|

How to Personalize a Pillow, Dishtowel and More…

Personalize a pillow, dishtowels, and create fabric art easily with the assistance of your computer, printer, craft paint and this “old-school” image transfer method.

Last week I showed you how I added a little personality to the “hallway-of-darkness” by adding hand-painted signs to the doors. If you read the post then you know that I am no artist and to create the signs I used my computer and printer to assist me in making the signs look like French enamel. Without these tools, I would have had a hard time making the signs.

Today I want to share with you that the same process I used to paint the signs can also be used on fabric.  Yes fabric, just think of all the items you could personalize not only for yourself but with the gift-giving season not too far away you could make personalized gifts by painting words, sayings, monograms, initials, or a child’s name on just about anything made of fabric. Pillows are fun, but you could personalize dishtowels, napkins, aprons….and more.

How to personalize a pillow. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own Be our guest pillow

Back in June I posted about the makeover of my guest room.  For the bed, I made a lumbar pillow with pom-pom trim and the words… Be Our Guest.

Grandin-Road-catalog Be-Our-Guest-Pillow

I can’t take credit for the idea, only how to make a knock-off of it.  :-)  I originally saw the pillow in the above photo over on Grandin Road and loved it. I knew I had to make one for myself.  I had all the supplies in my craft stash and went in search of a font that looked close to the one on the pillow.

If you don’t have any decorative or pretty fonts on your computer yet, you can get hundreds for free. You can find out how in this post: How to Find and Download Free Fonts.  I use Photoshop Elements to enlarge the fonts to the size I need, but you can also do this in any photo-editing software or Microsoft Word.

How to Create Large Lettering in Microsoft Word:

  • Open a new blank document.
  • Type out the words you want. If you have a saying, create a new blank document for each word.
  • Highlight the word(s) with the cursor to change the font and type size to make them as large as you need for the size of your project.
  • Print out on sheets of printer paper

If you have never done this, you may have to play around a little until you get the size lettering you want for your project.  For my pillow and the words Be Our Guest, I made a document/file for each word. This way I could make each word very large to fill a piece of printer paper. If your words need to be larger than a piece of printer paper, you can print out sections of letters super large and then tape the printed paper and parts of the letters together with tape.

Grandin Road Knock off Be Our Guest pillow

I used white cotton duck fabric yardage and my sewing machine to make the pillow, but if you do not sew, you can buy ready-made pillow covers with zippers, here  as well at places like Hobby Lobby.  Craft stores sell plain t-shirts, aprons, canvases and more that require no sewing skills.

How To Make a Personalized Pillow Using Fabric, Your Computer and Craft Paint

How to Personalize a Pillow, Dishtowel and More with paint.

supplies needed:

  •  2 – 14″ x 30″ pieces of fabric
  • Thread
  • Craft paint – Gloss Grey  I didn’t have grey paint, but mixed white and black paint I had on hand to make grey paint.
  • Fabric medium –  sold in the paint section in craft stores
  • Fine tapered-tipped paint brush
  • Small mixing bowl and spoon or craft stick
  • Computer printed sheets with words, sayings, or initials
  • Painter’s tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Optional: Fine-tipped Sharpie in same color as paint
  • Pom-poms and large eye-needle

I used the font: Introblues for the words, Be Our Guest. It is not a free font, but one that I paid for. I did tweak the font a little and have included a free printable of each of the words with my changes for you to print out and use.

Download words:  Be | Our | Guest

How to make and Personalize a Pillow

    1. Sew two pieces of fabric together with right sides in to make the pillow cover. Leave an 8″ opening along bottom seam so you can later stuff in batting.  Place a piece of cardboard inside. This is needed to protect paint from getting on bottom layer of fabric. Set aside.

2. Create the words, initials or saying you want on your computer and print out to the size you need.

How to transfer an image using a pencil and window

3. There are many ways to transfer a printed image to another surface. When transferring words or images to wood, I use transfer paper, but that can smudge on fabric, so instead I go “old-school” and use the “window transfer method”. To do this, tape the printouts together so they are spaced correctly to fit your pillow or project.  Tape the printout on a window so the printed part of the paper is facing the window.

How to transfer a printed image to fabric

4. The light coming through the window allows you to easily see the outline of the words or image. Using a pencil, trace the outline of the words using steady pressure.  Once traced, remove printout from window.

How to transfer an decorative image to fabric so you can paint it on the fabric

5. Center the printout, face-up over the pillow cover or project. Use a ruler if necessary to make sure you have it centered. Use painter’s tape to secure the paper to the fabric.  Once secure, trace over the outline of each word. The pressure will transfer the graphite from the tracing you created on the back side of the paper. Carefully pick up one end of the printout to make sure the graphite is transferring to the fabric, if not simply apply more pressure with the pencil as you trace over the letters.
How to Personalize a Pillow, Dishtowel and More...

6. When paper is removed you should see the outline on the fabric.

How to paint words, quotes and sayings on fabric

7. This step is optional, but I like to use a fine-tipped Sharpie to outline each word before painting. It helps me to stay in the lines when painting. If using a paint color other than black or grey, match the Sharpie color to your paint color.

How to paint words, quotes and sayings on fabric

8. When painting on fabric, you need to add fabric medium to the paint. Follow the directions on the bottle’s label for how much to use. Mix it well into the paint. Begin to fill in each word with the paint/fabric medium mixture. Let dry. If needed, go back and touch up and let dry.

How to stuff a pillow cover with batting

9. Once paint is dry, stuff the pillow cover with batting.

How to sew a pillow cover by hand

10. Sew up the seam. How to attach a pom-pom to a pillow

11. I made 12 yarn pom-poms for my pillow.  To learn how to make one, go here: How to Make a Pom-Pom. I used a large needle to insert one end of pom-pom tie to the pillow cover…

How to attach a pom-pom to a pillow

…and tied it on using a square knot.

How to Personalize a Pillow, Dishtowel and More. Be Our Guest lumbar pillow

All done!  A fun way to add your personality and style to your home or to give as gifts to all your family and friends.

This DIY tutorial will give you step-by-step instructions to making the most adorable (and custom!) quote pillows around! Choose your quote, print it and then use a sharpie or paint on any type of plain pillow cover. Add some pom-poms and you have one unique and adorable pillow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

29 Comments

  1. Brilliant way to DIY a personalized, classy pillow! To find very inexpensive, zippered plain pillow coverings go to Shein’s site and search for “toss pillow cases” — you will be amazed as page after page of pillow coverings appear — for $3.00 each! There are also some lumbar pillow cases for a little more. I ordered two plain standard-sized toss pillow forms from Amazon and then ordered cases for every holiday and season of the year. The cases come in a zippered plastic bag that makes them store flat and take up very little room. I change out the covers every few weeks for a new look. Now I am inspired by your article to order some plain cases and “monogram” them with paint for my grandsons’ beds!

    1. Hi Dianne – It sounds like you are a decorative pillow pro. Thank you for sharing the Shein resource. I will check it out. Also so smart to use covers and so you don’t have to store pillows when they are not in season. :-)

  2. I love that pillow!! I also love your instructions. They are clear, concise, and so easy to follow. I have wanted to personalize pillows, dish towels, etc, for a while, and have used stencils, but I love this method so much more! I am not artistically talented, so I approach lettering with paint with trepidation. I think you have just given me a tool to combat that and I thank you!

    The panels behind the bed….are they wood or canvas? I’m thinking of doing something similar in my daughter’s apartment behind her sofa. She has a lot of wall to fill.

  3. Great, thanks for sharing. I’ll try to apply it to plain white Turkish tea and guest towels. I think it will be easy to apply because the Turkish towel is napless and smooth.

  4. You are amazing and love this pillow thank you for showing us how to and sharing with us

  5. Your pillow is adorable – full of whimsy! Now I have the urge to replicate your beautiful pillow! Thanks!!!!

  6. Your pillow designs are such a great look and if any festival we can decorated with this type to our home.

  7. The pillow looks stunning! You have great ideas, the whole room looks really comfortable and bright.

  8. You realize your pillow is actually way cuter than the Grandin Road one! I just saw it in my last sales mag.

  9. Cute pillow. As a former typographer, I’m all about fonts…and finding ways to incorporate them into decor. :) You could also paint prior to seaming, thereby eliminating the need to protect the back. Also helpful to do the poly fill in separate insert so that, if for some reason you need to clean or change the cover, the inner piece remains intact and can be slid in/out fairly easily. Blind stitch a short end for access.

    1. Hi Cam – Your tips are great… thank you so much for sharing them. I am not the best sewer. Straight lines are about all I can manage. To be safe I wanted to make sure I got the wording centered so I made the pillow first, but painting the letters first would save a step. :-)

  10. Love your quilt and sheets too. Where do you find them? This is certainly an inviting guest room.

  11. You must a long list of guests waiting to use your beautiful guest room! Thank you for the photos.

    1. Hi Laura – When I saw it in the Grandin Road catalog, I knew I could make it and make it more to my style by adding the pom-poms. Where are you going to be for Eclipse watching?