I'm completely OCD about the beautiful grain sack pillows I’ve been seeing splashed all over the blogoshpere. The warmth and texture they add to a room is absolutely delightful. Another bonus (at least in my circus-like household) is that the material used is sturdy enough to hold up to a three-year-old and two large dogs, but still offers beauty and sophistication.
But as much as I like the look of burlap, I’ve found that using painters drop cloths makes for a much cuddlier pillow, as they’re a heckofa lot softer while still providing the wonderfully uneven, grainy texture of burlap. And best of all, they’re available for dirt cheap at any home improvement store like Lowe’s or Home Depot.
With a pillow-fetish like mine, things can get extremely pricey (hel-lo, have you seen the new Pottery Barn catalog?) In order to combat my addiction, I’ve been buying second-hand pillows at Goodwill, thrift shops, and even garage sales (if the merchandise looks clean and decent.) =}
However my selections have always been limited because many of these pillows are just, well… ugly, which is why they were given up in the first place. But I always end up buying them, because there’s nothing sadder than a pillow with good bones collecting dust when it would rather be continually jumped on by a rambunctious toddler. Or pulled off the couch and used as a dog bed (yes, my dogs do this).
But after reading this post, it won’t matter how urgly (yes, urgly) your pillow might be, because I’m going to show you how to breathe new life into that poufy baby and make it look like it came from a beautiful, over-priced shop (Pottery Barn here we come)!! ^_^ I prefer to make removable pillow cases so I can update them for the holidays, or can recycle the original pillows if my tastes ever change. (Not likely because I love the beach too much. But still.)
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
~Citrasolv Condensed Liquid Cleaner
~An image MIRROR PRINTED ON A LASER PRINTER
**NOTE: In order for this transfer to work, it must be printed out on a laser printer, like those you find at Kinko’s or Staples. The Citrasolv reacts to the toner, and unfortunately won’t work with your everyday home office inkjet printer.
It’s also recommended that you “mirror” your graphic before printing, especially if there are words on your image. This means the image will print backwards, and will look as if you were holding it up to a mirror.
If you’re unsure how to “mirror” your image, ask the kind people behind the counter at Kinko’s or Staples to do it for you. You can either bring your image in on a memory stick, or print it out on an inkjet printer and ask them to copy it on a laser printer.
Step 2: Step 1
step 1: Remove the old, stained cover from your pillow (if applicable).
Step 3: Step 2
step 2: Measure your pillow (or the removed pillow case). My pillow was 19 inches x 19 inches.
Step 4: Step 3
step 3: We’re going to make the back panels first. (Another benefit of using drop cloths is that all four sides come pre-hemmed, which means you can save yourself a step and use these hems on the back panels of your pillow.) Measure and mark the length of your pillow on the side with the hem (19 inches in my case).
**NOTE: I purposely cut my panels to the same size as my pillows, without adding any seam allowance. This makes for a nicely plump pillow with a taught case. =]
Step 5: Step 4
step 4: Now we’re going to measure and mark the width of the back panels. As I mentioned, my pillow is 19” x 19”. To get the correct measurements for your back panels, take the width of your pillow and divide it by two, then add three. This creates overlapping panels in the back that open enough to slip the pillow firmly inside the case.
So for example (using my particular pillow measurements):
19” ÷ 2 = 9.5”
9.5” + 3 = 12.5” <— Mark this width
Step 6: Step 5
step 5: I have to admit, I have next to no sewing talent. I can barely cut a straight line, and have ended up having to do many projects over because of my wonky and over-exuberant fabric slashing. In order to prevent this from happening, I now line up my measurements and play connect the dots, which makes for easy (and correct) cutting later.
Step 7: Step 6
step 6: After dotting the fabric, here is what your panel should look like thus far.
Step 8: Step 7
step 7: Cut your panel out.
Step 9: Step 8
step 8: Repeat this process with your second back panel, as well as a front panel that is the same size as your pillow (19” x 19” in my case).
Step 10: Step 9
step 9: Iron your fabric panels using the “Linen”, or high heat setting, on your iron. This step is optional, unless you’re completely anal like me and just can’t handle irregular creases.
Step 11: Step 10
step 10: Place your image face down on your front panel, and tape in place. Be sure not to tape over any of your image, as this will hinder the transferring process. You can also trim any words you have down to size.
Step 12: Step 11
step 11: Pour a tiny bit of Citrasolv into a small bowl, and use your paint brush to dab it onto your image. I have to emphasize that A LITTLE BIT of Citrasolv goes a very long way. It took me about a tablespoon to cover my entire image, which was just the right amount.
Step 13: Step 12
step 12: Continue until your entire image is covered.
Step 14: Step 13
step 13: Using your spoon, press down hard and rub in circular motions over your entire image. It shouldn’t take too much effort – you’ll know you’ve used the right amount of Citrasolv if the image transfers relatively easily.
Step 15: Step 14
step 14: Peek under one of your corners to see how it’s coming along. If you’re image is very light and isn’t transferring well, simply add a bit more Citrasolv and keep rubbing with the spoon.
Step 16: Step 15
step 15: When your image is adequately burnished, peel off the paper and trash it immediately; if the Citrasolv is left on the carpet or another piece of fabric accidentally, it could leach into that other fabric.
Step 17: Step 16
step 16: Iron your image to set it. It’s now washable and won’t come off, even when bleach is used. Now that’s what I call a transfer!! ^_^
Step 18: Step 17
step 17: Lay your front panel face-up on a hard surface, then place one of your back panels on top of it, face-down.
Step 19: Step 18
step 18: Pin your back panel into place.
Step 20: Step 19
step 19: Place your second panel in place, and remove any pins that would be underneath the overlapping section.
Step 21: Step 20
step 20: Pin your second back panel into place.
Step 22: Step 21
step 21: Sew your pillow case together using a straight stitch across all four sides, taking the pins out as you sew so you don’t accidentally break your needle. I also like to backstitch at the beginning and end of all sides, just for added strength.
Step 23: Step 22
step 22: Trim the excess fabric off all four corners.
step 23: Turn your pillow case rightside-out and use a pencil, pen, or chopstick to push the corners into a nice point. Then slide your pillow into the case, and you’re done!! Easiest sewing project ever, right?