it is snuggled in my painted velvet chair…
And here it is on my favorite white IKEA sofa! (Yes, I have a white sofa – two, actually – with four boys and a dog in the family) Call me crazy, but I love them… 🙂 Oh! And see that cute “dashes” pillow there on the right? I show you how I made that one here.
You can use this technique for any design you like! Here’s a pillow I made for my brother and sister-in-law. They LOVED it (it’s a silhouette of the breed of their two dogs).
And when you get compliments on your fun new pillows? You can tell them how easy it is…and be proud of yourself, girl! Because you are Amazing. Don’t forget that, ok?
Can I take a moment and say something that I’ve not really touched on before? Whether you consider yourself a “real creative” or not…you have been given gifts and talents that only you have. ONLY YOU! And you wanna know my two cents worth? I truly believe – with all my heart – that each of us is creative in our own way. So celebrate who you are and embrace your strengths. I’m cheering you on!! <3
So tell me: how are YOU creative? I’d love to hear in the comments below! I truly enjoy hearing from you all. 🙂