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How to Stencil Pillows

How to Stencil Sunflower Pillows

Sunflower Pillows are bright and cheerful.
Sunflower Pillows are bright and cheerful.

Cheery sunflowers and country checks grace these inviting toss pillows. They offer country comfort along with casual elegance.

Skill Level: Beginner


Time: 2 hours

Stencil Design: Download the Stencil Sunflower Pillows as a PDF.

What You'll Need

  • Cardboard, 12 inches square
  • Repositionable stencil adhesive
  • 11-inch-square prewashed muslin
  • Cardstock or heavyweight paper
  • Scissors
  • Delta Stencil Paint Crème: Sunflower Yellow, Amber, Bark Brown, Garden Green, Jungle Green, Basic Black, Sandstone, Colonial Green
  • 5/8-inch stencil brushes, 2
  • 3/8-inch stencil brushes, 6
  • Disappearing-ink marking pen
  • Iron-on adhesive
  • Pillow, 12- to 14-inches square
  • Brown fine-point permanent marker, optional


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.

Cover the flower while you paint the leaves.
Cover the flower while you paint the leaves.

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.

Stencil variations can be used elsewhere in the house.
Stencil variations can be used elsewhere in the house.

If you want another bright and cheery stencil design, check out our next project, the Perfectly Plaid Pillow.

Want to look at another stencil project? See: