Before you consider a total home makeover, consider trying a stencil design. You can apply a few stencil techniques in hundreds of way throughout your home, harmonizing the details throughout your home or reinventing with new themes and fresh designs.
It's those details that really pull the room together. This article highlights several stencil designs to bring hand-crafted charm to the pillows in your home.
On each page, we give you step-by-step guidance. Learn how to stencil with downloadable designs, creative tips, and sample photographs. Use these projects to express your stenciling style.
Step One: Mist the cardboard square with repositionable stencil adhesive. Lay the muslin on the cardboard, and smooth it onto the sticky surface so the fabric will not move while stenciling. Step Two: Before you begin stenciling, you'll need to make a simple shield to protect the sunflower petals while you're stenciling the leaves. To do this, trace or stencil the outline of the sunflower onto a piece of cardstock or heavyweight paper. Lightly stencil the leaves as well, if you wish. Cut out the flower shield, and set it aside.
Step Three: Position and adhere the large sunflower stencil in the center of the muslin square. Swirl Sunflower Yellow onto the petals, and stencil the center of the flower Amber with a 5/8-inch brush. Don't worry if some of the Amber gets on the petals; this will provide nice shading. Shade to the lower left and center of the petals with Bark Brown.
Step Four: To stencil the leaves, first place the flower cutout from step two over the already-stenciled flower petals. Then use Garden Green and a 5/8-inch brush to fill in the leaves. Shade with Jungle Green and then very lightly with Basic Black. Remove the stencil and the flower cutout, and let dry.
Step Five: Tape the small checkerboard stencil along one edge of the muslin square. Stencil the first row of checks along the edge of the muslin Basic Black, then lift the stencil and move it one square over and one row up to stencil the inside row of checks. Be sure the corners of the checks touch. Repeat until the checkerboard is stenciled all the way around the muslin.
Step Six: Divide the muslin square into four squares of roughly the same size, marking the lines lightly with a pencil and ruler. (Make sure you don't mark over the stenciled sunflower or the checked border.) Mask the flower and leaves with their dropouts. Mask off the upper left and lower right squares with tape, and stencil the remaining two squares Sandstone with a 5/8-inch brush. Let dry.
Step Seven: Remove the tape, and mask the Sandstone squares. Stencil the other two squares Colonial Green with a 5/8-inch brush, using a light, swirling motion to achieve a textured effect. Let dry.
Step Eight: Iron the stenciled muslin square onto a square of iron-on adhesive. Follow the manufacturer's directions to iron the muslin onto the pillow.
Sunflower Pillows Variations
Who says a sunflower has to be yellow? Change the palette to decorate walls for a teenager who loves candy-colored daisies.
Use them to make a swag along the edge of a bed skirt, curtains, or perhaps a bed canopy with stenciled flowers scattered on sheer fabric.
Checkerboards of all sizes mix and match with this design, whether creating quilt patterns or connecting the flowers in a border of blooms.
If you want another bright and cheery stencil design, check out our next project, the Perfectly Plaid Pillow.
To further dress up the pillow, add your own freehand detail. To add lovely script, use a ruler and disappearing marking pen to mark lines 1 or 1-1/2 inches apart in 2 of the squares. With the same pen, write the word "Sunflower" repeatedly on the lines, letting the words "hide" behind the flower petals and leaves. Trace over the words with brown permanent marker.
We also added faux stitching around the outline of the sunflower and the squares: To make straight lines, simply place a ruler where you want the stitching to be, and, using brown marker, draw a dashed line against it. For curved lines, carefully freehand the dashed lines.
How to Stencil a Perfectly Plaid Pillow
This isn't your garden-variety pillow! Cheery flowers bloom brightly on an inviting toss pillow.
Step One: Stencil this design on a square of muslin rather than on the pillow itself. Stenciling on fabric is made easier if you mist a piece of cardboard with stencil adhesive spray and then smooth the fabric over it. The sticky surface of the cardboard will hold the fabric securely while you stencil.
Step Two: Measure and mark the plaid border areas, and tape them off with painter's tape. Repeat Step three from the Nightstand Makeover to stencil these sections plaid.
Step Three: Stencil a garden of flowers between the two bands of plaid.
Step Four: When all paint is completely dry, follow the manufacturer's instructions to iron the stenciled muslin onto a square of iron-on adhesive and then attach the muslin to a pillow.
Color says it all! If you can't find the perfect hue for your room, mix it yourself. The green in this plaid was made by combining 2 Plaid Apple Barrel paints: 1 part Meadow Green to 4 parts Light Leaf Green. The yellow stripes are Delta Ceramcoat Pale Yellow. Create a luscious garden of flowers with Delta Stencil Paint Crème in Luscious Lemon, Yellow Ochre, Cottage Blue, Lavender, and Bright Green.
The next project is the super-huggable Teddy Bear Pillow. Learn how to stencil it on the next page.
Plaid FolkArt acrylic paint: Navy Blue, Turner's Yellow, Honeycomb, Glazed Carrots, Licorice, Lipstick Red
8-1/2-inch square prewashed muslin
Disappearing-ink marking pen
1/2-inch stencil brushes, 3
3/8-inch stencil brushes, 4
Soft, clean cloth
Iron and ironing board
Pillow, 12- to 14-inch square
InstructionsStep One: Follow manufacturer's instructions to add fabric medium to the paint.
Step Two: Center stencil A on the muslin; mark registration points. Stencil the umbrella, raindrops, and water splashes Navy Blue with a 1/2-inch brush. Stipple lightly in the center of the umbrella, stenciling more heavily around the outer edges. Stencil the duck Turner's Yellow with a 3/8-inch brush. Stencil all other openings Honeycomb with a 1/2-inch brush.
Step Three: Align stencil B; stencil the duck's beak, wing, and feet Glazed Carrots with a 3/8-inch brush. Stencil the duck's eye Licorice with a 3/8-inch brush. Stencil all other openings Turner's Yellow with a 1/2-inch brush. Using a 3/8-inch brush and Lipstick Red, lightly shade the edges of the raincoat, hat, and boots.
Step Four: Align stencil C; stencil the underside of the umbrella Navy Blue with a 1/2-inch brush. Stencil the bear's facial features Licorice with a 3/8-inch brush. Stencil all other openings Lipstick Red with a 3/8-inch brush.
Step Five: Let dry. Place a clean cloth over the design, and run an iron over it in order to heat-set the paint.
Step Six: Iron the stenciled square onto a square of iron-on adhesive. Follow manufacturer's directions to iron the muslin onto the pillow.
If you're looking to add a touch of country elegance to any chair, learn how to make a Sweet Seat Cushion in the final section.
Step One: Follow the manufacturer's instructions to add fabric medium to the acrylic paint before stenciling.
Step Two: Find and mark the center of the cushion. Position the straight edge of the stencil at this mark, and stencil half the design. Let the paint dry completely, and then flip the stencil over and align it to stencil the other half of the design. Mask off the first half to protect it.
Step Three: Working on one side of the design square at a time, position the double stripe stencil one inch from the design edge. You'll get a more precise look if you begin in the center rather than at a corner. Center either the middle of the group of three stripes or the single stripe along this edge, and stencil in each direction toward the corners.
Stencil stripes to within one inch of the edge of the cushion. Use tape to mask off one side of the corner. Stencil, then reverse the tape for the other side. Repeat on each side.
To bring the French country look to life, we used Americana Country Blue and FolkArt Blue Ink acrylic paints.