A couple weeks ago I shared my Family Room Inspiration Board which included these grain sack pillows from Restoration Hardware. I wasn’t loving the $59 a piece price tag, and decided to try making my own version of a French Grain Sack Pillows using inexpensive drop cloth.
But before we get into the pillows though, I want to make sure you know about the giveaway we’re running on the blog this week. We’ve teamed up with 10 bloggers to give away a $120 PayPal Cash Giftcard! Make sure to enter for your chance to win here. The winner will be announced Monday, September 8th.
Ok, back to the pillows. I made envelope pillow covers to cover the existing throw pillows on my couches using drop cloth I purchased at Home Depot. I first washed my drop cloth a couple times. Then I followed this video from iheartstitching.com to make the envelope covers. I cannot explain the process better than Melanie does in this video so I won’t even try. Don’t be afraid to try these pillows even if you’re not too handy with a sewing machine! I’m definitely a beginner level sewist, I can barely thread the machine, and I was able to knock these pillows out with no problem.
Once my pillow covers were made, I went to www.thegraphicsfairy.com and chose a few graphics to transfer onto the fabric. If you’ve never visited The Graphics Fairy website, it’s the absolute best source for free vintage graphics and images for crafting. Here are the three graphics I used: French Wreath Typography, French Cafe Chocolat, and French Patisserie Sign.
I used the freezer paper method for transferring my images. To do this, you will need an ink jet printer. Cut a piece of freezer paper the same size as the standard printer paper in your printer.
Most tutorials call for using spray adhesive to adhere the non-waxy side of your freezer paper to a piece of standard printer paper. This is so the printer will be able to pick up the freezer paper and print on it. We forgot to get spray adhesive from the craft store and were too lazy to go back out, so we just ran the freezer paper through the printer without adhering it to printer paper. This probably isn’t the best option, only because the printer did have a bit of trouble picking the freezer paper up, but it did work in my printer.
Print your image onto the waxy side of the freezer paper. You want to print the image in “mirror image”, so it prints backward on the freezer paper. If you don’t print it in mirror image, the image will be backward on your fabric when you transfer it. I have a Mac computer, and to change the image to mirror image this is what I had to do: Click “File” in the menu bar, then click “Print”. When the Print box popped up, under “orientation” there was a drop down bar that said Safari. When I clicked on that there was a “layout” option. Click “layout”, then check the box that says “flip horizontally”. This set my graphic to print in mirror image. Your computer may be different, this is just what worked for me.
While your image is printing, use a spray bottle to lightly mist water onto the fabric where you will be transferring the image. Light mist! The water helps the ink absorb into the fabric, but if it’s too wet the ink will spread too much and become blurry. I also cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside my envelope pillows just in case the ink bled through a bit. This is a photo of the first pillow I did, and as you can see the image is a bit blurrier than the pillow in the above picture. It’s because I got the fabric too wet.
Once your image prints, carefully remove it from the printer taking care to only touch the edges of the paper. The ink will smear if you touch it. Lay it face down on your pillow. Make sure you have it exactly where you want it before you lay it down. Do not try to adjust it once you’ve laid the freezer paper onto the pillow or you’ll just get a blurry mess.
Use a spoon (I used a big wooden spatula) to carefully but firmly rub the back side of your paper. This will transfer the ink from the paper onto the fabric. Try not to move the paper around as you do this. An extra set of hands is helpful for this step, but not completely necessary. Make sure you rub all over the back of the image several times to push all the ink off of the paper and onto the fabric. When you’re done, carefully lift the paper straight up and let it dry. Once completely dry, we placed a clean piece of scrap fabric over the image and ironed it in an attempt to heat set the image. We’ve read several posts that say this method is permanent and several that say the image will fade a bit when machine washed. After heat setting our images, we left them alone for 48 hours, then machine washed the pillow covers inside-out and our images did not seem to fade at all. I’m not yet sure how they will hold up after multiple washes, but I will update later. I also have no idea if ironing did anything to heat set the image, but it’s what I did so I’m listing it here.
One thing I’d do differently in hindsight, would be to transfer my images before I sewed the pillows together. I decided to make the pillow first because I’m not great with a sewing machine and I was afraid that once I sewed it together my image would no longer be centered if I transferred the image first. But I ended up completely screwing up one of the images and I had to make a whole new pillow. Had I just cut the front sections of the pillow and transferred my images before sewing it together, it would have been much easier to just recut a new front piece if I messed up. Much easier than having to sew a new pillow.
I also recommend practicing the transfer method on a scrap piece of drop cloth. This way you’ll get a feel for how much water you’ll need to spray and how to transfer the image without smearing it. I definitely got better after doing it a couple times.
Overall I like the look of the pillows. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure I like them quite as much as the RH pillows, but considering the RH pillows are $59 each and I was able to make 4 pillow covers for less than $20, I think they turned out pretty well.
I have one more drop cloth project in the works, and then I hope you’re ready for some fall projects! I just love fall and I’m already putting together a few fun projects to share with you! I hope you’re having a great week!!
We link up at these fun parties!