Saturday, February 18, 2012


We have matching brown love seats in our family room, each one with matching brown pillows.  This long room has windows at either end, but it still tends to have low light.  So today, I tried to bring more light into the room by making pillow covers in off-white denim and then "embellishing" them using stencils, tape, and brown fabric paint.   My inspiration came from these beautiful Horchow pillows - minus the high price!

I love all of these, but especially the number and "grain sack" pillows.

French Laundry Home Pillows - Horchow
$73 - $136
They also had a great monogram pillow and another number pillow.

French Laundry Home "Spring Garden" Pillows
$115 - $190

Then I walked past the entrance to Pottery Barn and saw this "U.S. Mail" bin and I thought, "That would be perfect on a pillow top"!

(I might have to try making a "bin" like that too!)

So.  To begin.

 I washed and dried the denim and then began tearing it into 22 in squares for the pillow tops.  The number pillow was done with a freezer paper stencil.  If you've never used freezer paper for stenciling you should give it a try.  It's so easy and works beautifully!  As a matter of fact, freezer paper stencils turn out a lot better than traditional stencils because the stencil is "tacked down" onto your fabric and won't move around while you're applying the paint.  I've read that they can be used over and over too!

I think black might look more authentic as a french laundry fabric, but since the love seats are brown, I used a dark brown fabric paint.  For the number pillow, I used this Vintage Typography from The Graphics Fairy.  

After enlarging the typography graphic and tracing it onto freezer paper, I carefully cut it out and ironed it onto the center of the 22" square.

       Then, applied paint using a stencil brush . . .
and pulled away the freezer paper!  Works like a charm!
Next, I used a stencil I've used for some other projects - like the table runner shown here.
I bought this stencil about a year ago on Etsy.  It's well-used!
 Using the same brown fabric paint - this one was quick and easy!
Then, on to the monogram pillow top.  Using painters' tape, I taped off some "grain sack" stripes - a wider one in the middle and two skinny ones on either side.  Then using the stencil brush and the same fabric paint, I filled in the stripes between the tape strips.
For the monogram, lay a piece of tape horizontally across the center of the pillow so the monogram is level.
I used very inexpensive cardboard letter stencils . . .
 . . . and placed my husband's initial along with mine on either side of the stripes.
For pillow #3, I used the design from the mail bin shown above, added some heavy duty upholstery strapping, and a button and loop.
And that's it!

Four new pillows, inspired by Horchow and Pottery Barn, for the price of some denim - a far cry from the $100 plus price tag!


Now, what's next? 

 This ottoman that sits in front of the love seats will be needing an update also.  I posted about making this ottoman here it was also inspired by Horchow!  The fabric was great when the love seats and pillows were solid brown.  But, I think it would look great with a new off-white denim slipcover . . .      

Sharing on:
Freckled Laundry's Air Your Laundry Friday
Time Travel Thursday  Transformation Thursday  Show and Tell Friday  


Honey at 2805 said...

I adore your "vintage" pillows! You did such a nice job! I'm following via linky and hope you will too!

Janis said...

What an awesome job!!! These all look fabulous! I have just learned about freezer paper myself...amazing! Love that etsy stencil, too!! (I've been working on pillows too today...posting soon)

Feral Turtle said...

What a great post! You did an amazing job on all of them. I can't even choose a favorite cuz they are all beautiful!

Veronica said...

What a fabulous blogpost Nan! Your pillows are even nicer than the originals! So clever to paint the stripes on the denim to create the grain sack look. I definitely have to try that! Grain sack fabric is so expensive here!

Susanne said...

You have done a fantastic job with the pillows, looking forward to seeing your new old ottoman.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Great job on those pillows, Nan! I have one of those big square pillows taking up roomm in my sewing/craft room. I may have to just make a pillow cover to get it out of my way! I love the style like the one you stenciled; it seems they are all over the stores now {even my supermarket carries pillows like it!}.

visiting from Met Monday! : )

Brian, Michelle, Teagan and Isla said...

This is just amazing! I so love these pillows and want to give this a try. Great tutorial. I love the name of your blog and am a new follower. Your projects are fantastic and I so hope if you have time you'll join our linky party Destination: Inspiration at Teagan's Travels.

Thanks, Michelle

Green Willow Pond said...

I found you via The Graphics Fairy party. I found myself pulled deeper and deeper into your blog and am now following via linky follower. I just love your beautiful blog!

Anne said...

Love those pillows.Thank you for the tutorial.I am your newest follower.I am linking from the brambleberry cottage.I hope you will visit me too.

Tracy Huffman said...

SO COOL! I LOVE these!! Thanks for the inspiration =)

Elyse said...

I'm in love! I will be ordering a stencil from Etsy today:)

Shannon said...

ADORE your pillows!!! What a great vintage look!

Magnolia Cottage said...

You did an amazing job...your pillows look fantastic. Thanks for sharing your tutorial. I'm your newest follower. Hope you will visit Magnolia Cottage.


Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

These are wonderful! I love the brown paint color too.

Blessings & Aloha!
I just pinned this post :o)

Susan @ said...

Great pillows Nan, this is why I think your blog is one of the best I follow!

MarLynn said...

Love the pillows. I too had an ottoman in my living room that needed a facelift. I covered the base with a pleated burlap skirt and made the top from an old white matelasse cover. Using the scalloped edges of the cover as the 6" sides to the topper.

matratzenbezug said...

Truly rocking off stuff. Thanks for sharing an amazing stuff.

kelly thompson said...

these are great!



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