Make a Stamped Pillow

Create a one-of-a-kind pillow with these step-by-step instructions.

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Materials and Tools:

100 lb. watercolor paper
linoleum cutter with various blades
rubber carving block
charcoal or carbon paper
2 to 4 yards of cotton fabric with matching thread
polyester filling
fabric inkpad or printmaking ink
brayer
sewing machine
computer and printer or copy machine
scissors
pen
permanent marker
pencil

Steps:

Making the Print

1. Create a drawing or sketch for the print.

2. Make a copy of the drawing on a copy machine.

3. Reverse the image using a computer software program or a copy machine. When the image is transferred to the linoleum block, it will be the reverse. Remember this if you're including any text.

4. Transfer the image onto the linoleum block using carbon paper or a charcoal rub. Note: Rubber base material is easier to cut than traditional linoleum.

5. Outline the transferred drawing with a standard ballpoint pen. Outline the drawing with lines thick enough that you have room to cut around.

6. Decide whether to use the negative or positive space for the image. (When you cut out the negative space, you don't cut on the lines, just around them.)

7. Practice using linoleum tools in a large area. The tools are extremely easy to use; just make sure you're comfortable with them before cutting out any detailed areas.

8. Vary the size of the points to give the drawing dimension. Tip: Don't overdo it. A traditional linoleum print has texture, lines, and dimension.

9. Test the print on 100- to 140-pound watercolor paper. Ink the stamp with either a fabric-base ink pad or traditional printmaking ink with a brayer. Either is fine to use¾just make sure it can be used on fabrics. Note: Do not use fabric paint.

10. Flip the block over onto the paper, being careful not to move the image once it's on the paper. Begin with one color ink.

11. Press firmly all around the print. Carefully lift one corner of the block to check the print. If the image is too light, add more ink or press harder.

12. Review the drawing to determine if there are any changes or updates to make. Remember, you can always take more away but you can never add. The print should look as if you hand-carved it.

Printing on Fabric

1. Choose 100 percent cotton base fabric in any color. A quilter's cotton fabric has an especially smooth texture.

2. Wash the material in cold water and iron. Do not use fabric softener or starch.

3. Make a test print on a swatch of fabric to test the ink color and texture. This will give you a feel for printing on fabric and determine how hard you will need to press.

4. Choose a section of fabric for the print. Note: Do not cut the fabric; you want to print on it before cutting it for the pillow.

5. Ink the stamp and press into the fabric on a hard surface.

6. Pull up a small corner of the stamp to see if the image transferred. If you're satisfied, lift the stamp carefully.

Making the Pillow

1. Carefully measure the image, fold the fabric in two and cut a half-inch around the border, leaving enough room to sew.

2. Make sure you have two pieces of fabric for the top and bottom of the pillow.

3. Put the right sides together and stitch using a half-inch seam allowance around the outside of the pillow and leaving about a 1-inch to 1½-inch opening at the end for turning and stuffing.

4. Turn the pillow right side out and stuff with polyester filling. Hand-sew the opening closed.

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