I love simple changes to home decor that make a big difference. However, when it comes to painting on fabric, my track record has not been the best. My first attempt was strokework on a lampshade. Not sure why, but doing a sample before working on the shade did not cross my mind. When working on fabric, there are no second chances, hence the terror! Well, all I can say is the front area that everyone saw wasn’t awful, but NOBODY was allowed to look at the backside!
Earlier this summer I updated my summer deck decor. I purchased some very inexpensive plain, tan 20″ square pillow covers from IKEA for only $4.00 each. They matched perfectly and looked very nice, conservative, but nice. My intentions all summer were to paint or stencil something stylish on them. I love to try all kinds of different techniques, mediums, paints, surfaces, but for some reason, painting on a pillow top brought back all those unsuccessful attempts at fabric painting. I had a long talk with myself last night and decided that each pillow had two sides (that means if the first try was awful, I would have a second chance at redemption!) and if worse came to worse, they only cost $4.00! I had seen that the new Chalky Paint works on fabric and did a little checking on the web. Not only was it used for stenciling on fabric, but entire chairs (fabric and leather) were painted!
Today was the day to tackle the project. I gathered up my supplies, Chalky Paint, stencils, stencil brush, ruler, painter’s tape, plastic trash bag, water, paper towels and lots of courage. First, I covered my work space with a clean trash bag and taped it in place. I know my studio table has remnants of prior projects and wanted to make sure no other product would accidentally end up on my pillow. I inserted a piece of cardboard inside the pillow slip to keep the paint from soaking through to the other side and also to provide a smooth, sturdy surface to stencil. I positioned the stencil and measured to make sure it was exactly where I wanted. Next, I placed painter’s tape along any edge to prevent any over-spills from the stencil brush. My colors are earthy, so I selected Cameo, Rustic and Heritage. I wanted the words to be most visible, so I stenciled them darkest. To stencil, load the stencil brush with paint and wipe onto a paper towel to remove any heavy, excess paint. I used a very light, swirling motion to apply the paint softly onto the top of the fabric. I didn’t want the paint to be solid, so I kept the brushstrokes almost delicate. A second coat can always be added, but too much paint, especially on fabric, can be a disaster! I let the brown color, Rustic, also coat the scrolls and designs, but much lighter than the letters. Next, I loaded my stencil brush with Cameo, which is a deeper rusty red. I wanted to add a shading to the decorative areas that became lighter towards the top, bottom and edges. Finally, I stenciled the very tips with Heritage, orange. Cautiously, I lifted the stencil and …WOW…I was so proud of the results! Chalky paint is everything that they say it is and even more! I can’t say enough how wonderful it is.
I think what I learned from this whole experience is that the worrying about what could go wrong often robs us of venturing into creating without fear. I am so excited not only about finally tackeling this project but also the fact that it turned out so well. Was it worth all the worry and stress? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Would I stencil on fabric again? ABSOLUTELY! I am going to stencil more pillows, lampshades and even furniture!
Little touches make a huge difference. My $4.00 pillows would retail for $25.00, how cool is that! Plus, they are “designer pillows” LOL! My advise is to get brave and try some new adventures. You never know what glorious results await!!