DIY a Custom-Stamped Geometric Pillow Cover

Bright, graphic throw pillows are a fast way to add color and pattern to a room. While these envelope-closure pillows are already easy to print and sew in an afternoon, you could make this project more quickly by purchasing blank pillow covers rather than sewing your own.

Excerpted From Stamp Stencil Paint by Anna Joyce. Published by STC Craft | An Imprint of Abrams. © 2015.

Modern Geometric Pillow

Modern Geometric Pillow

This geometric-printed pillow cover is easy to recreate using plain fabric and an easy, DIY stencil.

Photo by: Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Materials Needed

  • 2 moldable foam stamp blocks, each 3" by 4"
  • canvas drop cloth
  • utility knife with extra blades
  • Printable Geometric Template
  • scissors
  • self-healing cutting mat
  • ruler
  • all-surface acrylic paint in the colors of your choice
  • 1-1⁄2" brayer
  • 1 yard cotton fabric for the backing
  • 2 pillow inserts, 1 insert 16" x 26" and 1 insert 20" x 20"
  • sewing machine and related supplies, including matching thread
  • iron

Make Pillow Covers

Cut one 17" x 27" piece of prewashed linen and one 21" x 21" square of prewashed linen for each pillow front you plan to print. You also need a scrap for testng your stamps and paint.

Cut two 17" x 19" pieces of prewashed cotton for the back of the rectangular pillow and cut two 21" x 15" pieces of prewashed cotton for the square pillow. These will form the envelope closure.

Create Stamp 

Trace the Printable Geometric Template onto white paper and then cut out the trapezoidal shape. Tape the template on top of the foam block and use a pencil or the utility knife to trace around the edge, leaving an impression in the foam block. Remove the paper template and store it in your design folder to use for another project.

Use your utility knife to cut into the foam using a sawing motion, carefully following the marked line. Gently peel back the foam as you work and continue to saw through the remaining foam until it completely separates from the block. Carve a block for each color of paint you plan to use.

Try a Test Stamp

Before printing onto fabric, make a test print. Place a small pool of paint about the size of a silver dollar at the top of your mixing surface (like a sheet of acrylic or a piece of glass) and pick up a bit of paint with the roller. Move to a clean area on the surface and slowly roll your brayer back and forth, picking it up and setting it back down in between revolutions. This action will help distribute paint evenly over the surface of the brayer and keep it from simply sliding over the pigment. When you need more paint, pick up some more from the pool and repeat. When the entire surface of the brayer is uniformly covered with paint, roll the brayer across the surface of your stamp several times until it is evenly coated. 

Turn the stamp over and lower it slowly onto your test mate- rial; ideally this is a little bit of extra fabric or paper from your project. Apply even pressure to the entire surface of the stamp using the palm of your hand. Lift the stamp straight up and set it on your work surface, ink-side up. If the print is too light you may need to add more ink to your stamp or use more pressure when you are printing. On the other hand, if there is paint pooling inside or around the perimeter of your stamp you have too much paint or are applying too much pressure. If this hap- pens, rinse and dry your stamp and then continue test printing until you have even, consistent prints. 

Continue test printing as necessary until you have even, consistent prints. Stamps made from these foam blocks do not need a heavy hand. They are quite porous and will soak up pigment, so after a few test prints they deliver smooth, even results without having to apply too much pressure. 

Add the Pattern 

You will be working across the fabric from left to right for this project. Charge the stamp and begin printing at the upper left corner of the fabric, about 1" below the top edge, align- ing one straight side of the trapezoid with the top of the linen. Lift your stamp, reapply paint, and then print again next to the first stamp, letting the two prints just touch at the edges. Continue stamping across the linen in a row until you reach the edge of your fabric. 

For the next row of printing, rotate your stamp 180 degrees, turning the stamp upside down. Measure 1" down the fabric and print as you did for row 1. Continue stamping your pattern in this fashion, rotating the stamp 180 degrees after each row until the entire surface of the linen is covered in pattern.  

Allow the paint to dry completely and then heat-set following the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Complete the Project 

Finish one short edge on each of the back pieces for the rectangular pillow and finish one long edge on each of the back pieces for the square pillow: Fold in 1⁄2" and press, fold in another 1⁄2" and press again. Stitch each edge.

Place each back piece on the decorated front, right sides facing, aligning the unfinished edges; one back piece will overlap the other. Pin in place and stitch all the way around using a 1⁄2" seam allowance.

Turn each pillow right side out and give it a good pressing so it is flat and crisp. Open the envelope at the back of each pillow and place the pillow form inside.

Photo by: Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Next Up

Fabric Stamping 101: Tips for Custom Prints From Pattern Pro Anna Joyce

You don't need a degree in printmaking to create your own DIY fabric print, but it doesn't hurt to have advice from pattern pro Anna Joyce, author of the new book 'Stamp Stencil Paint.'


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