Editor’s note: Seriously, I can never get sick of seeing the amazing results from freezer paper stenciling. But, throw in typography, and I am completely in love! Megan, from Two Live Colorfully, is back today with more ways to use graphics in the house. This is such a great project!
Throw pillow covers are without a doubt one of my all time favorite ways to keep my home feeling fresh and interesting. They are easy to swap out, easy to store, and super easy to make yourself. While you can always go the route of picking out a cute fabric and calling it a day, I’ve recently become really interested in customizing my pillow covers with stencils to add fun type and designs.
I’ve craved a white pillow cover with a giant red heart on it for ages now. (Yes, sometimes I do crave pillow covers.) So in preparation for Valentine’s day, I want to make one and show you how you can use the same method to create a completely customized stenciled pillow case using freezer paper!
Just a little preamble, the first thing you’re going to need here is a white pillow cover. Of course, you can purchase one at any number of stores, but if you’re going the homemade route, I highly recommend Jackie’s Easy Envelope Pillow Cover Tutorial. It’s a video tutorial and everything. It was the first real sewing project I ever tried as part of my own Noob Sewing Series and it really couldn’t be easier.
So, here is what you will need for this project:
- Pillow cover (mine is 16×16 inches)
- Fabric paint
- Foam brush
- DIY stencils (instructions for heart and “smooch” below)
- Exacto Knife
- Freezer paper
- Scrap of cardboard to fit inside your pillow case
- Iron and ironing board
1. Create Your Custom Stencil
Creating your own stencil is the most time consuming part of this project, but it is the most important. I started by finding the heart shape I liked most and sizing it to my pillow case in Photoshop.
Because, my pillow is larger than normal printed paper, I divided the heart into four quadrants, printed them separately, and taped the final stencil template together. It’s important to note that this is not your final stencil. It’s more like the template you’ll use to create your finished stencil.
For the word “smooch”, I found a simple font I liked and sized it to fit comfortably inside the heart. The font is Znikomit which is available to download for free.
Once you’ve got your stencil template complete, it’s time to break out the freezer paper.
Cut a piece large enough to cover your full stencil, lay it shiny side down, and trace the heart onto the freezer paper. Then, using your Exacto knife, carefully remove the inside of the stencil. The key here is to remove the portion where you’d like paint to be.
For the letters, cut them out carefully to create a mask inside the heart, so no paint will be where the letters are. In the final picture above you can see anywhere the wood is showing is where paint will go.
2. Apply the Freezer Paper
Once you’ve got your stencil cut, you’re ready to apply it to your pillow cover. First, cut a another sheet of freezer paper large enough to fit inside your pillow case and insert it with the shiny side facing the front of your pillow. Then insert a piece of cardboard to protect the back of the fabric from excess paint.
Once you’ve got your freezer paper and cardboard inside the pillow, flip it over so you are looking at the front of your cover.
Place your stencil on top of your pillow case. You can use a little tape to secure the edges so that your design is centered and doesn’t shift before ironing.
Now, iron it down. The “science” behind this stenciling method is that you are ironing the two plastic-coated sides of the freezer paper together (stencil on front and other piece inside), creating a secure stencil. You don’t have to worry about your stencil shifting or paint seeping underneath because the freezer paper creates a barrier.
I just used my iron on a medium heat and went over the design 2-3 times to make sure everything was secure. Once it is, you can start painting!
3. Stencil with Paint
For this type of stenciling, the best type of applicator to use is a foam/sponge brush. It applies paint evenly and lightly so there is hopefully minimal paint that sneaks underneath.
Even though our Freezer Paper stencil is secured to the fabric, I still like to apply paint with care.
For perfect stenciling try these tips:
- Don’t overload your brush. It’s easier to apply a second coat than to remove a glob of paint.
- Dab over the edges. Where your brush meets the freezer paper, use a stippling motion to create an even application. To smooth out any unwanted texture that comes from dabbing, always pull your brush away from the stencil edge, not towards it to avoid paint from seeping underneath.
- Don’t worry too much about your fabric rippling. You can see in the picture above, the my fabric looks a little wrinkled because of the paint. With fabric paint in particular, I find that applying it over a large surface can produce this effect. But once the stencil is removed and you run your finished pillow cover through the wash, it will smooth out.
4. Finish it Up!
Once apply an even coat or two of fabric paint, it’s waiting time. Resist all temptation and let it dry thoroughly. I recommend waiting at least 5 hours to remove the freezer paper. I know it is hard to wait, but it will be so worth it.
When it is dry, all you have to do is peel off the freezer paper. It releases from the fabric very easily and you’ll reveal a perfectly stenciled pillow cover underneath.
If your design uses letters are smaller parts, an Exacto knife is handy to peel up the corners of the freezer paper and prevent any smudging.
Once all the Freezer Paper is removed, you can wash the pillow cover following the fabric paint recommendations, give it a light ironing (if you want), stuff with an insert, and it’s ready to use!
You can see that although the edges to my letters aren’t “manufacturer perfect” they are pretty darn crisp!
I loved this design so much, I just had to make a matching mini cover! It might seem like a lot of steps, but once you get the hang of it, these are super quick to make. And, it is an easy way to add a graphic punch to your couch!
Want to know more about me? You can visit my blog Two Live Colorfully to see two big dorks and more fun projects.