Silk Screened Pillow

Follow these step-by-step instructions for personalizing a leather pillow.


Materials and Tools:

leather (thin, smooth and not oily)
cutting mat
rotary cutter
sharp scissors
quick rivets
eyelet set
mink oil
rivet set
heavy-duty sewing machine
upholstery thread
silk-screen frame
silk screen
textile silk-screen ink
photo emulsion
hole punch
black clips
pillow form
soap and water
masking tape
heat gun
acetate photocopy of design




1. Prep the silk-screen frame by stretching the silk on to frame. Wash with soap and water and let it dry.



2. In a low-light area, squeegee a thin layer of photo emulsion onto the screen and let it dry in the dark.

3. Create a monochromatic artwork design and photocopy onto clear acetate. This can be only one color — black on white, no gray scaling.

4. Place the screen with dry photo emulsion flat, with the screen side up. Place the acetate artwork on top in the opposite direction from how you would read it.

5. Place a 300-watt light over the screen for about 20 to 30 minutes, with no other light source to interrupt it.

6. Wash out the screen in soap and water in an area with low light and let it dry.

7. For a 16-inch pillow prepare the leather by cutting:

  • 7½-by-17-inch center strip of light green leather
  • Two 1½-by-17-inch strips of blue leather
  • Two 6-by-17-inch strips of white leather for the front

Be sure to include ½-inch seam allowances on each strip. Cut two blue leather pieces, one 8½ by 17 inches and the other 12½ by 17 inches for the back.

8. Silk-screen the center light-green leather strip. Place masking tape around all four sides of the silk screen. Place the silk-screen frame down on the leather, centering the image. Place textile silk-screen ink along the top of the image and pull the ink evenly across the image with a squeegee.

9. Remove the screen and rinse the ink out of the screen.

10. Set the ink on the leather with a heat gun. Rub the entire leather piece gently with mink oil.

11. Arrange the leather strips according to the way they will be stitched together. Add the blue strips to each side of the center strip by placing them right sides together and clipping them with binder clips. Machine-stitch using a ¼-inch seam allowance.

12. Add the outside white strips by placing them on the outer edges of each blue strip, clipping them with binder clips and machine-stitching them with a ¼-inch seam allowance.

13. Cut the sewn leather strips into a square that’s ¾-inch larger than the pillow size.

14. In the back, use an eyelet punch to put one eyelet in each corner to allow the pillow to vent.

15. Place the pillow front right side up and place one of the back pieces right side down along the top edge. Place the other back piece on top of the pillow front along the bottom edge.

16. Clip the pillow together and sew, using a 3/8-inch seam allowance around the outside edges.

17. Turn the pillow right side out.

18. Insert a 16-inch pillow form through the opening in the back.

19. Cut a strip of blue leather for the back edge. Use quick rivets to fasten the leather strip to the back edge and hammer together.

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