Shop Etsy

Make Handpainted Pillows

Sep 2, 2014

by Mandy Pellegrin handmade and vintage goods

Mandy Pellegrin is an avid DIYer. She documents her crafty projects on Fabric Paper Glue and brings fun crafting experiences to the fine folks of Nashville as half of local business Craftcourse. When she’s not blogging or throwing craft parties, you’ll find her doing health policy research (i.e. her “day job”), fixing up the 1935 home that she shares with her husband Michael and cat Pete, or just looking for a good time with friends.

I’ve always had a serious weakness for beautifully designed fabric. Lately I’ve found white cotton canvas to be — well, literally a blank canvas for creating my own patterns and designs in any color or pattern I want. This project shows you how to put beginner level sewing skills to use to create your own envelope pillow covers donning two simple fabric-painting techniques: quick freehand painting and super easy custom stamping.

The freehand painted pillow can be completed in less than an hour, while the stamping technique may set you back about two-and-a-half hours of primarily easy repetition. This project will create two 18” x 18” pillows. Adjust the measurements accordingly for other sized pillows.


You will need:
Two 22” x 54” strips of white cotton canvas fabric
Multi-surface or fabric craft paints in black, teal, bright pink, yellow, and dusty pink
Paint brushes
Adhesive-backed craft foam
Blank wooden circles
White thread
Sewing Machine
Ruler or Measuring Tape


Step 1: Use wide, flat brushes to create a brushstroke pattern. I painted quick, imperfect Vs around a center point to create bursts. Begin with quite a bit of paint on the brush, painting until the brush is nearly dry. Don’t overthink it – messy can be good for this technique.


For a little contrast to the messiness of the bursts, I added in circles of black dots by creating a ring of dots with a pointed-tip paintbrush and then filling more dots in.


Step 2: Make custom stamps by cutting out shapes of your choosing from the adhesive-backed foam. I made five different irregular circle shapes – one for each of my paint colors. Remove the paper backing and stick to a blank wooden circle.


Step 3: Apply paint to a stamp using a paintbrush and stamp onto the fabric. I created a grid pattern with my irregular circles, using the edge of the wooden circles as a guide to evenly space my stamps. Put on your favorite TV series because, while this may be super easy, it can be a little time consuming.


Step 4: Once the paint has dried, trim each fabric strip down to 19” x 46.”


Step 5: Fold ½” of fabric over twice on each of the 19” edges, then press into place with a hot iron.


Step 6: Sew each of the folded ends about ¼” from the edge.


Step 7: Fold each of the sewn ends towards the center with painted side of the fabric facing inward so that each end is overlapping by 8” and the total pillow cover is just less than 18” wide. Press and pin into place.


Step 8: Sew the top and bottom edges into place about ½” from the edge. Finish the seams with a zig-zag stitch, serger, or pinking sheers (optional).


Step 9: Turn right side out, press, and finish with an 18” x 18” pillow insert.


All photographs by Fabric Paper Glue.



Paint Brush Set for watercolor, acrylic and tempera paints set of 5  White Taklon nylon synthetic paintbrushes - excellent value
Paint Brush Set for watercolor, acrylic and tempera paints set of 5 White Taklon nylon synthetic paintbrushes - excellent value
50 - 1 1/4" Unfinished Wood Circles - 1 1/4 Inch - 3 cm - Wooden Discs for Crafting
50 - 1 1/4" Unfinished Wood Circles - 1 1/4 Inch - 3 cm - Wooden Discs for Crafting


Sign in to add your own