Category Archives: DIY Projects with Stencils

DIY Indigo Pillow with Dye Kit & Moroccan Stencil

In the last post, I shared a DIY Indigo Textile Dye Kit. The kit gives you everything you need to dye fabrics with an indigo blue color:

DIY Indigo Textile Dye Kit

See the previous post for more information about this indigo dye kit and where to get it. Today I will show you what I made with the kit.

DIY Indigo Pillow

I went on a few creative detours while making this indigo pillow. Long story short, I’m used to paint, which I can control better. The dye did what it wanted to do. It wasn’t in my control. Maybe that’s because I’m new with dye, and I didn’t know how to manipulate it to get the look I wanted. Sometimes with creative materials, you need to give in and let the process unfold into something you didn’t expect. But in the end, I couldn’t give up the control! I learned, I have control issues! I ultimately painted over the dye to make the clean pattern I wanted.

So here’s what I did. The DIY Indigo Textile Dye Kit comes with a large 27″ x 27″ piece of cotton fabric. It’s white, and I wanted a beige background. So I dipped the fabric in water colored with a neutral Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. This colored the cotton fabric, from white to beige:

Dye White Fabric Beige

I let the fabric air dry and ironed it.

I wanted to make a Moroccan stencil pattern with the indigo dye, using the Mamounia Moroccan Trellis Furniture Stencil from Royal Design Studio. My first idea was to create a resist, where the fabric would resist the blue dye, leaving the original beige fabric color. To do this, fabric I “painted” the fabric with Clear Soft Wax from Annie Sloan. I used a large brush and brushed the soft wax onto the fabric through the stencil, just like stenciling with paint:

Stencil and Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax

Stenciling with Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax

Oh my goodness — it’s winter, I live in cold weather near Chicago, thus very dry hands!!

Next I mixed indigo dye with water, almost like a watercolor.

Watered Down Indigo Dye

I brushed the watered-down blue dye over the fabric. See here how the pattern emerged around the wax resist as I painted:

Painting with Indigo Dye

Lots of dye went through the fabric onto the foam core board behind. Here’s the foam core board!

Foam Core Board Mess

TIP: Protect your surface!

If you do this, protect your surface! I placed white foam core board under the fabric. Lots of dye went through the fabric and soaked into the foam core board. So definitely don’t play with this dye without protecting your surface first.

Unexpected, Uncontrollable Things

Something unexpected happened. The watered-down blue dye ran underneath the fabric. It dyed the fabric blue from underneath the wax. This made a dark blue/light blue pattern, which was different than the blue/beige I originally wanted. I liked the deep blue pattern you see in the video and the picture above with the paint brush.

But as the dye dried, the fabric changed. It got really blurry, fuzzy and messy looking, and in some areas it was really hard to see the stencil pattern. It’s like the pattern was disappearing before my eyes! I was not happy. I rinsed the fabric before the dye dried, in the stainless steel kitchen sink, washing much of the dye out. This made the pattern show again, but overall it looked messy to me.

Indigo Dye Pillow Fabric

I had a picture in my head of the end result I wanted to make, and the dye wasn’t doing it. This is where I could have given up control and let the dye do its natural thing. But I just couldn’t give up the original idea!

I let the fabric dry, ironed it to set the dye, and let the fabric sit for awhile as I decided the next step.

PaintING Expectations

I decided to lay the stencil over the fabric again, and paint with neutral color fabric paints. I knew this would make the indigo blue/neutral pattern contrast that I originally wanted.

I found some light and dark beige fabric paints in the craft store in our basement. That is not a joke. There’s so many DIY supplies down there, I do have a craft store in my house! As I painted, I blended colors through the stencil for a mottled effect.

Stencil Over Indigo Dye

Fabric Paints

Stenciling Fabric Paint Over Indigo Dye

Finally, happy!

Indigo Dye and Fabric Paints

This is the look I was trying to get! This is an example of “don’t give up.” Don’t wad up the fabric and throw it in the trash. (I did think about that.) If something isn’t working, set it aside for awhile. The answer will come to you.

I had a pillow form from Crate & Barrel, also in the craft store in our basement. I cut the indigo Moroccan fabric to fit the pillow form. I found a blue herringbone fabric in my fabric stash for the back side of the pillow. I liked the contrast of the two fabrics — one bohemian and patterned, one conservative and all lined up perfectly. I had two navy tassels bought in the souks of the Marrakech medina. I sewed these all together into a pillow.

Indigo Dyed and Painted Fabric

Moroccan and Herringbone

Marrakech Tassels

Here it is, a boho blue indigo pillow, on my mom and dad’s family room couch:

Indigo Pillow

I gifted the indigo pillow to my mom for Christmas. I knew it would look great with her blue and neutral decor, and it would add Moroccan pattern to her other pillows.

DIY Indigo Pillow



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DIY Glittery Christmas Tree Ornaments That Don’t Make A Mess!

I’m a huge Scrooge when it comes to glitter. Glitter is banned from my house. Yeah, even at Christmastime. All violators must eat fruitcake. Why? Because while glitter brings a festive spirit to a Christmas tree, it also puts the festive spirit in your hair, carpet, furniture, everywhere.

But now, I can put the festive spirit only where it belongs – on the Christmas tree! The solution? Glitter scrapbook paper. The glitter DOES NOT COME OFF. The glitter stays stuck on the paper, not on your hands! Yay! So, today I’ll show you how to make no-mess glittery Christmas tree ornaments.

DIY No Mess Glitter Ornaments

Project SUPPLIES

  • Glitter scrapbook paper
  • Flat ornaments
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue
  • Foam brush

OPTIONAL stenciling (DIY tutorial shared in part 2 of this post):

  • Stencil
  • Stencil brush
  • Paint

How to Find Glitter Scrapbook Paper

First, look for glittery scrapbook paper in craft stores like Michaels, JoAnn and Hobby Lobby. You can find single pieces of glitter paper, and you can buy books full of glitter paper. Most craft stores have aisles for scrapbooking supplies, and you will find these papers and books there. Here are some of my papers:

Glitter Scrapbook Paper Book

Glitter paper can cost a bit more. The regular price of single sheets at JoAnn and Michaels is $1.99, but you can buy scrapbook paper on sale or use a coupon. All craft stores will email coupons to you. And you can use iPhone and Android apps to pull up a coupon on your phone. So any time you want to buy, you should get 40 to 60% off. The price of books of papers is usually $19, but use a half off coupon or buy during a frequent half off sale, and for $9-10 you get a whole big pack of papers. Look at all the papers in this pack:

I’m sorry. I’m one of those people who forgets to hold the phone horizontal for videos!

Scrapbook paper makes affordable ornaments. You can make many ornaments with a single piece of paper:

One Scrapbook Paper Many Christmas Tree Ornaments

I used copper color glitter papers for today’s project, but glitter paper comes in many colors.

How to Find Ornaments with Flat Surfaces

You also need ornaments with flat surfaces, like the ones shown above. You can use paper mache, ceramic, wood or chipboard. You can buy these ornament shapes at Michaels, JoAnn and Hobby Lobby. Again, buy during their frequent sales and use coupons.

Also, search paper mache and unfinished wood Christmas ornaments on eBay and Etsy, under their craft supplies categories. I found there are a lot more choices of unfinished wood ornaments than paper mache.

HOW TO MakE the Ornaments

This is so super easy and fast!

Step 1. Paint the edge of your ornament with a color to match or contrast with the glitter paper color. I’m using copper papers today, so I painted the edges of my ornaments with metallic copper/bronze paint:

Painted Edges

Step 2. Trace an ornament on the scrapbook paper. If your paper has a pattern on it, you might want to center the ornament over the pattern. I usually draw cutting lines on the back of the paper.

Tracing Ornament on Paper

Cut Paper Shapes

Step 3. Cut the shape. Cut just barely inside your tracing line. Because your tracing lane will be slightly larger than your ornament.

Glitter Paper on Ornament

Step 4. With a foam brush, spread Aleene’s Tacky Glue over your ornament. You can use Mod Podge or other glues. I like how Aleene’s Tacky Glue is thicker and tackier, and less likely to wrinkle the paper.

Glue Paper

Glue Paper 2

Step 5. Smooth your paper onto the ornament. Press with your fingers from the inside out, to be sure all the paper adheres to the ornament. Pay extra attention to the edges. Sometimes you will need to press down on an edge for a few extra moments to be sure it adheres.

If any glue oozes out the sides, wipe it away with paper towel. Be careful to not get glue on the glitter paper, because it might make dull spots.

Glitter Christmas Tree Ornament

Now repeat the steps above to apply paper to the other side of the ornament. You can use the same paper, or a different paper, so you can flip the ornament around for a different look.

If any paper is sticking out beyond the edge of the ornament, you can cut it with scissors, or lay the ornament on a hard protected surface and slice the extra paper off with an Xacto knife.

TIP: WORK ASSEMBLY LINE STYLE FOR FAST DIY

Set up an assembly line so you do all the tracing, then all the cutting, then all the gluing, then all the paper-applying. You’ll make many ornaments, fast.

That’s it! You have made a no-mess glittery ornament!

No Mess Glitter Christmas Tree Ornaments

Now have fun decorating and enjoying the holidays, not cleaning up glitter!

OPTIONAL: ADD PAINTED STENCILS

The glittery ornaments are pretty just like this. The Christmas tree lights will bounce off of the ornaments, and make them sparkle. But if you want to add something more, how about painting stencils on the glitter paper? Come back for Part 2 of this tutorial, where I’ll show an optional step … adding stencil patterns with paint!

 

 



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DIY Boho Chic Patchwork Lumbar Pillow

When I made DIY “Fortuny” fabric pillows a few months ago, I made many test samples. It was a CRAZY fun stenciling spree! I painted different color paints on different color fabrics to see what paint+fabric combo I liked best. All this testing resulted in faux Fortuny pillows that I LOVE. And I loved the crazy mix of all the test patterns! They all coordinate together:

Stenciling Spree Samples

They reminded me of Turkish overdyed patchwork rugs, like this one for sale at SukhiRugs Etsy store:

Turkish Overdyed Patchwork Rug from SukhiRugs Etsy Store

So, I sewed all the sample pieces together to make a long slim bolster pillow:

Patchwork Bolster Pillow

The pillow now lives in India! It’s surrounded by other patterns, like a beige and white silk saree that I sewed into bedroom curtains, and a Moroccan star stencil pattern that will be on the wall as a “headboard:”

India pied-a-terre Master Bedroom Patterns

So here’s how to make a pillow like this …

First, wait for a silly cat high on catnip to clear out of the staging and sewing area:

Catnip Hangover

Lay out your fabrics. You can use printed fabric, like quilting fabrics. Or you can paint your own patterns on fabric, with stencils. All of the designs on my fabrics are stencils from Royal Design Studio, and all paint colors are their Stencil Creme paints.

Cut fabric into rectangles. Mine were about 4″ by 8″. Lay them out in the order you want them:

 

Layout 2

You might want to pick the the most prominent visual piece of fabric as a “focal point.” In my layout, the darkest piece of fabric with the four-petal flower shape draws the eye and that’s my focal point. Put the focal point a little off-center or toward the edge, not smack in the middle.

Next, sew the pieces together along the horizontal seams like the stitching diagram shows here:

Horizontal Stitching Lines

Sew with a 3/8″ seam.

Now, you don’t want a final piece with jagged, uneven edges like this. So, cut off the pieces that are sticking out and sew them on so you get an even rectangular block of patchwork:

Rectangular Patchwork Layout

After you sew, press the seams open. I know it can be a pain to iron! But ironing flattens the seams and makes the final result look professional. There’s a saying that when you sew, you might spend more time with the iron than the sewing machine. This is sometimes true. It’s worth it. Don’t skip this step!

Ironing Seams Flat

After you press seams, sew the strips together vertically, as shown in the stitching lines below. Sew with 3/8″ seams. After you’re done sewing, iron the seams open.

Vertical Stitching Lines

Next is an optional step. It’s a small touch that adds visual interest. Because the Turkish patchwork rugs have visible decorative stitching, I sewed over the top of the seams with a decorative stitch. You can use a contrasting color thread if you want this stitching to show up even more.

Decorative Stitching

Next, sew up the sides and install either a zipper or a flap opening on the back. I installed a zipper.

Rectangular Bolster Pillow

Zipper

I wish I had a darker zipper, but I couldn’t find any that were long enough in stores, You can order zippers online in any length you want. But I didn’t have time. This pillow is for our apartment in India and we were leaving in a few days. The light zipper is really obvious but you won’t see the bottom of the pillow much. I can get OCD about things like this, and it bugs me so I might swap it some day! :)

After installing a zipper in the bottom of the pillow, I stitched up the sides and top, and added two long tassels found in the souks of Marrakech:

Finished Patchwork Pillow

It’s truly a global, nomadic decorating pillow:

  • Painted with patterns from around the world
  • Sewn in the style of a Turkish patchwork rug
  • Decorated with Moroccan tassels
  • Now lives in India with saree curtains and Chinese chest nightstands

Patchwork Pillow and Chinese Cabinet

Here it is in our apartment in India, a place which is still obviously a work in progress! I know this photo is underwhelming, to say the least, after all the build-up over the years on this blog about this apartment, But there’s water damage on the wall behind the bed now. There’s a rooftop on the other side of the wall, and during big monsoons, that area floods and soaks the wall. So that must be fixed before stenciling on the wall. But you get the idea of how it will some day look:

Patchwork Pillow

Finally, you know how there may be no more truly unique ideas in this world? You could get an idea you’ve never seen anywhere before, and at the same exact moment, someone else on the other side of the planet is doing the same thing. The day I intended to sew this pillow together, I opened email and found the latest products from CRAFT by World Market. And THERE was a patchwork long slim bolster pillow!

CRAFT by World Market Patchwork Pillow

So if you don’t want to sew this, see if you can buy it from global decor stores like World Market! This also shows a good fabric idea — you can use saree fabric remnants to sew a patchwork pillow.

 



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