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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