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.
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.
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.
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
- 2 – 14″ x 30″ pieces of fabric
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
6. When paper is removed you should see the outline on the 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.
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.
9. Once paint is dry, stuff the pillow cover with batting.
10. Sew up the seam.
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…
…and tied it on using a square knot.
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.