WARNING: Possibly offensive words are used as text on the pillow and lamp in this project.
Step 1: Materials You Will Need
Here are some of the materials you will need:
- Fabric (if you decide to create your own pillow and pillow case)
- Quilt Batting (A package of 81” by 96” should be more than enough
- Needle, Thread, and Scissors
- X-acto Knife
- Foam Board (20” x 30” x 3/16”)
- Sharpie/ Pencil
- Hot Glue Gun (Optional)
- Acrylic Paint (Optional)
- Lamp Shade
- Lamp (or at least the base if you chose to use a Candle or Tealight, like me, for your light source instead).
Step 2: Sewing Your Pillow
For my pillow I chose a delightful teal fabric and measured it against a basic sleeping pillow I had lying around. This pillow measured at 20”x28” and its pillow case at 19”x30”. Since I wanted to make my pillow a bit larger I upped the measurements to 22”x32” (and 21”x35” for the pillow case).*
Since my given fabric was 44” in width and well over 32” in length, I decided to simply fold the fabric in half and use the folded edge as one of the pillow sides. This left me with two sides to sew now, and one to sew later once I’ve inserted the words and the foam board base they will rest on.
Since I wanted to give myself the most room when I do this, I chose to sew the two short ends of the fabric. While you can sew these ends any way you like, I wanted to give them a sturdy and tidy seal that will only be noticeable from inside the pillow.
The first seam I create, after threading the needle and tying the end, is a simple loop at the top of the fabric. I do this by placing the needle in the side of the fabric with the knot, pulling through the hole, and repeating until I reach the end. I tie off a knot and work my way back with my second style.
My second seam line appears like a dash mark beneath the first seam. I do this by placing the needle against the side without the thread knot, pushing through the fabric a little, directing the tip of the needle through the fabric a second time, and finally pulling the needle through. If you like, you can do a simple in-out-in-out pattern, however I find my way saves a bit of time. (Sorry if this is in anyway unclear but I’m purely self-taught in terms of sewing.)
Once you’ve sewn both ends, turn the fabric inside out. Your thread and needlework should be invisible and a nice, round seam should be all that is visible.
*My reasoning for these particular measurements is that I actually started with the pillowcase, which I merely boosted 35 inches from the regular pillow case’s 30. This was then reduced to 34 when I took an inch in to make a neater opening for the pillow case. So, wishing to keep the original pillow to pillow case differences to 1 in width (19” to 20”) and 2 in length (28” to 30”), I arrived at 22”x32” and 21”x34” for my versions.
Step 3: Sewing Your Pillow Case
As with the pillow I folded my 44 width piece of fabric in half to make 22 inches. If yours is the same size you can cut off that extra inch or you can take an inch in with one of your seams.
Again, we are left with 3 open ends, but we will only be sewing one end (a short end, just like we did with the pillow) and tucking in a border on the other short end. The latter short end will remain open, as it is a pillow case, and like the pillow, the long end will be sewn once the board and pillow stuffing are inserted later.
Repeating the sewing techniques from before to create your seams from the first end of the pillow case. To create an open border on the opposite side, simply fold over an inch of fabric and sew that back into the fabric. Make sure to have the overlapping fabric on the side that will not be exposed.
Step 4: Cutting Your Foam Board
I first cut out chunks of board for my words, each varying in length depending on the length of the word. However, the one constant you must keep in mind is creating a base portion to your words that can fit inside the pillow and will not be exposed. When I measured my pillow I found it to be about 2 ½ inches in height and thus gave each letter a 2 ½” base of blank space. While certain scissors may suffice for this task, an X-Acto knife will suit you best for any cutting or carving with the board.
Out of the remaining board I created a 20”x14” piece that I would use for the base.
Step 5: Writing and Cutting Your Hateful Words
My chosen words are: Slut, Cunt, Whore, Adultery, Loose, Greedy, and Hussy.
If you like you may leave your words blank, however I chose to create a teal color, similar to that of my pillow, by mixing acrylic paints and applied it to all of my words.
Step 6: Laying Out Your Words
After this, select the best spots for your offending words to go. Remember the more uncomfortably close to your face the better! Mark the placement of each word’s base with a block of sharpie that is the length and width of the base, so you know what size to make the slot.
Step 7: Creating Slots for Your Words
Note: Just before you insert your words into the board, now would be a good time to mark on your pillow and pillow case where the words will be bursting out from the fabric. The simplest way is to place the pillow fabric over the board in a central position and use a pencil to mark each indentation of the board below. Next, place the pillow case on top, making sure to line it up as you will like to see it in the end, and make your markings. Cut out your new holes.
Once all the slots are cut, wedge the bases of your words in. Make note of whether you want your words to face inwards or outwards (this will decide whether you can read them or someone standing beside your bed) and make sure to tilt some of your words at uncomfortable angles. If you like, you can apply hot glue to the borders of your words to ensure they remain in place.
Step 8: Stuffing Your Pillow
Next, tear off and fluff up sections from your roll of quilt batting. Add the batting below the board, above the board, between the words, and into the corners. Make it as fluffy as you want, just be sure to have the fabric reach the base of the letters so the blank bases don’t show.
Once thoroughly stuffed, its finally time to sew up the only open side of the pillow. Keep in mind that we won’t be able to hide the seam this time since we can’t reach inside, however it will be hidden inside the pillow cover so sew as haphazardly as you like so long as the seam is tightly sewn.
Step 9: Fitting on the Pillow Case
Step 10: Creating Your Lamp
First you must decide if you want your words to be projectable or read on the lampshade itself. If you want them to project, make sure you have a strong enough lamp or prepare to use an alternative light source, as I did. I found that the light bulb in my desk lamp created light that was far too dispersed, so I switched to a Tealight.
If you want your words to just be read on the lamp shade, trace out your block letters with a pencil and have at it with your X-Acto knife.
If you want them to project on to a wall you’ll need to write your letters backwards, then cut them out with an X-Acto knife.
Step 11: Additional Lamp Notes
- Notice what sort of walls you have. The lighter/ whiter in color, the easier it is for the words to appear. Also the closer to the wall it is, the easier it is to read the words.
- The light shining out from above the lamp shade may detract from the projection of your letters. If you wish to block this light out, extra foam board from earlier will suit you just fine as long as you don’t keep the light on for too long (if you’re using a light bulb). Place the board beneath the top of the lamp shade and trace its shape from within. Carve the board with your X-Acto knife until just the right size and wedge it in!.