Screen Printed No-Sew Throw Pillow

I love throw pillows.  Love, love, love them.  If I bought every one I saw that I liked, you wouldn’t be able to locate my furniture underneath a cushiony mountain.  Since I own more than I ever display at once and I end up cramming the extras into storage, my solution in recent years has been that wonderful invention called the pillow cover.  They take up a fraction of the space in my linen closet, and changing them is as easy as slipping on a different cover!

I have some pillow covers that I bought at Dollar Tree with the intention of dressing them up.  (I mean, for a buck, how can you go wrong?)  When I recently had a chance to try out Plaid’s new Simply Screen custom silkscreening kit, I knew that I wanted to use it on one of the pillow covers!  I ended up settling on a fleur de lis design, choosing a classic motif but with a modern twist.  I love the icon-like look that the blocky highlighting creates!

I made a video explaining the process of making the screens and using a multi-screen technique to get a two color design.  Check it out!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGb1gwiYYzs&w=420&h=315]

In case your connection isn’t video-friendly, here is a written step-by-step for the project as well.

You need:

  • Simply Screen kit & inks
  • Paper
  • Permanent black marker
  • Pillow cover or fabric
  • Cardboard
  • Repositionable spray adhesive
  • Old pillow, pillow form, or polyfill

To make your screens, first you need a design.  I chose some fleur de lis clip art that was perfect for what I wanted to do because it had well-defined areas of black and white.  You can print your artwork if you wish, but I chose to trace it instead.  (What can I say, I am a Sharpie junkie!)  First I traced around the entire design and filled it in with a black marker, then I made a second tracing of just the highlight areas and filled it in as well.

Making your screens with the Simply Screen kit is super easy; no need to make transparencies or to reverse designs like with traditional screen-making methods.  You just place your artwork face-down on an unexposed screen and put it in the bottom of the box.  Now, it is of the utmost importance that the artwork and the screen stay in direct contact with each other during the developing process, so take every possible measure!  Squeegee the artwork to the screen and tape down the edges so they don’t curl.  Plaid also suggested placing the glass from a picture frame on top of the artwork in the box to evenly weight it down while still letting all of the light pass through, and it’s the absolute best tip I received in my trials with this kit!

Once the artwork and screen are secured together, close up the box and flip on the light.  Wait 25 minutes, then remove the screen from the box, soak it for about 30 seconds, and gently but firmly scrub the screen with a sponge.  Your image will appear before your eyes!  (For the best results, flip the screen frequently, scrubbing the design from both sides.)  Repeat the process to make your second screen.

To keep the fabric from slipping and sliding while you’re applying the design, cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside the pillow cover.  Spray both sides with repositionable spray adhesive, then slide it carefully into the cover.  Make sure the fabric lays smoothly over the cardboard on both sides of the cover.

Center the design on your pillow cover and use a piece of masking tape across the top edge of the screen to hold it in place.  Apply a bead of ink across the top of the screen, then use the squeegee at a 45 degree angle to drag the ink across the screen.  Carefully remove the screen, then allow the in to dry before moving on.

Line up the second screen over the design.  The screens are translucent so you should be able to see the design through it.  Again, tape the screen in place and apply ink.

Once the design dries for 72 hours, you can heat set it with an iron.  (Just be careful to check the care instructions on your fabric; you don’t want to melt man-made fibers by using too high of a heat setting!)  Then just pop in a pillow form or stuff it with polyfill and it’s ready to toss on the couch!

Disclosure: This project is part of a campaign sponsored by Plaid Crafts.  The screen printing kit and supplies for completing the project were provided by Plaid Crafts; all opinions are 100% my own.