Screen Print Paint and Tape= Gorgeous Pillows!

I have been obsessed the last few months with all of the various styles of geometric patterned pillows that have been showing up in all of my favorite stores. My favorite out of all of them are the ones by designer Trina Turk available at Neiman Marcus and Layla Grayce. Take a look:

I have had many dreams about Trina’s Palm Spring Block pillow:

I would have just splurged and bought the Palm Springs pillow because it’s so amazing, but none of the colors offered would work in my décor. So, I had to take matters into my own hands and simply make my own fabulous pillows in the exact color and pattern that I wanted!

I have worked a lot with screen printing paints (available at all craft stores). It’s the most amazing medium out there because it has something in the paint that will not bleed in fabric. In other words, it stays exactly where you paint it on. Also, screen print paint is more like an ink rather than paint, so there is no transparency or variation in color (unlike fabric paint) and it becomes solid color, no varying shades. The best thing of all, when the screen print paint dries, it is just like fabric and doesn’t look “painted” on. Take a look to see what I mean:

It was a happy day in my house when I woke up one morning and just started to place tape on fabric in my favorite Trina Turk Palm Spring pattern. I felt pretty good that the screen printing paint wouldn’t bleed after I brushed it on and over the tape but lifting up the tape and seeing it with my own eyes made me gasp! It worked!! I did the “it worked” crafty joy dance in my kitchen (please tell me I’m not the only one who does the crafty joy dance). I knew a new obsession had just been born (hubby rolls eyes)! Pillow mania has begun!

If your interested in doing this easy project, the detailed instructions are below. If you do not sew, don’t let that stop you! Think about doing a no-sew pillow or pick up a light colored pillow cover. Also, consider measuring out your fabric (I like 18.5 x 18.5 pillows) and then follow the instructions below and take your fabric (and filling) to someone who does sew!

This project doesn’t take as much time as it may look! I taped and painted the Palm Spring pillow which is a very basic pattern (red/orange pillow) in about an hour!

Here are the instructions below:


1) This project will work on any fabric except silk. I used canvas twill on two of my pillows and linen on another. Measure out the size that you want for your pillow and cut.

2) Fold your fabric in half keeping (front and back of pillow) and slide poster board or thicker paper in between the top and bottom just in case the paint goes through the back of the fabric.

3) Pull your fabric tight and tape down to the poster board and counter. It is critical that the fabric be completely tight and flat:

4) Decide on what width tape you’re going to use for your pattern. Not all tapes are created equal! The best tape to use is Scotch 3M. I used another brand just to see and the tape did not adhere to the fabric as well as the Scotch 3M and I did not have clean lines. I used Scotch 3M tape that was about 3/4 an inch wide for my patterns.

5) Decide on what pattern you want to use by looking at your favorite geometric pillows and fabrics online. You can sort of guess measurements in your patterns by looking closely and figuring out distances for squares, rectangles, etc… You can always draw out your pattern on paper first and figure out measurements.

6) Begin taping your pattern. As you go along, cut your tape as straight as you can and for corners, line up your new piece of tape exactly on top of where your last piece of tape ended. It’s kind of tedious but once you get into it, you’ll be able to lift your tape up and cut right at the same line:

7) As you tape a line, run your finger down the line to make sure the tape is attached. When you are completely done taping your pattern, take a credit card and gently press down over my tape at least 2-3 times as extra precaution. It is very important to make sure that your tape is attached:

8) I have only used Simply Screen Screen Print paint and cannot speak about any other paints. I buy Simply Screen found in the fabric paint section at Hobby Lobby. Simply Screen offers about 12 different standard colors and I mix colors together to get my desired color.

Mixing Simply Screen paints together is like mixing jello but eventually, you get the right texture. If you are mixing colors, remember to give yourself ample paint because you don’t want to run out of a custom mix. Also, the paint dries about 1/2 shade darker than the paint looks wet! (you can test it on fabric and dry it with a hair dryer just to be sure)

9) I tested several different paint brushes and determined that the type of brush used is very important. A foam brush does not work as well as a water color type brush:

Begin painting on your screen print paint to your fabric. You don’t want to slop too much paint on but you want your brush pretty wet and your fabric wet as well, kind of like buttering a piece of toast. Go up and down and then left and right over each area. You will see what I mean as you begin painting, it’s more like ink. Also, as your paint begins drying, you will notice that you may have to go back over an area again, look real closely. Try and spend as little time as possible along the tape lines. I always started brushing my paint away from the lines first. Wow, I sound like a craft drill sergeant!

10) After your done painting your fabric, do not give into the temptation of trying to remove the wet tape. Give your fabric some time to dry just a tad (1/2 hour) and then pull the tape off of your counter (not your fabric tape pattern) and lift up your fabric from the poster board to see better what spots may need a little extra paint. It’s hard to tell exactly until you lift up and away from the poster board. Don’t worry, unlike regular paint, you can always add the screen print paint in a small area after the paint has begin drying without seeing a line

11) Screen printing paint takes a very long time to dry! Like 12 hours! However, if you put a fan on your fabric, the wetness on the tape will dry after about 2 and you can then carefully begin removing your tape if your like me and cannot wait 12 hours to see your fabulous results and do the “it worked” crafty dance!

12) Screen printing paint also has to be heat set after 24 hours of drying. Just use a pressing cloth over your pattern and an iron (hottest setting) with no steam and iron the pattern real good.

There are so many fun possibilities with this project! I’m in the process of trying some new patterns and fabrics, so I post pictures when they are ready. If you decide to do this project, I would love to see pictures of your finished project! Please feel free to email me if you have any questions and as always, thank you so much for your sweet comments, emails and notes! I just love hearing from you.

Have a great week friends!

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65 Responses to Screen Print Paint and Tape= Gorgeous Pillows!

  1. WobiSobi says:

    OH my G these are so beautiful. I had to read it again because WOW the look so good and you did that. Awesome job Cyndy.. As with everything you so I am so inspired.

  2. Zegi says:

    I thought the crafty joy dance was a requirement! To think all this time it has been optional. Beautiful work, awesome idea! Thanks!

  3. These are beautiful!! Love them! I had to share on my FB page!!

  4. Sara Pierce says:

    These look fantastic! Definitely going to give it a try!

  5. Karen says:

    That is awesome & those are sweet!

  6. feelincrafty says:

    I totally know the "it worked" crafty joy dance! How Funny! And the pillows look great!

  7. I have spent my day making tons of these pillows in my head. I have 50 designs for each of the rooms…lol. However, I have never used this type of paint, how do you think it will hold up with freehanding a design, rather than using the tape? From you description it sounds like it should be ok.

  8. Judy says:

    Those are so great. I never heard of that type of paint but I am definitely going out and getting me some. Thanks so much for sharing at my Swing into Spring party.

  9. Mel says:

    Well done! They look marvelous. I've been eyeing the Trina Turk cushion for a while.

    I may give it a go with freezer paper and my cricut to cut it out. Thanks for the inspriation.

  10. WoW!! Very cool. RED paint on WHITE fabric and a clean tape line with no bleeds!?!?! That is amazing…love it! I'm gonna try that tape. Thanks!

  11. Thank you for sharing this, I have been wanting to try my hand at using screen printing paint but have held back. This gives me the gumption to jump right in and get starting with it. Thanks again!

  12. I am so glad you came up with this! I love your pillows and I would love to try it!

  13. aggieam01 says:

    Wow! Incredible. They are gorgeous 🙂

  14. MiriamR says:

    This is fantastic! THanks for sharing!! I have the same question about the freehand I think it should work though.

  15. I am very impressed. You did a great job not only with the actual planning and painting, but with writing up and photographing the process for the rest of us, so that now we're not afraid to make our own designs. Thank you, thank you.

  16. You make that look so easy! Im following you!
    I would LOVE to have you link up to my Whassup Wednesday Par-Tay! And I have a party button you can grab and put on your blog so your friends can come too:)

    If you are NOT already a Follower of Elements Interiors….HELLEEERRRR!

    Click that Google Follow button and YOU will be ENTERED in my

    "Its a SURPRISE!" GIVEAWAY to be announced EVERY MONDAY! Yeppers! You read it right,

    a Winner EVERY MONDAY!!! With GREAT Goodies you wont want to miss!!

    Hope to see ya at Whassup Wednesday!!!



  17. these are BEAUTIFUL!!! what a wonderful idea!!

    I'd love for you to link this up to my link party, Your Whims Wednesday!

  18. Netty says:

    I *HEART* you!!!! I have been wanting pillows like those SOOOO bad, but could not afford them 🙁

    I'm so excited to try your method! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  19. wyochats says:

    I have always wanted to try this, thanks!!!

  20. Amber says:

    This are great! I've had my eye on some pillows at West Elm but may have to try making some instead.

  21. Deb says:

    So glad I found you…love love the pillows and it seems easy enough! Thanks for sharing such great ideas on your blog, I am a new follower!

  22. Gorgeous!!! I can't wait to try this myself. You have given me an entirely new avenue for my product line as well. Simple Stencils would take this one step further by allowing you to add your own words, family monogram or name or even some of our embellishments to your pillows using our removable adhesives rather than tape! I can't wait to try it and please let me know if you would be interested in giving it a shot as well.. I would be happy to send you something from my site to see it how it turns out for you with this type of application! Thanks for the great info! You can find all the options available at my webiste or even design your own lettering for your pillows at ~what a great gift this would be for my mother!

  23. Brandy J. says:

    These pillows look AMAZING! I am totally inspired right now.

  24. Chiara says:

    I am in LOVE with these pillows! They look so expensive and professional! Thank you for sharing this fun idea. I can't wait to try this . . .
    I featured your project on my Friday Favorites post over at Calico and Cupcakes. Feel free to grab a featured button if you would like. Have a beautiful weekend!

  25. WOW!!! I love these. Never heard of this paint but I will definitely be look for it during my next craft store run. You did an amazing job and they are soooo pretty.

  26. Rene' says:

    These are absolutely amazing!!

  27. Karen says:

    Wowza these are amazing. Thanks so much for sharing this. My old noggin is in overdrive now. The crafty happy is required isn't it. LOL

  28. These are absolutely AMAZING!! I haven't tried fabric painting since it was all the rage in the late 80s early 90s, and I remember how stiff it would make the fabric. I've never even looked at what products are available since then, and had no idea that they sold screen printing paint in the craft stores!! Now I want to rush out a buy some and make my own pillows!!!

    I hope you'll link up to the Sunday link party over at Addicted 2 Decorating!

  29. These turned out amazing! I too am obsessed with these prints and just sewed some pillows out of fabric I found. I did not even know about screen print paint! Thanks so much for sharing your project!

  30. I looooove this! I've also been admiring those expensive Trina Turk pillows but this is so much better!!!!

  31. wow such a great project!!! this makes me want to try this and use the pieces as wall hangings!!

  32. Oh my goodness. These are awesome. I couldn't picture them in my head when you were telling me about them. You are one talented lady. It was great meeting you!

  33. Amanda says:

    oh my gosh!! those are just amazing!!! I am sooo gonna try this! |t was nice meeting you Saturday-but I wish we had been able to chat more! Hopefully we can do it again soon!

  34. Judy says:

    Absolutely loved these pillows. I will be featuring them at my Swing into Spring party which opens tonight at 8pm EST. Please stop by and pick up your "I've Been Featured" button.

  35. Yup. Just like everyone else I'm going to try this ASAP! Thanks for sharing the tutorial with us all!


  36. emily says:

    These are fabulous! And such a great tutorial. I am not familiar with screen printing paint so this was great! It was so nice to meet you last weekend at the meet up!

  37. oh my gosh, that looks amazing! love those patterns!

  38. Wow this is incredible! Thank you for the tutorial. I am so excited, I have been wanting to make new patterned pillows, but didn't want it to appear painted. Great solution.

  39. oh my gosh! This looks phenomenal!!! I've never screenprinted, but I've wanted to, but I always thought you needed one of those fancy sceenprinters! This is totally on my to-do list now!!! THANKS SOOOOO MUCH FOR SHARING AND FOR THE WONDERFUL TUTORIAL!

  40. I am so going to have to try this! What a fabulous idea! Bookmarking it now 🙂

  41. Get out! They look fabulous AND like you paid boocko bucks for them!!

  42. Elle says:

    This is to die for!!!!! I must try this asap!!

  43. These look fabulous! I'm inspired.

  44. Evie says:

    Oh my goodness, I have been admiring the black and white Trina Turk pillows for so long but they are def. out of my price range! I am so going to have to try this! Great step by step, I know they are tedious to write but you did a great job!

  45. Holy Moly! I love this, the patterns are so great and just what I have been loving too!

    I would love to invite you to come to Remodelaholic and guest post about this project, if you are interested please let me know and I will get you all the details!


  46. Mimi says:

    Great job here! My oldest daughter is a HUGE Trina Turk fan I can't wait to show her this!
    Thanks for sharing – found you at thrifty Decor Chick 🙂

  47. Cynthia says:

    Love this tut!!! Will it work on faux silk? If not, are there any alternatives for this type of material?


  48. Your pillows are AMAZING!!! Thanks so much for sharing the "how to do"! Do you think that would work to paint an area rug??

    Thanks Jill
    I'm going to make pillows like that to go with the chairs I'm finishing.

  49. Laura says:

    love love this…Im starting this tommorrow!!

  50. Carrie says:

    Beautiful! Wow, I'm SO going to try that soon. I've been lusting after those pillows as well, who knew you could make them? Opens up a whole new world… thanks for sharing!

  51. You just inspired me to create my own fabric for the back of 2 chairs I'm about to reupholster: I didn't want to pay too much for the fabric but wanted something different and dramatic. Thanks for a great tutorial

  52. aimee says:

    i love this post you give great tutorials i cant wait to try it iv never used screen print paint before your pillows are amazing thanks for sharing xx

  53. Ela says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. Wow! I've been thinking to change my pillowcase. This is a great idea. Very modern!

  54. Becca says:

    What a fantastic tutorial! Love, love, loved it! Thanks for being so very detailed! That's exactly what I need and I can't wait to try this out! Awesome job, thanks for the inspiration!

  55. Angela Lynn says:

    I absolutely love these – they look great! Thanks for sharing!

  56. Heather says:

    very cool idea! i like how you created stencils out of tape. awesome!

  57. Lee says:

    These cushions are amazing, what a great idea and you make it look so easy. Thank you for sharing with us :).

  58. Thank you SO much for posting this! I just followed your instructions exactly and now have the most gorgeous and “custom” pillow for my bed. You made it look so easy, and I can’t wait to try out more patterns!

    I just plugged your blog on my site, showing the process:

    Thanks again!!!

  59. designfluff says:

    This is such an awesome tutorial! I can’t wait to try this!

  60. Abi Hunter says:

    Fab tutorial, i had a go this weekend and i’m so pleased with the result, thanks so much
    link to my attempt here

  61. Oh my goodness – ”the crafty joy dance” !!!!
    You had me on the floor at that point! I think the dog thought I was having some minor seizure – hilarious!
    Thank you for the great information and brilliant pictures – this is just exactly perfectly perfect for what I needed to know!!!

  62. Hey!

    Thank you, I’ve been in search for a better tape rather than the blue painters tape i’m currently using to paint on my shirts.

  63. Marjorie Hall says:

    Can you tell me which 3m scotch tape you used? there seems to be lots to choose from…… Thanks, M

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